Strawberry Crostata with Balsamic Roasted Strawberries and savory Mascarpone Ice cream

Corstata One of the things I love about Italian desserts is that they are not too sweet. In fact, Italians often have cake or sweet breads and crostata for breakfast.

This recipe for strawberry crostata is a variation of a recipe in my upcoming book, Cocktail Italiano. The recipe in the book is savory mascarpone ice cream with balsamic roasted grapes. It is a savory version of ice cream, and it works great with a sweet fruit topping for dessert or for aperitivo.

I had leftover strawberries from the book photo-shoot and thought roasting them with balsamic vinegar would be terrific. I decided that the mascarpone ice cream would be the perfect complement, and I baked a crostata with some homemade strawberry jam I found in the pantry.

Here’s the recipe; its a great dessert even without the addition of the Strawberry Crostata.

Strawberry Crostata
Serves 8

You will need:
– 1 1/2 cups pastry flour
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 1 1/2 cups cold butter cut into slices
– 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 cup strawberry jam

To prepare: 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

In the bowl of a standing mixer, place flour and butter combine on low speed until crumbs form.

Add sugar, salt, and eggs. When combined about 3 minutes, place in plastic wrap and into the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Cut the dough in 1/2, roll 1/2 the dough out on a floured surface into a round disk. Place disk into the bottom of a fluted 11″ tart pan.  Roll the other half and with a pinked pie cutter cut 1″ strips.

Spread the strawberry jam on top of the crust, then lay the 1 ” strips in a lattice pattern on top of the jam.

Place in the oven for 30 minutes. Until golden brown. Cool and serve at room temperature.

Balsamic Roasted Strawberries

Balsamic Roasted Strawberries
Serves 8

You will need:
– 4 cups cleaned strawberries
– 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
– 1/4 cup sugar

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

In a bowl toss strawberries, vinegar and sugar. On a parchment lined lipped cookie sheet, place balsamic soaked strawberries. Roast for 30 minutes, then place in a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. This can be served warm over the ice cream.

Mascarpone Ice Cream

Savory Mascarpone Ice Cream
Serves 8

You will need:
– 2 cups whole milk
– 1 tsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
– 2 cups mascarpone
– Finely grated zest of 1 orange
– ½ teaspoon salt

*note if you wish to make this a sweet ice cream add 1/4 cup of sugar to the milk

To prepare:

In a small saucepan, whisk the milk and gelatin and let stand for 5 minutes. Warm the milk over medium heat, whisking until gelatin dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the mascarpone and orange zest until smooth. Pour the ice cream base into a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Pour the base into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Scrape the ice cream into a container and freeze.

Serve a slice of the crostata with a scoop of ice cream and warmed strawberries.

Enjoy xx

Top photo credit : Bill Addison

baking cookbook collection cooking dinner party Entertaining italian cooking Parties Recipes spring desserts Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Book two is full speed ahead….Join me for Aperitivo on the Italian Riviera

My next book, Cocktail Italiano, will literally be a guide book to my favorite pastime in Italy, "Aperitivo," here's the first glimpse!

As most of you know I have 2 big projects going on at the same time: our Italian house renovation and my second book, Cocktail Italiano, a book about Aperitivo, the cocktail culture of the Italian Riviera.

My next book will literally be a guide book to my favorite pastime in Italy, “Aperitivo”. The book will be a perfect Apero primer to toss into your suitcase and accompany you on your cocktail infused travels along the coastline of Italy. The book will be chock-full of beautiful destinations along the Ligurian coastline. Cocktail Italiano includes all my favorite little bars, seaside joints, and swanky hotels to pass the night away sipping spirits and partaking in scrumptious nibbles. The book will also be filled with the most popular Italian cocktails and nibbles recipes for you to enjoy Aperitivo in your own home Italian style. It’s the ultimate insiders’ guide to some of the authentic Italian Aperitivo destinations.

A little about the title “Cocktail Italiano”: it is a riff on my all time favorite Italian song “Mambo Italiano.”  I am super jazzed to share my book with you as it captures the Italian Riviera Lifestyle and showcases the cocktail culture of my favorite Italian region, Liguria, where we have lived for the past 13 years every summer.

You will be transported to this gorgeous vital region of Italy. I have spent the last 2 years photographing the book myself with a little help for my friends. It’s been a passion project and tons of fun. So look for little snippets on my instagram feed, along with the release next Spring 2018.

Let the cocktails begin, cin cin xx

 

All behind the scenes Cocktail of the Week Cocktails cookbook collection Entertaining italian riviera italy mixology Notes from Italy Personal specialty cocktails Travel Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Best New Italian Cookbooks for Gift Giving on Cyber Monday

It’s that time of year! Gift giving time, people and it’s Cyber Monday. I must say my favorite gifts are usually cookbooks. Italian cookbooks are even better. Check out my faves and today is the best time to buy them all online at Amazon since it’s Cyber Monday!

