9 oz pkg fresh deli spinach ravioli
2 cups Marinara sauce
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat the marinara sauce in a medium skillet. Gently place the ravioli on top of the sauce. Cover the pan, turn the heat down to low and simmer the ravioli until tender, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.
Zucchini Sausage Saute
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped bell pepper
1 small zucchini, sliced thin
2 Italian sausage links, cooked and sliced thin
½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon salt
Heat the oil in a small skillet. Ass the onion and bell pepper. Cook until tender about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the sausage slices and seasonings. Saute until all the ingredients are hot. Serve with the ravioli.
I like this sauce for ravioli because it is thick and adheres to the pasta.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
3 tablespoons (about 6-8 cloves) garlic, peeled and minced
2 28-ounce cans of whole Italian tomatoes
1-14 oz container of finely diced or crushed Italian tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried oregano
teaspoon chili flavored tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
20 basil leaves, chiffonade
Pour the oil into a large pot over medium heat.
Stir in the onion and continue cooking, stirring often, until the onion is soft. This takes about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, for another 1 minute.
Pour in the cans and use a wooden spoon to break the tomatoes into pieces.
Add the remaining ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Turn the heat down to keep it at a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for about 11/2 hours.
Cook ravioli according to package instructions.
Tip: to drain the ravioli, set a colander in a large serving bowl. Gently scoop the cooked ravioli out of the water with a spider. Set the colander aside and drain the water from the serving bowl The bowl is now warm. Add a layer of ravioli, spread a layer of sauce, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
While this post is about dinner for two, I am posting my traditional meatball recipe because when I make the entire recipe. That way I can freeze them in small batches for the future. Add a Garden Salad to round out the menu.
Makes 18 to 20 meatballs. Make the meatball mixture early in the day.
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground pork
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup freshly grated parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
3 tablespoons chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
3cups stale Italian bread, crumbled
1 ½ cups lukewarm water
Combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl. Add garlic, eggs, cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Blend bread crumbs into the meat mixture. Slowly add the water 1/2 cup at a time. The mixture should be very moist but still, hold its shape. Refrigerate for several hours.
Shape the meat mixture into 3-inch balls.
Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet. Fry meatballs in batches.
When the meatball is very brown and slightly crisp, remove it from the heat and drain on a paper towel. (If your mixture is too wet, cover the meatballs while they are cooking so that they hold their shape better.)
For dinner for two;
Place a ladle of sauce in a small baking dish. Place 4 meatballs in the dish. Cover with sauce. Cover the dish and bake in the oven with the ravioli.
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup tomato paste
¼ cup of chopped fresh basil leaves
½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper (optional)
Two 26 oz containers can of finely chopped Italian tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and stir until well mixed. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook partially covered for 1 hour.
I love that ravioli; i can be cooked this. No more breaking apart in boiling water. If you double the recipe use two baking dishes that can go into the dishwasher. The ravioli need to be in a single layer to cook properly.
2 cups marinara sauce
Half a package of frozen cheese-filled ravioli (25 to 27 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Defrost the ravioli on a plate in a single layer covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom and sides of rectangular baking dish 13x9x2-inches, with cooking spray.
Spread 1 cup of the pasta sauce in a baking dish. Arrange the ravioli in a single layer over the sauce; top with half of the remaining pasta sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered 15 minutes longer or until bubbly and hot in center.
Sausage Tomato Sauce
1 ½ lbs sweet Italian sausage
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
`/2 cup finely chopped onion
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon red chili flakes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 containers (2- 26 and 1-14 oz) chopped Italian tomatoes
1 tomato container filled with water
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven and brown the sausage. Remove the sausage to a plate. Add the onion to the pan and site until tender about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, seasoning, and tomato paste. Stir and cook for 2 minutes, Add the tomatoes and water. Bring to a low boil, reduce the heat, and add the sausage to the sauce. Partially clever the pot and simmer the sauce until thickened for about 2 hours.
Depending on how many ravioli you want to make, you can place the second layer of ravioli over the first layer. This is such an easy way to cook ravioli and makes clean up
easy plus the ravioli don’t come apart in boiling water.
1 lb frozen ravioli
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Sausage Tomato Sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place 1 cup of sauce in an oiled 9 x 13 baking dish.
Make one layer of ravioli, cover completely with sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Continue with the second layer making sure ravioli are completely covered with sauce.
Cover and bake for 30to 40 minutes depending on how many layers are in the dish.
Uncover and sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.
Bake an additional 15 minutes. Serve the sausage on the side.
Serve with a leaf lettuce salad with added sliced red onion and Kalamata olives.
These are the dishes my children and grandchildren love. I try to make them when they visit. No one ever seems to tire eating these traditional family favorites.
Neapolitan “Low Carb” Meatballs
Makes 12 large meatballs
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound lean ground pork
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon Montreal steak seasoning
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Marinara Sauce for cooking the meatballs, recipe below
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Using your hands. combine all of the meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Cover a large baking sheet with foil and coat the foil with olive oil cooking spray. Form the meatball mixture into large meatballs. Use a ½ cup measure. You should be able to make 12 large meatballs. Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet and place the pan in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn the meatballs over. Bake for 15 minutes more. Place the meatballs in the pot of marinara sauce and simmer for one hour.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
6 oz can tomato paste
Two 26-28 oz containers of Italian finely chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Heat the oil in a large deep skillet. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until tender. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer the sauce for about 1 ½ hours.
Sausage and Peppers
2 lbs Italian pork sausage, one hot; one sweet
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
8-10 Italian frying peppers, stems and seeds removed; cut into 1-inch rings
2 medium onions, sliced
1 cup marinara sauce, recipe above
Heat an outdoor grill with direct and indirect heat. Place the sausage links on the indirect heat side and cook for 15 minutes. Turn the sausage links over and grill for 15 minutes more. Remove the links to a plate and cool. Cut the sausage into 1-inch pieces.
You may also cook the sausage in the oven or in a frying pan.
Heat the oil in a large deep skillet. Add the garlic, onions, and peppers. Turn the heat to low and cook until the vegetables are soft and tender, about 30 minutes. Add the sliced sausage and marinara sauce. Heat over low until hot.
My favorite frozen ravioli are made by Celentano. They are most like homemade ravioli and for busy times they are perfect.
One family size package cheese ravioli
2 cups Marinara sauce, heated, recipe above
Grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the ravioli in boiling salted water according to the package instructions.
I like to place the package of ravioli in the refrigerator overnight. That way the ravioli do not stick together and you can drop individual ravioli into the boiling water.
Remove the ravioli with a spider utensil and place the ravioli in a serving bowl. With each layer, add sauce and Parmesan cheese. Continue until all the ravioli are in the serving bowl. Serve immediately.
For each one pound of eggplant, you will need:
1 pound eggplant, peeled
2-3 large eggs
1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat two large baking sheets with nonstick olive oil cooking spray.
Cut peeled eggplants crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (no thicker). You want them to be thin.
