Browsing Tag

basics

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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Basics: How to Make Pizza Dough

Pizza Dough

A few years ago, I discovered a deep love for making dough from scratch. For years, the idea of making any kind of homemade dough intimidated me, until I finally got annoyed with myself, bought a few good baking cookbooks, and got to work in the kitchen. I couldn’t believe I wasted so much time being fearful. I’ve been making homemade dough ever since and I’m here to tell you that a.) it isn’t as hard as you think, and b.) it’s fun! I had a handful of fails along the way, but with consistent practice, I got more confident and […]

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How to Make Italian Sweet Pastry Dough

Pasta Frolla

For the first “basics” post of 2016, I’m introducing you to pasta frolla, an Italian sweet pastry dough. It is also known as shortcrust pastry. Pasta frolla is the base for many Italian desserts, especially crostata, a tart filled with fruit preserves or pastry cream (sometimes both), or even Nutella. Pasta frolla is also the dough of choice for pastiera napoletana, a traditional Italian Easter dessert, as well as delicate cookies that Italians call frollini. Once baked, pasta frolla is both tender and flaky, almost like shortbread, but less dense. The milk solids from the butter contribute not only to the texture of pasta frolla, but […]

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