I love this season, it brings with it sunshine, allergies and all my favorite vegetables.
Every Wednesday, my CSA delivers a box with bushels of asparagus, artichokes, crisp heads of lollo lettuce, romanesco broccoli, striped zucchini topped with precious blossoms, free range chicken and eggs, cheese and fruit all hailing from nearby organic Lazio farms. In each box also comes a handful of
Many Italian desserts sound delicious, but few know all of them by name. So, here's a handy guide to some of the more common Italian meal-ending treats, with a few tips on where to find them at their best in Rome.
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My prayers and heartfelt compassion go out to the population of Abruzzo, both victims and survivors of the April 6th 2009 earthquake, on this third anniversary of the disaster that ravaged the region.
The brave, frustrated, strong and noble Abruzzesi are not forgotten. Not forgotten.
Will you be traveling during the Easter/Passover holidays? I will not. I'll be spending the two-day Spring festivity stuffing my face with traditional Pasqua foods. I say two days, because the day after Easter – Pasquetta – is as much of a holiday as Pasqua is.
It's all about eating oneself into a stupor, as a celebratory ritual, which in some southern Italian homes may begin with the head of
Eating pasta dressed with an opulent tomato sauce that's been simmering with good olive oil, garlic and fresh seafood is my prize.
Rome these days is damp with rain, and burdened with a confused, muggy climate that's trying as hell to believe it's spring, but is not quite there yet. On days like these, and especially on weekends, when I'm supposed to relax, sleep in late and spend time wi
Such a funny word, stracciatella. A noun that means 'torn to little shreds' [strah·tcha·tell·ah] can be one of three things: a variety of egg-drop soup, a gelato flavor and a type of cheese.
The stracciatella gelato is a delicious and exotic version of chocolate chip ice cream, but this is gelato we're talking about, so creamy and not chunky and made with a white fior di latte (milk) base and
Though sushi is now available at most neighborhood supermarket — usually displayed between the pre-boiled spinach and the vacuum packed slices of pink Parma ham, and maki and wasabi have become highly popular — there's still no telling just what you're getting.
I recently had an informal chat with a Rome sushi chef, who gave me a better idea what to look out for. As I nibbled on perfect
If you'd like to hear me interviewed live on public Italian radio in a live episode of the intelligent food and wine appreciation show called Decanter, hosted by two very hot Italian men who love eating, drinking and rock music, you can download the podcast recorded live on January 29th.
After publishing my comprehensive lists of where to eat in Rome a reader commented asking for an index of restaurants that focus on great wine, or ones that own a quality wine list. Enotecas, which are wine bars and sometimes only wine sellers, often serve cold and hot food to go with their mescita of wine by the glass. Some of these have turned into veritable restaurants, which tend to design
If you're in Rome between February 8 and April 28, I suggest you take a walk to the Ara Pacis Museum and spend a few hours at the Tutti De Sica exhibit. It's an affectionate collection of photos, personal belongings, clippings, film posters, objects, costumes, movie clips and television appearances of the life of one of Italy's film icons: Vittorio De Sica.
The show is the fruit of the wo
If I had to choose between a piece of warm focaccia stuffed with homestyle salami, and a slice of cake, I'd probably go for the pork. That is if Nutella isn't part of the equation, because otherwise I'd seriously have a hard time deciding.
Today I'll be keeping my savory preferences to myself, and instead be a part of the celebrations in honor of the world-known hazelnut-chocolate spread
Many of you like to stop by here at Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino for recipes, or to hear the latest news on the sweet (and sometimes bittersweet) life in Italy. Some like to keep up with my freelance writing, and therefore are familiar with my column "In Cucina" I pen for The American Magazine in Italia, or my lifestyle correspondent-work for The Travel Belles, or the pieces I've done for other
This blog's birthday is coming up. Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino turns 4 years old on January 24th!
Thanks to blogging, and all that has happened since – and perhaps thanks to – that fortunate night when I wrote my first post, a lot has changed in my life. Through blogging and my activity on the social media, I have
changed careers, transforming my graphic design and showbiz past into
Rome is a city of meat-eaters. But some top-notch vegetarian spots are beginning to make a mark.