Place the eggs in one shallow dish and the breadcrumbs mixed with the cheese in another.
Dip the eggplant slices into the egg, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, turn the eggplant slices over, and bake until crisp and golden, about 10-15 minutes longer.
To assemble the casserole, you will need:
Spray an 8 inch or 9 inch or 8-by-11 1/2-inch baking dish with olive oil cooking spray.
Preheat the oven to 375 °F.
2 ½ cups Marinara sauce (see recipe above)
8 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
1 recipe breaded and baked eggplant
Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange half of the eggplant slices over the sauce, overlapping slightly. Spoon 1 cup of sauce over the eggplant and add half of the cheese slices. Add the remaining eggplant slices and top with the remaining sauce and cheese. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake until the sauce bubbles, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Italian Romaine Salad
1 head of romaine lettuce, sliced, washed and dried
1 small red onion, cut into rings
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Place the greens and onion in a medium salad bowl. In a jar, combine the dressing ingredients. Shake well and pour over the greens. Toss and serve.
Leftover Meatballs, Sausage & Peppers and Eggplant make great sandwiches.
With company coming for the holidays, I like to make some traditional Italian dishes. My children always ask for Italian and have ever since they were little. A favorite is ravioli and homemade ravioli is so delicious. Store-bought doesn’t compare. Since I am making it, I thought I would share the “how to” with you.
How To Make Homemade Ravioli
Combine 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 3 large eggs, beaten, 1 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Process until the dough comes together; shape into a ball.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface; flatten slightly. Cut dough into 4 pieces. Wrap 3 dough pieces in plastic wrap; set aside.
Knead dough with a pasta machine. Set the rollers of the pasta machine at the widest setting (position 1). Feed one unwrapped dough piece through the flat rollers by turning the handle. (Dough may crumble slightly at first but will hold together after two to three rollings.)
Lightly flour the dough strip; fold strip into thirds. Feed through rollers again. Continue this process 5-6 times more, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Roll the dough out with the machine keeping the sheets as wide as the pasta maker roller. Reduce the setting to position 3. Feed the dough strip through the rollers. Without folding strip into thirds, repeat on positions 5 and 6.
Place the rolled out dough on a floured kitchen towel. Repeat kneading and rolling with the reserved dough pieces.
1 cup ricotta cheese, well-drained
6 ounces shredded mozzarella
1 cup fresh herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, marjoram), chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a mixing bowl, thoroughly combine all the filling ingredients. Chill in the refrigerator to firm up the filling.
To Shape Ravioli
In a small bowl, combine 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water; set aside.
Place the rolled dough on a cutting board and brush strips lightly with the egg mixture.
Leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges, place about 1 teaspoon of filling at 1-inch intervals on one strip of dough.
Lay a second strip of dough, brushed side down, over the first.
Using your fingers, press the dough around each mound of filling so that the two moistened strips stick together.
Cut into squares or rounds. Place cut out ravioli on cookie sheets sprinkled with semolina flour.
I usually cook some and freeze the rest for a quick dinner at a later date.
To Cook Ravioli
Bring a large amount of salted water to boiling in a large pot. Gently drop about one-fourth of the ravioli, one at a time, into the boiling water and stir to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Simmer gently for 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. They will float to the top of the water when cooked. Using a slotted spoon, transfer ravioli to a serving dish and add the sauce and grated Parmesan cheese.
6-8 thin slices top-round or sirloin steak
Pasta Sauce, recipe below
2 large cloves garlic, grated
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
In a medium mixing bowl combine the filling ingredients.
Between pieces of plastic wrap, pound the meat thin, scaloppine style.
Lay the meat slices out side by side on a clean workspace. Divide the filling equally on the meat slices, leaving a 1/4-inch border.
Drizzle with olive oil and roll each piece up jelly roll style. Tie each piece in three places with the string.
Brown in olive oil and add to the sauce.
Cover the pan, reduce the heat so that the sauce just simmers, and cook the braciole in the sauce, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours or until the meat is very tender.
Makes about 2 quarts of sauce.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (26-ounce) Italian chopped tomatoes (I use Pomi brand tomatoes)
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, oregano, salt, and crushed red pepper, reduce the heat to a simmer, and place the cover on the pan but leave it ajar so the sauce can reduce.
Cook for 2-3 hours until reduced and thickened and then add meatballs, sausage or braciole. Cook for 30 minutes more.
Add the basil at the end of the cooking time.
Milan is a metropolitan city in the Lombardy region of Italy and it replaced the Province of Milan. It includes the city of Milan and other municipalities (comuni) and was first created by the reform of local authorities (Law 142/1990). It has been operative since January 1, 2015.
Italy’s fashion houses are legendary, from Dolce Vita to Prada and Versace to Valentino. The country has always been known for its meticulous craftsmanship and luxury materials, but it was only after Word War II that Italy emerged as a fashion destination. After the war Italy’s fashion industry got the confidence and the economic support to come into its own. In an effort to restore and stabilize the Italian economy after World War II, the Marshall Plan provided American aid for Italy’s textile businesses, which were mostly small, family owned operations. This investment spurred the production of leather, fur, silk and wool— the country’s most prized luxury materials to this day.
In 2009, this Italian city was named the fashion capital of the world. Every year, several major runway shows are held in Milan that showcase international fashion icons, buyers and models. The fashion industry in Italy is known for providing fashionable clothing and accessories that boast comfort, elegance, quality and fantasy. The purpose of Italian fashion is somehow different from the ones in New York, Paris and Tokyo. Italians prefer to buy clothes that will remain stylish longer, comfortable to wear and of good quality rather than fading trends.
During the ’50s and ’60s, while French labels like Christian Dior and Jacques Fath turned their focus fully on couture, only Italian fashion designers truly understood the need for women to have comfortable, versatile clothing that was also tailored and refined. Italian day wear took off in America and paved the way for the ready-to-wear collections coming out of Italy’s fashion houses today. Part of the reason Italy was the first market for day wear was a coterie of women designers who understood the needs of women. Germana Marucelli, Mila Schön, Simonetta and Galitzine: These women all came from Italian aristocracy and they found themselves without jobs and without any money after the war. What they knew were clothes and they had the technical know-how to create new designs.
In Italy, designers have shown excellence when it comes to creating clothes and accessories that are functional and practical. In terms of design, designers make sure that the fabrics and other materials used in producing clothes are of equal quality. The country’s fashion industry has remained competitive in the international fashion industry and the industry is playing a significant role in the recovery of the Italian economy from the recession that recently hit the country. Any improvement in the condition of the fashion industry will also be beneficial to other industries in Italy. This is because most of the regions and small factories in the country are involved in the production of fashion accessories, textiles, shoes and apparel.
Spring Fashion Week 2016
Some of the largest fashion companies in the world are also headquartered in Italy. Many of the major Italian fashion brands, such as Valentino, Versace, Prada, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Marni, Iceberg, Missoni, Trussardi, Moschino, Dirk Bikkembergs, Etro, and Zegna are currently headquartered in the city. Among the newest labels are young designers, such as Sara Battaglia, Angelos Bratis and Aquilano.Rimondi.
