Sweet Potato Italian Gnocchi (or Pumpkin/Squash) – Super easy and egg-free!

These delicious little dumplings made with sweet potato, pumpkin or butternut squash mash in the authentic Italian style, served with melted butter and sage are so awesome and have so much flavour that you might want to make them every week! And they’re so simple with very few ingredients (egg-free!) and quick to make too! A keeper I would say!


Sweet potato gnocchi squash pumpkin italian

In Italy the most common Gnocchi are made with potato (follow this link for my best rated Potato Gnocchi recipe ever) but you can find them made with lots of other ingredients such as spinach, beetroot, squid ink, nettle, chestnut flour, cocoa powder and so on.

My favourite Gnocchi are made with “Zucca” (pron. zouh-kkuh) and that is the word we use to call every kind of pumpkin or squashes. So when you find an Italian recipe with pumpkin as an ingredient you need to remember that we may call it pumpkin but we use only those sweet or super sweet varieties that you mostly call squash (like Kabocha squash or the Italian wrinkled Butternut squash that is sweeter than the smooth one).

So if you are in Italy you won’t have any problem in finding the right one, they are all almost sweet, whether green or orange, and just when we are near Halloween you can find those round and big to make Jack O’ lantern, that are used only as a decoration.

best authentic italian gnocchi

When in January I moved to Brighton UK I was so sad that all the Butternut squashes were not sweet as the ones we have in Italy and I thought I couldn’t replicate all the delicious Italian “Zucca” recipes, until I found the orange Sweet Potato… uh, what a relief! It’s really a perfect substitute! (I didn’t know that kind of variety, because in Italy we have only the white sweet potato that differs from the orange one).

So if you want to make Squash Gnocchi that taste like the Italian ones use orange Sweet Potato, the vitamin A bomb!!!

Ok, now explanation apart, let’s get to the recipe!

Sweet Potato (or Pumpkin/Squash) Italian Gnocchi

Difficulty: medium
Preparation: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 3 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500 gr / 1 lb sweet potato or pumpkin/squash, cooked, well-drained and mashed (about 4 potatoes or 800 gr / 1.8 lbs raw squash/potato)
  • 100 gr / 1 1/3 cup / 3.5 oz Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese finely grated
  • 200 gr / 1 1/2 cup / 7.0 oz all-purpose flour (preferably pastry flour)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

Rinse, peel and cut the vegetables into little pieces and steam them in a microwave for about 15-20 minutes. For me this is the best cooking method because most of the water will evaporate in the cooking process and this will prevent to use too much flour in the dough thus avoiding rubbery Gnocchi. If you don’t have a microwave, bake them unpeeled until fork tender.

sweet potato steamed

The puree doesn’t have to be wet so, if needed, you can simmer it over medium heat until the “juices” boil off, but if you follow the microwave method you won’t have any problems.

Put steamed/cooked vegetables in a big bowl and mash them with a fork of potato masher.

sweet potato mashed pumpkin squash

Mix in Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and 3/4 flour (150 gr). Do not over mix.

squash gnocchi dough parmigiano nutmeg cinnamon

Knead gently until a nice pliable ball is formed, do not over knead. Add the remainder flour only if necessary and the dough is still sticky.

It has to be soft and just a bit tacky. If it’s still a bit damp add some more flour, not too much though! Adding more flour it certainly improves the workability of the dough, but it makes the Gnocchi too firm or can I say rubber ball? Nah, you don’t want that, do you?

sweet potato gnocchi dough

Immediately dust with flour your working area, take a piece of the dough at a time and gently roll each out to form 3/4 inch – 2 cm in diameter ropes.

sweet potato gnocchi rope

Cut the ropes into about 1 inch / 2,5 cm pieces (it depends on what size you want your Gnocchi), and if you want you can lightly press and roll each pieces into the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board with the tip of your thumb to make a small indentation (this is a bit difficult to explain with words but there a lot of videos on the Web so you can watch them until I have time to make one by myself) but for Squash or Sweet Potato Gnocchi I like to skip this passage and leave gnocchi as is.

sweet potato squash gnocchi italian

Put Gnocchi, divided from each other, over a well floured plate to avoid from sticking together.

If you want you can freeze them with the plate and once frozen you can put them into a freezer bag to leave more space in the freezer.

