Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Risotti, soups & Co.’ Category

Clam chowder (my way), San Francisco & an honeymoon in New England

clam chowderWhen I hear someone say “Oh, the Americans, they don’t know what good food is” my first reaction is to say “Shut up, you idiot!” then I calm down and I think “ok, maybe this poor thing was never lucky enough to eat a clam chowder….” Now, you don’t have to be a genius to guess that my very favourite American dish is… CLAM CHOWDER! I still remember my very first one, at the pier in San Francisco… we arrived there after hundreds of miles and 5 States. Our eyes were full of desert and mountains and endless landscape, while we were driving it seemed impossible that something could border US, but in San Francisco there it was: the sea! That was the limit that also US had to face! And another view filled our eyes, and the sound of a big city after the silence of the desert filled our ears, and the salty scent of the air exploded in our nose. I’m sure that I fell in love with clam chowder exactly in the same moment I fell for San Francisco. Few years later we decided to spent our honeymoon in New England and what was just love became a real addiction. I’m not joking: we traveled New England for 2 weeks and I eat clam chowder and lobster every day for lunch and for dinner (I suppose is not such a big surprise that my scale wanted to died when I came back in Italy!!). I remember waitress asking me: “do you prefer a cup or a bowl” and myself think “oh my god, do I have a cup face?! Why they don’t ask me if I want the entire pot?”. A very special dinner was the one at The Black Cat Tavern in Cape Code: a romantic place is nothing without very good food! Unfortunately I don’t live in the US so I had to learn how to cook a clam chowder (the alternative, meaning don’t eat clam chowder at all, never crossed my mind) and here you find my recipe. It’s quite good and I like it even if it lacks the most important ingredients that makes the original one so good: the view and the smell of the sea! Enjoy!

clam chowder

Ingredients: (serves 4)

– 1 diced carrot

– 1 minced onion

– 1 diced celery

– 50 g diced bacon

– 450 g cubed potatoes

– 150 ml cream

– 3 kg clams + their liquid

– salt & pepper

– 4 scallops

– olive oil

– parsley for decoration Read more

Advertisements

Baked rice, a popular song & an ancient job

baked rice with meat

baked rice

“Sciur padrun da li belle braghi bianchi fora le palanche, fora le palanche”. These words are in Italian dialect and I’ve learned them when I was 8. I still remember them because they tell a story that could easily have been that of my grandma’s mother: this song talks in fact about the “mondine” who are the women that, at the end of the spring, went in the fields to harvest rice. This kind of job became common in the second half of 1800 and it was a big cultural change: these women faced for the first time the job market as independent subject, earned an individual salary and, considering that often the job was far away from home, they had more freedom. Together with these positive changes there were the negative consequences: they were paid less then men and the job was exhausting. To harvest rice they bent for hours with cold and insane water up to their knees, in June and July they were surrounded by insects and it was common to take malarial fevers. But this strong work experience gave them also the opportunity to develop a consciousness of themselves as a group: in the second half of 1800 there were some strikes and they succeeded in increase their salary. After 100 years everything seems so poetic but this is a story about hard work, misery and constant fight to improve, something that makes me proud to be a woman: it’s great see that if 150 years ago the only choice for a poor peasant girl was to break her back in a rice field today we have so much opportunities. The simple possibility to choose is a gift. I hope you enjoyed this little piece of Italian cultural history and hope you will like the recipe. Of course Italy is famous for risotto, but it’s quite common to cook rice also in the oven like in the recipe that I propose you today. Buon appetito!

mondine

Read more

Risotto & scallops: creating a new Christmas tradition

risotto with scallopsWhat if I ask you how you imagine a typical Italian Christmas? I bet that you will think at a room full of people, different generations sitting around a table full of every sort of food, bottles of good wine, children that run around and women in the kitchen. And over all, an heavenly smell of food and the noise of a happy chatter. If this is what your mind suggested to you, you won! That is a reality in the biggest part of the Italian families and was also the way I used to spend all the Christmas that I’m able to remember. My heart is full of memories of a young version of my mother in the kitchen (days before Christmas!) with my aunts, a table that seemed always too short for all that people, such an incredible amount of food that even after years I don’t know how we survived… and then the hours spent playing bingo and all the plays we did only at Christmas. But this Christmas we had a completely different day. We didn’t come back in Italy and spent the holidays in Switzerland so, for the very first time, around the table there were only 3 people: my husband, our one year old daughter and me!  Even if it has been a very different Christmas, I can tell you that it was really special. I didn’t spent days in the kitchen cooking mountains of food, instead I decided to choose few particular dishes and make a menu to remember. This risotto with scallops is of course part of that menu, we really enjoyed it, hope you will too! Buon appetito!risotto with scallops Read more