Milan also hosts a fashion week twice a year in Milan’s main upscale fashion district, where the city’s most prestigious shopping streets (Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga, Via Sant’Andrea, Via Manzoni and Corso Venezia) are found. Italy also is home to many fashion magazines, such as Vogue Italia, Vanity Fair, Elle, Glamour, Grazia, Amica, Flair and Gioia.
In Milan not even the onslaught of the fall collections can prevent some of the city’s most stylish from preparing delicious, fresh food.
Want to feel like you are in Milan – make some of the recipes from their well-known cuisine.
Milanese Tripe Soup
- 2 1/4 pounds (1 k) boiled veal tripe
- 12 ounces (300 g) cranberry beans, soaked overnight
- 2/3 pound (300 g) carrots, chopped
- 1/2 pound (200 g) canned tomatoes
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2 onions, minced
- A small stick celery, minced
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A sprig of sage
If you haven’t bought the tripe already boiled, wash it very well, then cut it into fairly large pieces and boil it in a large pot for 30 minutes. Drain and discard the liquid.
Cover the tripe again with water and add a carrot, a celery stalk, an onion and salt. Bring to a boil. Skim the surface often and simmer for 4 hours, adding water if needed.
Drain it well and cut it into the traditional thin strips. Fill a pot with water and simmer the sliced tripe for another hour.
When the hour is almost up heat the butter and the oil in a Dutch oven and sauté the onions. When they are golden, add the tripe with its liquid, and, a few minutes later, the beans, celery, carrots, tomatoes and sage.
Season the pot with salt and pepper and add a little boiling water (just enough to cover). Cover and simmer on low for about three hours. Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese.
- 3 1/3 cups (400 g) flour
- 4 eggs, divided
- 10 ounces (250 g) ground beef
- 3 cups (150 g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for serving
- 1/4 cup (50 g) softened unsalted butter, plus additional for the sauce
- A few tablespoons of beef broth
- A pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
Work the flour with a pinch of salt, two of the eggs and just enough water to obtain a smooth elastic dough. Knead it well, for 10-15 minutes, cover it with a damp cloth and set it aside.
Combine the ground beef with the butter and the grated Parmigiano. Add a pinch of nutmeg, the remaining 2 eggs, a few tablespoons of broth to moisten and mix well.
Divide the dough into two pieces and roll them out into two very thin rectangles.
Lay one of the sheets on the work surface and dot it with tablespoons of filling, separating them by a couple of inches (5 cm).
Lay the second sheet over the first, press down between the filling, so the sheets stick together and then cut each ravioli free with a serrated pasta wheel.
Bring a pot of water to boil, salt it and cook the ravioli for a few minutes, remove them with a strainer to a serving bowl. Serve them with melted butter and grated cheese.
Involtini di Vitello alla Milanese
- 12 thin slices veal, about one and one-half pounds, cut for scaloppine
- 1/4 cup chopped prosciutto
- 1/3 pound chicken livers, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon, plus 3 tablespoons,butter
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 1/2 cup fine fresh breadcrumbs
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup fresh or canned chicken broth
- 1/4 cup chopped sage or parsley
Put the slices of veal between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a flat mallet until even without breaking the tissues. Set aside.
Combine the prosciutto and chicken livers in a mixing bowl.
Heat one teaspoon of the butter in a small skillet and cook the onion, stirring, until it is wilted. Add this to the mixing bowl. Add the garlic, bread crumbs, nutmeg, pepper, lemon rind, egg and cheese. Blend well.
Lay out the pieces of veal in one layer on a flat surface. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon an equal portion of the filling on each slice.
Wrap the meat around the filling, folding and tucking the ends in envelope fashion. Tie each bundle neatly in two pieces of kitchen string. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Dredge the bundles all over in flour and shake off the excess.
In a heavy skillet large enough to hold the rolls, without crowding, in one layer, heat the remaining three tablespoons of butter and add the veal bundles.
Cook, turning the bundles occasionally, until they are browned all over, about three or four minutes. Reduce the heat and continue cooking over moderately low heat for 15 minutes. Remove the veal rolls to a serving plate.
Add the wine to the skillet and stir to dissolve the brown particles that cling to the bottom and sides of the pan. Add the chicken broth and herbs. Bring to the boil and let cook over high heat about five minutes.
Remove the strings from the veal rolls and pour the sauce over the rolls. Serve immediately.
From La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy by Academia Italina Della Cucina, 2009.
- 2 sticks room temperature butter
- 6 egg yolks
- 2 egg whites
- 1 2/3 cups sugar
- Zest from 1/2 lemon
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1 1/4 cups potato starch
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Butter and flour a 9 inch circular cake pan.
Beat the butter in an electric mixer until soft. Mix the egg yolks into the butter one at a time. Slowly add in the sugar. Add the zest, flour and potato starch.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes and insert a toothpick into the center of the cake to check if it is cooked. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, cook for a few minutes more until the toothpick is clean.
Remove the cake from the pan and set on a wire rack to cool. Top with Mascarpone Cream.
From La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy by Academia Italina Della Cucina, 2009.
- 1 egg, separated
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
In an electric mixer, combine the 2 egg yolks with the sugar.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg white until still. Fold the egg white into the egg yolk and sugar mixture.
Mix the egg and sugar mixture with the mascarpone cheese. Add the Amaretto and stir to combine.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to set. Spread over the cooled Torta Paradiso.
The Upper Midwest
As immigrants from the different regions of Italy settled throughout the various regions of the United States, many brought with them a distinct regional Italian culinary tradition. Many of these foods and recipes developed into new favorites for the townspeople and later for Americans nationwide.
The growth of the automobile industry resulted in the increase of the Italian population in Detroit during the 20th Century. By 1925 the number of Italians in the city had increased to 42,000. The historical center of Detroit’s Italian-American community was in an area along Gratiot Avenue, east of Downtown Detroit. There were larger numbers of southern Italians than those from the north. However, Armando Delicato, author of Italians in Detroit, wrote that “Unlike many other American cities, no region of Italy was totally dominant in this area”.
The Roma Cafe In downtown Detroit’s historic Eastern Market, is the oldest Italian restaurant in Detroit, dating back to 1890. The restaurant offers a classic Italian-American menu with hearty pastas, seafood, steak and vegetable options.
The Marazza family operated a boarding house with a warm meal included for Eastern Market vendors and farmers. Mrs. Marazza’s reputation as a fine cook spread quickly throughout the Eastern Market area. At the urging of her diners, she opened her restaurant in February of 1890, called the Roma Café.
In 1918, the business was sold to John Battaglia and Morris Sossi. During their partnership, an addition was put on the building and the same building is still standing there today. The following year, John Battaglia died and Morris Sossi bought out his widow to become the sole owner of Roma Café.
