Ciao Guys! If you follow me on Instagram, you know the legendary food photographer David Loftus was back during the first week of October to photograph the autumn chapter of La Fortezza Cookbook.
Autumn is my favorite time of year; I love the color palette. We smoked pumpkins, used the outdoor oven, “the “forno,” and implemented lots of fire and Medieval cooking techniques. We went to local purveyors and had great field trips. The olive harvest is starting, so we were able to witness the first press too. Green gold; it’s so delicious.
Of course, we had our trusty prop mistress and brilliant producer Barbara Pederzini. I flew chef Philip in from the US to work on this chapter. It was a huge effort and stressful to get him into Italy with the travel ban. He quarantined for 2 weeks prior to the shoot and then worked the week of the shoot with the team. We made beautiful images, and I am so excited to share this book with you. Thanks always for the support and lovely DMs on my Instagram. It’s always so wonderful to hear from you.
Ciao! If you’d like to cook with me in Italy at La Fortezza, I would love to share a recipe from my new cookbook that I am here working on this month, La Fortezza Cookbook.Since we can’t be together in person, we are sharing a recipe with you on Instagram LIVE later this week. Come take this cooking class with us.
I will be preparing tiramisu with a twist. Our local dairy supplies us with the most delicate and delicious ricotta cheese. It is handmade every day and is incredibly fresh. The owner of the dairy was kind enough to share her unique recipe for tiramisu using ricotta instead of the traditional mascarpone cheese. This recipe will be featured in my new book which will be released spring 2022 with Rizzoli NY.
If you want to cook along with us, I’d love that! Or, just come and hang out. You can always make the recipe later. In fact, it would be wonderful to add to your menu this holiday season. See below for the necessary ingredients as well as the recipe. I hope to see you on Thursday!
Nadia’s Ricotta Tiramisu Serves 6
You will need:
– 3 large eggs separated
– ½ cup sugar
– ¼ teaspoon sea salt
– 1 cup whipping cream
– 2 (8 oz.) containers ricotta cheese drained
– 1 ½ cups espresso
– 4 tablespoons Marsala wine, or Rum
– 24 crisp ladyfingers
– 1 cup whipped cream for the topping
– 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder (for garnish)
Place egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment,. Beat on high until soft peaks form. Transfer to a bowl.
Beat egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow about 2 minutes. Add cream and beat 1 minute. Add the cheese with motor running on low until combined and smooth. Fold egg whites into custard mixture.
Combine espresso and marsala wine. In a 9”x 13” glass dish place ladyfingers into the bottom of the dish sprinkle with espresso mixture, then spread ½ of the custard mixture on top. Place the ladyfingers on top of the custard until the dish is covered once again drizzle espresso mixture on top of the ladyfingers. Spoon remaining custard on top of lady fingers. Place into the refrigerator until ready to serve. Whip cream 1 cup cream and spread on top then dust with cocoa powder.
As you all know, I am back in Italy. Mainly for 2 reasons:
1. Check on our house, La Fortezza.
2. Shoot the summer and autumn chapters of my next cookbook La Fortezza Cookbook, Rizzoli NY, Spring 2022.
This project, for me, is a passion project. The book will be an epic and a beautiful depiction of the region we live in, in northern Tuscany. The book will be filled with local recipes and delicacies, gorgeous travel shots, typical local flavor, and purveyor portraits.
These photographs will all be captured by the incredibly talented British Photographer David Loftus. I have been an admirer of David’s work for many years, as he has shot for some of the most famous chefs in the world; Jamie Oliver just to name one. His work is insanely beautiful. His discerning eye and recognizable style sets him apart as one of the world’s most respected food photographers. I was thrilled when he agreed to photograph my book.
My sweet friend and producer, stylist Barbara Pederzini, agreed to help me with the prop styling. She brought all sorts of amazing serving pieces and plates to play with. I used a local chef to help prepare the dishes. It really was a magical team.
Without giving too much away, I believe that this book will take you on a journey and leave you with the lasting memory of a trip to our little piece of heaven. We will be shooting the autumn chapter starting October 5th, so be sure to follow the journey on my insta-stories. I can only tell you this is one of the best projects I have ever worked on. The love I have for this place, La Fortezza will shine through on every page and you will taste the love in every bite.
This recipe for fresh artichoke salad is zesty and delicious. I also love how surprising the ingredients are. It makes an excellent side for Juice January, and more details about the salad and its origins can be found in my book, Cocktail Italiano! Tip: make sure that the artichokes are very fresh and tender.
Roberto’s Fresh Artichoke Salad
You will need:
– 2 pounds (about 20) tender baby artichokes Note: you may substitute the interior soft leaves and heart of larger artichokes, but do not use the tough outer leaves – 2 lemons, halved
– 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
– 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons salt
– 2 ounces Parmesan
Trim away any tough outer leaves of the artichokes to expose their tender pale green interior. Using a knife with a serrated blade, cut off the spiky top 1/3 of the artichokes. (Note: baby artichokes will not have the spikes.) Use a vegetable peeler to remove the tough outer layers around the base and stem.
Using a mandolin, slice the artichokes paper-thin and transfer to a medium bowl.
Squeeze the lemon halves over the artichokes, and toss with the oil. Sprinkle with salt, and use a potato peeler to shave the Parmesan over the salad. Serve in small bowls.
In life there are definitely a few pinch me moments. This is one of those moments for me. I have finally told my story in the pages of my new book, Italy is My Boyfriend. Now I am able to share the story of how we came to own several properties in Italy, how my love affair grew and how it all came about. It includes the ups and downs of living in Italy and is truly a pure love story of life and love. Life (and love for that matter) is not always what you think it will be, but that is what makes it fun right?
I’m proud to say my latest book is now available for pre-order here.
I am over the moon to share this tale with you. Stay tuned for book signing updates as the official release date is May 26, 2020.
Thank you to all the have supported me over the years in Italy and in the US; I could not have done it without all of you reading about my journey right here on the blog.