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No, nobody has hacked my account; I'm actually writing NEW content! Just don't get too comfortable with the idea. I make no guarantees that I won't fall off the face of the earth for a year again at any moment. On to the good stuff! Spring is back. Which means all of the delicious fresh produce is just around the corner. You know, once the spring snow storms stop. I decided I wanted to make my blog comeback with food from my favorite region - Sicily. That quickly led me to sifting through dozens of eggplant recipes. I finally settled... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2016 at Cucina DiBella
Oh, Hay-Seuss. This may be my new favorite dessert. I had a hard time stopping myself from eating the whole thing. Mascarpone is similar to cream cheese, and, like cream cheese, can be used in either sweet or savory applications. To make the cheese work as a dessert, I sweetened it with powdered sugar. I then put the sweetened mascarpone over top of blueberries. The reason I chose blueberries is because I then drizzled some white peach balsamic vinegar over the whole thing. Peaches and blueberries go wonderfully together, but this would also be great with segmented peaches or plums,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2014 at Cucina DiBella
Braciole is traditional Italian-American Sunday dinner. I was hesitant to call this recipe "braciole" since I took some liberties with the recipe. It is really more of a combination between traditional braciole and my Nonna's spadini. There is something so comforting about any recipe that involves sauce simmering away for hours. To make matters even better, the beef adds such an amazing depth of flavor to the sauce. Tasting it immediately brought me back to New Jersey, eating veal parmesan in my grandma's dining room. I think I found my new comfort food! Braised Beef Rolls Adapted from the Food... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2014 at Cucina DiBella
There are few dishes that can outdo Caprese Salad in the presentation department. Slices of tomato topped with slices of fresh mozzarella and basil leaves, the finished product is bursting with color. Usually Caprese Salad is thought of as a summer recipe, and it really is wonderfully refreshing when tomatoes are in season. However, I decided to make it today in defiance of the dismal winter weather we've had this year. There are a few ways that you can change up the following recipe. I chose to drizzle balsamic vinegar straight from the bottle, along with some olive oil, on... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2014 at Cucina DiBella
Ok, so this post is only tangentially related to Italian food. It was too good to keep to myself though. My mom recently sent me a bottle of White Peach Balsamic Vinegar. I had no idea such a thing even existed, so I spent some time today playing around with some different ways to use it. My first experiment was to create a play on traditional strawberries in balsamic vinegar. Instead of strawberries, I used peaches. I "grilled" half of them, letting them caramelize a little in a dry sautee pan. I then drizzled both bowls of peaches, grilled and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2013 at Cucina DiBella
I know, I know. When I only manage to write a post once or twice a month I really need to branch out a little rather than giving you another bread recipe, but I just can't help myself. I've become addicted to the smell of freshly baked bread in my own kitchen. I decided to try ciabatta bread this time. Ciabatta is one of my favorites, but not just as a side at dinner. This makes for a perfect roll for sandwiches in general, and for panini in particular. It is crispy on the outside and soft and airy inside.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2013 at Cucina DiBella
This isn't a real post with a new recipe, but I promised in my last post to give some more ideas on how to use pane toscano. So if this isn't a real post, why did it take me over a month to write it? I don't have a good answer for that other than the fact that if you asked me to tell you what month it is I would probably tell you it's April. April, 2010. Time just doesn't have the same slow-moving properties as an adult that it did when you were a kid waiting for summer... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2013 at Cucina DiBella
If there's one thing that has always intimidated me about cooking, it's yeast. I had some pretty unsavory results from my first attempts at dough making. Recently I've tried to overcome this, first getting my toes wet with some simple pizza dough and then moving up to loaves of fresh bread. My first attempt at bread was a Pane Toscano. It's a little time consuming, taking over 24 hours. You have to first make what's called a "sponge" that is a starter dough. Despite this extra step, with only flour, water, and yeast, it's pretty straightforward; the perfect recipe for... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2013 at Cucina DiBella
Happy St. Joseph's Day! Just because I want everyone to know how impressed I am with myself, I will have you know that I actually wrote this post a day early! It has been a long time since I have been ahead of the game for...well, anything, really. Although, since I promised a recipe for Rhode Island style Zeppole last year but never came through, I guess I shouldn't brag too much. If you can remember back that far (I barely can), two years ago I made this recipe for Zeppole that were almost like small fried doughnuts with powdered... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2013 at Cucina DiBella