Morris Sossi’s nephew, Hector Sossi, began working as a busboy for his uncle in 1940. Hector Sossi carried on the family tradition and bought out Morris in 1965 to become the next owner of the Roma Café. Mr. Sossi remains the owner with a third generation family member at the helm. His daughter, Janet Sossi Belcoure, currently manages this historic Italian eatery.
A specialty of the house, the tomato meat sauce is excellent — a little sweet, but without any acidity. And its recipe is a closely guarded secret. The recipe below is a classic version of this favorite Italian American dish.
Cheese Ravioli with Old-Fashioned Meat Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3/4 pound extra-lean ground beef
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes
- 1 16-ounce can tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
- 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- Salt and pepper
- 3/4 pound purchased fresh cheese ravioli
- Freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Heat the olive oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add ground beef and garlic and sauté until meat is no longer pink, breaking it up with a fork, about 5 minutes.
Puree tomatoes with juices in a processor. Add to the saucepan. Add canned tomato puree, herbs and dried crushed red pepper. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
Cook ravioli in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite. Drain well. Arrange ravioli on a large platter or in a large pasta bowl. Add just enough sauce to coat the ravioli;. Serve, passing cheese separately.
Italians first came to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the late 19th century. In the early part of the 20th century, large numbers of Italian immigrants came from Sicily and southern Italy. Brady Street, the historic Third Ward, is considered the heart of Italian immigration in the city, where as many as 20 Italian grocery stores once existed on the street.
Most of the Italian immigrants found jobs working along the railroad, in factory positions and doing general municipal work for the city. Thanks to the city’s close proximity to Chicago and Lake Michigan, Milwaukee’s economy grew and decent paying jobs were available to the immigrants. The city also has an Italian newspaper called The Italian Times printed by the Italian Community Center (ICC).
Every year the largest Italian American festival in the United States, Festa Italiana, takes place in Milwaukee. Italian Americans still number at around 16,992 in the city, but in Milwaukee County they number at 38,286. Festa Italiana is held annually at the Henry Maier Festival Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is the largest Italian-American festival in America and features Italian music, food and entertainment. Sponsored by the Italian Community Center, the festival is also known for its large fireworks show and a cannoli eating contest.
Capellini alla Caprese
by Milwaukee Italian chef/owner, Gino Fazzari
- 4 ounces capellini or angel hair pasta
- 2 ounces prosciutto, small dice
- 2 ounces extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon onion, small dice
- ½ teaspoon garlic, small dice
- ½ tablespoon Italian parsley, rough chop
- 1 bay leaf
- Pinch of red pepper
- 2 ounces Roma tomatoes, small dice
- 1 teaspoon fresh basil, thinly sliced
- 2 ounces chardonnay
- 4 ounces heavy cream
- 1 ounce Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
Put a large pot with plenty of water on the stove to boil. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add 2 tablespoons of salt.
In a medium sauté pan, heat extra virgin olive oil 2 minutes over medium heat. Add prosciutto, onion, bay leaf, red pepper flakes and parsley. Sauté until onion is translucent and prosciutto softens but is not crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
Deglaze the pan with the chardonnay and cook out the alcohol for about 1 minute. Add tomato, heavy cream and basil and cook for 2-3 minutes.
When the pasta is al dente, drain and add to the sauce. Lower heat to low, add half of the Parmigiano cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well. Serve immediately garnished with remaining Parmigiano cheese.
Elmwood Park, a village on the northwest side of Chicago, Illinois, has long maintained a large Italian-American population. The population was 24,883 at the 2010 census. One of Elmwood Park’s most notable establishments is Johnnie’s Beef, which is known for its Italian-style beef sandwiches.
In 1977 George Randazzo created the Italian American Boxing Hall of Fame as a way to raise money for local youth programs. After a successful year and a dinner honoring 23 former Italian American boxing champions, Randazzo created the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. The original location was in Elmwood Park, Illinois. The first induction ceremony honored Lou Ambers, Eddie Arcaro, Charley Trippi, Gino Marchetti, Dom DiMaggio, Joe DiMaggio and Vince Lombardi. Since its founding in 1978, over 230 Italian Americans have been inducted into this hall of fame. It is now located in Chicago.
Johnnie’s Beef Recipe
Yield: Makes about 10 sandwiches with about 1/4 pounds of meat each.
In Johnnie’s words:
Allow about 2 hours to cook and another 3 hours to firm the meat for slicing in the refrigerator, if you don’t have a meat slicer. You need 90 minutes to cook a 3 pound roast, or about 30 minutes per pound. You can cook this well in advance and refrigerate the meat and juice and heat it up as needed. You can even freeze it. This is a great Sunday dish because the smell of the roasting beef and herbs fills the house. After you cook it, you need another 30 minutes to chill it before slicing.
1 boneless beef sirloin butt roast, about 3 pounds with most of the fat trimmed off
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 6 cups of hot water
- 4 cubes of beef bouillon
- 10 soft, fluffy, high gluten rolls, sliced lengthwise but hinged on one side or Italian bread loaves cut width-wise into 10 portions
- 3 medium sized green bell peppers
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, approximately
- 1 cup hot giardiniera
About the beef.
Top sirloin, top round or bottom round are preferred in that order for tenderness.
About the garlic. If you wish, omit the garlic powder and stud the roast with fresh garlic.
About the bouillon.
I have encountered lively debate on the makeup of the juice as I developed this recipe. Some insist you must use bouillon to be authentic, while others use beef stock, veal stock, or a soup base, and simmer real onions and garlic in it. The bouillon advocates have won me over on the authenticity argument, although I must confess, soup base is my favorite.
1) If you wish, you can cut small slits in the surface of the meat every inch or so and stick slivers of fresh garlic into the meat. If you do this, leave the garlic out of the rub. Otherwise, mix the rub in a bowl. Sprinkle it generously on the meat and massage it in. There will be some left over. Do not discard it, we will use it in the juice. Let the meat sit at room temp for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the grill or oven to 400° F. If you are cooking indoors, put a rack just below the center of the oven.
2) Pour the water into a 9 x 13″ baking pan and heat it to a boil on the stovetop. Dissolve the bouillon in the water. It may look thin, but it will cook down and concentrate during the roasting. Pour the remaining rub into the pan. Place a rack on top of the pan. Place the roast on top of the rack above the juice. Roast at 400°F until interior temperature is 140°F for medium rare, about 30 minutes per pound. This may seem long, but you are cooking over water and that slows things down. The temp will rise about 5°F more as it rests. Don’t worry if there are people who won’t eat medium-rare meat. The meat will cook further in step 5, and you can just leave theirs in the juice until it turns to leather if that’s what they want. If you use a rotisserie on your grill, you can cut the cooking time in half because the spear and the forks holding it in place will conduct heat into the interior.
This recipe is designed for a 9 x 13″ baking pan. If you use a larger pan, the water may evaporate and the juice will burn. If you have to use a larger pan, add more water. Regardless of pan size, keep an eye on the pan to make sure it doesn’t dry out during cooking. Add more water if necessary.
