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Posts from the ‘Pizza lovers’ Category

Onions focaccia: football food and happy memories

Onions focacciaSome foods are simply part of your life. You cooked them hundreds of time, your mum cooked them thousands of time and in the end is like they’ve always been there, linked to your past, your present and your future. This is certainly true for this onions focaccia recipe: I perfectly remember the first time I eat it, the people who were with me. It was a hot ans sunny summer and it was the summer of an incredible big event in Italy. 1990: I was in the transition between a child and a teen and the Football World Cup was held in Italy. Everyone was so exited!! I remember that days spent at the sea talking about football and even more the evenings, all together in front of tv with my beloved cousins. Of course I didn’t understand anything about football at that time, but I liked so much Nicola Berti, the most beautiful Italian player 🙂

Protagonists of that world cup are still around and I saw them on TV during the Brazilian event: Klinsmann, Matheus, Maradona… these incredible champions are so linked to our memories, mainly nice memories, that really it’s easy to think at them with a soft smile: like the onion focaccia seems like they’ve always been there, part of the postcards of our lives.

Coming back to the recipe: as you’ve probably already realized, this one is really linked to beautiful moments of my life, and I hope you will enjoy it and that will bring you the same happiness! Buon appetito! Read more

Focaccia with cherry tomatoes & black olives: comfort food for mom’s thoughts

focaccia with cherry tomatoes and black olivesI suppose that something like that happened almost once to everyone: you wake up in the morning, look back and ask yourself how it’s possible that your life has changed so much in so little time. If you are a new mother like I am, this probably happens almost once a week! In few days my little daughter will be 16 months old and I’m really astonished: she changes everyday and everyday is a new challenge. Then of course there’s the “mother trick”: if you are back to your job you miss the baby so much but, if you are still at home you miss your job so much! You know, when we decided to have a baby, I knew that my life would have been different but I was a little bit scared: what, I thought, if motherhood will change not only my life but also myself? After 16 months I’m happy to quote my best friend that, speaking with my brother, told: “Cristina? Noooo, she’s not a mother… she’s just Cristina with a child!” So, after all, I’m the same old witch I used to be…. still in love with shoes and bags (stroller walk with heels should be an Olympic sport), still interested in politics and literature and art, and food of course! And if you’re asking yourself why so much time passed since my last post now you have probably guessed that the little adorable monster took all my time in the last weeks… haven’t I deserve a spectacular comfort food like this focaccia? Trust me: this is the perfect end for a hard day! Buon appetito!

focaccia with cherry tomatoes and black olives

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Italian Focaccia, a patchwork & a “pizzeria”

italian focacciaOne of the things that I love most about Unites States is that they are like one of those lovely patchwork blankets that you can find in small shops in Massachusetts: like they are made by different tissues and different colors and fantasy, US are made by different ethnic groups and various cultures. This incredible mixture generates something beautiful, as each community had given its best to become part of the country.

I’m proud to say that certainly Italians have done their part. It always touches my heart think at how my fellow Italians left a country that was poor and, after a long journey by sea, they reached their “promised Land”. My husband and I are “emigrants” because we left Italy for Switzerland, but we are graduated, we speak English and we left not because we were poor but simply because we are ambitious. That is a completely different picture. At the end of 1800 and even later, leaving Italy was like say an eternal goodbye. There weren’t Skype, low-cost flights and telephones in every home to keep in touch with families. People didn’t know the language and for the first years probably they tought that they had left poverty to get only misery. But at the end they did it! They were able to find good jobs and to start businesses. I suppose you will agree with me if I say that one of the most important contributions (even not the only) that Italians gave to the US was… PIZZA!!

The first “pizzeria” in the US was opened in New York City in 1905 by Gennaro Lombardi and it’s still there. Go and try it in Spring Street – Little Italy, you won’t be disappointed. Of course I went there not only out of curiosity but because, believe it or not, Lombardi is also my husband’s last name! So we have a nice photo in front of their Gioconda and the words “Smile, you’re at Lombardi’s”.