Photo © Andrea Di Lorenzo
The average Italian is a carnivore, Romans in particular. Veal and beef are the norm as main courses and in pasta sauces. But the city also has plenty of vegetarian options, mainly because mainstream Italian cuisine, which hasn't changed much since the 19th century,
Belonging to the municipality of Carrara, considered the world's white marble capital, and the place where Michelangelo used to shop the raw material for his sculptures, Colonnata is a small village perched on a ridge between two marble quarries in the Tuscan Apennine Apuane Mountains, which is mostly known for another kind of white marbling, the one in the lardo.
Lardo di Colonnata © Massi
Summer. It's hot and muggy in Rome. The baby sitter is late and I have limited cab fare in my wallet, but I have to attend a new restaurant opening in Trevi for a story. The horde crowding both entrances is ridiculous. We make it inside, pushing through throngs of puffy lipped wannabe tv presenter girls and UVA tanned blokes with plucked lady eyebrows. It's 9 pm and it's hot, too damn hot to be
Yes, exactly what the title says: a true carb fest. I can hear you moaning, "overkill!" – but no, this is a simple and delicious combination. As far as pizza sold by the slice goes, Rome is unbeatable, and in matter of toppings a classic is pizza con le patate, pizza with potatoes. Unlike the round pies normally served in pizzerias, pizza al taglio is baked in electric ovens in large rectangular
I first started hearing of construction site–meets–Hollywood film set roach coaches turned into gourmet gatherings in L.A., by friends and family who raved about top chefs going mobile, and mouthwatering tweets that informed hungry patrons at which corner the best Asian taco truck would park that day. The food truck buzz was too loud to ignore, so taking advantage of my nephew's wedding in Texas
I received and invitation by my darling friend and dining guru Katie Parla a few weeks ago that I could not turn down, simply because it involved good food and the promise of an intimate conversation with Alice Waters.
The founder and mastermind behind the Berkeley cradle of food revolution Chez Panisse Restaurant, activist of the locavore movement that has been shifting food education and
This blog has been inactive for a ridiculous amount of time.
I found 25 unmoderated comments and have been receiving emails form friends who complain the lack of updates. That is unacceptable!
Work and my life have really taken a toll on my blog time, but that's no excuse, especially when on the reading end are folks like you who are so affectionate, loyal and actually
I am so proud to announce that Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino is in the new edition of 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go, in the new Online Resources section, in great company among author Susan Van Allen's favorites!
Time ago I shared a chapter from the previous edition which focused on women–owned wineries in Italy.
This coming fall, why not indulge in a true Tuscan vineyard experienc
Sure, the piping hot demitasse you get at any cafe in Italy is unbeatable, with its trademark froth and energetic kick. But as far as homemade coffee, the Napoletana stovetop espresso pot historically delivers the best. The flavor of the caffè is "round," longer and more complex than regular coffee made with a Moka.
Naples is a city often associated with pizza and spaghetti. But if you've eve
I often find myself escaping the usual culinary itineraries, and seeking delectable refuge in out-of-the-way spots you
can frequently get to with public transport that is oddly abundant and
quite dependable. Most of these periferia places will give you a far warmer
welcome than any Rome city restaurant, and surprisingly good food.
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Lovely Marie Asselin of Food Nouveau kindly asked me to contribute to her series Edible Cities. Every week, the popular blog features one of Marie's favorite bloggers, who tell readers about a city that left a big impression on them, and which dish they loved the best when they visited.
Thank you Marie for asking me to participate in this fabulous series!
Read my contribution in which
If you're sightseeing in Rome, make sure you know where the good wine, gelato and pizza are first!
History, archeology, art, food and wine —
Rome is generous with its variegated goods. The only real risk is
overkill. The wise thing is to alternate sightseeing with food breaks.
where to pause the cultural spree with some well-chosen snack nosh?
Here's my shortlist of favorit
The restaurant-finder app and content company I work for Cibando has launched its first advertising campaign. Take a look at this fun promotion we recently shot on location in Rome...
