Eat the Season: The Gnudi from Tuscany

Spinach is available year round but in this period you find the fall variety characterised by more succulent leaves. Spinach is a good reservoir of minerals and vitamins, as long as it is consumed strictly raw. If you have to cook them as in this recipe, it’s better if you steam the spinach to preserve the nutrients. Now you are all set to prepare this recipe from Tuscany: the Gnudi. This name, in Tuscan dialect, means naked, as they are not covered with dough. The lightness and delicacy of this dish is the strength of the Gnudi, which are best accompanied by a fresh dressing light tomato sauce or butter and sage.

The Gnudi, Spinach and Ricotta based Dish from Tuscany
Tuscan Gnudi

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Scampi alla busara: a Traditional fish-dish from Trieste

Despite its controversial origin (Croatia? Venetian Laguna? Trieste?), “Scampi alla busara” is nowadays one of the most appreciated dishes of the Triestine cuisine and of the gastronomic tradition of the High Adriatic.

The origin of the name buzara or busara is unclear.  For some people, the dialect Venetian word  “busiaro” means “liar”, because the Venetian fishermen cooked crayfishy scraps with tomatoes and wine pretending it to be a delicious soup. Others think that the term derives from the iron pot used to prepare it.

 Keep reading and get ready for plenty of crusty bread to clean up the sauce!

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Eggplant caponata – traditional Sicilian recipe

Yesterday during our weekly visit at Ca’ – Cucina in Hellerup (Denmark) we saw a lot of fruit and vegetables, including eggplants and celery ….the right ingredients to make caponata, a traditional Sicilian recipe. Every area in Sicily has its own version. We prepared the one we got from a dear friend from Palermo.

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Caponata – a traditional Sicilian recipe

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Liptauer canapés

Liptauer is a creamy and tangy cheese quite popular across multiple countries. It is no surprise that there are many variations on the spread. We find Liptauer in many groceries in Trieste (the main city in the Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia) as this cheese is very appreciated in the north east of Italy. We opted to make Liptauer using ricotta and mascarpone cheese instead of sheep cheese, and sweet paprika instead of hot paprika.  Our version is sweeter and delicate, perfect to be garnished with pecan nuts.

If you want to know where you can taste Liptauer canapé’ during your trip in Italy, try this newborn and useful service: www.lastaurant.com. Just send a message via Messenger to Lastaurant and ask for any kind of information and tips on restaurants that are in an area between 0.5 and 20 km from you.  It’s worth trying it!

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Sautéed mussels – impepata di cozze

“Sautéed mussels” is a typical summer recipe in the Mediterranean Sea area. The salt water contained in the mollusc adds a taste of sea to this dish, making you dream a journey to Italy.

 Enjoy it with roasted sliced bread and a glass of fresh white Italian wine!

Sauteed mussels

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Mushroom risotto

Our Italian friend Silvia from New Zealand (very far from us! 🙂 ) sent us her version of mushroom risotto.

But first of all let’s go meet her.

Do you want to introduce yourself?
My name is Silvia Canessa and I am 43. I have 2 boys Riccardo 12 and Lorenzo 10 and a black labrador Maia. We moved to Wellington, New Zealand, 8 years ago. I am originally from Livorno, Toscana.

What’s your favourite Italian recipe which you use to prepare often and easily?

My favourite recipe is Cacciucco, but I can’t do it here because I can’t find the ingredients.
What I cook very often is the mushroom risotto because here it is very easy to find fresh mushrooms.

(The Cacciucco is a traditional fish stew associated with the two seaside towns Livorno and Viareggio – Tuscany. This poor but delicious and tasty dish, is made with a wide variety of Mediterranean fish such as shellfish, scorpionfish, small clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari. cuttlefish, octopus, bream, mullet. According to tradition, to prepare a good Cacciucco you should have at least five different types of fish, one for each letter c in cacciucco.
The best restaurants where you can taste this dish are Trattoria 11 – Livorno  and Ristorante Conti Montenero – Livorno.)

What product do you miss mostly from Italy?

I miss the mozzarella, you can buy it here but it’s extremely expensive and not so tasty and fresh as the Italian one.

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Pasta (Trofie) with pesto sauce

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The recipe of this week is kindly offered by Massimo, an Italian friend (and cousin of one of us :-)) who lives in Houston together with his beautiful kids and his lovely wife.

Do you want to introduce yourself?

My name is Massimo Blaskovic. I am an Italian citizen and US permanent resident. I live in US since 2009, two of my three children are American citizens.

Where are you originally from?
I consider myself a Northeastern Italian, since I spent there the majority of my life in a town close to Trieste.
And now, talking about food, what’s your favourite Italian recipe which you use to prepare often and easily?
I like a lot Pasta al Pesto but my kids prefer Pasta alla Carbonara. I believe it is because of the tasty pancetta, which is quite a challenge to find here in US, so we usually go for smoked bacon instead.
What product do you miss mostly from Italy?
La salsiccia de cranio from Bepi Sciavo. (note: Bepi Sciavo is the most famous and oldest Buffet in Trieste, where Massimo comes from, and La salsiccia de cranio is one of the most delectable dish that Bepi serves).
About Pasta al pesto, what would you tell us?
Even if this is not a typical recipe of the region I am from, it is easy and quick to do, which is a must for a family with kids. You can prepare the sauce while you wait for the water to boil and the pasta to cook. And last but not least, the ingredients to prepare the pesto sauce are easy to find also in US.

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Sweet peaches with lemon custard

For all the beautiful moms who follow our blog…this recipe is for you!

You should not prepare it but you should receive these gorgeous peaches served on a silver plate by your sweet kids when you’ll wake up on Sunday morning.

Have a wonderful… (and well deserved :-)) Mother’s day!

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