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.

Authentic Gelatin-Free Panna Cotta

Thinking of a famous dessert you can find in almost every italian restaurant, I remembered how my grandmothers use to do it, with simple and easy available ingredients. I’ve made several tests to achieve a perfect result because unfortunately I didn’t have a recipe in hand….. so now let’s talk about a delicious, creamy, delicate and authentic gelatin-free Panna Cotta!


authentic gelatin-free panna cotta best perfect italian

Panna Cotta (pron. pun-nuh cot-tuh – means “cooked cream”) is a great italian dessert, born in the Piedmont region and then widespread all over Italy, generally made from cream, set with gelatine, served chilled and topped with chocolate, wild berries or caramel sauce.

But some time ago people didn’t have widely available gelatin in their pantry and they used egg whites instead. So this recipe can be useful to use up leftover egg whites instead of throwing them away (you can freeze extra egg whites and defrost them in the fridge when you’re ready to use them).

Today you can find gelatin in every grocery store and you can do Panna Cotta easily in few minutes, but I like this traditional Panna Cotta recipe the most because I think it has the real Panna Cotta taste.

parmigiano reggiano discount

Authentic Gelatin-Free Panna Cotta

Difficulty: medium
Preparation: 5 minutes + cooling time Cooking Time: 90 minutes
Yield: 4

Ingredients:

  • 500 ml double / heavy cream (2+1/3 cup)
  • 150 gr egg whites (about 5 medium eggs, but try to be precise) *
  • 80/100 gr granulated white sugar (I use 80 gr / 3 oz) *
  • 1/2 empty vanilla pod or 1/4 vanilla pod with seeds

(*I prefer to not convert these ingredients in volume measures because in desserts the weights are essential for the final result)

Instructions:

Place the cream, sugar and vanilla pod in a pan and bring to the simmer. Remove from heat, remove the vanilla pod and let cool.

cream vanilla pod sugar panna cotta

Preheat oven to 300°F – 150°C – gas mark 2.

In a bowl beat the egg whites with a fork, paying attention to not create foam or bubbles or your Panna Cotta will come out with holes, until the whites are become liquid quite like water and have lost elasticity. If you can find them at the grocery store, use pasteurized egg whites that are better because they usually are perfectly liquid.

Update: a reader commented saying that she used an immersion blender to beat the egg whites instead of a fork. It took about 15 seconds to make the texture like water, and by keeping the whole blade under the surface it made no bubbles.

egg whites bubbles

Add egg whites to the cream mixture (as you can see from the picture above, I created foam, because I was in a hurry, but I resolved by using a sieve in adding egg whites to the cream mixture and it also stopped any egg whites impurities).

Mix well with a fork and divide the mixture among buttered non-stick moulds.

panna cotta mixture mould

Immediately, pour boiling water into a baking pan until the water level reach 3/4 of the moulds.

panna cotta boiling water

Place the moulds in the pan (bain-marie method).

panna cotta moulds baking pan

The picture may show 1/3, but the boiling water has to reach 3/4 of the moulds height.

Bake at 300°F – 150°C – gas mark 2 for 1 1/2 hour (90 minutes) or until the surface is golden brown.
If you bake Panna Cotta at 275°F – 140°C – gas mark 1 you would need about 2 hours and the surface will be less coloured.

Turn off the oven and let cool Panna Cotta completely inside it before covering the moulds with plastic wrap.

panna cotta baked

Refrigerate several hours (at least 4).

To serve, unmould the Panna Cotta by passing a thin knife, or a long needle, heated in boiling water around the inside of each one. Turn each Panna Cotta out onto a dessert plate holding the base with a warm cloth to help the release. If you don’t like the soft brown crust at the end of Panna Cotta, remove it before serving.

Spoon your favourite sauce or fresh fruit over or just dust with some icing sugar.

authentic gelatin-free panna cotta italian best

Ooops! Sorry, I couldn’t wait! 😉

authentic gelatin-free panna cotta eat best

And now you have your creamy, hearty, authentic Panna Cotta! Yes, it’s a bit long recipe but really worth the results!

Authentic Gelatin-Free Panna Cotta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Creamy, hearty, authentic Panna Cotta!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 500 ml double / heavy cream (2+1/3 cup)
  • 150 gr egg whites (about 5 medium eggs, but try to be precise) *
  • 80/100 gr granulated white sugar (I use 80 gr / 3 oz) *
  • ½ empty vanilla pod or ¼ vanilla pod with seeds
Instructions
  1. Place the cream, sugar and vanilla pod in a pan and bring to the simmer.
  2. Remove from heat, remove the vanilla pod and let cool.
  3. Preheat oven to 300°F - 150°C - gas mark 2.
  4. In a bowl beat the egg whites with a fork, paying attention to not create foam or bubbles or your Panna Cotta will come out with holes, until the whites are become liquid quite like water and have lost elasticity.
  5. Add egg whites to the cream mixture..
  6. Mix well with a fork and divide the mixture among buttered non-stick moulds.
  7. Immediately, pour boiling water into a baking pan until the water level reach ¾ of the moulds.
  8. Place the moulds into the pan (bain-marie method).
  9. Bake at 300°F - 150°C - gas mark 2 for 1½ hour (90 minutes) or until the surface is golden brown. If you bake Panna Cotta at 275°F - 140°C - gas mark 1 you would need about 2 hours and the surface will be less coloured.
  10. Turn off the oven and let cool Panna Cotta completely inside it before covering the moulds with plastic wrap.
  11. Refrigerate several hours (at least 4).
  12. To serve, unmould the Panna Cotta by passing a thin knife, or a long needle, heated in boiling water around the inside of each one. Turn each Panna Cotta out onto a dessert plate holding the base with a warm cloth to help the release.
  13. If you don't like the soft brown crust at the end of Panna Cotta, remove it before serving.
  14. Spoon your favourite sauce or fresh fruit over or just dust with some icing sugar.

How to make a perfect Italian coffee at home and explanation about coffees you can find at an Italian bar

Today I talk to you about how to do a perfect italian coffee with your Moka pot (yes, a perfect coffee with an italian Moka pot is always possible!) and the explanation of the main types of coffee you can find in an italian bar.


best coffee italian moka pot lavazza

Nowadays you can find espresso almost everywhere and/or you can have good espresso maker at your home at a cheap price with the simple and fast coffee capsules but the old and classic method of doing coffee with an italian Moka pot, with the right coffee blend, is still good (if not the best). …..well, if you have space and money you can always buy a bar espresso machine for perfect results. 😀

parmigiano reggiano discount

Starting from the history, Moka pot was invented in Italy by Alfonso Bialetti in 1933, revolutionizing the way of making coffee at home. The name refers to the city of Moka, Yemen, famous for having a good quality coffee blend.