To cook Sweet Potato or Pumpkin/Squash Gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil and add a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to avoid them from sticking while cooking.

Drop Gnocchi (both fresh or frozen), a few at a time, into the boiling water, make a little stir.

When they rise to the surface, immediately remove and drain them with a slotted spoon and put onto the serving dish.

Put your favourite sauce over them, give a little stir and serve immediately.

sweet potato squash pumpkin gnocchi italian

If you don’t serve them immediately, remember to sprinkle Gnocchi with a little bit of olive oil and give a little stir. When you want to serve Gnocchi just put your favourite sauce in a pan, heat up and put them in to combine for less than 30 seconds.

These are best served with melted butter and sage sauce (put butter in a pan, add sage, let simmer a bit and add cooked Gnocchi). I love to sprinkle some poppy seeds over for a little crunchy taste and for a lovely presentation. What a perfect balance of texture and flavour!

I’ve just finished writing this post and I’m really craving them again. Uh.. the downsides of blogging…

There’s nothing better than sitting in front of a plate of steaming hot Sweet Potato (or Pumpkin/Squash) Gnocchi, is it? And these are delicious pillows of Vitamin A… pure awesomeness!

best authentic italian gnocchi

Sweet Potato (or Pumpkin/Squash) Italian Gnocchi - Super easy and egg-free!
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Delicious little dumplings made with sweet potato, pumpkin or butternut squash mash in the authentic Italian style, served with melted butter and sage.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 500 gr / 1 lb sweet potato or pumpkin/squash, cooked, well-drained and mashed (about 4 potatoes or 800 gr / 1.8 lbs raw squash/potato)
  • 100 gr / 1⅓ cup / 3.5 oz Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese finely grated
  • 200 gr / 1½ cup / 7.0 oz all-purpose flour (preferably pastry flour)
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Rinse, peel and cut the vegetables into little pieces and steam them in a microwave for about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Put steamed/cooked vegetables in a big bowl and mash them with a fork of potato masher.
  3. Mix in Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and ¾ flour (150gr). Do not over mix.
  4. Knead gently until a nice pliable ball is formed, do not over knead. Add the remainder flour only if necessary and the dough is still sticky. It has to be soft and just a bit tacky. If it’s still a bit damp add some more flour, not too much though!
  5. Immediately dust with flour your working area, take a piece of the dough at a time and gently roll each out to form ¾ inch – 2 cm in diameter ropes.
  6. Cut the ropes into about 1 inch / 2,5 cm pieces (it depends on what size you want your Gnocchi), and if you want you can lightly press and roll each pieces into the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board with the tip of your thumb to make a small indentation - I like to skip this passage and leave gnocchi as is.
  7. Put Gnocchi, divided from each other, over a well floured plate to avoid from sticking together.
  8. If you want you can freeze them with the plate and once frozen you can put them into a freezer bag to leave more space in the freezer.
  9. To cook Sweet Potato or Pumpkin/Squash Gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil and add a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to avoid them from sticking while cooking.
  10. Drop Gnocchi (both fresh or frozen), a few at a time, into the boiling water, make a little stir.
  11. When they rise to the surface, immediately remove and drain them with a slotted spoon and put onto the serving dish.
  12. Put your favourite sauce over them, give a little stir and serve immediately.
Notes
If you don’t serve them immediately, remember to sprinkle Gnocchi with a little bit of olive oil and give a little stir. When you want to serve Gnocchi just put your favourite sauce in a pan, heat up and put them in to combine for less than 30 seconds.

These are best served with melted butter and sage sauce (put butter in a pan, add sage, let simmer a bit and add cooked Gnocchi). I love to sprinkle some poppy seeds over for a little crunchy taste and for a lovely presentation.

Piadina Romagnola authentic Italian recipe and history about this typical Italian flatbread

One of my all time favorite quick italian dish is Piada or Piadina Romagnola (pron. pee-uh-dee-nuh), one of the most characteristic italian flatbread, known and loved in Italy and all over the world both as a street food and a comfort food. I researched for you the best authentic recipe because how Piadina is made varies from town to town, village to village so I kinda put myself as a judge and choose the winner for you. :)


best authentic piadina romagnola italian flatbread

Piadina is no doubt a typical product of the Romagna, a portion of the Emilia-Romagna region (Ravenna, Faenza, Forlì, Cesena and Rimini), but it’s also widespread in the areas of Ferrara, Pesaro e Urbino province, Montefeltro and the Republic of San Marino.

