Porchetta di maiale

Porchetta di maiale

Porchetta di maiale Recipe
  • Cook Time2 hr
  • Total Time2 hr
  • Yield8 Servings
  • Cooking Method
    • Roasting
  • Suitable for diet

Ingredients

  • 3 ¾ - 4 lbs. boneless pork shoulder roast, skin on
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons fennel pollen
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kitchen twine

Instructions

1

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Finely chop the rosemary and place in a small bowl. Add the fennel pollen, minced garlic, salt, and pepper and mix together with a spoon.

2

Score the skin of the pork in a diamond pattern with cuts that are about 1/8 inch deep. Lay the pork flat and make 10 or more cuts throughout the pork. Stuff the pork with about 1/3 of the herb mixture.

3

Roll the pork and tie together with kitchen twine by running the twine horizontally along the longer side of the pork and making a knot. Then, place the twine in the opposite direction and make a second knot. Repeat until all of the pork is tied.

4

Cover the skin with olive oil and rub with the remaining herb mixture.

5

Place the pork in a roasting pan and roast in the oven at 375 degrees for about 1 hour and a half, until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 156 degrees. Let the meat rest for 15 minutes then slice and enjoy!

Minestrone – The Italian Vacation from a Cold Winters Day

Minestrone Soup

Soups are a mainstay in any part of the world and Italy is no exception. Minestrone is uniquely Italian and there are many different ways the soup is prepared. This is an authentic Italian minestrone recipe that will go along way during these cold winter months.

  • Prep Time5 min
  • Cook Time10 min
  • Total Time15 min
  • Cuisine
  • Course
    • Soup
  • Suitable for diet

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • ¼ lb. zucchini
  • 1 head of cauliflower (about 14 oz.)
  • 1 acorn squash (about ½ lb.)
  • 2 Yukon gold potatoes (about ¾ lb.)
  • ¾ lb. vine ripened tomatoes
  • 1 rib of celery
  • 5 oz. leeks
  • 7 oz. peas
  • 3.8 oz. diced pancetta
  • 7 oz. cranberry beans
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3-4 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 cups of water (set ¼ cup apart)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Nutmeg to taste
1) Prepare the vegetables: Peel the acorn squash, remove the seeds using a spoon, and cut into cubes about 1 centimeter wide. Cut the zucchini into cubes as well. Shell the cranberry beans if they are still in the pod. Cut the cauliflower in half, remove the core, then cut into florets. Remove the green, external part of the leek and cut the leek into thin rounds. Peel the potatoes and cut into cubes. Cut the tomatoes into cubes as well.

2) Prepare the soffritto: Finely chop the onion, carrot, and celery.

3) Heat the olive oil in a large, non-stick pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrot, and celery and sauté for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute then add the pancetta.

4) Tie the sprigs of rosemary and bay leaves together with cooking twine then add to the pot. Add the leek and pour in ¼ cup of water. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the squash and beans then cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5) Add the potatoes then grate the nutmeg over the pot to taste. Add the cauliflower and zucchini. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper if needed. Cook for an additional 5 to 6 minutes.

6) Add the peas and tomatoes then pour in the remaining water a little at a time. Cover the pot and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Remove the garlic and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Stir in the fresh parsley.

7) Pour in another ¼ cup of water (add a little less if you prefer denser minestrone). Remove the rosemary and bay leaves and stir well. Serve immediately.

Bollito Makes A Christmas Day Dinner

Bollito

Classic Bollito

Bollito is a dish prevalent in the northern part of Italy especially in the regions of Lombardy and Piedmont. It typically consists of a variety of meats, usually tougher cuts of beef or veal, that are gently boiled for about 3 hours in a broth made from vegetables and herbs. The result is tender, flavorful meat in rich, delicious broth. A good bollito requires plenty of time to cook, fresh herbs, and carefully selected meats. Bollito can be served on its own or paired with boiled vegetables, homemade sauces, or mostarda (candied fruit in a mustard-based syrup). In Piedmont, ``bollito misto`` is prevalent, which features hen and cotechino (pork sausage) in addition to beef and veal. This simple and hearty dish is a classic winter staple for many Italian families and an emblem of Italian home-cooking.

