All posts filed under: Italian Food

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Buy Puff Pastry and Avoid a Meltdown

  If there’s one thing that is totally acceptable to buy from the supermarket, it’s puff pastry. The reasons are two-fold. First, it takes a lot of time, patience and skill to laminate dough (folding it with butter to make hundreds of pillowy layers, a process that is just asking for a kitchen meltdown). And the kind from the supermarket always comes out perfectly. It’s the most predictable dough out there. Once it’s thawed (but still very cold), you can do a number of things with puff pastry. Fill it with chocolate and make croissants, roll it with spinach and feta for spanikopita, encase hot dogs for pigs in a blanket. Yesterday, I made a tomato tart.   Here it is: Add the accoutrements (basil + parm).   Print Tomato Tart Author: Ariel Kanter Recipe type: Pretty easy Cuisine: Buttery Prep time:  15 mins Cook time:  25 mins Total time:  40 mins Serves: Depends on how much you can eat. I’d say four people.   This recipe was adapted from Saveur’s Herbed Tomato Tart recipe. Instead of cooking the …

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Clean Cleanse: Week 2 Recap + Vegetable Lasagna

Yes. You read that correctly. I made a CLEAN lasagna with the help of the clean cleanse blog. Of course I found a way to work pasta into the cleanse, you didn’t think I’d converted completely, did you? But fear not, I didn’t break the cleanse with this lasagna as you will see in the recipe below. Recapping week 2 – this will be much shorter than last week’s as the week continued on much like week 1. This week the temptation for me was more alcohol than food. I had a pretty hard week and I really wanted a glass of wine at the end of the [every] day. However, I resisted. Mostly for fear of shaming myself to everyone at work and all my friends if I broke the cleanse, but still. I also had the strong urge to just pig out on something. You know when you eat way too much pizza, chinese food, ice cream, anything and you feel horrendous afterward but you just couldn’t stop yourself from pigging out? I missed …

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Spaghetti Squash: It’s Not Spaghetti, but It’s Good

The truth: Spaghetti squash is not spaghetti. It doesn’t taste like spaghetti (because it’s a vegetable); the texture isn’t like spaghetti (it’s crunchy). So if you’re looking for the ultimate healthy, gluten-free, low-calorie, eat-a-lot-and-still-be-skinny pasta substitute, this is not it. PS. It doesn’t exist, and if it did, we’d all look like Giselle. But here’s the good news: spaghetti squash is great. It’s easy to cook, mild in flavor and versatile. And last week, I cooked it in three divine ways. Let’s start with how to cook it. Cut it longways, take out the seeds, drizzle it with some olive oil and salt, and throw it in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes. That’s it! Then use a fork like this to create spaghetti squash’s characteristic ribbons. Once you have a bowl of these beautiful yellow shreds, you can do just about anything. Now I said spaghetti squash isn’t spaghetti, but you can certainly pair it with Italian flavors. Saute it with some olive oil, crushed tomatoes and basil and top it with a …

BOLOGNA–E.V.O.Oh My Gah I’m in Italy (9)

So there was this one time I skipped a ton of school to travel. That would be my time abroad in Italy. That would be mostly this weekend when I went to class Monday and Tuesday and then decided along with my friend Amy, eh, nahhh I don’t think we’re going to go to school anymore this week, why don’t we go to Bologna? Can’t say I regret that decision at all. I had been bugging people to go to Bologna with me the entire time we’d been in Italy. We were gonna go early one Saturday morning….and then we drank too much the night before and couldn’t move the next day to go. Well…this week was different. Amy and I booked a hotel. We were going. Why did I have to force someone to come along with me? Because if you’re not really into food there isn’t a TON to see in Bologna. There are a few things: the oldest university in the world, the leaning towers, some museums and I’m sure some other …

Summer Risotto with Zucchini Ribbons, Corn and Fresh Basil

Oh who doesn’t love risotto? It’s creamy, delicious, filling and well it’s perfect. The main reason why I love risotto so much is because you really can do anything with it. There are so many different additions you can make- different vegetables, different wines- the options are really endless. Yesterday I wanted to make a seasonal risotto, one that is the true epitome of summer. So what comes to mind when it’s summer? Corn, Zucchini and lots of fresh basil. I’ve been noticing this summer that there’s this new fad of making “zucchini ribbons.” I’ve seen them in salads, pastas, with fish, etc. Not that I want to be a huge follower…but UM these zucchini ribbons are such a great idea! They’re delicate but still pack that tender bite that zucchinis are known for. To make them, simply use your vegetable peeler and run it along the zucchini to make fine little “ribbons.”   Ariel’s Summer Risotto 2 cups Arborio Rice 1 sweet onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tbs butter 2 tbs basil …

Venice Carnevale–E.V.O.Oh My Gah I’m in Italy (6)!