3) While the meat is roasting (mmmmm, smells sooooo good), cut the bell peppers in half and remove the stems and seeds. Rinse, and cut into 1/4″ strips. Cook the peppers in a frying pan over a medium high heat with enough olive oil to coat the bottom, about 1 tablespoon. When they are getting limp and the skins begin to brown, about 15 minutes, they are done. Set aside at room temp.
4) Remove the roast and the juice pan. Let the meat sit for about 30 minutes for the juices to be reabsorbed into the meat fibers, and then place it in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Let it cool for about a few hours, long enough for the meat to firm up. This will make slicing easier. Slice the meat against the grain as thin as humanly possible, preferably with a meat slicer. My wife remembers that her family would cook the roast and take it to the butcher to slice on his machine. That’s a good strategy if you don’t have a meat slicer. This, of course, is against health codes today. If you don’t have a slicer, use a thin blade and draw it along the red part of the meat. If you try to cut down through the crust you will be cutting it too thick.
5) Taste the juice. If you want you can thin it with more water, or make it richer by cooking it down on top of the stove. In Chicago beef stands it is rich, but not too concentrated. Then turn the heat to a gentle simmer. Soak the meat in the juice for about 1 minute at a low simmer. That’s all. That warms the meat and makes it very wet. You can’t leave the meat in the juice for more than 10 minutes or else it starts to curl up, squeezes out its natural moisture, and toughens. If you go to a beef stand and the meat is really curly, they have committed a mortal sin. At Mr. Beef, for example, I watched them take a handful of cooked beef and dump it into the juice every time they took out enough for a sandwich. This also enriches the juice with meat protein and seasoning from the crust.
6) To assemble the sandwich, start by spooning some juice directly onto the bun. Get it wet. Then lay on the beef generously. Spoon on more juice (don’t burn your hand). Top it with bell pepper and, if you wish, giardiniera. If you want it “wet”, dip the whole shootin’ match in juice. Be sure to have plenty of napkins on hand.
Anthony “Tony” L. Sarcone once joked that when he came to Des Moines in 1905, the only English he knew was “522 Elm Street” – his brother’s address. The feeling he experienced being a stranger in a new land led him to a life dedicated to organizing and encouraging the Americanization of the Italian immigrants in Iowa. Tony Sarcone was born in Crucoli, Italy on March 1, 1884. He worked on the railroad when he first came to Des Moines. From 1910 – 1914, he managed a shoe store. He then went to work for the city’s health department, where he served through World War I and until 1928.
Sarcone is best known as the founder of the Sarcone Publishing Company. He published the weekly Italian language newspaper, Il Risveglio (The Awakening). in 1922. In 1925, he changed the name of newspaper to the American Citizen. During the late 1920’s the newspaper gradually converted from Italian to English, reflecting the Italian immigrants’ own language transition.
Though extremely proud of his Italian heritage, Sarcone was also very passionate about the ideals of his adopted country. He dedicated a significant portion of his newspaper to encouraging his readers to pursue American citizenship. He published preparatory materials for those studying for their citizenship, provided information on naturalization classes and reported on those who recently became Americans. Source: The Italians in Iowa · A documentary about the history of Italians in Iowa.
Graziano Brothers makes only about 3,000 pounds of sausage a week and most of it remains in the greater Des Moines area, says Frances Graziano, president of the company. It was her grandfather, Francis, and his brother, Louis, who opened Graziano Brothers in 1912 at the current location on Des Moines’ South Side. For decades, their sausage was made using a meat grinder with a hand crank. Today, the grinding and mixing is done on a larger scale, but it’s nowhere near the point of being mass-produced. Whenever Frances Graziano allows herself to toy with the notion of making more sausage, she comes back to one thing: To sell more, some production would have to be moved off-premise.
The hot sausage recipe dates back to a time when Italian was spoken regularly on the South Side of Des Moines and sausage was made at home. Hot Italian sausages “were usually made in Italian homes during the winter time and hung up to dry. Pieces were cut from the sausages, cooked and eaten,” newspaper writer Kenneth Land observed in 1962 on the occasion of Graziano Brothers’ 50th anniversary. Mike Graziano, the father of Frances, spoke with pride in that newspaper article about pure pork used in the sausage. The same is true today. “We even use real hog casings,” Frances says. “That makes a big difference. We don’t use anything synthetic or fillers.” Source: Des Moines Register.
Graziano’s on the Grill
In a large skillet, place sausage links and water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove sausage and transfer to prepared grill. Grill 6 inches from the heat source for 10 to 13 minutes, turning occasionally, until no pink color remains. To grill bulk sausage, pat sausage meat as you would a hamburger and grill.
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This Italian region comprises the historical areas of Emilia and Romagna. Half the territory is formed by the Apennines and the other half is a large plain, which reaches east to the Adriatic Sea. The coastline is flat and sandy with lagoons and marshy areas.
Emilia-Romagna is one of the wealthiest and most developed regions in Europe, with the third highest GDP per capita in Italy. Bologna, its capital, has one of Italy’s highest quality of life standards. Emilia-Romagna is also a cultural and tourist center, being the home of the University of Bologna, the oldest university in the world. Its cuisine is renowned and it is home to the automotive companies of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Pagani, De Tomaso and Ducati.
Popular coastal resorts such as Rimini and Riccione are located in this region. Other important cities include Parma, Ferrara, Modena, Piacenza, Ravenna, Forlì and Reggio Emilia.
Despite being an industrial power, Emilia-Romagna is also a leading region in agriculture, with farming contributing 5.8% of the region’s agricultural products. Cereals, potatoes, corn, tomatoes and onions are the most important products, along with fruit and grapes for the production of wine (of which the best known are Emilia’s Lambrusco, Bologna’s Pignoletto, Romagna’s Sangiovese and white Albana). Cattle and hog breeding are also highly developed.
Tourism is increasingly important, especially along the Adriatic coastline and the art museum cities. Since 187 B.C., when the Romans built the 125-Mile Roman Road/Via Emilia, this thoroughfare has taken travelers throughout the region and connected them with the major trading centers of Venice, Genoa and central/northern Europe. This main roadway crosses the region from north-west (Piacenza) to the south-east (Adriatic coast), connecting the main cities of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna and the Adriatic coast.
Emilia-Romagna gave birth to two great musicians, one of the most important composers of music, Giuseppe Verdi and Toscanini, the famous conductor. Marcella Hazan, one of the foremost authorities on Italian cuisine, was born in 1924 in the village of Cesenatico in Emilia-Romagna. She earned a doctorate in natural sciences and biology from the University of Ferrara. Her cookbooks are credited with introducing the public in the United States and Britain to the techniques of traditional Italian cooking. She moved to New York City following her marriage to Victor Hazan and published her first book, The Classic Italian Cook Book, in 1973.
