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Sauces & Spreads

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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Pesto Genovese

Pesto Genovese

I never gave much thought to the seasonality of fresh produce. I grew up eating seasonally both at home in Maryland and at the homes of my paternal grandparents, and great-aunts in Italy. There was a small garden in the back yard in Maryland, and an enormous garden in my paternal Nonna’s back yard in northern Italy, complete with fruit trees and a chicken coop. For my maternal great-aunts in Rome, apartment living only gave them room for a few pots of flowers and herbs on the balcony, but they shopped for the produce from a nearby mercato daily and it often came from a […]

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Basics: Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onion

Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onion

I’m continuing to work through my list of “basics” recipes, and today I’m sharing one of my favorites: tomato sauce with butter and onion. The first time I tasted tomato sauce with butter in it was in Rome at my great-aunt Franca’s house. She had made her sugo semplice (“simple sauce”): a soffritto of finely chopped carrot, celery, and onion sautéed in hot olive oil, and a bottle of passata di pomodoro (strained tomato sauce) poured over the lightly caramelized vegetables and left on the stove to simmer for a little less than an hour until the sauce was slightly reduced and flavorful. Once […]

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Basics: How to Make Amatriciana Pasta Sauce

Amatriciana Sauce

The origins of Amatriciana pasta sauce are drenched in debate. Most people claim the sauce originated in the town of Amatrice, located 60 miles northeast of Rome. In Rome, many chefs and home cooks claim the sauce is typical to the city’s cuisine and has nothing to do with the town of Amatrice. There are people who say the sauce should be called matriciana, suggesting a theory that it refers to a wild herb called matricale, which is questionable because most Italians agree that herbs have no place in the sauce. And that’s just the beginning of the controversy surrounding this […]

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How to Make Classic Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce

The last of my Christmas cookies have been baked, my gift tins have been shipped off, and Christmas cards are in the mail. I had hoped to stay on my blogging schedule this month, but instead, I’ve been feeling like I have to beat the clock each day with all of my Christmas “to do’s”. After this week, I’ll be taking a break to regroup and re-charge. There’s going to be a lot of cookbook and food magazine reading going on with my feet propped up on the coffee table and I can’t wait. Despite the holiday rush, the one thing I’ve […]

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