Some dishes are better a day later. A vegetable stew, for example. Or a pork roast. My father-in-law used to say, “Non buttiamo via niente.” We don’t throw anything away. I think of him when I make a soup or a rice dish, or when I have sat down to a bowl of ribollita in Florence, a soup that is not really a re-boiled dish, but its origins must have been that–leftover bread, leftover beans, leftover chard and kale. Put […]
I love them for their color, for the way they grace the table. Boiled and sliced, seasoned with a little olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper, available year around, zucchini are simply the best. Leftover, they are fit for a frittata or omelet. Lately I have been re-purposing them in a rice dish, another almost risotto.
The parsley war continues. My wife and I disagree. The question is not whether to use it. We’re both parsley positive. The issue is when, during cooking or added afterward as a garnish. I’m during, she’s after. It has not always been thus. For many years we lived in perfect harmony, parsley-wise. Diced parsley was one of those first-things-first things, like diced or chopped onion-celery-carrot. Then one day a chef friend came to dinner. We must have had something long-cook […]
For celebration lunch today we have Greektown of Detroit, Barbuto of New York, and Howdy Richards of Freeland to thank. What are we celebrating? Being alive. Being together.
One of my fondest memories is having lunch at the Buca del Orafo in Florence. My wife took me there the first time–in 1978. We had a Fiorentina, the giant Italian t-bone steak, which was awesome. In subsequent visits, we’ve skipped the steak and enjoyed the shaved artichoke and pecorino antipasto, pasta with fresh peas, or ribolitta, finishing, if they were in season, with the fragoline, the mountain strawberries served with lemon juice and sugar, tiny flavor bombs that would […]
A staple at the table around here is “erbe.” Google Translate says erbe means “herb” in English. Google Translate is entitled to its opinion. The word erbe covers a wide spectrum of green stuff. (Plug “cut the grass” into Google Translate and you get “tagliare l’erbe.”)
This too we ate at Trattoria La Marianna in Rimini. It’s a soup made of maltagliati, clams, ceci beans, and porcini mushrooms. You can very easily use a variation on a theme on this soup (sans clams, for example, or hand-crunched tagliatelle in place of maltagliati) and be very happy.
Who thinks of these things? In conversations I’ve had with Italians about talented chefs, they refer to “fantasia,” which translates as something like “imagination.” This cod dish, served as an antipasto at Ristorante La Vela in Pesaro, is an excellent example. And as with most things on the table in Italy, particularly in my wife’s regions (Emilia-Romagna and le Marches), the guiding principle is simplicity.