It’s usually made with wheat flour, fats (extra virgin olive oil and/or lard=rendered pork fat), water and/or milk, salt and some optional leavening agents and traditionally cooked on a clay dish from Montetiffi, a village near the town of Forlì, although nowadays flat pans or electric griddles are commonly used but the flavour would be less aromatic (video of the making of Montetiffi pan here or international online shop here).

teglie montetiffi pan

Creation of the Montetiffi pan. Old traditions handed down from father to son.

“Prema u s’fa e’ pianèl, pu dop u s’fa l’arvel pu dop u s’fa l’avrecia… ech fat la tégia!”. (Romagna dialect)

(tr.: EN. “First you create the flat base, then you make the border and then the indentation… that’s the pan!” – IT. “Prima si fa il piano, dopo si fa il bordo e poi l’orecchia… ecco fatta la teglia!”).

Once cooked, these delicacies are usually stuffed with either sweet or salted and savoury ingredients such as cured meats (salumi), cheeses, greens, or Nutella cream, but one of the most popular and best-selling combination is Parma ham + Squacquerone (a fresh and soft spreadable cow’s milk cheese with a typical tart flavour) + arugula/rocket, mmmm yummy!

best italian piadina flatbread prosciutto

Wow it makes me hungry every time I think about it! Not to mention the classic “winterly” stuffing with sausage and roasted/caramelized onions… 8).

History

Up to 100 years ago, Piadina was a poor man’s food because was considered to be a bread substitute to which people resorted weekly between a batch of bread and the other (bread was usually cooked once a week) but during the 60s women from the countryside started to prepare and sell it on the roads of the town with a hand-cart and a beach umbrella, therefore Piadina became a real meal.

Nowadays you can find Piadina in food stands all along the Romagna coast or Romagna towns.

Casa-Piadina

Pay attention that those store-brought Piadinas that you can find in supermarkets are nothing like those you can make at home or find in Romagna!

So, have you ever had the fortune to bite into a rich, crispy but soft steaming piadina filled with every kind of delicacies??? If not, well, find some time to make that at home, it’s easy! or visit Romagna and let me know if you like it!

“Delicious with every filling,                 “La j’è bona in tot i mud,
delicious even served plain:                 la j’è bona énca scundida:
if you haven’t already understood,       sà n’avì ancora capì,
I’m talking about piadina.”                   a scor propri dla pida.”
                                          (Folk poetry)

Here I’m writing several Piadina recipes along with my favourite one because I always heard or read strong and intense discussions around the “real” or the “perfect” recipe for Piadina but the perfect recipe for Piadina does not exist.

As I’ve already explained you before, every family has their recipe so the real recipe is that one that you’ve eaten in your lifetime, the one that makes you connect to your relatives or friends.

So, in order to make you choose the right one for you, I want to explain better the differences to whom that less know the local traditions.

THE SHAPE

Starting from the south of Romagna coast Piadina is very thin (up to 3mm-1/8in) and with a large diameter (from 23cm-9in to 30cm-12in) while proceeding north along the coast and to the inside towards the hills, the flatbread become thicker (from 4mm-1/6in to 8mm-5/16in) and smaller (from 15cm-6in to 25cm-10in).

THE INGREDIENTS IN THE DOUGH

The fats: people use extra virgin olive oil for a lighter and crispier piadina or lard from rendered pork fat (called “strutto” in italian) for a more rich and soft piadina or they use a combinations of both.

The liquids: people use water or whole milk or a combination of both.

Other optional ingredients: some people use baking soda or baking powder to make the dough rise a bit or more while cooking.

If you want a crispier Piadina, choose the one without lard and no leavening agents.