It consists in three parts: a boiler for water (A), a funnel-shaped filter (B) to put the finely ground coffee in and the upper part (C) that serve as a coffee collector.

Click to see copyrights

There are few but important steps to follow to reach a perfect coffee and thanks to online shops today you don’t have to travel all the way to Italy to buy an italian Moka pot and its

Ingredients:

  • you need to have the best italian Moka pot that is the distinctive eight-side shaped Bialetti Moka that allows to diffuse heat perfectly to enhance the aroma of your coffee.
    I’m aware that there are a lot of similar Moka pot on the market, but, trust me, I (and my whole family) tested them and the best is Bialetti. *
  • good finely ground coffee blend for Moka pot. The best ever industrial coffee blend is Lavazza Qualità Rossa (red) (or at least Illy or Pellini). *

moka pot lavazza rossa red

  • good quality water, bottled is better so you’re sure to avoid hard water that is not suitable for italian coffee.

 *Note: this article reflects my thoughts, I have no commercial interests in those brands.

Instructions:

Take the boiler and fill it up with water until the water level is right below the little safety valve.

moka pot safety valve water

Insert the filter into the boiler.

moka pot filter

Now you have to choose between 2 thought patterns (my family always use the second option):

– fill it up with finely ground coffee creating a little mountain on it (1/3 the height of the filter), do not press it, just leave it that way;

moka pot coffee mountain

OR

– fill it up with finely ground coffee, press it with the back of a teaspoon and with a toothpick make 5 holes in the pressed coffee.

moka pot coffee flat moka pot coffee flat holes

Screw the upper part of the Moka pot tightly onto the base, put it on a kitchen burner on a low heat to allow the water to rise slowly between the coffee powder, therefore releasing better its aroma.
If the heat is high your coffee will come out too early and probably it will have a burned taste.

When you hear the characteristic gurgling noise, open and keep the lid of the Moka pot up to prevent that the condensed vapor goes back to the ground coffee and therefore changes its flavor.

moka pot coffee out

When the hazel brown foam appears and a second before the coffee comes out completely, take the Moka pot away from the burner.

moka pot coffee

Before pouring coffee to espresso cups, take a teaspoon and stir a little bit (to equalize the different coffee layers).

coffee moka pot cup

The experts say that coffee should be drunk bitter, to taste better its intensity and aroma (if you can stand it!).

To achieve a perfect coffee with your Moka pot you have to use the same pot several times, so it’s normal that the first 10-20 coffee are not so special.
Now you would say “what??? 10-20 times??? it’s a lot!”. You have to count that the italian average is 3 coffees per day so, a week is not so long here…

italian coffee ready

Mantaining the Moka pot

Another ESSENTIAL step to achieve a good italian coffee is to wash (with your hands) every part of the Moka pot just with warm running water, DO NOT use soap or something different from water. Even if the inner part of your Moka pot would naturally blacken due to the oily coffee residue, never ever use soap after the first time (when the pot is brand new).

Let every parts dry (upside down) before reassembling the Moka pot.

You just have to change the gasket when it’s consumed. Then your Moka pot would last a life time! And the more you use it the more the coffee is good!

Where to store your coffee

Tightly close the coffee package or put the ground coffee in an airtight container. Keep the coffee powder away from the sunlight, for example in a kitchen cabinet.
Some people suggest to store it in the refrigerator but we couldn’t see any difference, maybe because our house is not usually hot.

MAIN COFFEES YOU CAN FIND AT AN ITALIAN BAR

In Italy you can find just espresso coffee at bars but there are different types on which you can choose.
Yes, of course you would have to be an espresso lover to feel the difference between one to another (except for Cappuccino!) but maybe someone of you has always wanted to know what’s the difference between them and the exact italian pronunciation.

Ristretto (pron. ree-stray-toe): it’s obtained by leaving less water to flow into the cup that a normal espresso, therefore it has a darker color and a fuller aroma, so a stronger espresso flavor. However, the concentration of caffeine is very reduced.

Corto (pron. kor-toe): it’s obtained by leaving less water to flow into the cup, like the Ristretto coffee, but has the same caffeine concentration of a long coffee.

Lungo (pron. loon-goh): opposed to Ristretto coffee, it’s obtained by letting more water flow into the cup, therefore you have a coffee with a lower concentration of aromas and a high concentration of caffeine.

Macchiato (pron. muh-kyuh-toe): it’s obtained by adding a small amount of foamed milk, cold or hot, to a normal espresso.

Cappuccino (cup-pooh-ceen-oh): like the Macchiato coffee, it’s obtained by adding foamed milk to an espresso but Cappuccino has larger quantities of coffee and milk and it’s served in larger cups. Italians usually drink it just for breakfast or in mid-morning, not after a meal.

Corretto (core-ret-toe): it’s a normal espresso modified by the addition of a small amount of liquor, usually Grappa.

How to make a perfect italian coffee at home and explanation about coffees you can find at an italian bar
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Easy steps to achieve the best authentic Italian coffee with Moka pot at home
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • you need to have the best italian Moka pot that is the distinctive eight-side shaped Bialetti Moka that allows to diffuse heat perfectly to enhance the aroma of your coffee.
  • good finely ground coffee blend for Moka pot. The best ever industrial coffee blend is Lavazza Qualità Rossa (red) (or at least Illy or Pellini).
  • good quality water, bottled is better so you're sure to avoid hard water that is not suitable for italian coffee.
Instructions
  1. Take the boiler and fill it up with water until the water level is right below the little safety valve.
  2. Insert the filter into the boiler.
Now you have to choose between 2 thought patterns (my family always use the second option):
  1. fill it up with finely ground coffee creating a little mountain on it (1/3 the height of the filter), do not press it, just leave it that way.
OR
  1. fill it up with finely-ground coffee, press it with the back of a teaspoon and with a toothpick make 5 holes in the pressed coffee.
-
  1. Screw the upper part of the Moka pot tightly onto the base, put it on a kitchen burner on a low heat to allow the water to rise slowly between the coffee powder, therefore releasing better its aroma.
  2. When you hear the characteristic gurgling noise, open and keep the lid of the Moka pot up to prevent that the condensed vapor goes back to the ground coffee and therefore changes its flavor.
  3. When the hazel brown foam appears and a second before the coffee comes out completely, take the Moka pot away from the burner.
  4. Before pouring coffee to espresso cups, take a teaspoon and stir a little bit (to equalize the different coffee layers).
Notes
Mantaining the Moka pot
Another ESSENTIAL step to achieve a good italian coffee is to wash (with your hands) every part of the Moka pot just with warm running water, DO NOT use soap or something different from water. Even if the inner part of your Moka pot would naturally blacken due to the oily coffee residue, never ever use soap after the first time (when the pot is brand new).

