Food and Restaurants

Do You “Apericena”?

In the ‘80s a new trend emerged in Italian social life: meeting friends and family for an “aperitivo” (aperitif). This idea of a pre-meal drink, consumed most often with company in a café’ has since then become the natural end of an evening stroll into town. It’s also a great way of filling the time…

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A World Without Nutella?

The food history buffs will be pleased to know that Nutella was invented by Pietro Ferrero – master baker and founder of Ferrero, the chocolatier – in the early 40s. Due to WWII, cocoa and chocolate were in short supply in Italy. Using hazelnut (abundant in the Piedmont region) for Ferrero’s chocolate spread allowed Pietro…

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Food—The Italian Way

Food and cuisine are such an integral part of the Italian culture that not talking about them would be a travesty. To be honest, I’ve never heard in Italy the “mangia, mangia” that seems to be such a standard expression in Italian-American families. BUT I’ve also never visited anybody’s home there and not have been…

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Cure your Winter Blues with Saffron

It’s winter and it’s cold here in Chicago and it’s time for hearty dishes and comfort food. One of my comfort foods of choice is the Risotto alla Milanese. Despite the fact nobody in my family is from Milan, this dish has been a staple in my mother’s kitchen forever. Most probably because it’s a…

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Elaine speaks Norma (Pasta alla Norma)

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of introducing to you Elaine Trigiani and her passion for Italian culture and food. Today’s recipes are her “gift” to us as we slowly transition into the Fall. I’m personally not a fan of tomato sauce, so her option of Norma in bianco is definitely a favorite of…

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Panzanella

I had lunch with a dear friend on Sunday and I was surprised to see a “panzanella salad” on the menu. My friend ordered it and was quite pleased with her choice. It made me remember my maternal grandmother, who was fond of panzanella – a very simple, peasant style summer dish. She would often…

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Bucatini all’Amatriciana

We had a guest last Friday evening, a former colleague of mine was in the States on business and joined us for dinner. When asked what I should prepare for him, without hesitation he answered: “bucatini all’amatriciana!” as many “true” Romans would. He even brought over a pack of bucatini (very thick spaghetti) and a…

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