I like the Piadina to be a bit thick, soft, easy to fold without cracking with a great buttery richness, so I use lard instead of olive oil, a mix between water and milk and baking powder to make it less heavy.

authentic soft piada piadina cold cuts arugula

Piadina Romagnola authentic italian recipe

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 40 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 5-6 servings

Ingredients for my favourite Piadina dough (a bit thick, soft, easy to fold without cracking with a great rich and buttery taste):

  • 500 grams / 18 ounces / 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 75 grams / 2.70 ounces lard from rendered pork fat (called “strutto” in italian)
  • 8 grams / 2 tsp baking powder
  • 8 grams / 1 full tsp salt
  • 150ml / 3/4 cup / 5.00 Us fluid ounces whole milk
  •  ≈ or a bit less than 100ml / 1/2 cup / 3.40 Us fluid ounces water
General ingredients to make every kind of Piadina dough:
  • 500 grams / 18 ounces / 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 50 grams / 1.80 ounces / 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    OR
    75 grams / 2.70 ounces lard from rendered pork fat (called “strutto” in italian)
    OR
    a mix between them
  • 8 grams / 2 tsp baking powder
    OR
    1 tsp of baking soda
    OR
    no leavening agents
  • 8 grams / 1 full tsp salt
  • 250 ml / 1 1/4 cups / 8.5 Us fluid ounces of liquids (whole milk, water or both)
Instructions for all the Piadina recipes:

Combine lard (if used), flour and salt, then mix in water and/or milk, olive oil (if used), baking powder or baking soda (if used).

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until quite smooth, uniform, soft but no sticky (if it’s sticky add more flour).

Make a ball and cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest at least 30 minutes at room temperature (if the dough is being prepared more than 1 hour in advance, you can keep it in the fridge and when needed remove 1 hour before using it).

Heat Montetiffi pan or a non-stick pan over medium-high heat if you’re eating piadina immediately.

testo teglia montetiffi pan piadina

My used Montetiffi pan. Brown spots after using it are normal and they don’t affect the cooking process.

Divide the ball into several pieces (I suggest 5 – about 140-150gr each ball).

piadina romagnola dough balls

Roll out the dough into a circle with a rolling pin on a floured surface to the desired thickness (I like it thicker, 4mm-1/6in).

piadina piada rolled out circle

If you want the circle to be perfect, use a round cutter large enough.
As you can see I don’t mind! (so people know that are home made)

If you’re making large quantities of this recipe or want to rolled out piadina few hours in advance, I suggest you to stack up the rolled out dough by putting a baking paper sheet between each piadina until you’re ready to cook.

Once the pan is hot, add raw piadina, prick it all over with a fork to avoid air bubbles and cook for about 1-2 minutes for a thin piadina, 2-3 minutes for a thicker one or however until forming brown spots onto the bottom.

piadina flatbread pan testo montetiffi

Then flip and cook for about the same time.

piadina cooked testo montetiffi pan

Remember that piadina should be served hot, so it’s recommended to have your fillings ready.

Once cooked you can serve piadina immediately by placing your desired filling on a half and then close to a half moon or cutting it as is into triangles to use as a bread-substitute.

authentic italian piadina half moon

If you don’t serve piadinas right away, you can stack them up, put into a well-sealed plastic bag, and put in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for a couple of months and when you want a quick meal just put cold or frozen piadina onto a pan until it’s hot enough (do not over cook).

piadina squacquerone parma ham salumi

Here I give you some ideas of ingredients to put in your piadina:

piadina salame parma ham mortadella speck

The savoury:

  • Parma ham or other cured meats (salami), soft cheese (the original squacquerone or cream cheese, or ricotta) and arugula/rocket;
  • roasted/caramelized onions and sausage;
  • cooked ham, fontina or taleggio or asiago cheese and mushrooms mayonnaise;
  • porchetta with onions;
  • smoked cheese and ham;
  • bell peppers and sausage;
  • cooked ham, mozzarella, mushrooms;
  • Parma ham, mozzarella and tomatoes;
  • mortadella (not baloney of course);
  • wurst and mustard (hot dog style);
  • sausage, pepperoni, onion and hot sauce;
  • sausage, onion, bell peppers and beans;
  • bacon cooked with balsamic vinegar and radicchio;
  • squash/pumpkin, sausage and mozzarella;

(sorry for the amount of pork meat choices but I was born and live in Emilia-Romagna region and as for every real Emiliano, we cannot live without pork meat, we will be seriously ill! :D)

  • roast-beef, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato;
  • roast-beef, arugula/rocket and shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese;
  • roast-beef and roasted potatoes;
  • roasted potatoes and smoked cheese;
  • good quality canned tuna, mozzarella, tomatoes, oregano and mayonnaise;
  • mozzarella and grilled vegetables;
  • smoked salmon, dill and mayonaise or sour cream;
  • smoked salmon and cream cheese;
  • tomatoes, aurugula/rocket, mushrooms and shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese;
  • roasted/caramelized onions and gorgonzola cheese (or blu cheese);
  • sliced turkey breast, fontina or taleggio or asiago cheese and mushrooms mayonnaise.

