Regional Italian Cooking Classes, Continued

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When we began this regional cooking series in the north of Italy, we expected to wrap it up in Sicily and Sardinia in 2014. But the opportunity to relocate to a bigger space in the Granville Island Public Market – which turned out to be a yearlong process – interrupted the culinary journey.

Finally, the trip resumes, first with the ultimate comfort food of Rome and Lazio and the bucolic sumptuousness of neighbouring Abruzzo and Molise, then onto the simple and exuberant food of Naples and the southern mainland. Finally, we will taste the hunters’, shepherds’ and fishermen’s fare of Sicily and Sardinia.

As always, each menu will feature wine pairings from the regions and a light dessert in the spirit of the region, which will be, as always, a surprise.

Lazio, Abruzzo, Molise

Thursday, April 28, 2016

close up of rustic british oxtail stew

Rome may not be the gastronomical heart of Italy, but food is surely at the heart of Roman social life. And for the most part, that food is more reflective of the waste-not-a-scrap sensibilities of cucina povera and Lazio’s bucolic bounty than the hedonistic extravagance of imperial and papal feasts. Abruzzo and Molise contribute superlative pasta and agricultural products including regional specialties such as saffron.

Crostini con Alici e Provolone: Crostini with Anchovies, Butter and Cheese
Carciofi alla Romana: Artichokes, Roman Style
Spaghetti Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino: Spaghetti with Garlic, Oil and Red Pepper
Coda alla Vaccinara: Braised Oxtail with Cinnamon and Cocoa
Indivia Belga Intere “a Crudo”: Endive with Mint and Garlic

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Campania, Apullia, Basilicata, Calabria

Thursday, May 12, 2016

broccolini

Delightful simplicity and (occasionally fiery) exuberance define the food southern Italy: Pizza, of coarse, and vegetables ripened under generous sunshine, hard durum wheat, cheese and meat, fish and shellfish from three seas, and simple dishes rendered sublime with a splash of exquisitely nuanced and fruity Puglian olive oil.

Insalada Caprese: Tomatoes and Buffalo Mozzarella with Herbs and Olive Oil
Pizza alle Cozze: Pizza with Mussels
Cianfotta Napoletana: Summer Vegetable Stew
Pesce al Forno: Baked Fish with Olives
Broccoli di Rape Barese: Turnip Greens with Olive Oil and garlic

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Sicily and Sardinia

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Tuna Carpaccio

Waves of invaders and occupiers – Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, Byzantines, Normans, Spaniards, Austrians, Arabs – informed the culinary traditions of both Sicily and Sardinia, but Sicily is agriculturally bountiful and much of Sardinia is mountainous or sere and the cuisines are quite different. Sardinians, who say that “all evil comes from across the sea”, withdrew inland to avoid the intruders, and country dishes based on pork, lamb, sheep (and cheese from the latter two) and game brightened with wild herbs predominate. Sicily embraced all that the outsiders brought – citrus, marzipan, eggplants and ice cream from the Arabs, cactus pears, squashes and chocolate from the New World – have become important ingredients in Sicily’s gloriously multicultural cuisine.

Caponato di San Bernardo: Cooked Eggplant Salad with Nuts, Raisins and Chocolate
Carpaccio di Tonno: Tuna Carpaccio with Lemon
Fregola Sarda: Spicy Sardinian Couscous with Shellfish
Agnello al Vino Rosso: Lamb Cooked in Red Wine
Broccoli Siciliana: Cauliflower (called Broccoli in Sicily) with Spicy Anchovy Sauce

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