  • Prep Time15 min
  • Cook Time3 hr
  • Total Time3 hr 15 min
  • Suitable for diet

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ lbs. beef (ideal cuts for this recipe include: fore shank, short ribs, brisket, bottom sirloin, chuck steak, flank steak, or round steak)
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 15 grams kosher salt
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
1) Tie the meat with kitchen twine (any of the cuts listed above can be used in this recipe). Fill a tall pot with water and place over medium heat. Peel the onion and stick the three cloves into the onion. Peel the carrot and cut it into pieces that are about 1 inch in length. Tie the bay leaves, parsley, and thyme together using kitchen twine. Place the onion, carrot, celery, and herbs in the water.

2) Once the water is boiling, add the salt and the meat. It is very important that the meat is immersed in the water only after it has started to boil consistently, not a moment before.

3) After a few minutes, foam will begin to gather on the surface of the water. Remove all of the foam with a skimmer and then add the black peppercorns to the pot. Reduce the heat to low.

4) Cook for about 3 hours ensuring that the water remains at a gentle, but consistent boil throughout. Once the meat is cooked, remove it from the water using a slotted spoon

Roasted Veal and Potatoes

Roasted Veal and Potatoes

Roasted Veal

Roasted Veal and Potatoes is a common Christmas Day meal.

  • Prep Time5 min
  • Cook Time10 min
  • Total Time15 min
  • Suitable for diet

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. veal tenderloin
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove, cut in half
  • 2 sage leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ladle of warm beef broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
1) Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Tie the veal with kitchen twine and season with salt and pepper on all sides. In a pot large enough to hold the meat, heat the olive oil over medium heat and brown the meat on all sides. Use two wooden spoons to carefully turn the meat.

2) Add the white wine and allow it to evaporate. Next, add the herbs, beef broth, and garlic. Allow the flavors to mix for a minute or two and then roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the meat and baste frequently while it’s cooking. If the pan starts to dry up, add more warm beef broth.

3) Turn off the oven and allow the veal to rest for 10 minutes in the oven. Then, drain the liquid from the pot and strain it. Remove the twine and cut the meat into even slices. Serve with the strained sauce.

Spaghetti alle Vongole

Spaghetti alle Vongole

Spaghetti alle Vongole

Spaghetti Alle Vongole or Spaghetti with clams is a classic dish any time of year, but at Christmas, this dish often takes center stage.

  • Prep Time20 min
  • Cook Time25 min
  • Total Time45 min

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ lbs. clams
  • 10.5 oz. spaghetti
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
1) Preparing the clams: the day before cooking, clean the clams by placing them in a bowl of salted cold water for at least 12 hours. Immediately before cooking, rinse the clams under cold water to ensure that all sand has been removed.

2) Place the rinsed clams, garlic, and white wine in a skillet over high heat. Let the wine evaporate, cover the pan tightly with the lid, and wait until the clams open completely, this should take about 3 minutes. Remove the clams and garlic. Drain the liquid, strain, and reserve.

3) In the same pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for about 1 minute. Return the clams and filtered liquid to the pan and heat for 2 minutes.

4) Finely chop the parsley and cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until it is almost al dente.