Or the sweets:

  • Nutella or Nutella and mascarpone or Nutella and banana;
  • fruit jam or ricotta and fruit jam;
  • honey and cheeses;
  • white chocholate and shredded coconut.

best italian flatbread piadina closeup

So what’s your favourite recipe for piadina? The crispy, the soft, the thin or the thick? And what stuffing would you like to put in there?

As you can see, Piadina is a very simple recipe, tastier than other flatbreads, and you can fill it with a lot of ingredients to make it as a real meal. So that’s why piadina has earned its place in the gastronomic hall of fame, becoming one of the most loved and enjoyable italian foods.

Piadina Romagnola authentic Italian recipe and history about this typical Italian flatbread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Authentic Italian Flatbread recipe for Piadina Romagnola and his history.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 5
Ingredients
Ingredients for my favourite Piadina dough (a bit thick, soft, easy to fold without cracking with a great rich and buttery taste):
  • 500 grams / 18 ounces / 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 75 grams / 2.70 ounces lard from rendered pork fat (called "strutto" in italian)
  • 8 grams / 2 tsp baking powder
  • 8 grams / 1 full tsp salt
  • 150ml / ¾ cup / 5.00 Us fluid ounces whole milk
  • ≈ or a bit less than 100ml / ½ cup / 3.40 Us fluid ounces water
General ingredients to make every kind of Piadina dough:
  • 500 grams / 18 ounces / 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 50 grams / 1.80 ounces / 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • OR
  • 75 grams / 2.70 ounces lard from rendered pork fat (called "strutto" in italian)
  • OR
  • a mix between them
  • 8 grams / 2 tsp baking powder
  • OR
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • OR
  • no leavening agents
  • 8 grams / 1 full tsp salt
  • 250 ml / 1¼ cups / 8.5 Us fluid ounces of liquids (whole milk, water or both)
Instructions
  1. Combine lard (if used), flour and salt, then mix in water and/or milk, olive oil (if used), baking powder or baking soda (if used).
  2. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until quite smooth, uniform, soft but no sticky (if it's sticky add more flour).
  3. Make a ball and cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest at least 30 minutes at room temperature (if the dough is being prepared more than 1 hour in advance, you can keep it in the fridge and when needed remove 1 hour before using it).
  4. Heat Montetiffi pan or a non-stick pan over medium-high heat if you're eating piadina immediately.
  5. Divide the ball into several pieces (I suggest 5 - about 140-150gr each ball).
  6. Roll out the dough into a circle with a rolling pin on a floured surface to the desired thickness (I like it thicker, 4mm-1/6in).
  7. If you want the circle to be perfect, use a round cutter large enough.
  8. Once the pan is hot, add raw piadina, prick it all over with a fork to avoid air bubbles and cook for about 1-2 minutes for a thin piadina, 2-3 minutes for a thicker one or however until forming brown spots onto the bottom.
  9. Then flip and cook for about the same time.
  10. Remember that piadina should be served hot, so it's recommended to have your fillings ready.
  11. Once cooked you can serve piadina immediately by placing your desired filling on a half and then close to a half moon or cutting it as is into triangles to use as a bread-substitute.

Calf’s Liver Venetian Style (Fegato alla Veneziana)

AUTHENTIC FEGATO ALLA VENEZIANA (CALF’S LIVER VENETIAN STYLE)

Fegato alla Veneziana (pron. Fay-gah-toe Ah-lah Vay-nez-e-ah-nah*) is one of the most traditional Venetian dishes known all over the world for its simplicity and above all because it’s appreciated even by those who don’t like eating liver.


fegato alla veneziana calf liver venetian style perfect best

I’m one of them, even if I’m born in a land where offal parts are a strong presence in the traditional cousine, but I don’t like most of them, one in particular: liver (well, at least until I tried this recipe) 😀 .

