Happenings a La Fortezza this year!

I wanted to give everyone a quick update of happenings at La Fortezza. There are so many exciting things on the horizon for 2022. As many of you already know, my book My Italian Guestbook, is on pre-order. It will be released at the end of June. Thank you to all of you who have already pre-ordered it. It’s a fun book of essays featuring some of the fun and funny stories from past workshops and retreats at La Fortezza. I am happy to report the La Fortezza Table, the La Fortezza Cookbook is now heading to the printers. It will be out fall 2022, and along with the book, I will be introducing a beautiful line of homewares that are inspired by La Fortezza’s style. Much more on that to come.

Nicole and I are wildly working on the new website, where you will be able to purchase all the gorgeous items from the La Fortezza Home Collection and all 5 of my books. It’s a busy but extremely exciting time.

I head back to Italy end of March to work on a very very exciting styling job. There will be more revealed in time, but let’s just say you’re going to go nuts when you see what I am working on. Plus I will be traveling all over Italy.

Once I am back, I will be working on my new YouTube Channel “All About Annette”, my team is amazing, and the producer is the same one that worked on my BravoTV pilot which was called All About Annette many years ago, so I am so excited to be working with him again. The channel will have so much Italy content and of course, we will be cooking out of La Fortezza Cookbook on the channel a ton. I promise it will be informative, funny, and fun. If you haven’t subscribed to my YouTube channel yet please do it here. You are going to love it so much starting in May. You will meet all the artisans and purveyors in the book, and all of my incredible neighbors.

Well, that’s it for now, please sign up for the newsletter if you’re not on it. We promise not to fill your inbox, but there are some great things coming up.

Make sure to sign up for a workshop if you’re thinking about joining us, Spring is sold out, but we have a few spots left in the Fall Retreats.

xx Annette

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Beer Americano

I don’t know about you but I am ready for a trip. Sometimes just a cocktail can do this trick of transporting me.

Here’s one of my favorite Italian twist cocktails. It’s one I discovered and wrote about in my book Cocktail Italiano.

Truly an inspiration, give it a try.

You can pick up a copy of my Cocktail Book here. Cocktail Italiano is a book that is filled with recipes and great travel guide will take you to the Italian Riviera anytime.

Beer Americano

Serves 1

This is a cocktail that has become very popular all along the Riviera. Substituting beer for the soda makes this a very refreshing summer choice. It was created in Milan for the opening of the Trussardi Flagship Store by resident bartender Tommaso Cecca. Perfect for a sweltering summer evening. I love it.

Ingredients:

1 ½ ounces Campari

1 ½ ounces sweet vermouth

3 ounces lager beer

lemon zest, for garnish

Preparation:

Combine Campari, vermouth and ices cubes in a tall tumbler, stir to combine. Pour the beer into another glass, stir to create a stiff foam, reserve the foam with a spoon top the cocktiail with the beer foam, about 3 ounces.

*Note For a lighter Americano feel free to pour 2 ounces of the beer in to the cocktail as well. However, this should be done before you top the cocktail with the foam

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Frank’s Big Night Birthday Meatballs

It’s Frank my husband’s birthday Sunday, and it’s Superbowl, so he is one happy guy. His request for his birthday/Superbowl Sunday supper is this classic. It’s really the perfect cold night supper. Here’s my recipe below, and I hope everyone has a great Super Bowl Sunday!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Makes 12 to 16 servings

You will need:

  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 cups torn day-old Italian bread
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/4 pound)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped oregano or 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground veal
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (not lean)
  • 1 cup olive or vegetable oil

For pasta:

  • 2 pounds dried spaghetti

Prep: Make sauce
Drain tomatoes, reserving juice in a large bowl. Crush tomatoes with your hands and add to juice. Cook onions in oil in a pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with their juice, 4 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Simmer sauce, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Season with salt.

Make meatballs while the sauce simmers:
Cook onions in extra-virgin olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl to cool. Soak bread in milk in another bowl until soft, about 5 minutes. Firmly squeeze bread to remove excess milk, discarding milk. Stir together cooled onion mixture, bread, eggs, Parmesan, parsley, oregano, lemon zest, 51/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoon pepper until combined. Add meats to bread mixture, gently mixing with your hands until just combined (do not over mix). Form meat mixture into about 70 (1 1/2-inch) balls with dampened hands, arranging meatballs on 2 large baking sheets or in shallow baking pans.

In a cup of olive oil in a deep fry pan heat oil and fry the meatballs in shifts be careful not to pack them too closely in the pan to allow them to brown evenly. Remove meatballs and place into the sauce to continue to cook.

Serve with pasta and Parmigiano cheese.


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Loving Lobster

Hi everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web manager and friend. Over the past few weeks, I have treated myself to lobster almost anytime I’ve seen it on a menu. Lobster Cobb salad? Yes, please. Lobster potato salad? Absolutely. I just can’t say no to these decadent crustaceans.

What better time to celebrate luxurious lobster than adding it to your Valentine’s Day menu?! I took a cooking class a few years ago and quickly learned that cooking lobster is actually incredibly simple. The key, however, is to make sure you are buying the freshest, highest-quality lobster you can get your hands on. Enter LobsterAnywhere, a Maine-based company that ships! Maine lobsters are well known for their sweet, white meat. They’re supposedly among the best lobsters around.

Below, find a recipe from the company that you can easily prepare at home.

Grilled Tail Off Lobster

You will need:

– 1 Maine lobsters
– 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil
– Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare:

If it is frozen, thaw the lobster. You can do this by placing it in the refrigerator overnight or running cold water over it until it is thawed.

Remove the rubber band from around the lobster’s claws.

Split the lobster in half by cutting down its spine.

Brush each half with melted butter or olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Place the lobster halves on the grill to medium-high heat (400 degrees Fahrenheit), shell-side down, and cook for about four minutes or until the meat is slightly charred.

Serve with melted butter and lemon wedges.

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Annette’s Focaccia Recipe

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web-manager and friend. We had a rare snow day yesterday in Atlanta (trust me, we use the phrase “snow day” very loosely in these parts). I spent the day snuggled in front of the fire, needlepointing, reading, and catching up on television shows.

While it was a lazy day for me, I know many people took to their kitchens to do some baking, and I know bread is always a popular baking choice. The next time you find yourself wanting to bake bread, why not give Annette’s focaccia recipe a try?

You can find the story behind focaccia in Annette’s book, Cocktail Italiano.

Focaccia
Serves 4

You will need:
– 3 cups double zero flour (super fine flour)
– 1 package dry yeast
– 1/3 cup warm water
– 1 cup water
– ½ cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 teaspoon for the cookie sheet + 3 tablespoons for finishing before baking, 1 tablespoon to finish after baking
– 2 tablespoons coarse salt + 1 teaspoon for finishing

To prepare:

Place the yeast in a small bowl with 1/3 cups water and let proof in a large bowl. put flour and oil and salt and water, combine until it forms a sticky dough, it should be very sticky. Flour your surface and turn the dough onto floured surface. knead gently for a minute until dough forms a soft dough.

On an oiled cookie sheet with a lip, spread the dough out to fit the cookie sheet. With your index fingers poke dimples into the top of the dough.

Let rest for 30 minutes, then repeat by poking dimples into the risen dough, and let rest for 30 minutes.

Before placing in the oven, drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon coarse salt.

Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Remove sprinkle with 1 tablespoon olive oil cool and eat warm or at room temperature. The key is to let the oil soak in as the focaccia cools.

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