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italian

Quick Meal - Gnocchi with Shrimp in Harissa Sauce

Quick Meal - Gnocchi with Shrimp in Harissa Sauce

The thing in this dish is really the garlicky harissa sauce that gives it the warmth that otherwise is the domain of a cheese sauce. Smashed garlic and generous teaspoon of harissa slowly infuses the oil in which the shrimp is cooked and then add pasta and arugula blanched in the pasta water and you are gold!

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Whole Orange Polenta Cake

Whole Orange Polenta Cake

Would you eat something pretty or something tasty, again and again? :)

This cake is made using one of those Italian staples, Polenta. Their particular version of this yellow corn flour is extraordinarily finely ground, with more of a nut meal like texture than the grits we easily find in the States. This is what lends the corn flour to their delightful use in pastries. And, you can imagine it is much cheaper than fine ground flour. After all, polenta is an everyday savory staple and its use in sweet creations is an accessible extension, especially in the heartland of Tuscany that while beautiful is a harsh agrarian land!

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Sicilian Mackerel Pasta via Venice

Sicilian Mackerel Pasta via Venice

Oddly, you don't really hear a lot about food in Venice. Sure, the seafood is divine, being so freshly caught and well, it is Italy... So the bar is fairly high relatively speaking. Yet, very little is said of Venetian cuisine. By and large the general consensus is that everything is expensive and not quite the same value you get from other parts of Italy. Disregarding the economics, though, there are several lovely food experiences to be had.

Today, I want to share a dish l recreated back home from my trip to the city, where I had the best Sicilian food. A mackerel pasta with the distinctive Sicilian chilli flecked tomato sauce and with layers of flavors and surprises on the palate!

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Spaghetti and Meatballs : Italian after all?

Spaghetti and Meatballs : Italian after all?

Italian cuisine is one of America's favorite ones and, indeed, Italians constitute 6% of the US population. But, the forever question has been is "Is the Italian food eaten in the US really Italian?"

Does the infamous spaghetti-meatballs dish really have no Italian origins?

The truthful answer to that is that is "It's complicated"...

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Mushroom Carbonara

Mushroom Carbonara

If there is one thing I have learnt living in Italy for nearly a year and being in close contact with the original Italian food culture is that they are very protective of it and very very attached to the past and the old, traditional way of doing things. Which means, limited to zero tolerance to changing their beloved dishes.

The question in my mind is where is the line between innovation and tradition? When is it unnecessary to tinker with something that isn't broken and when is the need or desire?

Meanwhile, I present to you an ultimately blasphemous dish to you... Mushroom Carbonara. Which, is one, vegetarian and two has rosemary in it! Shhh! Yet, the mushrooms offer a earthy groundedness similar to what the guanciale would. If you are an orthodox Italian, I beseech you to try it before you turn your nose up at it. :)

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