This is the first of four ads in which Cibando employees play a different part, each humorous story tells of Cibando's love for food, our passion for fine dining, and the instinct that guides us towards each
The sommeliers you'll love (and understand)
There's always a feeling of being underqualified when attending a wine tasting. I personally always fear I'll say the wrong thing, suggest the wrong pairing... I'm uncomfortable my instinctive approach towards wine will clash with the wine knowledge of sommeliers teaching and certified experts attending.
But on the other hand, I love wine. An
Aglio Olio e Peperoncino is back.
It's like a tradition, it's become a yearly custom.
Come the end of May the domain name "aglioolioepeperoncino.com" expires without forewarning and I have to spend a ridiculous number of hours on the phone with evanescent Google representatives, and aggravated hosting company technicians, trying to reactivate it.
~ the dreaded screenshot - year 2 ~
It's happening in Rome, Saturday May 12 at 3pm! Hosting this great event are the delightful The Beehive Hotel and freshly launched Gemelli Press.
The program will be featuring expat writers in Italy of books, e-books and iPhone apps. This is a great opportunity to meet and chat with expat writers in the heart of Rome on what we hope will be a gorgeous spring day!
Drinks and snacks will be
Getting a taste of beloved deep-fried carciofi alla giudìa
notoriously means taking advantage of the pesky February-to-May window
in which the quintessential Roman artichokes are in season.
But with all the focus on supermodel artichokes, other versatile vegetables, also in season, tend to get short shrift.
Take agretti for example...
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I've decided to start a monthly series inspired by one of Rachel's latest posts. I love reading cookbooks as literature, and not merely to follow instructions when preparing someone else's recipe.
So every month, or so (I'm not good with deadlines and calendars, see my defunct newsletter) I promise to write about a favorite cookbook, and the inspiration it provided beyond the kitchen stove.
Image © Raimund Kutter
Though most of my work is published on the web, I'm an old school
pen-and-ink gal. I have a callus on the pen rubbing side of my middle
finger. I like to scribble and keep notes in a bulging, dog-eared
Moleskine notebook. I also have a passion for sending handwritten...
postcards. Yes! Remember those?
When it comes to work, I hardly
ever compose my storie
It's that time of year again.
Time to pack the hamper with delicious foods, sparkling wine, and get out into the warm Roman sun. Whether sprawled on blanket, dampened by grass, or lazily camped in the shade of monumental umbrella pines, picnics are the ideal springtime solution for families with kids, frugal travelers, and anyone in need of a little romance.
The article I contributed to
Welcome back to You're the cook today our series of guest recipes from around the world.
Today we meet Luke from Britain, who has a special bond with the emerald isle of Sardegna, and its glorious food.
Everyone loves eating Italian, but often food from Sardinia gets overlooked. Dishes vary from place to place on the island, as every village has their own special finishing touches and secr
"Single mothers or those traveling alone with small children: please come to the front of the line for immediate boarding."
What was that? Did the voice coming through the speakers just say 'single mothers?' The two of us, toddler and I hobble along, boarding passes clenched between teeth and stuffed, life-size Labrador Retriever tucked underarm. The laptop in my backpack weighs like bricks
In Italy, overcooking pasta is a sin, period. Al dente, which
literally means "to the tooth," as in, "how does it feel to the tooth,"
stands for the correct point of cooking hardness. The opposite of al dente isn't some version of normal; it's soft or overdone.
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Not many gluten-free travelers realize that celiacs exist in Italy too.
The boot-shaped peninsula seems like the last place where you'd enjoy a gluten-free meal, what with all the pasta, pizza, bread, focaccia, salumi and other Italian specialties and staples. But celiacs in Italy can enjoy a large variety of gluten-free foods at every meal.
For example, mornings can have a sunny start with
In the earliest part of my childhood I spent a lot of time with my Nonna Titta. I've spoken about her in many occasions on this blog. She was a pillar of my upbringing, and even though I was 9 when she passed away, she left me many memories and an impressive mark on my nature and individuality. I see a lot of her in myself today.
