Tag Archives: Italian cuisine

Fettuccine all’Alfredo

Fettuccine all’Alfredo

This simple recipe was invented in 1892 by a Roman restaurateur called Alfredo Di Lelio who became famous for serving it with a gold fork and spoon. the fame of his “fettuccine al triplo burro” (later named “fettuccine all’Alfredo” or “fettuccine Alfredo”) spread, first in Rome and then to other countries and became very popular especially in United States. Fettuccine all’Alfredo is a simple dish made of very few ingredients, yet full of flavour and texture. It is prepared and cooked in no time and is perfect for a quick (15 – 20 minutes), fuss-free lunch or dinner. The story behind make this dish appropriate even for evening meals prepared for guests, that would love to hear it. 

Linguine with rocket

Linguine with rocket

Linguine with rocket can be a very nice, fashionable lunch, that is so quick and easy to make at home. Rocket has an excellent peppery flavour that combines beautifully with the Parmesan cheese. Linguine is an egg pasta and looks rather like flattened strands of spaghetti. Spaghetti, fettucine or pappardelle could be used instead. Dried pasta cooks in 10-12 minutes, but an even faster result can be obtained by using fresh pasta. Simply add it to a large pan of boiling, lightly salted water, making sure that all the strands are fully submerged, and cook for 2-3 minutes. The pasta is ready when it rises to the top of the pan and is tender to the taste, with a slight firmness in the centre. Fresh Parmesan keeps well in the refrigerator for up to a month, if wrapped in greaseproof paper.

Marinated eel

Marinated eel

Eel swim thousands of miles from their birthplace in the Sargasso Sea (off the American coast) to the rivers of Europe. In Italy they are found at the mouth of the river Po, in the Tiber, and in Sicily and Sardinia. A favourite Roman recipe at Christmas is capitone, a mature female eel which is cut into chunks, marinated and cured in oil, vinegar and herbs, then grilled over charcoal. This recipe is using smaller eels and reversing the process, frying the eel chunks first, then marinating them. Marinated fish are popular in Italy and are usually eaten at the start of the meal as an antipasto. Eels are most often sold live, although they are sometimes available as steaks. A live eel is quite something to manage, so ask your fishmonger for advice. There are serious concerns surrounding the sustainability of eels, both wild and farmed (as even these are raised from wild elvers).

Potato and cabbage bake

Potato and cabbage bake

A lovely combination of potatoes, cabbage and the Alpine cow’s cheese, Taleggio. Simple to prepare, and delicious eaten as a side dish with meat, or even on its own. Although cabbage is grown all over Italy it has always been a staple of the northern regions, providing nourishment in times of hardship. Despite its somewhat underrated reputation, people have alwalys loved cabbage and it has really evolved in Italian cooking over the years. There are different types: verza (Savoy), cappuccio (white), rosso (red) and cavoto nero (black). Savoy cabbage is probably the most used in Italian cooking: in soups, braised with pancetta, or stuffed. Waite cabbage is used to fill ravioli, in salads and can. be braised. Red cabbage is really only known in the north-east of Italy and cooked in local dishes with a Germanic influence. The ‘trend’ cavoio nero, grown mainly in Tuscany, is similar in taste to Savoy and can be used in much the same way.

Roman gnocchi

Roman gnocchi

Roman gnocchi can be prepared a day or two in advance, wrapped and stored in the refigerator in the slab form or as circles. Roman gnocchi are made with semolina and are quite different from the more well-known potato gnocchi served with pasta sauce. Gnocchi are eaten as a first course (primo piatto), as an alternative to soups (minestre) or pasta. They are generally home-made in Italian and diaspora Italian households. They may also be bought fresh from speciality stores. In supermarkets, industrially produced packaged gnocchi are widely available refrigerated, dried, or frozen. Common accompaniments of gnocchi include melted butter with sage, pesto, and various sauces.