Fortunately, though not the same as fresh, dried porcini mushrooms can deliver a rich porcini flavor. One of our favorite ways to use them is in a risotto. It is important to use very good quality dried porcini so we always used to pack some in our luggage when we returned from Italy. Just recently, we have started importing one of the best brands available in Italy, which, together with an extraordinary Carnaroli rice we also import from Italy, make an incomparable risotto.
Category Archives: Primi/First Courses
In our house, filled pasta is a dish to look forward to and, often made for celebrations. It isn’t as difficult as one might believe, but it takes time and patience and is well worth the effort. Soft pillows of pasta coated in a delicious tomato sauce, is the ultimate showing of love from a partner. Nothing can compare to eating food that is created with love and care from one’s companion.
The recipe we’ve chosen is Pasta alla Busara, from Marcella Cucina. It exemplifies Marcella’s unaffected style: wonderfully pure, simple flavors, which are easy to put together creating something magnificently delicious.
Many people are so intimidated by gnocchi that they never try making them. Our students learned that gnocchi are not heavy dumplings, rather they are buoyant bits of dough that float to the surface of boiling water. What causes them to be too gluey, tough, or heavy is either the wrong potato or too much flour. The secret to making good gnocchi is in using the right potato, which should neither be too waxy nor too starchy.
The secret of Fettuccine with Zucchini and Saffron is to cut the zucchini into sticks thin enough and cook them long enough to release their rich sweet flavor. In the app, Giuliano shows in his video how and why this works so well.
Creating artichoke risotto can be a bit intimidating. The artichokes need to be trimmed properly and at first the technique can be a bit daunting. No worries, just a bit of practice is needed. We like to use the small artichokes that in our stores come in packets. They are more tender than the big globe artichokes and are easier to trim.
My mother-in-law, Marcella Hazan, started making this cantaloupe pasta dish at home and now Giuliano often makes it when we have friends over. Once it is cooked, the melon is mostly unrecognizable and it’s great fun seeing if people can guess what the sauce’s “secret” ingredient is. The freshness of the dish is soothing on a hot evening and takes full advantage of the bounty of summer.
This is a recipe we have taught in our home cooking class and is delicious. This dish was named after Vincenzo Bellini’s opera, Norma. It is a typical Sicilian pasta recipe, flavorful, fresh, and even vegetarian. It is exceptional with fresh farmer’s market produce.
The beauty of pesto is that it is easily freezable which makes it available at anytime. But to me, it is the quintessential spring dish. We tend to eat it in the traditional manner, just the pasta with a few boiled green beans and sliced potatoes; however, it is great as a primo, first dish, during an Easter Feast.
A recent letter to Marcella and her answer: Here is the recipe for squash risotto. Dear Marcella I thought of you watching Top Chef these last couple of weeks. One […]