In particular, the memories I associate the most with Nonna are
Here are a few photos of the winter wonderland we woke up to just a few days ago here in the Eternal City. I'm posting more images of the snow on Roma Every Day, n case you're interested in purchasing prints.
I promise to be more consistent with my blogging, I know I've slacked a
bit lately, but work has really absorbed me in these last few week
It's that time of year again! And since I'm on a diet trying to cut down on sweets, for this edition of World Nutella Day I won't break the gilded seal of the usual giant tub, rather savor every finger scoop of this tiny 30 gr (1 oz) mini Nutella. These wee jars are sold during the holiday season as tree ornaments, see the clear plastic eyelet? Clever.
Happy World Nutella Day to all my
C'è crisi — it's crisis time: there's no way around it. Our former
prime minister insisted the opposite as recently as last fall, when he
told the world that Italian restaurants were packed to the hilt with
happy folk spending money right, left and center. But that was 2011.
Welcome to 2012, which finds Italy's economy poised on a slippery slope
and trickling south faster than meltin
The combination of Art and Food in a city like Rome is a no-brainer. The illuminated trend of coupling delectable cuisine with paintings and sculptures originated in several European cities, like Bilbao with restaurant Nerua at the Guggenheim Museum, Barcelona, Paris at the Musée d'Orsay, Avignon and St Etienne. Other world museums that have picked up on this idea include the Tate Modern in
Taken as a whole, the Italian holiday menu
can defeat an elephant.
The stuffing ritual begins as early as Dec. 8th,
on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, with mugs of hot chocolate and doppia panna (double cream). Less than a week later comes Santa Lucia, she of the traditional buttery biscuits.
But Mission Impossible opens its real run on Christmas Eve, and continues through New Ye
I was recently asked by friend and food guru Katie Parla to share thoughts on my best meals, dishes, and food experiences from Rome this year. I was honored by Katie's invitation to reflect along with notable cooks, fellow food writers
and historians, on Rome's best bites of 2011.
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Imagine lying on a flowery Alpine meadow while inhaling the resinous scent of mountain pine, and enjoying the salubrious effect of a chalice of local wine. This is a typical relaxation treatment in one of many wellness centers scattered in the mystical Alto Adige territory, and where for an entire summer week I took some time off to embrace the power of the mountains and nature.
Seadas, or Sebadas, are traditional cheese filled fritters particular to the island of Sardinia.
They are the region's most famous dessert, but originally seadas were enjoyed as a main course, especially by shepherds.
The recipe for these remarkably original cheese fritter calls for a final drizzle of bittersweet corbezzolo honey. Corbezzolo is Italian for strawberry tree, an evergreen
Chilly weather is the Italian invitation for starch-dependent menus.
Though they're consumed with abandon year-round, winter gives carbs an
even bigger welcome mat.
Some pasta dishes are particularly well suited
to the colder months, most not necessarily dependent on seasonal
ingredients. They include hearty grain and vegetable soups, richly
dressed ragùs, and the best of all gourme
Carpaccio was for a long time the most popular dish served at Harry’s Bar in Venice. It is named after Vittore Carpaccio, the Venetian Renaissance painter known for his use of brilliant reds and whites in the minute detail of his infinite perspective landscapes.
Giuseppe Cipriani, the Bar's historic owner, invented and named the dish in reference to the Venetian painter, because the colors of
Image © ecosalon.com
Homemade mayo rocks. Better tasting and definitely wholesome compared to the crap commercially sold in a jar or worse, in a tube.
The difficult part in making it at home is not having it separate while you add the olive oil as it thickens. In Italian we say our mayonnaise is impazzita, "gone crazy" when that happens.
To avoid this, some experts suggest to make it
Image © An Aerial Armadillo
Almost a year ago I lost a good friend. I had actually never met her in person, but she was among the closest, most generous and understanding brave women I have ever known. I had the joy of knowing Tessa Edwards thanks to blogging, and I will forever be thankful for that.
I'm honoring her sweet memory by sharing again one of her lovely recipes, and paying it