The most popular sport in Emilia-Romagna is football. Several famous clubs from Emilia-Romagna compete at a high level on the national stage: Cesena, Parma and Sassuolo. With 13 professional clubs in 2013, the region is only bettered in terms of a number of professional clubs by Lombardy. It also has 747 amateur clubs, 1,522 football pitches and 75,328 registered players. Another sport which is very popular in this region is basketball and teams from Emilia-Romagna compete in the Lega Basket Serie A. Zebre rugby club competes professionally in the Guinness Pro 12 league. The club’s home ground is located in Parma.
Take a tour of Emilia-Romagna with the video below.
The Cuisine of Emilia-Romagna
The celebrated balsamic vinegar is made in the Emilian cities of Modena and Reggio Emilia, following legally binding traditional procedures. Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan Cheese) is produced in Reggio Emilia, Parma, Modena and Bologna, while Grana Padano is produced in the rest of the region. Prosciutto di Parma is Italy’s most popular ham, especially beyond Italy where it’s widely exported. With its roots going back to 100 BC, when a salt-cured ham was mentioned in the writings of Cato, Prosciutto has a long and hallowed history in the Parma province.
Antipasto is optional before the first course of a traditional meal and may feature anything from greens with prosciutto and balsamic vinegar to pears with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and balsamic vinegar. Pasta is often the first course and Emilia-Romagna is known for its egg and filled pastas, such as tortellini, lasagna and tagliatelle. In some areas of Romagna rice is eaten, with risotto taking the place of pasta. Polenta, a cornmeal-based dish, is common both in Emilia and Romagna.
Seafood, poultry and meats comprise the second course. Although the Adriatic coast is a major fishing area (well-known for its eels and clams), the region is more famous for its meat products, especially pork-based, that include: Parma’s prosciutto, culatello and Felino salami, Piacenza’s pancetta, coppa and salami, Bologna’s mortadella and salame rosa, Modena’s zampone, cotechino and cappello del prete and Ferrara’s salama da sugo. Reggio Emilia is famous for erbazzone, a spinach and Parmigiano Reggiano pie and Gnocco Fritto, flour strips fried in boiling oil and eaten in combination with ham or salami.
From grilled asparagus with Parma ham to basil/onion mashed potatoes or roasted beets and onions, vegetables play a major role in Emilia-Romagna side dishes. Residents boil, sauté, braise, bake or grill radicchio and other tart greens. They also serve a cornucopia of other vegetables, including sweet fennel, wild mushrooms, zucchini, cauliflower, beets, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, onions, chard, sweet squashes, cabbage, eggplant, green beans and asparagus.
Sweet pastas may be a dessert or a side dish. Rich tortes, almond and apple cream tarts, sweet ravioli with winter fruit and strawberries & red wine often find their way to the table. Regional desserts include zuppa inglese (custard-based dessert made with sponge cake and Alchermes liqueur) and panpepato (Christmas cake made with pepper, chocolate, spices, and almonds).
Some differences do exist in the cuisines of Emilia and Romagna. Located between Florence and Venice and south of Milan, Emilia has lush plains, gentle hills and a cuisine that demonstrates more Northern Italian influences and capitalizes on the region’s ample supply of butter, cream and meat that is usually poached or braised. The Romagna area includes the Adriatic coast, part of the Ferrara province and the rugged mountain ranges. Food preferences follow those found in central Italy, with olive oil used as a base for many dishes, plenty of herbs and a preference for spit roasting and griddle baking.
TRADITIONAL RECIPES OF EMILIA-ROMAGNA
PUMPKIN RAVIOLI (CAPPELLACCI)
FOR THE PASTA
- 10 oz all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- Pinch of salt
FOR THE FILLING
- 2 lbs pumpkin, baked and the flesh scooped out
- 7 oz grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- Nutmeg to taste
- 2 oz butter
- Salt to taste
- 1 egg
For the pasta:
Mix the eggs, flour and a pinch of salt until thoroughly combined.
Roll out into thin sheets on a pasta machine and cut into squares, about 2.5 inches a side.
For the filling:
Mix the baked pumpkin pulp with the egg, the grated cheese and the nutmeg.
Put the filling on half the squares of pasta and top with another square. Press the edges with a fork to seal.
Cook them in abundant salted water and season with melted butter, sage and grated cheese.
BEEF FILLET WITH BALSAMIC VINEGAR SAUCE
- 1 ¾ lb beef fillet
- 1 ½ ounces all-purpose flour, plus extra for coating the meat
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- Salt to taste
- Chopped parsley for garnish
Cut the fillet into four equal slices and flatten slightly with a meat pounder. Coat the meat in flour and shake to remove any excess. Put the fillets on a greased plate, then salt them.
Heat a large skillet and cook the fillets on both sides over very high heat, sprinkling each with some of the balsamic vinegar.
In a separate saucepan, combine the remaining vinegar, the beef broth and the flour. Heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.
When the fillets are cooked, cover them with the sauce and garnish with parsley.
ERBAZZONE (SAVORY GREENS PIE)
This pie is often served with slices of prosciutto.
- 2 lbs spinach
- 7 oz grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1 oz olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 oz pancetta, chopped fine
- 1 ¾ oz butter
- 3 ½ oz lard
- 1/2 onion, about 2/3 cup
- 1 clove of garlic
- Box frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Cook the spinach in boiling salted water until tender. Drain well and chop the spinach. Squeeze well to dry.
Sauté butter, lard and onion in a skillet. Add the spinach and garlic and cook for five minutes. Cool. Then, mix with some grated Parmesan, the olive oil, pepper and salt.
Lay one sheet of pastry in a rectangular oven-dish (about the size of the pastry sheet; cut to fit, if needed). Spread the filling over the dough. Dot the top of the filling with the pancetta. Cover with the second pastry sheet. Press down lightly.
Bake at 350°F until the pastry is golden, about 30 minutes.
Serve hot or warm.
CIAMBELLA (RING CAKE)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
- Grated zest of 1/2 a medium orange
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- Powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch ring mold or a springform pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt to thoroughly combine them and set aside.
Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk them lightly to break up the yolks. Add the sugar to the bowl and whisk it in thoroughly in both directions for about 30 seconds. Add the olive oil and whisk until the mixture is a bit lighter in color and has thickened slightly, about 45 seconds. Whisk in the extracts and zest, followed by the orange juice.
Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk until they are thoroughly combined; continue whisking until you have a smooth, emulsified batter, about 30 more seconds.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake the cake for 30 to 45 minutes, rotating the cake pan halfway through the cooking time to ensure even browning.
The cake is done when it has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan, springs back lightly when touched and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool for ten minutes in the pan, then gently remove it from the pan and allow it cool completely on a rack. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Italy is home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world and Italian wines are known worldwide for their broad variety. Italy, closely followed by France, is the world’s largest wine producer by volume. Italian wine is exported around the world and is also extremely popular in Italy: Italians rank fifth on the world wine consumption list by volume with 42 litres per capita consumption. Grapes are grown in almost every region of the country and there are more than one million vineyards under cultivation. Italy’s twenty wine regions correspond to the twenty administrative regions. Understanding of Italian wine becomes clearer with an understanding of the differences between each region and their cuisines.