5) Drain the spaghetti and add to the pan with the clams. Stir for a few seconds and serve immediately with sprinkled parsley and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Roasted baccalà with Tomatoes and Potatoes

Roasted baccalà with Tomatoes and Potatoes

Roasted baccalà with tomatoes and potatoes

This is a classic Italian Christmas Eve Dish

  • Prep Time20 min
  • Cook Time35 min
  • Total Time55 min
  • Cuisine
  • Course
    • Main Course
    • Christmas Eve
  • Cooking Method
    • Bake
  • Suitable for diet

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lbs. prepared salt cod/baccalà (see step 1)
  • 1 lb. potatoes, cut into thin slices
  • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste
Recipe

1) Preparing the salt cod: Three days prior to cooking, soak the pieces of salt cod in a large pan with cold water. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator for three days to rehydrate the fish and remove the salt. Be sure to flip the pieces of fish occasionally and replace the water every 8 hours. Immediately before cooking, rinse the cod with cold water and pat dry to remove any excess salt. Cut the salt cod into cubes about 2 inches long.

2) Pre-heat the oven to 355 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, a small ladle of water (about 2 ounces), and a pinch of salt. Once the onions are transparent, add the white wine and wait for it to evaporate. Next, add the tomatoes, garlic, parsley, and red pepper flakes and cook for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the garlic and reserve 2 tablespoons of sauce then place the rest in a baking dish.

3) Meanwhile, in another pan heat the remaining olive oil and sauté the potato slices for 4 minutes. Then, add the potatoes to the baking dish with the tomatoes and stir.

4) Place the salt cod in the baking dish on top of the layer of potatoes and tomatoes and top with the reserved sauce. Cover and bake for 20 minutes at 355 degrees. Serve immediately.

Golden Focaccia Genovese

When travelling to Liguria, in addition to the beautiful sea and warm sunshine, visitors will surely take notice of a ubiquitous treat enjoyed by locals as breakfast, an appetizer, or a snack throughout the day: focaccia. Though many varieties exist in Italy, the most traditional and delicious iteration of focaccia has its home in Liguria. Focaccia genovese, a golden flatbread with a fluffy center and a crisp crust, is considered to be the simplest variety of focaccia, but also the richest. Authentic focaccia genovese is one to two centimeters thick, is only seasoned with coarse salt and a generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil, and is covered with characteristic holes that serve as pockets to trap the delicious oil.

The historical origins of focaccia are quite ancient. The Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Greeks all used barley, rye, or millet flour to bake flatbreads over flames similar to the modern process of baking focaccia. The word focaccia itself derives from the Latin word focus, which means “hearth” and “fireplace”. In ancient Rome, focaccia was considered to be such a rich delicacy that is was often offered as a gift to the gods. During the Renaissance, focaccia was enjoyed with wine and other treats as part of wedding celebrations. Legend has it that since these celebrations occurred in church, focaccia eventually became a popular treat during funerals too. This tradition was quickly put to an end by a local bishop as it was deemed too joyous for such somber occasions. In addition, the portable, delicious flatbread was typically considered the food of travelers and fishermen up until modern times.

Though several regions in Italy produce their own variations of focaccia, the Liguria region is considered to be the traditional home of this tasty bread. Here, focaccia is accompanied by coffee for a typical Genoese breakfast or by a small glass of wine for a midmorning snack. In addition to the focaccia from Genoa, the cheese-filled focaccia di Recco is quite popular as well. This simple focaccia composed of very thin unleavened crust filled with fresh stracchino cheese that melts as the focaccia bakes in a wood oven. This type of focaccia is such a local delicacy that it was granted IGP status by the European Union, meaning that authentic focaccia di Recco can only be made in the town of Recco.
Traditionally, focaccia made in northern Italy was usually brushed with lard or butter during the baking process, while focaccia made in Liguria and in southern Italy was, and continues to be, brushed with extra-virgin olive oil. The exact date of the origin of focaccia genovese is not known, but the oldest historical document that mentions this delicious Ligurian flatbread dates back to the year 1229. Focaccia di Recco, on the other hand, dates back to the 12th century and it is believed that its origin coincided with the Crusades.