Let every parts dry (upside down) before reassembling the Moka pot.
You just have to change the gasket when it's consumed. Then your Moka pot would last a life time! And the more you use it the more the coffee is good!

Where to store your coffee
Tightly close the coffee package or put the ground coffee in an airtight container. Keep the coffee powder away from the sunlight, for example in a kitchen cabinet.
Some people suggest to store it in the refrigerator but we couldn't see any difference, maybe because our house is not usually hot.

Asparagus with onion and white wine

Here May is the season for asparagus so why not talking to you about a simple but delicious versatile recipe!
In fact, this recipe can be used as a vegetable side dish or as a sauce for pasta or as a filling along with ricotta for Tortelloni or Ravioli.


asparagus onion white wine italian best

Asparagus are really healthy vegetables and have detoxifying and diuretic effects. They are low in calories, loaded with vitamins and minerals, a good source of folic acid, vitamin A, B vitamins and vitamin C and are also a fair source of calcium and fiber.

So a lot of reasons to eat them!
bunch asparagus

The following ingredients are what I used for a bunch of thin asparagus but this is a recipe so simple that you can adapt it easily to your liking and to the amount of asparagus you have.

Asparagus with onion and white wine

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 8-20 minutes
Yield: ≈4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus (about 40 thin)
  • 3/4 medium onion
  • 1/4 cup butter and 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/4 cup – 120 ml white wine (no bubbles)
  • ≈ 2/4 cup – 120 ml water
  • Salt and/or pepper to taste

Instructions:

Clean asparagus very well under cool running water to remove dirt and sand (the following first photos refer to larger asparagus).

asparagus colander

Remove the woody root ends of asparagus. If you don’t know how much you have to cut, a good trick is to just take the end of the asparagus between your thumb and forefinger and bend it until it breaks (you can save the woody roots to make an asparagus soup).

cut asparagus spear

Sometimes asparagus can develop a tough outer skin (especially the larger ones) so I like to peel it away too with a knife or a vegetable peeler.

peel asparagus outer skin

Here I leave the spears whole but you can cut them into smaller pieces if you like.

Halve the onion and cut it in really thin slices.

cut onion half onion cut slices

On a medium-high heat, put the butter or olive oil into a pan.
Add the sliced onion and let sauté for a minute.

onion sliced pan butter oil

Add the asparagus, salt and pepper to taste and mix a bit (here I used a small pan so it was a bit overcrowded, use a larger one if you can).

asparagus pan with onion

Add white wine and let it evaporate.

asparagus pan onion wine

Then add a bit of water and let them cook on a medium heat (adjust with some more water if the asparagus stick to the bottom of the pan).

The cooking time depends on the size and the thickness of the asparagus and of course to your taste! So you can check them by piercing the spears with a fork or a toothpick. They should be tender but still a bit firm (mine were thinner so they took about 10 minutes to be fully cooked).

asparagus pan cooked

Keep in mind that if asparagus are undercooked they’re not easy to chew while if they’re overcooked they become flabby.

So the best test would be to take a bite into one! 😉

The next picture shows large asparagus that I like the most because they are juicer, tender and less fibrous (once you peel away the outer skin, of course).

large asparagus dish onion

As I told you before you can cut them into little pieces, saving some tops for the garnish, and toss as a sauce over your favourite pasta.

If you use them as a Ravioli or Tortelloni filling, you need to cut them in very little pieces (along with the onion), put them in a colander to drain any liquid in excess (or pat with a towel) then in a bowl and add to almost equal part of drained ricotta and some grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
If the mixture is too wet, add some finely grated bread crumbs (not too much though!).

triangle_ravioli

So this is my favourite (healthy) way to eat asparagus instead of just boiling them, what’s yours?

asparagus dish

Asparagus with onion and white wine
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Delicious, easy and healthy Asparagus Italian style
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of asparagus (about 40 thin)
  • ¾ medium onion
  • ¼ cup butter and 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/4 cup - 120 ml white wine (no bubbles)
  • ≈ 2/4 cup - 120 ml water
  • Salt and/or pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Clean asparagus very well under cool running water to remove dirt and sand (the following first photos refer to larger asparagus).
  2. Remove the woody root ends of asparagus. If you don't know how much you have to cut, a good trick is to just take the end of the asparagus between your thumb and forefinger and bend it until it breaks (you can save the woody roots to make an asparagus soup).
  3. Peel away outer skin with a knife or a vegetable peeler if desired.
  4. Halve the onion and cut it in really thin slices.
  5. On a medium-high heat, put the butter or olive oil into a pan.
  6. Add the sliced onion and let sauté for a minute.
  7. Add the asparagus, salt and pepper to taste and mix a bit.
  8. Add white wine and let it evaporate.
  9. Then add a bit of water and let them cook on a medium heat (adjust with some more water if the asparagus stick to the bottom of the pan).
  10. Check them if they're done by piercing the spears with a fork or a toothpick. They should be tender but still a bit firm.

 

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!

Potato Gnocchi: authentic, best and fool-proof recipe, firm outside with a delicate and soft texture inside, not chewy, not soggy… simply delicious!

Stop looking elsewhere. Here you’ve found the best and fool-proof Gnocchi recipe ever. Yes, now you can make authentic Italian Gnocchi like a fine restaurant (or even better) with no fuss, I promise. (comments below can confirm that)


Potato Gnocchi best italian soft firm tender not chewy

If you don’t know what they are, Gnocchi (nyoh-k-kee) are a typical italian pasta, they can be prepared with different flours like semolina but the most popular are those made with potatoes.

Here in Italy you can easily find good quality fresh Gnocchi at the grocery store, but making them at home it’s always comforting…. especially when you’re stuck at home with your son ill and you have only some potatoes and eggs in your pantry, like me today 😀 .

I don’t like gum-like Gnocchi, they are too chewy for me, and I like to make them little, so when you eat them you can taste the sauce better, but they’re easy to make so you can choose the size you want – little Gnocchi are also called “Chicche” (kee-k-kay).

Have a try at them because is not the hardest pasta to make if you follow my instructions (as instead many people say that). Those which haven’t been successful in making gnocchi is just because they were in lack of information, trust me!

parmigiano reggiano discount

So here is my best version for delicious Potato Gnocchi!