As most of you know, I am a bit of an Italiophile (understatement). There are quite a few folks, who like me, adore Italy as their adopted country and write about their favorite Italian recipes. These talented ladies are fanatical Italiofoodiephiles… Here’s a list of some of the best new Italian cookbooks that have come on the scene this year. All of these ladies are obsessed with sharing their favorite Italian recipes, and let’s face it, Italian food is best enjoyed at home. Pick-up a copy for a friend or family member, and of course, don’t forget to gift yourself one or all of these beauties, too.

Happy gift giving. xx

I should add I enjoy following these ladies on Instagram; they have amazing feeds and adventures. I suggest you head over and follow them as well.

Florentine

  1. Emiko Davies runs a super cool blog; she’s a food writer, but she’s now authored a couple books, and this is her latest (and her first), and she has one on the way in March 2017. Can’t wait. She’s a transplant from Australia living her life with her family in Italy. She runs cooking classes, writes form Italian newspapers, and has a vast knowledge of all things Italian. Her book Florentine: The True Cuisine of Florence is tremendous and well written. I highly suggest it. Emiko’s Blog : Emiko Davies

Preserving Italy

2. Domenica Marchetti has written the quintessential Italian preserving book, Preserving Italy. Domenica grew up in an American Italian family. She is a writer and with a passion for all things Italian especially food, she has turned her passion into writing about and cooking Italian cuisine. Domenica will be joining me in Italy for a workshop at the Fortress in 2018. Wait for details. In the meantime, pick-up this book; it’s really the perfect gift. Domenica’s Blog: Domenica Cooks

tasting Rome

3. Katie Parla and Kristina Gill are both American transplants in Rome their book Tasting Rome is one of my favorites as the recipes are easy straight forward and delicious. Katie is a food writer, and Kristina is a food writer and photographer (she photographed most of their book). Pick-up a copy and be transported to Rome. Katie’s blog: Katie Parla , Kristina Gill Photography

Five Quarters

4.Rachel Roddy is the author of 2 cookbooks about Rome; either one or both make an excellent gift. Five Quarters is her latest endeavor. I love this book because it highlights Roman neighborhoods. Cooking from each quarter! Would that make a great dinner party theme! Just sayin’… Rachel is a contributor to The Guardian.

Italian Street Food

5.Paola Bacchia is one of Australia’s most popular Italian food bloggers. Her book Italian Street Food is one of my newer acquisitions. I am going to cook from it this holiday season. I think it’s such a clever premise. I will let you know how I like it, but I am pretty sure I am going to love it. Definitely on the radar as a great holiday gift. Paola’s blog:  Italy on My Mind

Let me know which ones you buy, and if you make recipes from these books. I would love to hear about them. Happy Holidays, it’s truly the most delectable time of year. xx

baking books christmas gifts cookbook collection cooking Crushing On dinner party Eating Rome Entertaining Fall Food Gift Guide gifts Holiday holiday guide italian cooking italy my picks Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Picture Perfect Thanksgiving Starter: Squash Soup

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and happens to be one of my favorite hoidays. When you plan your menu, consider adding a soup to kick off the meal. It will warm your guests from the inside out and is a different way to start your meal than a traditional appetizer (although I do love a great charcuterie). This soup is a lovely starter to your Thanksgiving dinner – creamy and comforting.

This recipe, from my book  Picture Perfect Parties, is one of my favorite soups all winter long, and the sage croutons make it so unique!

Acorn Squash Soup with Sage Croutons
Serves 8

You will need:
– 3 acorn squash, sliced in half and seeds removed
– 6 tbsp. olive oil (3 tablespoons to toss the squash, 3 tablespoons to sauté the shallot, onion and celery and apple and herbs)
– 2 granny smith apples, cored and chopped
– 1 medium shallot, diced
– 1/2 yellow onion, diced
– 1 cup diced celery
– 1 tsp. kosher salt
– 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
– 1 tsp. fresh dried ginger
– 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
– 4 cups vegetable stock
– 1 cup water

To Prepare:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet parchment paper or silpat.

In a large bowl toss the squash with olive oil and salt and pepper.

Place the squash, skin-side-down, onto baking sheet.

Roast in oven for 45-50 minutes, or until flesh is tender and skin is starting to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the squash to cool. Once it’s cooled, remove flesh from skin by using a spoon to scoop out the flesh into the bowl set aside.

In a large cast iron pot heat olive oil over on medium-high add apple, shallot and onions and celery and sauté until tender, about 6-8 minutes, add salt, ginger, sage, , cinnamon, and cooked squash then the vegetable stock.

Bring to a boil about 5 minutes and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Remove the soup from the cook top, and let stand for an hour to cool. Ladle the soup in batches into a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse until smooth, place into a storage container, and repeat. This can be done 2 days before and be stored in the refrigerator until ready to heat and serve.

Sage Croutons

You will need:
– 1 loaf of rustic bread cut into 1 inch cubes
– ¼ cup olive oil
– ¼ cup chopped fresh sage
– ½ teaspoon sea salt
– ½ teaspoon black pepper
– 2 cloves minced garlic

To Prepare:

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F

In a large bowl whisk oil, garlic, sage and salt and pepper.

Cut bread into 1 inch cubes, and toss into the sage oil mixture.

On a baking sheet spread the coated bread cubes and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. You may need to shake the baking sheet to toast the cubes evenly 5 minutes into baking.