Two additional varieties of focaccia are also quite popular in other parts of Italy. The first originates from the province of Bari and can be enjoyed throughout the Puglia region. This variety, focaccia barese, is quite unique for two reasons: boiled potatoes are added to the dough to make the focaccia even softer and it is topped with fresh cherry tomatoes. The second type is found in the province of Messina on the island of Sicily. Known as focaccia messinese, this variety has a thick, soft base that is topped with endive, diced tomatoes, anchovies, and cheese (usually tuma, though mozzarella can also be used). Other types of focaccia found in Italy are topped with a variety of other ingredients including rosemary, sage, onions, olives, salumi, cheeses, and other herbs and vegetables.

Though focaccia genovese may be considered simple compared the other varieties listed above, it is the high-quality ingredients and expert preparation that render focaccia genovese so incomparably delicious. Authentic focaccia genovese can only be made with finely ground type 00 flour, extra-virgin olive oil, and coarse salt. The key to focaccia’s unique taste rests in the baking process, which occurs in a wood-oven and brings all of the exquisite ingredients together. Truly, the best slice of focaccia is the one that has just been pulled out of the oven—nothing quite compares.

So the next time you find yourself in Liguria, be sure to enjoy some authentic focaccia genovese made with extra-virgin olive oil. We hope your slice is fresh out of the oven and perfectly golden!

A High-rise Forest in the Center of Milan

Busy cities are often referred to as “urban jungles”, but one of Milan’s modern high-rises gives a whole new meaning to this popular idiom thanks to some uncommon landscaping. In 2014, Italian architect Stefano Boeri unveiled his latest design in Milan’s rising Porta Nuova district; a skyscraper called Bosco Verticale. In English, Bosco Verticale means Vertical Forest, which is an appropriate name considering the construction is composed of two towers that between them incorporate more than 1,000 varieties of plants, shrubs, and trees. The buildings were born out of an ambitious and environmentally noble idea: creating sustainable living spaces that not only foster the natural environment of the city, but regenerate it.

Bosco Verticale’s two towers are of differing heights with the tallest measuring 360 feet and the shortest measuring 260 feet. Staggered balconies extend from every side of the towers to suspend 780 trees and 14,000 plants over the city. Each of the 113 living spaces in the complex includes a private garden with vegetation that not only serves to absorb carbon dioxide, but also to protect the space from dust particles, direct sunlight, harsh winds, and acoustic pollution. In addition, the views from the apartments are spectacular, providing panoramas of Milan, the outskirts of the city, and even the momentous Alps in the distance.

The location of the towers in the Porta Nuova district, near the center of Milan, is not a coincidence. The project aims not only to regenerate the Porta Nuova district, but to shift the planning of Milan’s city center towards a greener future. To aid in this vision, the parking areas for Bosco Verticale have been constructed underground in favor of a pedestrian and cycling area above them that spans 40 acres and features additional vegetation and public spaces. The location of the towers near normal skyscrapers also helps to aesthetically revolutionize the city’s skyline. Not only do the trees and plants of Bosco Verticale stand out amongst the city’s sea of grey, but their visual impact is dynamic; as the seasons change, so too will the buildings since the vegetation will adopt the distinct colors of each season.

Bosco Verticale won the International High-rise Award in 2014, an honor that recognizes the world’s most innovative and sustainable high-rises, which is granted every two years by the city of Frankfurt in conjunction with the German Architecture Museum. The Bosco Verticale design aims to be a new standard for sustainable buildings not only in Italy but throughout the world. Recently, Stefano Boeri announced that another tower in the style of Bosco Verticale, but with cedar trees, will be constructed in Lausanne, Switzerland. Currently, there are no plans to implement the design in other parts of Italy, but Parma, Siena, and Bolzano (considered to be three of Italy’s greenest cities) could be perfect candidates for the expansion of this architectural and environmental innovation.

