'Seriously Italian' on Serious Eats

Seriously Italian: Cardoons

[Photograph: Gina DePalma] Previously Snowy Day Risotto » All Seriously Italian recipes » It is always a little weird to talk about cardoons in the context of Italian cooking, because I can't resist using a brogue and rhyming them with... More

Seriously Italian: Robiolina

"Sinking a knife or spoon into robiolina is like dipping into lightly whipped cream. " [Photographs: Gina DePalma] Previously Broccoli Romanesco » All Seriously Italian recipes » On my last visit to Italy this past November, I was surprised to see the number of American products popping up with regularity in Italian supermarkets. Only a few years ago Roman expats yearning for Bisquick or maple syrup had to cross the Tiber to visit the so-called "American aisle" at Castroni, the beloved specialty store that carries just about every food product a non-Italian could yearn for. But there it was, staring out at me from the dairy case of my old neighborhood supermercato: Philadelphia brand cream cheese. For a split second,... More

Video: Gina DePalma Makes Caciotta Fritters on 'The Dairy Show'

Our own Seriously Italian correspondent and Babbo executive pastry chef Gina DePalma appeared on The Dairy Show, a web show devoted to responsibly-made milk products. She whips up some savory fritters (or fritelli in Italian) using the Tuscan-style rustic farmhouse cheese caciotta from Dancing Ewe Farm. The little fried dough balls then get garnished with farm honey and fresh thyme from Gina's mom's garden. Watch the fritter-making after the jump.... More

Seriously Italian: Chestnut Honey

"Dark and spicy, with touches of smoke and leather, chestnut honey is complex, mysterious, and nuanced." Previously Fig and Almond Cookies » All Seriously Italian recipes » Autumn in Italy means chestnuts are everywhere, and I do mean everywhere. Chestnut trees observe no regional boundaries in Italy, and at this time of year, outdoor markets are piled high with the local crop and the smell of roasted chestnuts fills the air. And where chestnut trees abound, so does chestnut honey. The gift of chestnut honey arrives a bit earlier than the chestnuts themselves; mid to late summer is the time for chestnut honey to be harvested. But the chill of autumn is always the time that I crave chestnut honey,... More

Seriously Italian: Zuppa di Farro

"Like pasta, farro absorbs and unifies with whatever flavors you add to it." [Photographs: Gina DePalma, unless otherwise noted.] Previously Punctuating Flavors with Ricotta Salata » All Seriously Italian recipes » The onset of chilly, blustery days is the perfect... More

Seriously Italian: Punctuating Flavors with Ricotta Salata

Ricotta salata is riding a wave of new popularity. I like to think of it as a punctuation mark for both the eye and the palate. Position it strategically to call attention to the juicy sweetness of peas, shallots, watermelon and tomato, or the syrupy, honey-like quality of raisins, roasted butternut squash and parsnips. More

Seriously Italian: Gelato di Melone

Hot, muggy days are made for gelato di melone. Ripe melons have a high sugar and water content as well as dense flesh, resulting in a creamy-textured gelato without the addition of eggs or milk. If you want that extra bit of dimension from a just bit of dairy, my trick is to add a small amount of yogurt; the acidity gives a pleasing, subtle tang to offset the natural sweetness of the melon. More

Seriously Italian: Eggplant 'A Fungetielli'

Editor's note: On Thursdays, Babbo pastry chef Gina DePalma checks in with Seriously Italian. After a stint in Rome, she's back in the States, channeling her inner Italian spirit via recipes and intel on delicious Italian eats. Take it away, Gina! Photo from effe8 on Flickr I couldn’t help it. They were calling to me: black, shiny, bulgingly beautiful eggplants, piled high at the market. Magnifica! The skin was so smooth and glossy, I could have reapplied my lip gloss in its reflection. Sometimes a vegetable beckons in unexpected ways, compelling and beguiling. I lost my head and loaded up. Mom rolled her eyes when I got home. “That’s a lot of eggplant.” She was right; I went overboard, and... More

Seriously Italian: Saffron Fregola with Potatoes and Peas

Editor's note: On Thursdays, Babbo pastry chef Gina DePalma checks in with Seriously Italian. After a stint in Rome, she's back in the States, channeling her inner Italian spirit via recipes and intel on delicious Italian eats. Take it away, Gina! Fregola is a unique, rolled semolina pasta from the Sardinian region of Cagliari. It is most often compared to the large, pearly Israeli couscous, but I see it as way more exciting. Made with coarse semolina, fregola—or fregula—lacks the polished finish of Israeli couscous; it is misshapen and has a nubby, rough texture that makes it perfect for sopping up and conducting the flavors of sauce and broth. Another key flavor element is the toasting. After the simple dough... More

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