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 30-40 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 6-7 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs / 1,4 kg raw potatoes not peeled, suitable for gnocchi (starchy or old potatoes not waxy)
  • 2 egg yolks (medium)
  • 3 tbsp / 30 grams / 1 ounce potato starch
  • 2/3 cup / 50 grams / 1.8 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese (finely grated)
  • 2 tsp / 15 grams salt
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 cup / 130 grams / 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (sifted) plus more to put on the working area

Gnocchi Ingredients

Instructions:

Rinse, peel and cut potatoes into little pieces and put them in a microwave steamer for about 15 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 just rinse potatoes, leave the peel (so they don’t absorb too much water) put them in a pot filled with water and boil until fork-tender. While still warm, peel the potatoes.

Mash potatoes with a fork or a potato masher and put them in a big bowl.

Let them cool a bit.

(If you cook potatoes in a pot with water wait the next day to make gnocchi or try to dry them a bit in the oven)

Add egg yolks, potato starch, Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Cheese, a pinch of grated nutmeg (if you like), salt and flour.

Knead gently until a nice pliable ball is formed, do not over knead. It has to be soft and not too much sticky. If it’s still a bit damp add some more flour, not too much though!

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.

Cut the ropes into about 1 inch / 2,5 cm pieces (it depends on what size you want your Gnocchi), 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) or you can skip this passage and leave gnocchi as is.

potato gnocchi rolls

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

Let them rest for 15 minutes.

potato gnocchi best authentic

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 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 pasta sauce over them and serve immediately.

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.

potato gnocchi ragu bolognese

As shown above, I used my Ultimate Best Authentic Bolognese Sauce but they’re really good too with just a melted butter and sage sauce like I did for my son.

potato gnocchi butter sage

Potato Gnocchi: firm outside with a delicate and soft texture inside, not chewy, not soggy... simply delicious!
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Best Authentic Italian Gnocchi recipe, fool-proof, easy and super delicious.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs / 1,4 kg raw potatoes not peeled, suitable for gnocchi (starchy or old potatoes not waxy)
  • 2 egg yolks (medium)
  • 3 tbsp / 30 grams / 1 ounce potato starch
  • ⅔ cup / 50 grams / 1.8 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese (finely grated)
  • 2 tsp / 15 grams salt
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 cup / 130 grams / 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (sifted) plus more to put on the working area
Instructions
  1. Rinse, peel and cut potatoes into little pieces and put them in a microwave steamer for about 15 minutes.
OR
  1. Rinse potatoes, leave the peel (so they don't absorb too much water) put them in a pot filled with water and boil until fork-tender. While still warm, peel the potatoes.
  2. Mash potatoes with a fork or a potato masher and put them in a big bowl.
  3. Let them cool a bit.
  4. Add egg yolks, potato starch, Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Cheese, a pinch of grated nutmeg (if you like), salt and flour.
  5. Knead gently until a nice pliable ball is formed, do not over knead. It has to be soft and not too much sticky. If it's still a bit damp add some more flour, not too much though!
  6. 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.
  7. Cut the ropes into about 1 inch / 2,5 cm pieces (it depends on what size you want your Gnocchi), 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 or you can skip this passage and leave gnocchi as is.
  8. Put Gnocchi, divided from each other, over a well floured plate to avoid from sticking together.
  9. Let them rest for 15 minutes.
  10. To cook 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.
  11. Drop Gnocchi (both fresh or frozen), a few at a time, into the boiling water, make a little stir.
  12. When they rise to the surface, immediately remove and drain them with a slotted spoon and put onto the serving dish.
  13. Put pasta sauce over them and serve immediately.

How to prevent sliced bananas from browning

banana

If you have to prepare a fruit salad or garnish a cake, the black banana slices might ruin your work from an aesthetic point of view.




Usually are commonly used some drops of lemon juice (or any citrus fruit juice) over the sliced bananas to prevent them from turning brown. In that case, the vitamin C contained in lemons acts as an antioxidant. However, the sweet taste of bananas is altered by the acid contained in citrus juice and it’s not always appetizing.

The solution is simple and fast, but you need to do it before you peel the banana.

In a pot, deep enough, bring water to a boil then submerge the hole banana completely and keep it underwater until the skin turns dark. At that point, quickly remove banana from the hot water and wash it under cold running water to stop the cooking process.

Proceed as usual on peeling and cutting the banana.

A simple solution to save your bananas from browning!

Best Authentic Bolognese Sauce (Ragú sauce): classic and my mom’s version

Best Authentic Bolognese Sauce (Ragú sauce)

Ragù (as Italians call it) or Bolognese is the top italian sauce for pasta.
It has simple ingredients, it’s easy even if you’re not very good in the kitchen, but people still think that it’s hard to make.
You just need 5-6 hours of your free time, and in these hours you can do whatever you want, just have a look and stir ragù every 2 hours, that’s it!


ragu bolognese best italian sauce meat

Italian Academy of Cuisine documented a recipe for “Ragù classico Bolognese” (classic Bolognese sauce), and subsequently recorded and deposited it with the Bologna Chamber of Commerce.

What I’m writing here is not this version, that you can find googling, but is a recipe that a real Bolognese housewife tought me and I think it’s better (there are slightest differences).
The other one is my mom’s version (that obviously I think it’s the best but… you tell me!), anyway every family has their own version, so wherever you eat it’s always different in some ways.
I prefer using the classic version over crostini toast or crispy polenta squares, while my mom’s ragù (I think) is better for pasta.

Ragù alla Bolognese is traditionally served with tagliatelle pasta (medium noodles made with eggs) and although the saying goes “serving spaghetti with Bolognese sauce is a sign of mediocrity in the understanding of Italian cuisine” I have to tell you that I usually put ragú over spaghetti and every kind of pasta (and I’m not the only one) because are really good too and I don’t always eat egg-pasta because it’s too caloric, so I think that it’s not a sign of mediocrity at all!
Anyway… eat spaghetti with ragù and call them “spaghetti al ragù” (spaghetti with ragù sauce) instead of “spaghetti Bolognese” (this term is pure invention and really shudder italians) 😀 .

The secret for a special ragù is the long cooking time.
It can be ready after 2 hours but it will be very bland, I suggest you to cook longer than 4 hours to have all the ingredients’ flavors mixed together and thus forming a delicious ragù (I always cook it for 6 hours, the best), trust me!

NEW UPDATE: click here for my Ultimate Best Authentic Bolognese Sauce – the Great Italian Sauce!

So let’s begin!