I cannot stand its strong bitter taste. Maybe because when I was young a friend of mine gave me for the first time a plain boiled liver (for me the worst thing on earth to eat!) and I remember that I covered it with a lot of ketchup to be able to chew it because I didn’t want to give a bad impression for having not eaten it.

The second time in my life I ate liver was definitely better. I went to Tuscany and they served me Chichen Liver Patè on Crostini. I realized that was liver patè at the end of the meal, but it tasted good (you have to treat livers with a special treatment so they lose a bit of their bitterness – try this amazing Crostini recipe).

The third time I ate liver was the best, and was with the recipe I’m showing you today.

Because I want that my son tastes all kind of dishes, even those that I don’t like, I bought a Calf’s liver (the best and healthy between livers).
I followed the Venetian style recipe… I taste it out of curiosity…. and I was amazed! I really liked it a lot!
And above all it doesn’t taste like liver at all! The meat it’s so tender and the sweet onions are the perfect combination!

Have I said that it’s a lot cheaper than other meats? That doesn’t hurt, right? So try it and let me know!

Calf’s Liver Venetian Style (Fegato alla Veneziana)

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 2-3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound / 250 gr calf’s liver (or pork)
  • 1/2 pound / 250 gr white onions
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • a bunch of fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Cut the onion into thin slices (here it’s called venetian style).

cutting onion sliced onion

Trim the covering membrane, blood vessels and any blemishes from the liver (these parts would become tough after the cooking process).

trim skin liver

Cut the liver into about 2L x 1/2h x 1/2w inch or 5L x 1h x 1w cm strips, but I know that it’s a little bit tricky to cut them into even pieces so keep this just as an example.

cut liver strips If you want the dish to have a thicker sauce and to make the liver softer, flour the strips and set aside.

liver in flour In a skillet (preferably non-stick) large enough to hold the onions and the strips of liver in a single layer, add oil and butter over a medium-high heat.

Add onions, white wine, season with salt and reduce the heat to medium-low (wine will give a mild flavour and a sweeter taste to the onions, you can skip it if you want a stronger flavour).

Cook the onions covered, stirring often to avoid them from sticking (if necessary add some water), until they are soft and fully cooked (about 20 minutes, it depends on how thin you cut the slices).

cooked onion Increase the heat to high and add the strips of liver along with the vinegar, stirring and tossing them constantly until browned outside and to your taste (if you want a medium rare liver cook it for 3 minutes) but no more than 6-7 minutes (starting from a fridge-cold meat) to avoid to eat a rubbery liver (I like it well done so I cooked the liver for 6 minutes and it was really tender anyway).

As you read before, I salted the onions so there’s no necessary to use more salt on the liver, but check the seasoning anyway and add salt, if you want, only at the end because it dehydrates the liver and makes it hard and stringy.

Add parsley and serve immediately.
calf liver venetian style

Traditionally, Calf’s Liver Venetian Style is served alongside with polenta but since we’re going to the warm weather it would be also good with a fresh and crunchy salad to balance with the liver tenderness.

Calf's Liver Venetian Style (Fegato alla Veneziana)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
An authentic Italian healthy offal recipe that even children will love!
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ pound / 250 gr calf's liver (or pork)
  • ½ pound / 250 gr white onions
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • a bunch of fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut the onion into thin slices (here it's called Venetian style).
  2. Trim the covering membrane, blood vessels and any blemishes from the liver (these parts would become tough after the cooking process).
  3. Cut the liver into about 2L x ½h x ½w inch or 5L x 1h x 1w cm strips, but I know that it's a little bit tricky to cut them into even pieces so keep this just as an example.
  4. If you want the dish to have a thicker sauce and to make the liver softer, flour the strips and set aside.
  5. In a skillet (preferably non-stick) large enough to hold the onions and the strips of liver in a single layer, add oil and butter over a medium-high heat.
  6. Add onions, white wine, season with salt and reduce the heat to medium-low (wine will give a mild flavour and a sweeter taste to the onions, you can skip it if you want a stronger flavour).
  7. Cook the onion covered, stirring often to avoid them from sticking (if necessary add some water), until they are soft and fully cooked (about 20 minutes, it depends on how thin you cut the slices).
  8. Increase the heat to high and add the strips of liver along with the vinegar, stirring and tossing them constantly until browned outside and to your taste (if you want a medium rare liver cook it for 3 minutes) but no more than 6-7 minutes (starting from a fridge-cold meat) to avoid to eat a rubbery liver (I like it well done so I cooked the liver for 6 minutes and it was really tender anyway).
  9. Check the seasoning and add salt, if you want, only at the end because it dehydrates the liver and makes it hard and stringy.
  10. Add parsley and serve immediately.

