Buongiorno!

Today I want to share this simple recipe with you, which comes from Valle D’Aosta, the smallest Italian region in northwest Italy, right on the border with France and Switzerland. This region is famous for its majestic peaks, but also for its fontina cheese. This recipe is very easy and delicious!

 

Cris’ Valdostana Cutlets – serves 3

Recommended pairing: I would suggest a medium body, still, dry red wine. You can stay in the region and pair with a Chambave Red, but Rosso Montepulciano or Barbera work as well! 

INGREDIENTS:

– 3-4 big slices of thinly sliced veal (or 6 small)

– 4 slices of ham

– 3 slices of Fontina or Emmental

– 2 eggs

– 1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs

– 1 cup of flour

– 1 1/2 cups of sunflower oil

– Salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

• Flatten the meat with a meat tenderizer

• Place the Fontina cheese on the veal cutlets

• Add one slice of ham on top of each cutlet

• Fold it or cover with another cutlet

• As best you can, seal the edges (use wooden sticks if necessary)

• Dunk the stuffed cutlets in the flour

• Then move to the beaten eggs, coating both sides

• Then pass the meat to the breadcrumbs and make sure that you cover both sides very well to seal the cheese inside

• Once the oil is hot, add the stuffed cutlets

• Fry both sides for 6-7 minutes each, or until golden and crispy

• Place on a kitchen paper towel and serve immediately

Buon appetito!!

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Buongiorno!

As our lockdown here in Italy continues, I keep thinking about where I want to go when this is all over. It’s a bit cold today, and I find myself dreaming of the beach. Maybe I will visit Ischia, or somewhere on the Adriatic Sea, or maybe I will enjoy a great Vermentino with a view in Sardinia.

I can dream, but for today, it’s time to stay at home… and cook!

Today’s recipe is pesto pasta, and you only need a few ingredients to prepare this delicious basil sauce. Fun fact: pesto was originally made with a mortar and pestle in Genoa, where Max (my husband and Ciao Andiamo co-owner) is from. If you want to store pesto, remember to put in a small box, pack it in, remove air pockets, and cover completely with olive oil. You can also freeze it!

 

 

Cris’ Pesto Pasta – serves 4

Recommended pairing: A white fresh, fruity, wine with good acidity like Pigato, Vermentino or Sauvignon works perfectly!

INGREDIENTS:

• 2 bunches fresh basil (around 4 cups)

• 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

• 1/2 cup olive oil EVOO

• 1/2 pine nuts

• 1 clove garlic chopped, if you like

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 250/300 gr spaghetti or trofie

• 1 medium potato , in small pieces

INSTRUCTIONS:

– Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water with potato until done

– While the pasta is cooking, wash and dry fresh basil leaves

– Add basil leaves and olive oil into the food processor and pulse to combine

– Add parmesan cheese and pine nuts

– Add salt, and then a spoonful of olive oil

– Add garlic, pulse on high to combine

– Pay attention that the processor do not get too warm

– Drain the pasta

– In a large bowl, mix pesto sauce into pasta. Stir in grated cheese

– Serve and enjoy your pesto pasta!

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Ciao from Umbria!

Easter is a very important holiday to us Italians – it’s like our Thanksgiving! It is the biggest religious holiday after Christmas, and has a rich history spanning 1500 years. It is a time when families come together from all over the country and celebrate the end of Lent with festivities of all kinds, including, of course, lots of food.

This easter will be very different from those before. Maybe you get to be with your close family, or maybe you will eat at home while you speak with your family on your phone or computer. Either way, here are some of my favorite things to make for an Easter Sunday spread that always makes my family happy!

 

Easter Bread

INGREDIENTS

• 450 gr flour

• 4 egges

• 1 glass oil (EVO or sunflower)

• 1 glass whole milk

• 200 gr Pecorino cheese

• 30 gr instant yeast

• 4 pinches salt

• Butter

INSTRUCTIONS

– Grease a rounded tray with butter and sprinkle a spoon of flour so that the mixture will not stick

– In a small bowl, add 2 spoons of warm milk and yeast

– Beat eggs with salt

– Add Pecorino Cheese and mix together

– Add milk and oil

– Add the flour and mix well

– Add the yeast

– Put mixture in the tray and cook in the oven for 30 minutes at 200 degrees

 

Spinach and Ricotta Crêpes

Crêpes

INGREDIENTS – 8/10 crepes

• 100 gr all-purpose flour

• 2 large eggs

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 1 glass whole milk

• 1 tbsp. butter

INSTRUCTIONS

– In a large mixing bowl, create a well with flour then add eggs, slowly whisking them into the flour

– Add sugar and salt and stir until combined

– Gradually add in milk, whisking to combine after each addition

– Let batter stand at room temperature 15 minutes

– In a small skillet over medium heat, melt butter. About 1/4 cup at a time, drop batter evenly onto pan, swirling it to an even coat

– Cook for 2 minutes, then flip and cook for 1 more minute. Repeat with remaining batter