The idea to make this recipe came as a request (thanks for the suggestion, Kristie!). Chicken Cacciatore is a traditional recipe from Naples. Cacciatore means hunter-style and would originally have been made with some type of game bird like pheasant. Now it is made with chicken, usually including both chicken breasts and thighs. I chose to use only chicken breasts, so if you use thighs you will want to double the initial simmering time for the chicken. You can also add mushrooms, which I omitted because of my great dislike of them. Chicken Cacciatore is really the perfect mid-winter recipe.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2013 at Cucina DiBella
I could live forever off of the cuisine of Parma in Emilia-Romagna. The city is home to prosciutto and parmigiano cheese, two foods that steal the show in many a recipe. Of course, there are also the times that they are the main attraction. Like when I stand in front of the open refrigerator eating slice after slice of freshly cut prosciutto. Though I guess that's less an example of prosciutto being a main ingredient than it is an example of me having no self-control. Moving on. Rosa di Parma is a recipe where those delicious specialities of Parma previously... Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2012 at Cucina DiBella
With the holidays heavily upon us, I thought we could all use a recipe a little more focused on the vegetables. Oh, who am I kidding? Yes, spinach is the main ingredient here, but it is sauteed in butter and mixed with cheese and prosciutto (as every meal should be). This spinach pie, erbazzone, is a recipe that is traditional in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. Specifically, it is often attributed to Parma, which is not surprising given Parma's delicious prosciutto and parmigiana cheese. It is sometimes made with different greens, so you have some leeway here if you... Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2012 at Cucina DiBella
If you ask my sister and brother in law what their favorite Cucina DiBella recipe is, there's a solid chance they would answer with, "Chicken Marsala". This is a great dish, but I have stumbled upon a way to make it even better. Take the delicious ingredients for Chicken Marsala and put them in homemade ravioli pasta, each one a perfect package of deliciousness. This recipe is pretty time consuming if you are making fresh pasta. I recommend breaking the work up into two days unless you really do have a few hours to devote to this. I made the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2012 at Cucina DiBella
Flash games online, I have been making fresh pasta more and more lately, and I've found that the dough keeps well in the fridge for a couple days. It's a time consuming process, so splitting it up into two days definitely makes it more managable!
Toggle Commented Jul 25, 2012 on Trofie al Pesto at Cucina DiBella
In the interest of being able to cross of the longest resident of my to do list, I finally made time to write a post on my latest culinary experiment. Can I still feel good about getting this done when it is a few months late? As I said in my previous post, the Veneto region, and Venice in particular, is filled with delicious seafood recipes. Scampi alla Busara is one such recipe. Everyone is familiar with Shrimp Scampi, and this is a recipe that is similar but with a few twists. In the U.S., the word "scampi" is often... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2012 at Cucina DiBella
The Veneto region of Italy is mostly known for its seafood, but it is home to some other great recipes as well that you don't want to miss. Many of these involve rice, which is often used more frequently than pasta in the northern regions of Italy. One of the quintessential recipes from Veneto is Risi e Bisi, or Rice and Peas. The recipe is a simple variation of a basic risotto. Its simplicity is part of what has made Risi e Bisi a staple for many Italian parents and a first meal for many Italian kids. Since my son... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2012 at Cucina DiBella
One thing holiday weekends are good for is offering that rare lazy morning where my husband and I can enjoy breakfast together without one of us having to race off to work. Today we took full advantage of that luxury with some delicious ricotta pancakes. These aren't traditionally Italian, nor is the syrup that I made to go along with the pancakes, but they are wonderful nonetheless. They were too good not to share, so we'll call them Italian inspired and consider them good enough to put on Cucina DiBella. I am a huge pancake fan. I have great memories... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2012 at Cucina DiBella
I can see how this dessert came to be called "Torta Paradiso". A delicious sponge cake with a fresh lemon flavor permeating throughout, its taste matches its name. The timing for this recipe couldn't have been better; it was a perfect way to welcome in spring! This cake is a traditional recipe from Lombardy, and is often served with a simple sprinkling of powdered sugar over the top. However, I decided to top it with another typical dessert from Lombardy; mascarpone cream. Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese, and works wonderfully with sugar to create a delicious cream. The method... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2012 at Cucina DiBella
Oops! I forgot to put the type of wine - thanks for (subtley) pointing that out. Usually white wine is used. I don't have a particular kind that I prefer, but I usually go with the rule that if it's something you would drink then it's something that would be good to cook with.