Remove from the oven, let cool, and seal in a zip-lock bag until ready to serve.

Photo credit : Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Butternut squash cookbook collection cooking dinner party Entertaining Events Fall Food fall menus Holiday Holiday Entertaining holiday recipes italian cooking italy party tips Picture Perfect Parties Recipes Thanksgiving Thanksgiving recipes Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I am giving away 3 copies of:: Tasting Rome

Butcher Shop

I am so excited to share this new Italian cookbook with you. My sweet friend Kristina Gill has written a lovely cookbook with co-author Katie Parla titled Tasting Rome. When I first heard about the project, I mistakenly thought that Kristina (who I regard as a photographer) was the photographer on the project, but she is in fact the co-author of the cookbook.

I was captivated by the story of making this book happen as she shared it’s conception recently at a book signing in Atlanta. Kristina, who lives in Rome, started working on this book many years ago. As a way to communicate with the cab drivers, she would chat about their favorite Roman recipes. Kristina wrote down all the recipes, tried them at home, and eventually had collected 100! More than enough for a book. I enjoyed hearing her interviewed in Atlanta recently, and this story resonated with me. How clever to talk to cab drivers about their food experiences. Living in Italy, I know that everyone in Italy has an opinion when it comes to food. Everyone in Italy’s Mama is the best cook, or makes the best this or that. Italians love of food is a serious passion; a pastime that is not only relished but revered.

The book is a little gem, filled with Roman food history, and beautiful recipes. These recipes are typical of the region since in Italy eating regionally is the way it is. The recipes are simple and ingredient-based.

One word of advice before delving into these recipes: if you live anywhere other than Italy, make sure the ingredients you use are the best of the best. For example, I made the chicken meatballs. I must say they were delicious, however I really wish I would have had the butcher grind the dark and light meat for me, rather than buying the pre-ground white meat. The taste would have been richer. I cannot stress enough that Italian food is mainly based on the gorgeous ingredients.

The recipe that I wanted to share today is one of my favorite salads in all of Italy. When I saw it in Tasting Rome, it was like seeing an old friend. The first time I tasted it was in Genova many years ago; my best friend’s boyfriend made it as a lunch course. It’s called insalata di carciofi crudi. I had never tasted raw artichokes, and they were so good. Eating young artichokes raw in Italy is quite common in most regions, and I was blown away. The delicate crunch and mild green flavor is sensational. Give it a try.

Shaved Artichoke Salad

 

Note: ROMANS TYPICALLY cook the tender inner leaves, hearts, and stems of artichokes, but wine bars, many of which lack a full kitchen, have taken to serving raw artichoke salads as a fresh, crisp, and flame-free alternative. The texture is best when the artichokes are sliced as thinly as possible, ideally on a mandoline. Their slightly sweet, bitter, and nutty flavors pair well with the tangy lemon juice and a hard cow’s-milk cheese.

SHAVED ARTICHOKE SALAD
Serves 4 to 6

You will need:
– 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon), plus more to taste
– 4 tender young artichokes cleaned (see below)
– ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
– Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
– 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves
– Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, for shaving

To prepare:

Put the lemon juice in a medium bowl and set aside.

Remove each artichoke individually from the lemon water and halve them. Using a teaspoon or melon baller, scoop out and discard the fuzzy inner choke and trim off any rough, pointy bits.

Slice each artichoke half into the thinnest possible wedges, then add them to the bowl with lemon juice and mix well. Slice the trimmed stems into the thinnest possible rounds and add to the bowl. Add the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and mix well.

Garnish with the mint leaves. Use a vegetable peeler to shave slices of Parmigiano-Reggiano over the salad. Serve immediately.

Note: Rome’s local artichoke, called carciofo romanesco, is a staple that floods market stalls from December until May and appears on tables as a starter or a side dish. If you can’t find them, substitute young, tender artichokes, ideally fresh and in season. You may need to adjust seasonings to accommodate. In Rome, they are available already cleaned and pruned, but you’ll likely need to do this yourself.

Begin by filling a large bowl with cold water. Add the juice of 1 lemon and drop in the squeezed lemon halves. Snap off the tough outer leaves of each artichoke just above the base, one at a time. Continue to remove the layers until you reach the light-colored inner leaves. Cut off the stem, leaving about 1 inch attached to the base. Using a small knife with a short, thin blade, or a vegetable peeler, peel off the fibrous outer skin from the removed stem until you reach the pale green inner flesh. Drop it in the bowl with lemon water.

Carefully peel away the tough, dark green skin from the base of the artichoke and its trimmed stem. Remove and discard the upper cone of leaves. Hold in the lemon water to prevent oxidizing until ready to use.

GIVEAWAY

Now for the fun stuff! I am giving away 3 copies of Tasting Rome. I know right?! 3 copies!!!

Enter the giveaway below, and I hope you win! As we say in Italy…Boca di Lupo. GOOD LUCK!

Winners will be announced May 3rd, just in time for Mother’s Day! xx

9780804187183
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Photo credit: Kristina Gill

books cookbook collection cooking dinner party Entertaining italian cooking italy my picks Recipes Travel Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , , , ,