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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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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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Struffoli

struffoli

Welcome to the December edition of Cucina Conversations! For our last post of the year, my fellow Cucina Conversations friends and I are reprising last year’s topic and sharing ricette di natale–Christmas recipes. The holiday season has been a flurry of activity for me since last month and I’ve neglected my small corner of the Internet (yet again), but I wasn’t about to end the year without sharing one more traditional Italian recipe with you! My contribution to this month’s theme is show-stopping struffoli. Struffoli originated in Napoli, the capital of the region of Campania, and dates back to the time […]

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Pesto Abruzzese

Pesto Abruzzese

Welcome to the October installment of Cucina Conversations! This month, we are talking about one of my favorite topics: preserving. I am still very much a canning and preserving newbie and have not yet ventured far into the endeavor, but the little I’ve done had me hooked from the start. The very first canning recipe I made was this beautiful and delicious Tropea onion jam from Domeinca Marchetti’s most recent cookbook, Preserving Italy. I returned straight back to Domenica’s lovely cookbook to make my contribution for this month’s recipe, pesto abruzzese. Preserving gets the spotlight mostly during the spring and summer months, […]

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