Toggle Commented Mar 22, 2012 on Chicken Piccata at Cucina DiBella
One of Milan's greatest culinary contributions is meat (typically veal) pounded very thin, breaded and fried to golden perfection. It's so simple, and yet if not executed properly, really lacks so much in flavor. This basic process extends itself well beyond a simple breaded cutlet. Its components are echoed in many other recipes, including Veal Piccata, a Milanese classic. Traditionally, this dish features thinly pounded out cuts of veal (I'll be using chicken) dredged in flour and fried. The cutlets are then covered in a light, lemony pan sauce. Often, in restaurants you will find piccata dishes studded with capers.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2012 at Cucina DiBella
Risotto is one of those foods that is a comfort dish for me. Maybe it's because of that fact that whenever I make it, I end up making way more than Ryan and I could ever eat ourselves. So, I was thrilled when I found this recipe for Risotto al Salto. It is basically fried risotto cakes, and makes for a great way to use up that leftover Risotto. They are great as appetizers or even a breakfast side item since they closely resemble hash browns make from risotto. Traditionally, this is a recipe from Lombardy, and would likely have... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2012 at Cucina DiBella
Happy New Year! I thought the perfect way to start 2012 would be with some Spaghetti alla Carbonara. Maybe it's because the eggs and bacon that are mixed in with the pasta makes me think of brunch. Or maybe it is that this was often what my roommate in Italy would cook in the early morning hours after he got home from the bars. Either way, this dish screamed out to me as a great New Years Day meal. Often attributed to Rome, Spaghetti alla Carbonara is a very simple, but very filling meal. Pasta is mixed with pancetta or... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2012 at Cucina DiBella
Thanks, Tina! Hope you like the soup! Be sure to stop by and let me know how it turns out with the mushrooms.
Toggle Commented Jan 2, 2012 on Brodetto at Cucina DiBella
You can't talk about Liguria without mentioning its amazing supply of fresh seafood like this post for Stuffed Mussels. In addition to mussels, Liguria has an abundance of fresh fish such as stockfish and cod. In my mind, there's nothing better than a good fish recipe. This one for Ligurian Fish and Potatoes is light, easy to put together, and despite its simple ingredients, full of flavor. Traditionally, this dish would be made with cod or stockfish. You can use any flaky white fish though, so I went with haddock. I also added onion and garlic for a little extra... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2011 at Cucina DiBella
For the few people who aren't familiar with it, Minestrone is a pretty straightforward vegetable soup with some small pasta mixed in. Minestrone alla Genovese is no exception. However, what sets this version apart is the addition of basil pesto to the soup. When I went through Liguria's cuisine the first time, I talked about pesto being traditional to this area of Italy. The addition of pesto to the soup lends a wonderful fresh basil flavor and brings a well known Italian soup to a whole new level. This recipe is great for the summer (so long as it's not... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2011 at Cucina DiBella