I’m sure lots of you have a similar story to tell, about ancestors that left Mexico, Ireland, Germany and many other places believing in the dream of a better life. Please feel free to join my kitchen and share your story eating a slice of this soft and “truly Italian” focaccia. Enjoy! Read more

Profumo di pane: the art of bread making

bread“Profumo di pane” in italian means bread smell. I’m sure you know what I mean: you’re walking down the road and then you feel it, this incredible smell that comes from a bakery and that is enough alone to change your day in a better day.

The “bread thing” is quite an independent subject in the kitchen, maybe a life philosophy. I discovered it thanks to my friend Clio that is a real addict (how would you define a person that wakes up at 6 a.m. to make bread, knowing that a 12 hours day of work is waiting for her?). I’ve always teased her for this  “bread commitment” but the reality is that this incredible passion that she puts in bread making and in all other things of life is the reason why I love her so much.

So here we are, with the story of Clio’s love for bread and of course her recipe to make it!

“If anyone asks me about my favourite food, whether it is to eat or to cook, I have no doubts: BREAD.

It is so simple, so basic, yet it entrenches a whole universe. It symbolizes life, it describes cultures and religions.. It comes in a thousand shapes and flavours, enhances what it accompanies or it is just so good alone. They even made a museum out of the whole baking experience: it is in San Francisco and during my visit I was shocked to notice how brilliant that idea was. They just put a window that from the street gives view to the kitchen, and someone shaping the dough into funny animals’ shapes, and there you find bunches of people coming to watch.. and after you watch, you just got to taste! Genius… Read more

How to make a perfect pizza dough

“I’ve just been to a dietician and he told me to do a low carb diet… that means “goodbye pizza!!”. But you know: I’m Neapolitan, I won’t survive. So here is my will: I want to be incinereted… in a pizza oven! And don’t bother to scatter my ashes: just let me there so that I could smell pizza’s smell for the eternity!” This is of course a joke made by an Italian comedian but I think it shows very well our national unconditional love for pizza. And this is of course the reason why, deciding to open the “How to & Tutorial” section, I decided to start with pizza dough.

As every very important recipe in the Italian cuisine, if you search you can find almost 1000 different ways to do it. But this is my recipe and talk about saturday evening dinner with friends and happy moments.

Ok, if I have to tell the truth, this is not 100% mine… my brother gave it to me a lot of time ago, but I suppose that if you have, like I do, a pastry brother that works in one of the most beautiful and famous hotels in Europe, you should make him work for you too… just to keep him trained 😉

So let’s get started..enjoy!

Ingredients:

500 g of flour

1 spoon of olive oil

130 g of warm milk

130 g of warm water

20 g of yeast

15 g of salt

Put the flour in a large bowl. In a mug mix water and milk together and add yeast and toss lightly till it will be completely dissolved, than pour it on the flour a little bit at the time, working lightly. Add olive oil and last add salt. Remember: salt is always the last thing to add and you should never mix it directly with yeast (salt kills yeast!).

Take the dough out of the bowl and put it on a wooden surface, work with energy for at least 10 minutes. Shape it like a ball, put it again in a bowl, take a knife and make a cross on the surface. Cover it with a humid cloth and let it rest. You know that it’s ready when the cross will disappear.

Now you can roll out the dough and put it in a pan (I usually cover the pan with baking paper) and let it rest again for half an hour (2 leavening processes make the dough softer). Meanwhile prepare the sauce: put tomato sauce in a bowl, add salt, olive oil, origan and toss. Spread a little amount of olive oil over the rolled dough and cover with the sauce. Put the pan in preheated oven at 220°C (428°F) and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and add all the ingredients that you love on your pizza! Put again in the oven for other 10 minutes.

Now that your pizza masterpiece is ready… buon appetito!

PS you can use pizza dough to do many other things, not only pizza…but that’s another story so… stay tuned!