Spring Orzo Salad

spring orzo salad

Welcome to the April edition of Cucina Conversations! To welcome the arrival of spring, the longer days, and the warmer temperatures (finally!), we are featuring insalate (salads) as our topic. For the past couple of weeks, many of my friends and favorite food bloggers in Italy have been posting photos and stories on Instagram of their trips to the mercati (markets), where every stall is overflowing with an abundance of spring vegetables: fave, asparagus, radishes, agretti, peas, and the first zucchine. Shopping at my grocery store is decidedly less charming than shopping in one of Italy’s open air markets, but here, state-side too, spring […]

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Crescia al Formaggio

crescia al formaggio

Welcome to the March edition of Cucina Conversations! We are reprising our theme of Pasqua to share more of Italy’s regional Easter recipes. The week before Easter in Italy is always a flurry of activity in home kitchens and bakeries alike as home cooks and professional bakers across Italy turn out traditional yeasted breads and torte-both sweet and savory-to be enjoyed on Easter morning alongside hard boiled eggs and a variety of thinly sliced salumi. My contribution for this month’s topic is this savory crescia al formaggio. Like pizza di Pasqua and focaccia Veneta, crescia al formaggio is an egg-enriched, yeasted bread that traditionally opens Easter […]

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Spinach Herb Pesto

spinach herb pesto

Happy spring everyone! It’s been a flurry of activity here at Casa Scalzitti for the past few weeks. After finally recovering from the miserable virus we caught in Italy, Peter and I sprung into action and tackled our household “To Do” list. The first day of spring may have been a couple of days ago, but here in Houston, we’ve been enjoying beautiful spring weather since the beginning of March and it’s been glorious (North-Easters, please don’t hate me!). The start of spring this year is especially exciting for us because we finally had our front and back yard re-landscaped. […]

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Crostoli

crostoli

Buon martedì grasso! Welcome to the February edition of Cucina Conversations. Our posts are early this month since we are reprising the fun topic of carnevale which in Italy began on February 3rd and ends today, “Fat Tuesday”. For the past two weeks, the shiny bakery cases of pasticcerie (pastry shops) and forni (bakeries) across Italy have been filled with overflowing trays traditional carnevale sweets: castagnole di ricotta (ricotta fritters), frìtole veneziane (Venetian sweet fritters), bomboloni (doughnuts), fritelle di mele (apple fritters), and my personal favorites, crostoli (fried pastry ribbons). Crostoli have a special place in my heart and culinary memory because both my maternal nonna Liliana and paternal nonna Ada used to make these […]

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Artichoke Croquettes

artichoke croquettes

Benvenuti to the first Cucina Conversations post of the new year! This month, our topic is bread, specifically what Italians call pane raffermo (stale bread). To an inexperienced cook, the phrase “stale bread” can have negative connotations as it brings to mind hard-as-a-rock, inedible bread that is past its soft, crusty, chewy prime. But in the Italian kitchen, pane raffermo becomes a valuable ingredient that was born of the cucina povera (“cooking of the poor”), where no ingredient was wasted and less-desirable parts of animals and vegetables were creatively cooked into recipes that continue to thrive in homes and trattorie across the peninsula. Bread […]

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