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 4-6 hours
Yield: 8 servings

ragu bolognese sauce ingredients

Classic Ragù Recipe – Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 300 grams or 10 ounces or 3 cups soffritto vegetables (150 grams or 5.30 ounces or 1 1/2 cups onion, 75 grams or 2.60 ounces or 3/4 cup ounces celery, 75 grams or 2.60 ounces or 3/4 cup carrot, finely chopped)
  • 600 grams / 21 ounces ground quality beef (94% lean if possible)
  • 2 little north-italian sausages grounded (with garlic, no fennel no anise no pepper flakes) – if you cannot find them just add 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup red wine (no bubbles)
  • 2 tbsp pure tomato paste dissolved in 2 cups of stock or water plus one bouillon cube (or 400 grams / 14 ounces tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup of stock or water plus one bouillon cube)

Classic Ragù Recipe – Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy, bottomed pot and fry vegetables for 6-8 minutes or until softened, scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally;
  2. add the meat, breaking it up with a fork, cook until it’s browned all over (5-10 minutes) and all the water, that the meat releases, is evaporated (this is very important for the final taste of the sauce!);
  3. add the wine and let the liquid reduce for 2-3 minutes or until you no longer smell alcohol; ragu brown white bolognese sauce
  4. add tomato paste/sauce, stock or water (plus one bouillon cube) and simmer ragù for at least 6 hours stirring occasionally (about every 1 1/2 hours).

Done! just 4 points to follow. It’s not complicated at all, so have a try and let me know what recipe do you prefer! (Below there’s my mum’s recipe).

authentic best bolognese sauce italian

My mom’s Ragù Recipe – Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 300 grams or 10 ounces or 3 cups soffritto vegetables (150 grams or 5.30 ounces or 1 1/2 cups onion, 75 grams or 2.60 ounces or 3/4 cup ounces celery, 75 grams or 2.60 ounces or 3/4 cup carrot, finely chopped)
  • 600 grams / 21 ounces ground quality beef (94% lean if possible)
  • 2 tbsp pure tomato paste dissolved in 2 cups of stock or water plus one bouillon cube (or 400 grams / 14 ounces tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup of stock or water plus one bouillon cube)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf

My mom’s Ragù Recipe – Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy, bottomed pot and fry vegetables for 6-8 minutes or until softened, scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally;
  2. add the meat, breaking it up with a fork, cook until it’s browned all over (5-10 minutes) and all the water, that the meat releases, is evaporated (this is very important for the final taste of the sauce!);
  3. add skinned garlic cloves and bay leaf (remember to remove one clove after 2 hours of cooking time);
  4. add tomato paste/sauce, stock or water (plus one bouillon cube) and simmer ragù for at least 6 hours stirring occasionally (about every 1 1/2 hours).

authentic italian sauce ragu bolognese

Note: you can put Bolognese sauce in jars and freeze, so you can do a big batch that will last longer.

Best Authentic Bolognese Sauce (Ragú sauce): classic and my mom's version
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
My mom's Bolognese sauce. Easy to make, just 4 steps!
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 300 grams or 10 ounces or 3 cups soffritto vegetables (150 grams or 5.30 ounces or 1½ cups onion, 75 grams or 2.60 ounces or ¾ cup ounces celery, 75 grams or 2.60 ounces or ¾ cup carrot, finely chopped)
  • 600 grams / 21 ounces ground quality beef (94% lean if possible)
  • 2 tbsp pure tomato paste dissolved in 2 cups of stock or water plus one bouillon cube (or 400 grams / 14 ounces tomato sauce plus ½ cup of stock or water plus one bouillon cube)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy, bottomed pot and fry vegetables for 6-8 minutes or until softened, scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally;
  2. Add the meat, breaking it up with a fork, cook until it's browned all over (5-10 minutes) and all the water, that the meat releases, is evaporated (this is very important for the final taste of the sauce!);
  3. Add skinned garlic cloves and bay leaf (remember to remove one clove after 2 hours of cooking time);
  4. Add tomato paste/sauce, stock or water (plus one bouillon cube) and simmer ragù for at least 6 hours stirring occasionally (about every 1½ hours).

Roast Turkey: Italian tips for a moist tender and flavourful turkey

roast turkey – moist, tender and juicy

Thanksgiving is just around the corner so, why not planning to cook a delicious roast turkey the Italian way with my brine method and secret for a moist, tender and juicy turkey?

Yes, delicious, turkey and tender in the same sentence could sound a little bit strange, but anything is possible at Thanksgiving, right?


roast turkey moist tender secret italian

Oh and I promise you’ll love this recipe! It’s so hearty! My friends loved it and they begged me to give them all the leftovers… well, how couldn’t I?

I know that turkey is a bland meat and it has to be treated perfectly to become good so I read a lot about brine turkey with water, salt and apple cider but I was a bit afraid of putting too much salt in it so I came up with an age-old Italian trick that was used by our grandmothers to tenderize game meat…. baking soda!!!

I’m italian and I’ve never cooked a whole turkey in my life. It was a big tricky for me due to its big size…. and you know how italian kitchens are… small oven, small fridge…. it was 8 kg / 18 lbs and I was thinking to cut it in pieces, but finally I cooked it wholly, it was just the length of the oven… wow!

I put it breast side down and the worst part for me was turning the bird over to brown the breast as well…. it was tooo tender that I thought it would broke, but luckily my mother in law helped me and we were able to turned it over with no harm.
I really think that americans have an appropriate kitchen tool to do this, don’t they???

Roast Turkey: Italian tips for a moist tender and flavourful turkey

Difficulty: difficult
Preparation: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 3 hours
Yield: 10 servings or more

BRINE INGREDIENTS (for about 8 Kg / 18 lbs turkey):

  • 3 big rosemary sprigs
  • 8-10 sage leafs
  • few peppercorns to taste
  • 8 garlic cloves cut in half
  • 1/2 tbsp pure baking soda for each litres water / 2 tbsp pure baking soda for each gallon water

BRINE INSTRUCTIONS:

Put the bird in a large food box, cover with water and add all the ingredients. Close with a lid and leave the turkey with the mixture in the fridge for 24 hours.


SEASONING INGREDIENTS:

  • a handful of lard from rendered pork fat (called “strutto” in Italian) – you can use butter instead
  • 10 grams / 2 tsp for every kilo of meat (or 4 grams / 1 tsp for every pound of meat) of fine sea salt
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, 5 sage leaves and 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 2 north Italian sausages (pork meat seasoned just with salt, pepper, garlic and white wine) – about 200 grams – 1/2 pound
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 4 sage leaves
  • 1/4 onion

SEASONING INSTRUCTIONS:

After about 24 hours, remove the turkey from the fridge and drain it well. Leave it at room temperature for at least 1 hour (2 is better).
Spread lard or butter all over the turkey. Season with salt and fresh herbs finely ground.

