The Purple Gnocchi Eater

 

I thought I had a winner.  Had I won it would have been two years in a row because last year’s entry,  my lasagne bolognese, was the champ.

UNICO logo2I’m talking about a pasta recipe contest sponsored by the Delaware chapter of a national Italian-American service organization called UNICO.  And you would be correct,  members are called “unicans”.

This time I entered the item featured below with total confidence of its success.  Purple potato gnocchi with a four-cheese sauce,  known in Italy as gnocchi alla fonduta.  The word “fonduta” means fondue,  and reflects the four-cheese blend one might find in Swiss fondue recipes.

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The Authentic Bagel

The topic of home-made bagels came up recently in a discussion with my nephew who called my attention to an excellent blog site (realdealcooking.com) that elaborates on the proper technique for making this style of bread product.  My interest having been sufficiently piqued I soon embarked on the inevitable research tedium that partly characterizes my life in the kitchen.  (The rest is characterized by inertia punctuated by rare fits of perceived talent).

My intention was to try to find a connection between bagels and Italian cuisine,  because I slavishly believe all good things to eat in the world originated in Italy.

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Cruising Down the River

AvalonAffinity


Had a first-time experience recently sloshing down the Rhine River from Basel Switzerland to Amsterdam aboard the Avalon Waterways “Affinity” pictured above.  Affinity for what is not exactly defined.

They say the Rhine River is unique in that it flows from south to north.  Looking at the map it’s no surprise for a river that starts up in the Swiss Alps at 5000 or so feet above sea level and winds up in Holland at zero feet.  Law of gravity no?

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Agnolotti Are Not Ravioli – or are they?

Agnolotti

There is another name for stuffed pasta found on menus just about everywhere in Italy but apparently nowhere in the U.S. except maybe in the high end restaurants.  The name is Agnolotti and you don’t ever pronounce the “g”.

These tasty items are normally stuffed with ground up braised veal or pork and parmesan cheese.  According to the scholars the more familiar Ravioli usually,  but not always,  are stuffed with other cheeses such as ricotta and vegetables such as spinach, in addition to or instead of ground meat.  So you ask,  all in all what is the difference?

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From Caponata to Ratatouille

One day recently I nearly lapsed into a catatonic state watching the Food Network’s “Pioneer Woman” whip up a hearty batch of steak n’ eggs for all the buckaroos on the ranch.  Before passing out I had an idea flash before me.  I imagined that I would become the world’s leading expert on the connections between French and Italian cuisine.

All I needed was a place to start.  I thought and thought.  I figured I would begin with the complex and move on to the simple. For the first installment I decided a most convenient example of the introduction of Italian influence into French cooking might be the famous Bouillabaise and accordingly a rendering of the similarities between that dish and the Italian Zuppa di Pesce appears elsewhere.

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