Tuscany Fall Wine Tours

Widely considered one of the world’s most cherished travel destinations, Tuscany offers a wealth of unique activities and experiences sure to please any first-time or repeat visitor. Located in central Italy, Tuscany’s claim to fame is its rich history, prided traditions, artistic influences, stunning landscape views, and of course its delectable cuisine and unparalleled winemaking. This quintessentially Italian locale is home to some of the most widely renowned wine production destinations in the world.

When planning an escape to Italy in the Autumn months, no Tuscan adventure will be complete without taking a tour of one of Tuscany’s traditional vineyards. The colors of the landscape, the mild climate, and the abundance of freshly harvested foods make tours of Tuscany in the fall an experience not to be missed! From the world famous Chianti region to the home of Brunello wine in Montalcino, any wine lover will delight in experiencing a true Italian wine tour on a brisk Fall day.

Harvest Time

The magic of Autumn in Tuscany is centered around the abundant harvest of products that help to shape the identity of Tuscan cuisine. From porcini and mushrooms to olives and truffles, September through November means Fall flavors have arrived! During September, the month that begins grape harvesting in the region, wineries both large and small are in full swing, giving visitors a unique and exciting look at exactly how fine Italian wine is made. For the wine enthusiast, grape harvesting can be one of the most unique experiences one can have. The gorgeous colors of Fall provide the perfect backdrop for a stunning, vino-filled getaway!

Grape Celebrations

The local harvest events celebrate both current life and new adventures, as the growers of fine grapes in the region begin to harvest thriving fruit to then turn into new wines. The Tuscan region boasts plenty of events and celebrations centered on vendemmia, an Italian word which means the picking of grapes during the Fall season. During this exciting time of year, winegrowers gather in Tuscany’s quaint villages and town squares to show off their highest quality wines. Touring the Tuscan regions during vendemmia guarantees a traditional, immersive experience for all wine connoisseurs.

Immersive Experience

When the weather cools and the fall breezes begin to sweep through the vineyards of Tuscany, the Summertime tourist crowds dwindle, allowing Autumn visitors a more intimate wine tour experience. A visit to a Tuscan winery promises more than a quick taste. As with the winemaking process itself, when it comes to soaking up the winery experience, the slower the better. Tour the cellars, walk the vineyards, and maybe even take part in the harvesting process!

Fall Foods

As the seasons change in Tuscany, the local cuisine reflects the flavors of vegetables, game, and wines that reflect the autumnal palate of Italy. On fall wine tours in Tuscany, many wineries offer local meats, warm baked bread, freshly pressed olive oils from the season’s most recent harvest, and nutty aged cheeses, all paired perfectly with wines that bring out the flavor of each dish. Should one choose to have dinner nearby, expect hearty stews made of local meat, wholesome risottos, squash and pumpkin soups as well as earthy bites made with the season’s freshest mushrooms and truffles.

Colorful Views

With longer days and a comfortable temperature, Autumn is the perfect time to travel to Tuscany to experience hands-on tours of winemaking. Colors fill the Tuscany landscape as nature prepares to shed its harvest in preparation for Winter.

As the sun sets on a gorgeous Autumn day in Tuscany, the gentle rays of light bask the vineyards, setting the stage for an unforgettable, post-card-worthy moment of bliss. With a glass of vino in hand, wine enthusiasts will never forget the Fall colors and flavors of the Tuscan countryside.

The Gulf of Poets In Liguria Is The Perfect Italian Vacation Destination

Visit The Gulf Of Poets in Liguria, Italy With Trips2ItalyLiguria is a region filled with charming seaside towns and while Cinque Terre may be at the top of everyone’s vacation list, there is much more to be discovered in the Italian Riviera. Take the Gulf of La Spezia for instance, located just south of the famous five villages. Nicknamed the Gulf of Poets, it’s easy to understand how this stretch of coast has been adored by literary icons for centuries. Though it is also filled with colorful fishing villages poised on cliffs like its famous neighbors, this area’s tranquil atmosphere sets it apart. Continue reading “The Gulf of Poets In Liguria Is The Perfect Italian Vacation Destination”