How to make Bell Peppers (Capsicum) digestible to everybody

Maybe not everybody knows that bell peppers, also known as sweet peppers or capsicum, are not very digestible, so even if they’re really good, contain high quantities of vitamin C and add great taste to dishes they can mess you up a nice evening! After a short explanation, I’ll tell you my secret tips to avoid this forever… yes, forever!




All these problems are due to bell peppers skin and two substances contained in them: Solanine and Flavin.

Solanine is a poison contained in all the members of the Solanaceae family (bell peppers, eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes…) and if ingested in big quantities can be really toxic to the body, but this substance tends to disappear gradually as the fruit arrives to the full maturity.

bell peppers digestion

Flavin is contained in the white inner part of the bell pepper and in the seeds, and once ingested it attaches to the stomach wall causing pain or heaviness.

The bell peppers skin is another reason that doesn’t make them very digestible because the intestine struggles to expel it, giving us a sense of puffiness, even for several days.

So the first things you need to do are:

– buy organic and well ripe fruits;
– cut off the white inner part and seeds of the fruit as well as the stem.

Now many of you would say: “yes, I always do this, she invented the wheel…”.
And then come the interesting part!

If you want to eat bell peppers raw, like in salads (mmmm I like them so much!) the only things to do are to cut off the skin and then wash the fruit (in that case you would need a thick bell pepper).
Many people boil the bell pepper for a minute and then plunge it into an ice bath to easily remove the skin. I tried this but the bell pepper taste came up again after 1 hour, so I cannot recommend this to you.

Otherwise, if you prefer bell peppers cooked, you shouldn’t remove the skin because as they cook they will shrink and above all you would remove all the flavors and vitamins that are mainly concentrated under the skin.

I read somewhere (I’m sorry but this happened years ago and I really don’t remember the source) that a secret for a digestible bell pepper is……….. a PEAR!

pear

Yes, just a little sweet pear. So when you start cooking you peppers, add a finely chopped pear (peeled and seeds cleaned).

To cook 3 bell peppers I use just half of a pear and it works as well!
This little amount of pear doesn’t make your dish too sweet, you would not even notice it at the end.

So let me know if this works for you too!

Italian Carnival Sweet Fritters: Crostoli… or Chiacchiere, Frappe, Sfrappole, Cenci, Galani, Grostoli, Bugie…

AUTHENTIC ITALIAN CARNIVAL SWEET FRITTERS

These are my favourite Carnival Sweet Fritters ever! Crispy but light and no greasy at all thanks to vinegar added in. I could eat them all day long!


crostoli chiacchiere frappe sfrappole galani carnival sweet fritters italian

Here in Italy is not the right time to start a diet (or at least for me), because it’s Carnival time!
During this time we are used to eat/make typical Italian sweet fritters, among which there are, what I call, Crostoli (cross-toh-lee), but as you can see from the title, depending on what town you are in Italy, they’re called with different names.

from Wikipedia:
Carnival, or Carnivale, is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnival typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party.
People often dress up or masquerade during the celebrations, which mark an overturning of daily life. The last day of Carnival is Mardi Gras. […]
[…] The most famous Carnivals of Italy are those held in Venice, Viareggio, Ivrea and Acireale. […]
-Read more information here on Wikipedia about Carnival in Italy-

carnival mask venice crostoli chiacchiere sweet fritters

A Venetian Carnival Mask

Crostoli are made from dough into thin rectangular sheets and then twisted as ribbons or kept flat with wavy borders, deep-fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Crostoli flat

Remember that, when you eat one Crostolo, you can’t make you stop from eating more, even if the first mouth-impression seems not to be that amazing.

So here’s the recipe my grandmother taught me.