– Set aside

Bechamel

INGREDIENTS

• 1 glass whole milk

• 50 gr butter

• 40 gr flour

• salt

• 1 tsp nutmeg

INSTRUCTIONS

– Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming

– Add flour

– Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until creamy

– Remove from heat and slowly add milk, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth

– Return to heat

– Cook, stirring gently, for 10 to 12 minutes or until it comes to a boil, thickens, and coats the back of a wooden spoon

– Remove from heat and add salt and nutmeg

Ricotta Filling

INGREDIENTS

• 250 gr Ricotta Cheese

• 200 gr Boiled spinach

• 100 gr Parmesan

• 1/2 tbsp EVO

• 1 garlic clove

• salt + pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

– Oil the spinach, squeeze out the excess water very well

– Roughly chop the spinach

– In a large bowl, add Parmesan and ricotta, then add the spinach

– Season well with salt and pepper

Grab your crêpes!

– Spread filling on one half of each crepe and fold over twice

– Place on the baking sheet or singular plate

– Add béchamel and asparagus (or tomato or whatever you like) and Parmesan on it

– Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted

 

Pastiera

Crust

INGREDIENTS

• 350 gr “OO” all purpose flour or pastry flour

• 140 gr sugar

• 175 gr butter

• 2 large eggs

• orange zest

INSTRUCTIONS

– Mix the butter and sugar together

– Add the eggs and mix again until the dough forms a ball

– Cover the dough ball with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes or until needed

Ricotta Filling

• 350 gr ricotta cheese

• 250 gr sugar

• 2 eggs + 1 yolk

• 1 milk glass

• A few drops of vanilla extract

• A few drops of orange blossom water, to taste

• 75-100g candied orange and/or citron peel (if you like)

• orange zest

• lemon zest

• 300 gr Grano precotto (pre-boiled wheat berries or barley)

 

INSTRUCTIONS

You can prepare the filling even a day before or even 2 hours before and keep it in the refrigerator

 

COOK THE GRANO COTTO

Put the grano cotto in a saucepan with milk , stirring until the mixture becomes creamy (similar to porridge) (about 15-20 minutes) and let it cool completely before adding to the ricotta

– Pour the ricotta into a large mixing bowl

– Add the sugar and whisk until the sugar is well incorporated and the mixture is rather fluffy

– Add the eggs, one by one

– Add orange and lemon zest

– At this point, pour grano cotto into the ricotta cream and orange blossom water

– Taste and adjust the seasoning

Fill the crust

– After 30 minutes, take the dough out of the fridge. Take about 2/3 of the dough and roll it out into a round and fit into your pie plate

– Pour the filling into the pie plate, making sure not to fill the pastry shell to the very top, since the filling will swell during baking

– Cut off any excess dough that is hanging over the sides

– Create stripes and lay on top

– Using your fingers, make sure that the crust sticks to the sides

– Place the pastiera in the oven at 190 degrees for about an hour, or until the filling is cooked through and the top has browned nicely

– Lastly, add confectioner’s sugar

– Enjoy!

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Buongiorno from Umbria!

Many of our friends and readers have reached out to us for inspiration right now since we will be at home for a while. And, well, since I have some time on my hands, I thought I’d reply and share updates on life here in Italy, along with sharing with you some of my favorite classic Italian recipes. Since we are at home with these lockdowns, we may as well make the best of it and take this opportunity to reconnect with our families over healthy food you’ve prepared on your own, right in your own kitchen.

I first learned to cook from my mom and grandma, and I love sharing my cooking for my family and friends, and now with you! I will post easy, quick recipes with few ingredients, and, of course, suggest which wine to pair my dish with. I know that, for many, it will not be easy to stay in quarantine. But I want to be helpful and inspire those in my second home to stick it out as we have done here in Italy, and hopefully, these recipes will make that a little bit easier!

– Cristiana

Recipe below! Make sure to check out our social media for more updates.

 

 

Cris’ Carbonara – serves 4

Recommended pairing: Pinot Grigio or another white wine, like Misluli Umbria Bianco 2016 from the Ninni winery in Umbria. You want a wine that will cleanse your palette, and that has some acidity to help cut the creaminess, creating a perfect balance.

 
INGREDIENTS:

  • 250 gr Voiello or similar, or gluten-free spaghetti
  • 1 cup (100 gr) diced bacon pancetta
  • 3 eggs
  • kosher salt and fresh black pepper
  • 2/3 grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 2/3 grated Pecorino Roman
  • 2 garlic gloves
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil
  2. Mix eggs with cheese (leave some cheese for the end) and whisk together with salt
  3. Grate some fresh black pepper into the egg mixture
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the EVOO with garlic, and then add pancetta (or bacon) cook until it is slightly crisp – about 5/7 minutes
  5. In the meantime, add the pasta to the salted water and cook about 10 minutes until al dente
  6. Keep aside a cup of boiling pasta water to add to the spaghetti in the pan later (it makes the sauce creamy)
  7. Drain pasta and add to the pan
  8. Mix with the pancetta
  9. Add the egg mixture, the water you set aside, mix, and remove from heat
  10. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of Parmesan, Pecorino, and fresh grated black pepper

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