The Italian Wine Regions
In 1963, the first official Italian system of classification of wines was launched. Since then, several modifications and additions to the legislation were made (a major one in 1992), the last of which, in 2010, established four basic categories, which are consistent with the last EU regulation in the matter of wine (2008–09). The categories, from the bottom level to the top one, are:
- Vini (Wines – informally called ‘generic wines’): These are wines that can be produced anywhere in the territory of the EU; no indication of geographical origin, of the grape varieties used, or of the vintage is allowed on the label. (The label only reports the color of the wine.)
- Vini Varietali (Varietal Wines): These are generic wines that are made either mostly (at least 85%) from one kind of authorized ‘international’ grapes (Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon blanc, Syrah) or entirely from two or more of them. The grape(s) and the vintage can be indicated on the label. These wines can be produced anywhere in the territory of the EU.)
- Vini IGP (Wines with Protected Geographical Indication): This category (also traditionally implemented in Italy as IGT – Typical Geographical Indication) is reserved to wines produced in a specific territory within Italy and following a series of specific and precise regulations on authorized varieties, viticultural and vinification practices, organoleptic and chemico-physical characteristics, labeling instructions, etc. Currently (2014) there exist 118 IGPs/IGTs.
- Vini DOP (Wines with Protected Designation of Origin): This category includes two sub-categories, i.e. Vini DOC (Controlled Designation of Origin) and Vini DOCG (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin). DOC wines must have been IGP wines for at least 5 years. They generally come from smaller regions, within a certain IGP territory, that are particularly known for their climatic and geological characteristics and for the quality and originality of the local winemaking traditions. They also must follow stricter production regulations than IGP wines. A DOC wine can be promoted to DOCG, if it has been a DOC for at least 10 years. In addition to fulfilling the requisites for DOC wines (since that’s the category they come from), before commercialization DOCG wines must pass stricter analyses, including a tasting by a specifically appointed committee. DOCG wines have also demonstrated a superior commercial success. Currently (2014) there exist 332 DOCs and 73 DOCGs for a total of 405 DOPs.
Abruzzo produces one DOCG – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane – and three DOC wines: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Controguerra and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo.
The region vineyards cover 33,252 hectares or 82,166 acres.; yearly wine production is 4,184,000 hectoliters or 110,541,611 gallons of which 17.6% isDOC.
2 Aosta Valley
In this small region in the Western Alps along the French border, the grapes are grown up 800 meters above sea level. The Valle d’Aosta DOC zone includes seven sub-zones.
Vineyards cover 635 hectares, or 1,569 acres; yearly wine production is 22,000 hectoliters, or 581,241 gallons; 10% white, 90% red; 22.8% is DOC.
Apulia economy is based mainly on wine production and counts 25 DOCs, including Aleatico di Puglia, Cacc’e Mmitte di Lucera, Primitivo di Manduria, Salice Salentino and Rosso di Cerignola among others.
Vineyards cover 107,715 hectares or 263,693 acres; yearly wine production is 7,236,000 hectoliters or 191,175,693 gallons30% white, 70% red; 3.8% isDOC.
Basilicata produces only one DOC wine, the Aglianico del Vulture.
The region is 9,992 Km2 or 6,205 square miles, vineyards cover 10,848 hectares or 26,825 acres; yearly wine production is 481,000 hectoliters or 12,708,058 gallons; 27% white, 73%red; 2.4% isDOC.
Calabria produces 12 DOCs including Bivongi, Ciró,Greco di Bianco, Pollino and Verbicaro among others.
The region vineyards cover 24,339 hectares or 60,142 acres; yearly wine production is 753,000 hectoliters or 19,894,319 gallons; 9% white, 91% red or sosé; 2.4% is DOC.
Campania produces one DOCG wine – Taurasi – and 19 DOCs including Aglianico del Taburno or Taburno, Campi Flegrei, Cilento, Fiano di Avellino and Vesuvio among others.
The region vineyards cover 41,129 hectares or 101,630 acres; yearly wine production is 1.971,000 hectoliters or 52,073,976 gallons; 36% white, 64% red; 2.8% is DOC.
7 Emilia – Romagna
Emilia–Romagna produces one DOCG wine – Albana di Romagna – and 18 DOCs, including three kind of Lambrusco – di Sorbara, Grasparossa di Castelvetroand Salamino di Santa Croce – in addition to Sangiovese di Romagna, Colli Bolognesi Pignolettoand Bosco Eliceo among others.
The region vineyards cover 58,237 hectares or 143,904 acres; yearly wine production is 4,733,000 hectoliters or 125,046,235 gallons; 43% white, 57% red; 21.4% is DOC.
8 Friuli – Venezia Giulia
Friuli–Venezia Giulia produces one DOCG wine –Ramandolo – and 9 DOCs including Colli Orientali del Friuli, Friuli Aquileia, Collio Goriziano or Collio andLison – Pramaggiore among others.
The region vineyards cover 18,704 hectares or 46,218 acres; yearly wine production is 1,018,000 hectoliters or 26,895,640 gallons; 52% white, 48% red; 60.5% is DOC.
Lazio produces 25 DOCs including Castelli Romani, Colli Albani, Montecompatri-Colonna, Est! Est! Est! di Montefiascone and Velletri among others.
The region vineyards cover 47.884 hectares or 118,321 acres; yearly wine production is 2,940,000 hectoliters or 77,675,033 gallons; 84% white, 16% red; 6.5% is DOC.
Liguria produces 7 DOCs: Cinque Terre or Cinque Terre Schiacchetrà, Colli di Luni, Colline di Levanto, Golfo del Tigullio, Riviera Ligure di Ponente, Rossese di Dolceacqua or Dolceacqua and Val Polcevera.
The region vineyards cover 4,837 hectares or 11,952 acres; yearly wine production is 165,000 hectoliters or 4,359,313 gallons; 66% white, 34% red; 13.9% is DOC.
Lombardy produces two DOCGs wines – Franciacortaand Valtellina Superiore – and 15 DOCs includingGarda Classico, Oltrepó Pavese, Cellatica and Botticino among others.
The region vineyards cover 26,951 hectares or 66,593 acres; yearly wine production is 1,665,000 hectoliters or 43,989,432 gallons; 38% white, 62% red; 47.3% is DOC.
Marche produces 12 DOCs including Bianchello del Metauro, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Rosso Cònero, Lacrima di Morro or Lacrima di Morro d’Alba and Falerio dei Colli Ascolani among others.
The region is 9,694 Km2 or 4,330 square miles, vineyards cover 24,590 hectares or 60,762 acres; yearly wine production is 1,815,000 hectoliters or 47,957,443 gallons; 62% white, 38% red; 19.6% isDOC.
Molise produces only three DOC wines: Biferno, Molise or del Molise and Pentro di Isernia.
The region is 4,438 Km2 or 2,756 square miles, vineyards cover 7,650 hectares or 18,903 acres; yearly wine production is 360,000 hectoliters or 9,511,228 gallons of which 3.9% is DOC.
