Hello From Sicily – An Italian Cooking Class

I had thoroughly enjoyed my personal Sicilian history lesson provided by Alessandro Adorno, the Founder and Director of the Babilonia Language School. In addition he suggested that I attend one of the cooking classes organized by Babilonia that gives Italian language students an opportunity to create Sicilian delicacies first-hand. Just a minute and a half from the language school is the home of Aurelio and Angela Ferrari, a couple who regularly host language students as part of the homestay program of Babilonia. Currently the couple have three language students staying with them, and they provide them with comfortable accommodation as well as three home-cooked meals a day. Aurelio, now retired, has spent a life-time in the hospitality industry. He has …

Marinades, Sauces And Dressings: Balsamic Vinegar Compliments More Than You May Realize

A balsamic vinaigrette dressing can turn a nominal green salad into a refreshing mixed fresh Spring salad with a zest of Italian flair. Using aged balsamic adds a bit of gourmet into anyone’s kitchen. Send a bottle to a friend for a gift and you may turn their culinary world upside down. “The keynote to happiness within the four walls that make any home is plain, wholesome, well cooked food, attractively served.” — Louis P. De Gouy Balsamic Vinegar has an almost other worldly flavor that enhances nearly any food it touches. You can see a visible change on the face of someone who is trying Italian balsamico for the first time. Their face is transformed by awe and delight. …

Rediscovering Grilled Pizza

America’s favorite food has long been the pizza cooked in a traditional oven but is that about to change? While most Americans have probably never indulged in a grilled pizza, the origins of pizza are making a big comeback. There is no denying that we love our traditional backyard barbeque but rarely, if ever has the barbeque included grilling a pizza. Despite the seemingly odd combination of grill and pizza, the grill is the ideal tool for cooking pizza and in fact is deep in the origin of pizza making. The high, dry heat is ideal for a nice crisp crust and the flavor provided from your grill will on a whole new world of backyard grilling. Before the word …

Italian Cooking in American Kitchens

Most of us have found some sort of Italian cuisine that has become a favorite for our families and ourselves. Unfortunately, far too many of us discount the possibility of bringing Italian cooking into our very own kitchens for fear that many of the recipes are far too difficult. The truth is that learning to cook Italian food just might make your home the favorite drop in dining spot for friends and family all over. Believe it or not, most great Italian recipes have an easier version that can be made with very similar effects when it comes to flavor and aroma. Also, despite the commercials of old, all Italian cooking does not require an entire day of simmering in …

Food in Italy: Italian cooking and dining from your villa or apartment

If you’ve rented a villa or apartment in Italy, no doubt you’ll be trying to sample all the foods of Italy you can– dining out and eating in. Here’s a quick and easy guide for getting food in Italy, whether you’re ordering your first Italian meal at that sumptuous restaurant down the street or buying produce at the local market to create your own authentic Italian food. Shopping for Italian Food One of the great delights of renting an Italian villa or apartment is shopping for produce at an outdoor market. Virtually all towns in Italy have an outdoor market, usually once a week (ask around to find out which day). But regardless of whether you’re at a market, a …

Alfredo, and who on earth was he?

If you ask for Pasta Alfredo in a restaurant in Italy all you get from your waiter is a stare. Why is one of the most famous “Italian sauces” for pasta unknown in its country of origin? The answer is simple: because in Italy Pasta Alfredo doesn’t exist. Yes, Italians make a dish of pasta, fettuccine dressed with nothing else than good aged parmigiano cheese and a lot of butter, but is such a simple preparation that Italians don’t even consider it a “recipe”. Waverly Root in his famous book “The Food of Italy” (New York, 1971) wrote: “FETTUCCINE AL BURRO is associated in every tourist’s mind with Rome, possibly because the original Alfredo succeeded in making its serving a …

A Brief History of Pizza: The Dish that Conquered the World

Pizza, the way we know it today, is a derivation from focaccia (from the Latin word for fire), flat bread that has been prepared since antiquity in different forms and garnished with herbs, olives, fat, raisin, honey, and nuts. The word pizza in Italian identifies any type of flat bread or pie—fried or baked. Although you’d find many types of pitas or pizzas around the Mediterranean, it is in Naples that pizza in the form we know it today first emerged, after the tomato appeared on the table in the 1700s. Naples has many records of pizza since around the year 1000; the first mentions call these flat breads laganae, and later they are referred to as picea. In those …