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A Cooking Class with Domenica Marchetti

The Side Dish

Welcome to a long-overdue installment of The Side Dish! At the end of last month, my fellow food blogging friend and cookbook author, Domenica Marchetti came to Houston to teach a cooking class at the Italian Cultural and Community Center where I volunteer. Ever since starting as a volunteer cooking instructor at the ICCC last year, I have enjoyed working with Erika, the center’s programs and events director, to brainstorm ideas for new cooking classes. Last month, I suggested reaching out to Domenica to see if she would be willing to come teach a class at the ICCC, and to […]

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Olive all’Ascolana

olive all'ascolana

Welcome to the July edition of Cucina Conversations! Our group recently decided to publish quarterly instead of monthly due to our busy schedules, but the quality and creativity of our posts will stay the same, and we have some exciting topics for upcoming editions. This month, our topic is “stuffed”, a cooking preparation Italians are especially adept at, and includes a wide range of foods: stuffed pastas such as tortellini, ravioli, and agnolotti; seasonal vegetables hollowed out and filled with a savory meat mixture; involtini, cutlets of beef, pork, or veal rolled around a filling of prosciutto and cheese; and pastries such as krapfen, airy doughnuts […]

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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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