Stuff the turkey with two sausages, 3 garlic cloves cut in half, rosemary, sage, onion and one tbsp salt (these will flavour the turkey from the inside as it cooks).

Cover the cavity with aluminium foil so that the aromatics won’t fall out while you’re roasting the turkey and if you want to keep the wings and legs close to the body while cooking, truss the turkey with a food string.

Place the turkey breast down on a rack over a roasting pan. That way the breast will be more juicy.

Cook the turkey at 200°C for the first 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 160°C for the next 2 hours and then reduce to 100°C until it’s done. Consider 40 minutes for every kilo of meat or 15 minutes for every pound of meat.

When the turkey is almost done, turn the turkey over and put under the broiler for 5 minutes to brown the breast (not to much though! or you’ll have a dry turkey breast).

The turkey is ready when clear juices (not pink) come out when you spear the breast with a fork or a knife or when the meat thermometer reaches 75°C.

For the cooking time I followed the post on Simply Recipes Blog, where you can find useful pictures and information on how to tie and close up the turkey cavity.

turkey_moist_tender_best


STUFFING INGREDIENTS (for about 8 Kg / 18 lbs turkey)

  • 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 800 grams / 1.8 pounds north Italian sausages chopped and case removed (pork meat seasoned just with salt, pepper, garlic and white wine)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 200 grams / 7.0 ounces chestnuts
  • 200 grams / 7.0 ounces cranberries
  • 100 grams / 3 cups stale bread cubes (about 3/4 inch)
  • 5-8 fresh sage leaves finely chopped

STUFFING INSTRUCTIONS:

(I like to cook the stuffing into a pan and not into the turkey because the latter takes less time to cook)

Put in a large pan 3 tbsp of butter, a stalk of celery, one onion finely chopped and cook until soft.

Add north-italian sausages and cook until little brown.

Pour white wine and allow alcohol to evaporate, then add chestnuts, cranberries, stale bread cubes, sage leaves finely chopped and water as needed to cover all the ingredients and cook until all liquid is absorbed. Adjust with salt if needed.


 

GRAVY INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup onion, carrot and celery mix chopped fine
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 2-3 tbsp unsalted butter mixed with 2-3 tbsp flour (roux)
  • turkey stock/drippings as needed
GRAVY INSTRUCTIONS:
 

You can make this gravy during the last 20 minutes of the cooking time of the turkey.

In a sauce pan add 3 tbsp butter and sauté vegetables until soft. After about 3 minutes add white wine and let alcohol evaporate.
Cook vegetables until done (about 5 minutes), remove from heat and blend them with a mixer.

Add the roux (a mixture of equal part of flour and butter) and return the sauce pan to the stove on medium heat. Add some turkey stock/drippings as needed (not too much though because it’s salty) and some water to adjust the thickness as you prefer. If it’s too liquid, add more roux.

Cook for at least 5 minutes and it’s done!

I have to tell you that this gravy was soo good and it made the turkey meat really tasty, so it’s definitely a must for me!Serve the turkey on a serving plate with the chestnut stuffing, gravy and some good old fashioned mashed potatoes and it will be love at first bite!

roast turkey moist tender secret italian brine

Hope my tips could help you preparing a moist, tender and juicy turkey and I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Roast Turkey: Italian tips for a moist tender and flavourful turkey
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian, American, English
Serves: 10
Ingredients
BRINE INGREDIENTS (for about 8 Kg / 18 lbs turkey)
  • 3 big rosemary sprigs
  • 8-10 sage leafs
  • few peppercorns to taste
  • 8 garlic cloves cut in half
  • ½ tbsp pure baking soda for each litres water / 2 tbsp pure baking soda for each gallon water
SEASONING INGREDIENTS:
  • a handful of lard from rendered pork fat (called "strutto" in Italian) - you can use butter instead
  • 10 grams / 2 tsp for every kilo of meat (or 4 grams / 1 tsp for every pound of meat) of fine sea salt
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, 5 sage leaves and 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 2 north Italian sausages (pork meat seasoned just with salt, pepper, garlic and white wine) - about 200 grams - ½ pound
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 4 sage leaves
  • ¼ onion
STUFFING INGREDIENTS (for about 8 Kg / 18 lbs turkey)
  • 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 800 grams / 1.8 pounds north Italian sausages chopped and case removed (pork meat seasoned just with salt, pepper, garlic and white wine)
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 200 grams / 7.0 ounces chestnuts
  • 200 grams / 7.0 ounces cranberries
  • 100 grams / 3 cups stale bread cubes (about ¾ inch)
  • 5-8 fresh sage leaves finely chopped
GRAVY INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup onion, carrot and celery mix chopped fine
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • ⅓ cup white wine
  • 2-3 tbsp unsalted butter mixed with 2-3 tbsp flour (roux)
  • turkey stock/drippings as needed
Instructions
BRINE INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Put the bird in a large food box, cover with water and add all the ingredients. Close with a lid and leave the turkey with the mixture in the fridge for 24 hours.
SEASONING INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. After about 24 hours, remove the turkey from the fridge and drain it well. Leave it at room temperature for at least 1 hour (2 is better).
  2. Spread lard or butter all over the turkey. Season with salt and fresh herbs finely ground.
  3. Stuff the turkey with two sausages, 3 garlic cloves cut in half, rosemary, sage, onion and one tbsp salt (these will flavour the turkey from the inside as it cooks).
  4. Cover the cavity with aluminium foil so that the aromatics won't fall out while you're roasting the turkey and if you want to keep the wings and legs close to the body while cooking, truss the turkey with a food string.
  5. Place the turkey breast down on a rack over a roasting pan. That way the breast will be more juicy.
  6. Cook the turkey at 200°C for the first 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 160°C for the next 2 hours and then reduce to 100°C until it's done. Consider 40 minutes for every kilo of meat or 15 minutes for every pound of meat.
  7. When the turkey is almost done, turn the turkey over and put under the broiler for 5 minutes to brown the breast (not to much though! or you'll have a dry turkey breast).
  8. The turkey is ready when clear juices (not pink) come out when you spear the breast with a fork or a knife or when the meat thermometer reaches 75°C.
STUFFING INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Put in a large pan 3 tbsp of butter, a stalk of celery, one onion finely chopped and cook until soft.
  2. Add north-italian sausages and cook until little brown.
  3. Pour white wine and allow alcohol to evaporate, then add chestnuts, cranberries, stale bread cubes, sage leaves finely chopped and water as needed to cover all the ingredients and cook until all liquid is absorbed. Adjust with salt if needed.
GRAVY INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. You can make this gravy during the last 20 minutes of the cooking time of the turkey.
  2. In a sauce pan add 3 tbsp butter and sauté vegetables until soft. After about 3 minutes add white wine and let alcohol evaporate.
  3. Cook vegetables until done (about 5 minutes), remove from heat and blend them with a mixer.
  4. Add the roux (a mixture of equal part of flour and butter) and return the sauce pan to the stove on medium heat. Add some turkey stock/drippings as needed (not too much though because it's salty) and some water to adjust the thickness as you prefer. If it's too liquid, add more roux.
  5. Cook for at least 5 minutes and it's done!
  6. Serve the turkey on a serving plate with the chestnut stuffing, gravy and some good old fashioned mashed potatoes and it will be love at first bite!