Carnival Sweet Fritters: Crostoli… or Chiacchiere, Frappe, Sfrappole, Cenci…

Difficulty: medium
Preparation: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 3-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or medium egg
  • 1 tbsp melted butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of finely grated lemon zest (only the yellow part) or 1 drop of lemon essential oil (organic)
  • 1 tbsp apple vinegar (plain vinegar or grappa also works well)
  • ≈1 – 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the working area
  • powdered sugar to garnish as needed
  • oil to fry (peanut, corn, sunflower…) as needed

Instructions:

In a bowl mix the egg, melted butter or evo oil, sugar, salt, vanilla, lemon zest and vinegar. Add flour until a no sticky dough is formed.
Knead the dough on a floured work surface for about 5-10 minutes until it’s smooth. Let it rest for about 15 minutes, covered with plastic wrap, in a cool place but not in the fridge.

After that, divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll them out on a floured surface with a rolling pin to form a strip as thin as you can.

Instead, if you use a pasta maker (like me), set it on the widest setting (1), take one piece of the dough and with the palm of your hand flatten it a bit, turn the crunk (or if you have an electric pasta maker switch on the start button) and feed the dough through the rollers.
Fold the edges of the strip towards the middle and feed it through the rollers several times, changing the setting of the pasta maker until you reach the smallest (5). Don’t worry if the strips are not perfect, Crostoli has to come out irregular anyway.

Crostoli little helper

My little assistant…

Cut the thin strips into ≈ 3.5 x 3 inch (9 x 7,5 cm) pieces with a pastry wheel cutter (with wavy edge is better).

Crostolo phase 1

Make 3 small cuts in the middle of each piece as shown above.

And follow the next photos to make the classic Crostoli shape (but you can leave them flat).

Crostolo 2 phaseCrostolo phase 3

Crostoli phase 4Crostolo phase 5

crostoli galaniCrostolo phase 7

Crostolo phase 8

And that’s the final Crostolo shape!

crostolo final shape sweet fritter carnival

Place over a floured surface.

chiacchiere ready

In a wide and high frying pan, heat up the oil until a wooden spoon dipped in starts to make little bubbles.

Deep-fry Crostoli, turning them twice until they lost their “white” color, do not overcook or they will have a burning taste.

Scoop them out and drain off the oil by putting them over a kitchen paper.

When they’re cool, sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.

crostoli chiacchiere sfrappole carnival

With that same pasta dough you can do sweet fritters Tortelli (traditionally filled with italian sweet mustard plus chestnut flour or jam or custard or Nutella). Yummy!!!

Italian Carnival Sweet Fritters: Crostoli... or Chiacchiere, Frappe, Sfrappole, Cenci, Galani, Grostoli, Bugie...
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Delicious Carnival Sweet Fritters, crispy and full of flavour.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 large or medium egg
  • 1 tbsp melted butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of finely grated lemon zest (only the yellow part) or 1 drop of lemon essential oil (organic)
  • 1 tbsp apple vinegar (plain vinegar or grappa also works well)
  • ≈1 - 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the working area
  • powdered sugar to garnish as needed
  • oil to fry (peanut, corn, sunflower...) as needed
Instructions
  1. In a bowl mix the egg, melted butter or evo oil, sugar, salt, vanilla, lemon zest and vinegar. Add flour until a no sticky dough is formed.
  2. Knead the dough on a floured work surface for about 5-10 minutes until it's smooth.
  3. Let it rest for about 15 minutes, covered with plastic wrap, in a cool place but not in the fridge.
  4. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll them out on a floured surface with a rolling pin to form a strip as thin as you can.
  5. If you use a pasta maker, set it on the widest setting (1), take one piece of the dough and with the palm of your hand flatten it a bit, turn the crunk (or if you have an electric pasta maker switch on the start button) and feed the dough through the rollers.
  6. Fold the edges of the strip towards the middle and feed it through the rollers several times, changing the setting of the pasta maker until you reach the smallest (5).
  7. Cut the thin strips into ≈ 3.5 x 3 inch (9 x 7,5 cm) pieces with a pastry wheel cutter (with wavy edge is better).
  8. Make 3 small cuts in the middle of each piece (see pictures in blog post).
  9. Make the classic Crostoli shape (but you can leave them flat).
  10. Place over a floured surface.
  11. In a wide and high frying pan, heat up the oil until a wooden spoon dipped in starts to make little bubbles.
  12. Deep-fry Crostoli, turning them twice until they lost their "white" color, do not overcook or they will have a burning taste.
  13. Scoop them out and drain off the oil by putting them over a kitchen paper.
  14. When they're cool, sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.