Food

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Posted 01/27/2015

Spaghetti all’ Amatriciana

Today’s recipe is a classic of Roman cooking: the name comes from Amatrice, a town in Lazio; from here the farmers that travelled down to Rome with their produce, including fresh ewe’s milk cheese (pecorino) and mountain pigs, also imported this way of cooking maccheroni and bucatini. In our house this is in absolute our favorite sauce! Continue Reading…

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Posted 01/21/2015

Beets, Cucumber and Bottarga Salad

In Italy salad is one of those food items that makes it into your stomach just because “Mom has told you so!” You will rarely encounter a list of salads on our restaurant menus and in fact a handful of greens and a few chopped (or grated) carrots are all you can hope for to be served as a side dish to your steak or “rosticciana” ribs. Tuscans favor sautéed greens, roasted potatoes or vegetable stews like “Peperonata” to accompany their proteins.

Then I met Deb, and moved to Los Angeles where “People really eat salad before pasta???” The whole notion of considering salad as a stand alone dish still quite does not resonate with me, but as you can see I am adapting and making progress. However, don’t u dare ask me for salad to start your meal, you will rub me the wrong way! Continue Reading…

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Posted 01/20/2015

Branzino alla Vernaccia

I am the product of Tuscany’s inland, red wine runs through my veins. Along with Olive Oil it has been part of our family business for many decades, until severe weather damaged our vineyard twenty years ago. It really never mattered what kind of food was going to show up at the table, unsalted bread and red wine always arrived first. Well, actually the open flask of wine never, ever left the dining room table; always available to quench somebody’s thirst.

But my grandmother was born in Venice and in her repertoire she had some glorious fish recipes and yes, she used white wine.  Continue Reading…

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Posted 01/19/2015

Seared Scallops with Fava Bean Puree

I have created this recipe a few years back when developing the menus for The Montauk Yacht Club in Long Island NY. It was my very first culinary consulting job for a hospitality establishment,  I wanted to feature dishes that could be interpreted as elegant (if people really wanted to) but that retained the essence of my peasant roots.

I do believe that simplicity is elegance. I never mix too many ingredients together and actually enjoy the thinking process that for me is the first step in cooking new recipes: I cook in my head, every step, from the ingredients list to the plating. Never, ever, I have gotten into the kitchen asking myself “What do I have in my pantry? What can I cook tonight?”.  Continue Reading…

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Posted 01/19/2015

Lemon Panna Cotta with Red Wine Blackberry Sauce

Panna cotta is a somewhat ubiquitous dessert in Italian establishments; it is a straight recipe that many would consider a “Safe Dessert” for any Italian menu. Simple steps, easy to source ingredients, and most importantly a  fool prof execution (if you handle the gelatin right), make this dessert one of the ultimate aces up your sleeve when it comes to entertain.

However, in all honesty, I often have a bit of an issue with the proportion of cream/gelatin that goes into the traditional recipe. You see, gelatin helps the cream thicken enough so you can mold it into a small vessel and flip it on a plate for serving without compromising shape… or texture. And that is where my issue lies. I find traditional Panna Cotta way too thick for my taste. Continue Reading…

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Posted 01/13/2015

Linguine with Red Snapper

When I was a kid I remember spending wonderful summer moments fishing with my dad. When I was about 8 years old, he bought “the family” a raft with a 75 hp out-board Evinrude. I will never forget how does it feel to explore the coastline from the sea side, and not from shore. The amount of wonderful and mainly inaccessible spots we were able to reach and discover, indeed some of my best family memories ever. My father, brother and I would spend endless hours fishing with our spears, and most times we cooked our pray right on the beach. Continue Reading…

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Posted 01/13/2015

Smoked Trout Salad with Horseradish and Caper Vinaigrette

Growing up I ate smoked fish only once a year, at Christmas. My father is a doctor and I remember observing the piles of bottles and smoked salmon accumulating under the Christmas tree. Then my mom would have us binge on Tagliolini with Salmon for almost two weeks straight… I tried to complain a few times about the fact that “Babbo” would re-gift all the pork that was arriving to the house from his patients. I will never forget the first time a whole Prosciutto entered our house, “There is Hope in this World!” I told myself. That same evening the Prosciutto left the house and never came back. I know who my dad gave it to, and I still believe “that guy” owns me one. Continue Reading…

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Posted 01/12/2015

Almond and Coconut Granola

The smell of coffee and the first noises start to fill the our home around 6.30 am. Lampo lands on Debi’s side of the bed to get his first hug when I deliver her a first cup of Italian Jet Fuel, Giulia is always the first one out of bed and always very specific about what she wants for breakfast…. Evelina, oh well, I think she has figured how it is working on for her mom, so lately I have been asked to make coffee for her as well. “Can I have my coffee at 6.45 please? Just don’t turn on the bright light when you come in, thanks.” She is a total Downton Abby girl and she does not even know it! Continue Reading…

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Posted 01/12/2015

Fresh Peach Bellini

I know it’s a bit of a tease to post a recipe like this in January. Got Peaches? Here in Brooklyn not for sure, but what if…

On Wednesday’s episode of Extra Virgin, Debi and I have prepared this drink for our very special guest, Zac Posen. We have shot the episode last June, so we actually got to enjoy the recipe with seasonal fruit, and sure this is one delicious and elegant drink.

During these past Holidays though, I decided to try a spin-off recipe to celebrate a romantic dinner with Debi, and I have replaced peaches with pear. Continue Reading…

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Posted 01/06/2015

Vegetarian Lasagne

Every family has a very short list of recipes that are carefully executed only in certain times of the year; sometimes they are just too complicated or long in preparation to be made on a regular day, sometimes they belong to somebody’s birthday feast or to the New Year’s Eve table. It is wonderful to have recipes like this, for the whole family to throw down and spend a few hours in the kitchen together. It always makes for good memories. Continue Reading…

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