Category Archives: Italian food

Green Veggie Lasagne

I have made variations on this recipe for years, most recently for my own birthday potluck the Saturday after Thanksgiving. My friend Mary, who knows a thing or two about good food, said she’d like to know how to make it. This isn’t a recipe in the strict sense, because I can’t be bothered to Read More…

I have made variations on this recipe for years, most recently for my own birthday potluck the Saturday after Thanksgiving. My friend Mary, who knows a thing or two about good food, said she’d like to know how to make it. This isn’t a recipe in the strict sense, because I can’t be bothered to measure, but… it’ll get you there. In any case, quantities depend on how many people you want to cook for.

ingredients:

  • lasagne noodles
  • ricotta cheese
  • fresh mozzarella  (optional)
  • good parmesan
  • pesto and/or fresh basil
  • spinach (fresh or frozen) and/or
  • broccoli and/or
  • zucchini
  • pine nuts
  • bechamel sauce
  • eggs
  • nutmeg
  • salt
  • pepper

Pre-cook whatever vegetables you’re using: boil or sautee the spinach, slice the zucchini into rounds and sautee in olive oil with a bit of garlic, steam the broccoli and cut small (or blend in with the ricotta mixture for a smoother texture).

Pre-cook the noodles, with a tbsp of olive oil in the water so they don’t stick together.

Blend the ricotta with 1-3 eggs, pesto and/or fresh basil, spinach (if you’re using it), salt and pepper to taste, a bit of nutmeg.

Grate parmesan.

Layer the lasagne: ricotta mixture, noodles, veggies, mozzarella (if using) repeat.

Top with noodles, bechamel, parmesan, and pine nuts.

Bake at 350 F for about 40 mins, or until top is browning and cheese is bubbling up from below.

I’ve never seen a dish quite like this in Italy – there is an Italian green lasagne, but it tends to be simpler. Americans like it a lot, though!

 

 

Gallery: Tirano, October 2007

I took so many great pictures during our visit to the Sertoli Salis winery in Tirano (Valtellina) that I couldn’t use them all even in three pages, so here they are. Some are fuzzygraphs because I did not want to use flash on the interior frescoes, but I’ve included them anyway to give you at Read More…

I took so many great pictures during our visit to the Sertoli Salis winery in Tirano (Valtellina) that I couldn’t use them all even in three pages, so here they are. Some are fuzzygraphs because I did not want to use flash on the interior frescoes, but I’ve included them anyway to give you at least a fuzzy idea what they look like.

Al Cenacolo: A “Last Supper” in Chiavenna

Yesterday we had our family holiday big meal out at Al Cenacolo (“at the Last Supper”) in Chiavenna. Having gone that far from home, it was a big decision not to go to our beloved Lanterna Verde, but, because this place had been recommended to us by Dr. Maulé, we decided to take a chance Read More…

Yesterday we had our family holiday big meal out at Al Cenacolo (“at the Last Supper”) in Chiavenna. Having gone that far from home, it was a big decision not to go to our beloved Lanterna Verde, but, because this place had been recommended to us by Dr. Maulé, we decided to take a chance – and were not disappointed.

Al Cenacolo is located in central Chiavenna, very easy to find. Just go through the gate shown above, and you’ll find it a few doors down on the left.

The menu is brief (there are probably seasonal changes) and totally without fish (smoked salmon appetizer doesn’t count!).

Four of us opted for the paté di fagiano (pheasant paté). We should have stuck to the restaurant critic’s rule – everyone get something different and share – because the paté was not that interesting.

It just didn’t have much flavor, and would have been better if served a little warmer and with toast, although the restaurant’s bread was excellent.

The house wine was a very good Grumello riserva (a local wine made from Nebbiolo grapes), made especially for Al Cenacolo by the Nino Negri winery, a bargain at 9 euros per half-liter, served in a very attractive carafe – I want one of these!

Ingvild and I opted to skip the first (pasta) course. Bruno and Enrico both had the tortelli d’anatra glassati (stuffed with duck breast), which were very good (I managed to get a bite of Enrico’s).

Graziella had Al Cenacolo’s version of pizzoccheri, in which the pasta was more like gnocchi, and very tastily drowned in butter and garlic. She couldn’t possibly finish it, so we all got to clean up the serving bowl.

For secondo, I had wanted the duck breast all’amarena (sour cherries), but they would not make it for fewer than two people – very disappointing as that was not specified on the menu! I hate when I make my mind up for a particular dish and then can’t have it.

So Ingvild and I both had carré di cervo (venison) served with an insufficient portion of salsa ai mirtilli neri (berry sauce). The meat itself was luscious, rich, and tender, though the presentation was unimaginative and the polenta squares boring. Roasted potatoes would have been a better accompaniment to this wonderful meat.

Enrico had a (small) leg of pork smothered in porcini, Bruno had kidney with mushrooms, and Graziella had lamb; they all said their dishes were good, but I didn’t taste them.

The dessert menu was not particularly exciting. We had two kinds of sorbet: plum drowned in Calvados, and mandarin with “two kinds of liquor” (which kinds wasn’t specified).

The total for the five of us, including one and a half liters of wine and lots of water, was about 260 euros. Altogether a worthwhile meal, even at that price, though not quite as spectacular as I would have liked.

Ristorante Al Cenacolo, via Pedretti 16, Chiavenna – closed Tuesday evening and all Wednesday – phone 0343 32123

San Lorenzo Dinner at the Symposium Quattro Stagioni – Gallery

In 2007, I won a deluxe dinner at one of Italy’s finest restaurants, and published several pages about it. Here is the full gallery of photos from that evening. You might also like: Favorite Restaurants, in Italy and Elsewhere High Water (Not Hell) in Venice, part 6 San Lorenzo Dinner at the Symposium Quattro Stagioni: Read More…

In 2007, I won a deluxe dinner at one of Italy’s finest restaurants, and published several pages about it. Here is the full gallery of photos from that evening.