Italian Little Pizzas (Pizzette)

These little pizzas are children’s favourites. They are perfect for parties as a finger food, but you have to be sure to make a big batch because they run out quickly!
Trust me, these little pizzas will be really a success.


best pizzette little pizza fingerfood parties feast

So, as promised, here is the 3rd pizza recipe I’d like to share with you, the last one (for now).

Italian Little Pizzas (Pizzette)

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 2h and 30 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Yield: ≈25 little pizzas (8 cm / 3″ Ø)

Ingredients:

  • 270 grams / 9.5 ounces / 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 10 grams / 0.35 ounces / 1 tbsp granulated dry yeast or 25 grams / 1/2 tbsp fresh yeast or 240 grams / 8.40 ounces mother yeast
  • 41 grams / 1.45 ounces / 8 tsp sugar
  • 72 grams / 2.5 ounces / 6 tbsp sunflower or corn oil
  • 300 grams / 10.6 ounces / 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 300 grams / 10.6 ounces / 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 18 grams / 0.63 ounces / 3 tsp salt

Instructions:

Dissolve dry yeast in warm water with sugar.
Mix all the ingredients and knead for about 20 minutes to form a soft, smooth and no sticky dough (add flour or water to adjust).
Let rise for 2 hours (3-4 hours if using mother yeast) covered with plastic wrap.
Roll out the dough to 0,3 cm / 0.12″ thick, with a round pastry cutter form the little pizzas and put them in a pan covered with baking paper.

Dress with plain tomato sauce and cover with a lid or plastic wrap to prevent a dry crust.

little italian pizza tomato Preheat oven to 220°C / 425°F / gas mark 7.
In the meantime, let rise pizzas a bit (about 30 minutes).

Bake pizzas for 5 minutes or until you can see tomato “cracks” as you can see below.

Little Pizza Baking

Add a mozzarella cube over each pizza and bake again 10 minutes or until mozzarella is melted and light brown.

little pizza mozzarella

Aren’t they making you hungry???

best pizzette little pizza fingerfood perfect

IMPORTANT tips to know:

If you are using fresh or dry yeast (not mother yeast), I suggest you to greatly reduce the amount of yeast in recipes and, as a consequence, to extend the rising time.
A slow fermentation allow a better maturation of the dough with more digestible, more flavorful and tastier pizzas.
So here are the times I suggest you for about 500 grams/18 ounces/4 cups of flour (that usually require 10 grams/1 tbsp granulated dry yeast or 25 grams / 1/2 tbsp fresh yeast for 2 hours of rising time):

  • 4 h of rising time -> use 1/2 amount of yeast;
  • 6 h of rising time -> use 1/4 amount of yeast;
  • 8 h of rising time -> use 1/8 amount of yeast;
  • 10 h of rising time -> use 1/16 amount of yeast;
  • ……

Here’s an example: if you want your dough to rise in 6 hours use 2,5 grams / 1/4 tbsp of granulated dry yeast or 6,25 grams / 1/8 tbsp of fresh yeast. 

Italian Little Pizzas (Pizzette)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Italian Little Pizzas, perfect for a brunch, children birthdays or any other party.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 25
Ingredients
  • 270 grams / 9.5 ounces / 1¼ cups warm water
  • 10 grams / 0.35 ounces / 1 tbsp granulated dry yeast or 25 grams / ½ tbsp fresh yeast or 240 grams / 8.40 ounces mother yeast
  • 41 grams / 1.45 ounces / 8 tsp sugar
  • 72 grams / 2.5 ounces / 6 tbsp sunflower or corn oil
  • 300 grams / 10.6 ounces / 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 300 grams / 10.6 ounces / 2½ cups bread flour
  • 18 grams / 0.63 ounces / 3 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Dissolve dry yeast in warm water with sugar.
  2. Mix all the ingredients and knead for about 20 minutes to form a soft, smooth and no sticky dough (add flour or water to adjust).
  3. Let rise for 2 hours (3-4 hours if using mother yeast) covered with plastic wrap.
  4. Roll out the dough to 0,3 cm / 0.12" thick, with a round pastry cutter form the little pizzas and put them in a pan covered with baking paper.
  5. Dress with plain tomato sauce and cover with a lid or plastic wrap to prevent a dry crust.
  6. Preheat oven to 220°C / 425°F / gas mark 7.
  7. In the meantime, let rise pizzas a bit (about 30 minutes).
  8. Bake pizzas for 5 minutes or until you can see tomato "cracks".
  9. Add a mozzarella cube over each pizza and bake again 10 minutes or until mozzarella is melted and light brown.

Soft and Doughy Pizza By The Slice (Italian Pizza al Taglio)

My son doesn’t like flat pizza, so I had to learn how to make a really soft and doughy pizza like those you can find in an italian bakery (…or anywhere else).


pizza al taglio soft doughy italian best chicago style

I’ve already told you that I’m a very pizza addict, so here is a second recipe… while waiting for the 3rd! 😉

At home it’s mostly impossible to achieve because you would need professional ovens, so after months and months of kneading and baking I figured out how to do it (the secret for a very soft dough is just a potato)… and now my son is really happy (and I keep on baking…).

If you want to save time, like I often do, you can use instant mashed potato flour instead of steaming just one potato. So keep in mind that if you use a steamed potato you need to reduce the amount of water stated in the ingredients.