Carnevale is basically Europe’s Mardi Gras. Lots of drinking, ridiculous costumes and amazing amounts of fun. We chose to spend Carnivale in Venice, one of the major celebration cities in Italy. It was incredible. I have never seen such elaborate costumes and Venice, oh Venice. It feels like you’re walking around a movie set. Absolutely breathtaking. I loved it. We happened to eat pretty well in Venice, don’t get me wrong it’s an overpriced tourist city–well worth it though. But this post is going to be more of a mix of travel info about Venice and food because my experience in Venice was less about the food than it was just about the city itself. Drinks: While in Venice, try an Aperol Spritz. It’s made with Prosecco, Aperol Orange Liqueur and soda. They put a blood orange slice in it to made it look pretty and if you wanna get an extra buzz from this already stiff drink, eat the orange slice.   Also you’ve gotta get absinthe–real absinthe. Now it’s legal in the US …

La Dolce Vita–E.V.O.Oh my gah I’m in Italy (5)!

Ciaooo! Still here in Italia living La Dolce Vita! Haven’t been able to post much lately due to lots of traveling but rest assured that I have been photographing all my amazing meals along the way. Let’s see..the last time I posted I think was after I had been to Lucca? Since then I’ve been to Chianti, Montepulciano, Rome, Venice, Milan, Sorrento, Interlaken, Bologna, Capri, Prague, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Dublin, Positano annnddd Pompeii…whew, is that it?! It’s been an amazing few months and I can’t believe I have to go home in less than a month! I am NOT ready to leave Italy or Europe in general. It’s an amazing amazing place. I feel so lucky that I have been able to travel so much of Italy and Europe while I’ve been here and of course I have my parents to thank for that! And school…for being so relaxed and letting me slack off majorly this semester haha. Anyway, here are just a select FEW of the sweets I have eaten while in Italy. Both I …

Classy Eggplant Parmigiana

Today I want to talk eggplant parmesan. This is not eggplant parm that you pick up at the next door hoagie place. It is not too dry or too greasy. It is not deep fried in a vat of day old oil. It is also not covered in any sort of fake, Kraft sliver of orange cheese. This is the elegant, panko coated, Southern Italian quality eggplant parmigiana. Eggplant parmesan is really a vegetarian’s utopia. It’s like an herbivore version of a Peter Luger steak.  Nothing is better than a sweet eggplant, lightly breaded and fried then smothered with cheese and sauce. The best part is definitely when you bite into the eggplant and there’s still a little crunch from the crusty breading. Ariel’s First Red Sauce 1 carton of sweet cherry tomatoes (about 20) 1 large can skinned and crushed tomatoes with the juice 1 large shallot (or two small) 4 cloves garlic sprinkle of sugar basil and parsley 2 teaspoons tomato paste 2 teaspoons cream salt and pepper to taste olive oil I …

A Wine Tasting at Otto

A few weeks ago, Whitney and I went to Mario Batali’s restaurant Otto for a wine tasting. Otto offers three different types of wine tastings: Discover Italy ($45), Regional ($45) and Ultimate ($75). The Discover Italy class includes the basics of how to make wine, an introduction to Italian wines and producers, as well as a tasting of several Italian wines. The Regional class will focus on wines of a particular region- I suppose that’s pretty self-explanatory. The Ultimate class showcases Italy’s most famous wines. Otto stresses that these classes are for anyone, so don’t be shy! Whether you’re a first-timer or a passionate aficionado, there is always something to learn.  Whitney and I happened to fall under that category of first-timers, but our sommelier, Paul Tortora, was extremely helpful in giving us a basic understanding of wines. Paul is an investment banker turned sommelier and is passionate about the wine industry. Ah! There is life after investment banking after all! During our class, his main goal was to teach us that while commercial wines …

Rel’s Ravenous Review of Il Cortile

On Mulberry street in Little Italy, there are countless Italian restaurants. Which one to go to? Which one to choose? Sign after sign of Italian menus beckon pedestrians to come in and mangia. A few nights ago, my boyfriend and I decided to go to Il Cortile. As soon as we walked up to the entrance, a server brought us to a tiny nook outside where we could sit. Finally! It was nice enough to sit outside! When we sat down, we were brought our menus and a huge basket of bread. The bread basket was impressive for a few reasons. First of all there were about 6 different kinds of bread: focaccia, bread sticks, crispy sesame rods, and sliced baguette and more! Furthermore, there was enough bread there to feed a small army. My one complaint is that while the bread tasted fresh, it wasn’t warm. Perhaps this is a bit picky of me, but I think if you’re going to go all out on the bread basket, it might as well be steaming …