Favorite Restaurants, in Italy and Elsewhere

Note: All prices may be severely out of date. Quality not likely to have changed. Lake Como Area Belvedere Il Capriolo Crotasc Lanterna Verde L’Osteria del Viaggiatore These are full reviews – also see brief listings below for some more restaurants. Elsewhere Ristorante Tortella, Castelli, Abruzzo various in Austin, Texas American chain restaurants Vegetarian Restaurants Read More…

Note: All prices may be severely out of date. Quality not likely to have changed.

Lake Como Area

These are full reviews – also see brief listings below for some more restaurants.

Elsewhere

Vegetarian Restaurants

Some tips for eating in restaurants in Italy.

Don’t want to eat out all the time? It’s also possible to eat cheaply in Italy.

Opinions

Some More of Our Favorite Restaurants

NB: My data on prices may not be entirely reliable; costs refer to a full meal (antipasto, primo, secondo, dessert) with wine, per person. You can of course save money by eating less! (By 2010, these prices are likely out of date! I have not eaten at any of these places in at least two years.)

But you don’t always have to go to restaurants; it’s also possible to eat cheaply in Italy.

Milan

Lo Scugnizzo

via Cassala 59

near the Romolo metro stop

tel 02 5811 1957

Fresh mozzarella from Naples daily, amazing seafood of all kinds. Pizza is also good. ~ euro 20-30

Vecchia Napoli pizzeria

via Chavez 4

tel 02 2619056

Fantastic pizza. Closed Mondays. Pizzas cost euro 7-12.

Osteria Grand Hotel

via Ascanio Sforza 75 (naviglio Pavese)

tel 02 89511586

Fabrizio, the owner, is head of one of Milan’s Slow Food groups. Excellent food, great wine list. euro 30-40

La Veneta

via G. Giusti 14

tel 02 342881

Antique recipes from the Veneto. Don’t miss the pasta e fagioli with radicchio, but everything else is wonderful as well. The owner is idiosyncratic and sometimes perceived as rude, but really he just has strong opinions on what should be eaten (and drunk) with what, and he’s probably right. Leave room for amazing desserts. euro 30-50

Ristorante da Bruno

via Gonzaga 6 (Duomo metro stop)

tel 02 804364

An old family favorite. Everything’s good. ~ euro 25-40

Gatto’

via Castel Morrone 10

tel 02 70006870

Mon 17:30-23:30, Tue-Sat 12:00-23:30

A brief but excellent Neapolitan-influenced menu, with an emphasis on top-quality ingredients. Possibly the best tuna steak I’ve ever eaten, lightly seared with a Japanese-style dipping sauce. Don’t miss the desserts.

near Menaggio

Locanda San Martino

Santa Maria Rezzonico and then way up the hill

tel 0344 50167 – reservations recommended

Excellent regional specialties including boar and polenta uncia (with cheese, garlic, butter, and sage), very cheap. euro 15-20

Lecco

Osteria del Viaggiatore

Corso Promessi Sposi

see my review

Taverna ai Poggi

via ai Poggi 14

phone: 0341 497126

Large selection of salumi and wines. Especially try the lake fish carpaccio and of course the local specialty, pizzoccheri (buckwheat pasta cooked with vegetables, cheese, garlic, butter, and sage). euro 25-35 at night, much cheaper at lunchtime (weekdays).

l’Azzeccagarbugli

Piazza XX Settembre

tel 0341 288063

A little pricey, but the servings are large by Italian standards. Particularly good meat, and an excellent selection of wines.

Morbegno

Ristorante Vecchio Fiume

Contrada di Cima alle Case

Nouveau twist on regional specialties. euro 30-40

Chiavenna

La Lanterna Verde

Fraz. SAN BARNABA, 7

VILLA DI CHIAVENNA 23029 SO (on the road going to St. Moritz)

Our absolute favorite, well worth the trip. During the day, eat outside and enjoy the amazing view of forests and waterfalls. euro 40-50 (cheap at the price!). See my review liked above.

Crotasc

via D.P. Lucchinetti 67

23020 Mese (SO)

map | my detailed review

Restaurant associated with the Mamete Prevostini winery.Specializes in salumi and insaccati (dried meats) and wild game. Five-course menus euro 25 and 30.

Il Capriolo

Subiale, Tel. 0341 875.017 – Cell. 328 749500

See my review; closed Thursdays.

Chianti

I Tre Castelli
Loc. Cintoia Bassa

Strada in Chianti

tel 055 8572227

Open for lunch and dinner, except Wednesdays.

Rita and Lino took us here. Excellent and unusual dishes such as a very spicy boar goulash.

Rome

Osteria Le Mani in Pasta

via dei Genovesi 37, Trastevere

Antica Taverna

via Monte Giordano, 12

da Alfredo e Ada

via Banchi Nuovi 14

An old-fashioned Roman osteria. Get there while you can – places like this won’t last much longer. euro 15-20Also go here

Mantova

Outside Italy

London

(locations in Brussels, Copenhagen, Paris, Delhi, Dubai, and Beirut
as well)

La Porte des Indes

Indian-French cuisine based on recipes from the old French colony of Pondicherry. I have had a lot of Indian food (lived there 5 years), but never anything like this. Amazing. Expensive.

Virginia/Suburban DC

Busara

Some of the best Thai food I’ve eaten outside of Thailand.

France

Le Ménestrel, Nimes

Barcelona

La Provenza, Barcelona