Piedmont produces seven DOCGs wines – Asti, Barbaresco, Barolo, Brachetto d’Acqui or Acqui, Gavi o Cortese di Gavi, Gattinara and Ghemme – and 44DOCs including three Barbera – d’Alba, d’Asti and del Monferrato – two Freisa – d’Asti and di Chieri, seven Dolcetto, Erbaluce di Caluso o Caluso and Roero among many others.
The region vineyards cover 57,487 hectares or 142,050 acres; yearly wine production is 3,405,000 hectoliters or 89,960,369 gallons; 30% white, 70% red; 55.8% is DOC.
Sardinia produces one DOCG – Vermentino di Gallura– and 19 DOC wines including two Malvasia – di Bosa and di Cagliari – three Moscato – di Sorso-Sennori, di Cagliari and di Sardegna – Vernaccia di Oristano, Cannonau di Sardegna, Nuragus di Cagliariand , Carignano del Sulcis and Mandrolisai among others.
The region vineyards cover 43,331 hectares or 107,070 acres; yearly wine production is 1,062,000 hectoliters or 28,058.124 gallons; 43% white, 57% red; 15.6% is DOC.
Sicily produces 19 DOCs including four Moscato – di Noto Naturale or di Noto, di Pantelleria Naturale or di Pantelleria, di Passito di Pantelleria or Passito di Pantelleria and di Siracusa – Marsala, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Malvasia delle Lipari and Sambuca di Sicilia among others.
The region vineyards cover 133,518 hectares or 329,923 acres; yearly wine production is 8,073,000 hectoliters or 213,000,000 gallons of which 2.1% is DOC.
17 Trentino – Alto Adige
Trentino-Alto Adige produces 8 DOCs including Alto Adige or Südtirol which has six subzones, Valdadige or Etschtaler, Teroldego Rotaliano, Casteller and Lago di Caldaro o Caldaro among others.
The region vineyards cover 12,810 hectares or 31,653 acres; yearly wine production is 953,000 hectoliters or 25,178,335 gallons; 45% white, 55% red; 79.1% is DOC.
Here they say that grapes preceded mankind …
Tuscany produces seven DOCGs wines – Chianti which includes seven subzones, Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Carmignano, Vernaccia di San Gimignano and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – and 44 DOCs including Bolgheri or Bolgheri Sassicaia, Valdichiana, Bianco della Valdinievole and Ansonica Costa dell’Argentario among many others.
The region vineyards cover 63,633 hectares or 157,237 acres; yearly wine production is 2,156,000 hectoliters or 56,961,690 gallons; 30% white, 70% red; 55.5% is DOC.
Umbria produces two DOCGs wines – Montefalco Sagrantino and Torgiano Rosso Riserva – and 11DOCs including Rosso Orvietano or Orvietano Rosso, Colli del Trasimeno or Trasimeno, Assisi, and Colli Altotiberini among others.
The region vineyards cover 16,503 hectares or 40,779 acres; yearly wine production is 740,000 hectoliters or 19,550,858 gallons; 58% white, 42% red; 30.5% is DOC.
Veneto produces two DOCGs wines – Recioto di Soave and Bardolino – and 11 DOCs including Soave, Valpolicella o Recioto della Valpolicella, Lessini Durello, Bianco di Custoza and Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene among others.
The region vineyards cover 73,314 hectares or 186,101 acres; yearly wine production is 6,785,000 hectoliters or 179,260,237 gallons; 55.4% white, 44.6% red; 29.1% is DOC.
While the majority of tourists prefer to visit Italy during the summer months, for wine lovers September and October is the time the magic happens. The vendemmia – Italian for grape harvest – takes place every year during these months (the exact dates vary between vineyards, depending on the weather and the grapes reaching their peak of ripeness). During the vendemmia, wine festivals take place across Italy, though Tuscany remains the home of winemaking. The Festa dell’uva in Impruneta is the oldest and most revered festival in Italy. Featuring local wine tasting, fresh local produce, music, dancing and parades, it is their biggest event of the year. The Italian grape harvest is underway as you read this, with grower organizations promising less quantity but more quality from the 2014 vintage.
The first grapes were picked in Franciacorta in Lombardy last week, 10 days earlier than in 2013, despite variable weather in the lead-up to harvest. Sicily also started picking around the same time. The total Italian harvest is expected to be smaller than last year’s bumper crop, which yielded 49 million liters of wine, according to Wine-Searcher.
What To Serve With Italian Wine?
Homemade Ricotta & Spinach Filled Ravioli
- 3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1/2 pound fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- A pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 chopped shallot
- 4 ounces lean ground beef
- 4 ounces lean ground pork
- 4 ounces sweet Italian sausage
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 1 (28-ounce) can Italian crushed tomatoes
- A pinch of fresh sage, rosemary and 2 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups All-Purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
In a large bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta, one egg, half of the Parmigiano, some grated nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix well. Refrigerate until reading to make the ravioli.
Heat a skillet over low heat; add the olive oil and then the shallot. Stir for 2 minutes, then add the herbs, meat and sausage—breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon. Raise the flame to medium-high and cook for 5 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. Add the wine and season with salt and pepper. Cover and continue to cook on a low flame. Add broth to keep the mixture moist. Cook for 1 1/2 hours, stirring often. Add the crushed tomatoes and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes.
Combine the flour and salt on a flat work surface; shape into a mound and make a well in the center. Add the eggs and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the well and lightly beat with a fork. Gradually draw in the flour from the inside wall of the well in a circular motion. Continue to incorporate all the flour until it forms a ball. Or you can mix the ingredients in the food processor.
Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.
Cut the ball of dough in 1/2, cover and reserve the piece you are not immediately using to prevent it from drying out. Dust the counter and dough with a little flour. Press the dough into a rectangle and roll it through a pasta machine, 2 or 3 times, at the widest setting. Pull and stretch the sheet of dough with the palm of your hand as it emerges from the rollers. Reduce the setting and crank the dough through again, 2 or 3 times. Continue tightening until the machine is at the second narrowest setting; the dough should be almost paper-thin.
Cut two long rectangular strips of equal size, a little more than 3 inches wide. (Keep the rest of the dough covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel.) Spoon a generous amount of filling every 2 to 3 inches along the dough. Place the other sheet on top and press it lightly all along the edges. Using the wheel cutter, first trim off the four sides of the rectangle; then cut out each square. Seal each one well with your fingers or a fork. Lay them on a tray with some semolina flour on the bottom to avoid sticking.
Continue this procedure, preparing as many ravioli as you can, balancing the amount of filling with the remaining dough.
In a large pot, bring a gallon of water to boil; add a half handful of salt and then add the ravioli one by one. Stir them very gently and cook for 8 minutes. Drain them with a colander or a sieve and then place them in a warm pasta bowl, alternating them with the hot meat sauce and Parmigiano cheese.
- Italian Red Wine Under $20 for All Seasons (charlesscicolone.wordpress.com)