Pizza al taglio

Soft and Doughy Pizza (Italian Pizza al taglio)

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 25 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 3/4 servings – 40cm x 30cm / 15″ x 12″ pizza pan

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 130 grams / 4.6 ounces / 1/2 cup milk (or water if you want a lighter version)
  • 200 grams / 7 ounces / 1 cup water* (less if using a steamed potato read below)
  • 10 grams / 1 tbsp granulated active dry yeast or 25 grams / 1/2 tbsp fresh yeast or 140 grams / 5 ounces mother yeast
  • 20 grams / 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 20 grams / 1/4 cup instant mashed potatoes flour or 1 steamed and peeled potato (in this case use less water*)
  • 500 grams / 18 ounces / 4 cups all-purpose flour (or pizza/bread flour)
  • 10 grams / 1 full tsp sugar
  • 10 grams / 1 1/2 tsp salt

For the topping:

  • 1 cup plain chopped tomatoes sauce, plus a little pinch of sugar, salt to taste
  • other ingredients to your taste
  • fresh mozzarella, cut into 1.5 cm / 0.59 inches square pieces (making big pieces is important to prevent mozzarella from burning during the cooking time)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 230°C / 450°F / gas mark 8.
Dissolve yeast in warm water and/or milk, sugar and butter, then mix all the ingredients (add the remain water and salt at last) to form a smooth, soft and no sticky dough (If it’s too sticky add a little flour otherwise add more water). Knead for about 20 minutes.
Let rest for 5 minutes, cover your pizza pan with baking paper and roll out the dough.

Pizza al taglio dough

Cover with a lid or a plastic wrap to avoid the dough from drying and let rise for at least 2 hours (4 if using mother yeast).

Pizza al taglio dressing

Dress pizza with tomato sauce, other ingredients and mozzarella.

Pizza al taglio ready

Bake for about 20 minutes.

Pizza al taglio soft doughy

Pizza al Taglio, done!

IMPORTANT tips to know:

If you are using fresh or dry yeast (not mother yeast), I suggest you to greatly reduce the amount of yeast in recipes and, as a consequence, to extend the rising time.
A slow fermentation allow a better maturation of the dough with more digestible, more flavorful and tastier pizzas.
So here are the times I suggest you for 500 grams/18 ounces/4 cups of flour (that usually require 10 grams/1 tbsp granulated dry yeast or 25 grams / 1/2 tbsp fresh yeast for 2 hours of rising time):

  • 4 h of rising time -> use 1/2 amount of yeast;
  • 6 h of rising time -> use 1/4 amount of yeast;
  • 8 h of rising time -> use 1/8 amount of yeast;
  • 10 h of rising time -> use 1/16 amount of yeast;
  • ……

Here’s an example: if you want your dough to rise in 6 hours use 2,5 grams / 1/4 tbsp of granulated dry yeast or 6,25 grams / 1/8 tbsp of fresh yeast.

Soft and Doughy Pizza By The Slice (Italian Pizza al Taglio)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Soft and Doughy Pizza By The Slice like those you can find in an Italian bakery.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
For the dough
  • 130 grams / 4.6 ounces / ½ cup milk (or water if you want a lighter version)
  • 200 grams / 7 ounces / 1 cup water* (less if using a steamed potato read below)
  • 10 grams / 1 tbsp granulated active dry yeast or 25 grams / ½ tbsp fresh yeast or 140 grams / 5 ounces mother yeast
  • 20 grams / 1½ tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 20 grams / ¼ cup instant mashed potatoes flour or 1 steamed and peeled potato (in this case use less water*)
  • 500 grams / 18 ounces / 4 cups all-purpose flour (or pizza/bread flour)
  • 10 grams / 1 full tsp sugar
  • 10 grams / 1½ tsp salt
For the topping
  • 1 cup plain chopped tomatoes sauce, plus a little pinch of sugar, salt to taste
  • other ingredients to your taste
  • fresh mozzarella, cut into 1.5 cm / 0.59 inches square pieces (making big pieces is important to prevent mozzarella from burning during the cooking time)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 230°C / 450°F / gas mark 8.
  2. Dissolve yeast in warm water and/or milk, sugar and butter, then mix all the ingredients (add the remain water and salt at last) to form a smooth, soft and no sticky dough (If it’s too sticky add a little flour otherwise add more water).
  3. Knead for about 20 minutes.
  4. Let rest for 5 minutes, cover your pizza pan with baking paper and roll out the dough.
  5. Cover with a lid or a plastic wrap to avoid the dough from drying and let rise for at least 2 hours (4 if using mother yeast).
  6. Dress pizza with tomato sauce, other ingredients to your taste and mozzarella.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes.

 

Tuscan Onion Soup (Zuppa di Cipolle alla Toscana)

Have you ever been to Tuscany? I’ve been several times and this soup was given to me by a Tuscan Nonna that worked in a Trattoria and was love at first taste! It’s so simple but yet full of flavour and so hearthy, a perfect soup to warm you up in cold evenings.


tuscan onion soup zuppa cipolle toscana best italian easy

Tuscan Onion Soup (Zuppa di Cipolle alla Toscana)

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 1 hour
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium white onions sliced fine (250 gr / 9 oz)
  • 30 gr / 1 oz / 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium potato finely grated (this help soup thickening)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 500 gr / 1 lbs / 2 full cups hot stock or hot water + 1 stock/bouillon cube
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 4 slices toasted bread
  • 4 slices of Parmigiano Reggiano or Swiss cheese

Instructions:

Sauté onions with butter for 1 minute. Add wine and simmer until reduced.
Add stock or water-plus bouillon cube, potato, sugar and simmer for about an hour.
Sprinkle with pepper.
Pour the soup into 2 soup-bowl, add 2 crispy slices of bread for each bowl and cover with cheese.
Melt with blowtorch or put in the oven and set to broil until cheese is browned a little.

Don’t forget to add a comment if you liked the Nonna-authentic Tuscan soup as much as I do!

Tuscan Onion Soup (Zuppa di Cipolle alla Toscana)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Authentic Italian Onion soup. Directly from a Tuscan Nonna, so it's a keeper!
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 medium white onions sliced fine (250 gr / 9 oz)
  • 30 gr / 1 oz / 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium potato finely grated (this help soup thickening)
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 500 gr / 1 lbs / 2 full cups hot stock or hot water + 1 stock/bouillon cube
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 4 slices toasted bread
  • 4 slices of Parmigiano Reggiano or Swiss cheese
Instructions
  1. Sauté onions with butter for 1 minute. Add wine and simmer until reduced.
  2. Add stock or water-plus bouillon cube, potato, sugar and simmer for about an hour.
  3. Sprinkle with pepper.
  4. Pour the soup into 2 soup-bowl, add 2 crispy slices of bread for each bowl and cover with cheese.
  5. Melt with blowtorch or put in the oven and set to broil until cheese is browned a little.