Italian Cooking & Language Blog

Fare La Scarpetta means to wipe your plate clean with a piece of bread.

What else could you ask for?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rizzoli Bookstore in New York City

The Rizzoli bookstore is one of those old school, New York City bookstores with dark wooden bookshelves and hand painted decorations on the ceiling. That is to say, it is a beautiful bookstore.

They carry many books that the Rizzoli publishing house puts out, but also many others. If you are looking for literature in Italian, including children’s books, Italian cookbooks or Italian language learning guides, this is the place to shop. They also have a number of shelves of Italian language magazines that you can’t find most places.

Of course, it isn’t the cheapest bookstore around (would that one carry Italian poetry in the original language?) and I kind of wished I had brushed my hair again before walking in. That said, it is a lovely place to browse and they had a large number of discounted, more affordable books. Considering the high price of imported books, though, their high prices are fairly understandable. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stuffed Calamari - boiled, not broiled

I often start with a recipe from the Silver Spoon cookbook and then adjust it as necessary. That’s just what I did when I made these stuffed calamari: I looked at the recipe and then called my mother.

The recipe called to broil the stuffed squids, but that didn’t sound familiar. Here’s my mother’s foolproof advice for avoiding overcooking the squid: Fully cook the freshly made marinara sauce and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and quickly add each stuffed calamari so that they are fully submerged in the sauce. Let them cook for about five minutes and then take them out.  


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fresh Pasta in Washington, D.C.: Pines of Florence, an Italian Restaurant

We haven’t found many restaurants in Washington, D.C., that serve fresh pasta, although we have found delis that sell it. (Prove me wrong and tell me what I’m missing in the Comments section below.)

Pines of Florence in Arlington, Virginia, specializes in southern Italian food and fresh pasta. Ok, so the name doesn’t match the food exactly, but the pasta was still light and delicious as only fresh pasta can be.

We had the Fettuccini Alfredo and a special, Lobster Ravioli. Each dish featured fresh, homemade pasta.

Che buono! I look forward to returning to try the other fresh pastas. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Italian Bread: Focaccia with Olives and Fennel Greens

I’ve really been enjoying making bread this year. For this focaccia, I mixed in not only olives, but also fennel greens. We had a bunch of this lovely, light herb in a recent CSA delivery.

The end result was delicious although, admittedly, the flavor of the fennel greens was mostly missing. Ok, it was entirely missing. The greens throughout the bread made the surface more visually appealing, but it did nothing for the flavor.  

Perhaps the bread was too thick or the olive taste too strong. It did seem a little like a waste of such a lovely herb. I was told, too late, by a friend that I should have used the fennel greens in a prepared pasta with them and sardines. This recipe from Mario Batali’s restaurant Babbo looks delicious. Next time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pizza Dinner in D.C. at Comet Ping Pong

I love Comet Ping Pong Pizza in Washington, D.C. You can play ping-pong (or browse a few doors down to Politics and Prose bookstore) while you wait for a seat.

My husband and I recently had the Yalie pizza with clams and the Stanley pizza with sausage. We ordered local beers, that is, local to D.C. and Michigan, where we used to live, and finished the evening with some ping pong. (No one won since we didn’t keep score.)

To learn more about Comet, watch their feature on Diners, Drive-ins, Dives. The Yalie pizza is prominently featured. Notice what fresh, simple ingredients go into their pizzas. I was happy to learn that they make their own ricotta, sauce, and more.

The moral of this story? Eat more Comet pizza.