Casareccie with beets and walnuts

•June 18, 2015 • 1 Comment

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Despite the fact that my daughter is no longer elated with a plate of pink pasta, and instead of diving into a steaming plate of fucshia, she questions it with a snear, I have to admit that I still get excited. I love the power of a plant that can turn something from an off-white into a deep pink with a few tosses in the pan and to top it all off, it is extremely good for us.

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Casareccie with beets and walnuts

  • 1 1/2 pounds beets, peeled and finely grated
  • beet greens, cleaned and cut into small strips
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 oil cured anchovies, rinsed
  • 3/4 pound casareccie pasta
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high, add garlic and anchovy filets. When the garlic starts to sizzle add beets. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until beets are very tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. At this point add the beet greens.
In the meantime, fill a large pot with water for the pasta. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water starts to boil for the pasta add a small handful of salt to the water and bring to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
When the pasta is about 1 minute from being cooked to al dente perfection, turn up the heat on the sauce and drain the pasta, reserving a small cup of water. Without shaking all of the water out of the colander pour the pasta into the pan and toss it with the sauce, finishing up the cooking in the beets, add the reserved water if it seems dry. Remove from the heat and toss with chopped walnuts, serve immediately.

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One Year Ago: Roasted Asparagus and Scallion Quiche, Insalata di Seppie e Patate & Octopus and Black Pepper Spaghetti

Two Years Ago: Limoncello, Wine-Braised Brisket with Tart Cherries & Citrus Shrimp Salad

Three Years Ago: Cuttlefish and Zucchini Risotto alla Scapece, Alici alla Beccafico, Strawberry, Mulberry and Cherry Tatin, Linguine alla Beccafico e Albicocche & Torta di Riso

Four Years Ago: Tagliatelle with Yellow Zucchini and Olive Tapenade, Chicken Couscous Salad, Frittata di Zucchine Gialle e Provola, Farfalle with Yellow Zucchini and Tuna, Fried Flounder with Zucchini Straws over Grits & Beet and Beet Green Gratin

Five Years Ago: Risotto with Artichokes, Saffron and Baby Shrimp, Cacio e Pepe della Scala, Summer Squash and Potato Torte & Pasta alla Norma

Six Years Ago: Fish Stew with Quinoa, Grilled Vermillion Snapper and Grilled Veggies, Farfalle with Grilled Zucchini and Sausages, Honeydew Melon and Green Tomato Salad, Grilled Sockeye Salmon Fillet, Sautéed Summer Squash, Okra Sautéed with Tomatoes and Garlic alla Napoletana, Carbonara with a Twist, Peach and Blueberry Cobbler, Morningside Farmers Market & Cheese Soufflè

Seppie arrostite con le zucchine crude

•May 22, 2015 • 2 Comments

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With the celebration of my daughter’s 3 month birthday, I thought that I would post my first actual recipe after a long and exhaustive pause. Despite the fact that I often don’t end up with enough gumption at the end of the day to prepare something new and interesting, I have had a few moments to explore in the kitchen. With spring’s arrival and the start of her departure, there has been a lot to work with.

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We were in Naples last week showing our new baby girl off to the family. My husband’s uncle, who is an excellent cook, had us over for dinner one evening with his family and prepared a wonderful meal of troccoli with lupini, roasted cuttlefish with raw zucchini and grilled ricciola steaks. It was a last minute invite and they really threw down.

I was instantly drawn to the cuttlefish dish, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was at first glance, but it looked delicious. I loved the smokiness of the cuttlefish with the simple fresh flavor of the raw zucchini, tossed together with the sweetness of balsamic vinegar.

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Seppie arrostite con le zucchine crude

  • 1 chilo cuttlefish, cleaned
  • 3 medium zucchini, fresh and firm
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

Pre-heat a cast iron griddle until drips of water sizzle and evaporate immediately upon contact. Place the cuttlefish, whole, on the griddle and sear on each side for about 4 minutes. Flatten them with a spatula, but don’t move them around, you want that delicious caramelization from the sear. When they are beautifully golden and cooked through remove them to a plate and let them cool.

When the cuttlefish has cooled, slice them into thin strips, lengthwise and cut the tentacles into pairs of two. Slice your zucchini lengthwise creating linguini-like strips. Toss them together on a platter with extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and the chopped parsley. Serve at room temperature as an antipasto or as a main course.

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One Year Ago: Spaghettini with Asparagus, Orecchiette con le Cime di Rape, Fresh Shelled Pea Pate & Roasted Asparagus and Scallion Quiche

Two Years Ago: Spaghetti con la Bottarga & Farfalle with Fresh Shelled Peas and Pancetta

Three Years Ago: Farfalle with Roasted Fennel and Swordfish, Risi e Bisi, Vitello Tonné & Mushroom Quiche

Four Years Ago: Green Tomato Summer Pasta, Stuffed Zucchini, Melanzane in Insalata alla Calabrese, Spinach and Ricotta Quiche with Roasted Tomatoes and Onion Blossoms & Tagliatelle with Yellow Zucchini and Olive Tapenade

Five Years Ago: Black-Eyed Peas With Collard Greens, Linguine with Artichokes and Scallops, Pollo all’Arancia, Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market & Risotto with Artichokes, Saffron and Baby Shrimp

Six Years Ago: Fish Tacos, Pizza di Collards, Roasted Asparagus with Fried Eggs, Okra Masala Stew over Couscous, Refrigerator Noodle Creation, Grilled Sausages, Rigatoni with Sausages and Broccoli Rabe, Ligurian Stuffed Zucchini, Ziti with Asparagus and Flounder, Frittata di Patate, Butternut Squash Soup, Risotto with Sausage, Baby Bellas and Saffron, Fish Stew with Quinoa, Grilled Vermillion Snapper and Grilled Veggies & Farfalle with Grilled Zucchini and Sausage

 

a new dish

•May 2, 2015 • 3 Comments

IMG_7544 IMG_7547 My absence from Italicious over the past two months has the sweetest excuse: the arrival of our new baby girl. She opened her eyes to the world on February 28th, a lovely winter birthday on a very special and lucky date at the end of the shortest month of the year, and the day before leap day. We are in love, and luckily for me, I had my mother-in-law cooking for us the 1st month and my parents came from the States for the 2nd month. Newborn babies are a lot of work, but more than that, 5 year olds, whose world has turned topsy-turvy with the arrival of an attention suck, a sucker of her attention, that is where the real work is. I hope now that the numbers in the house have downsized and we can all find our new rhythm that I will be able to get back in gear with cooking, photographs and writing.

One Year Ago: Cicoria Selvatica e le Polpettine, Roasted Fennel with Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, Garlic and Olive Oil, Ricotta Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Marjoram, Tonarelli con Pesce Spada e Radicchio, Pork Chops with Cardoncelli Mushrooms, Carbonara with Roasted Cauliflower, Mormora, Cavatelli with Beets, Cacioricotta and Pistachios & Key West

Two Years Ago: Risotto alla Zuppa di Pesce, Rape Selvatiche, Chicken with 28 Cloves of Garlic, Pickled Shrimp, Farfalle With Stewed Fennel, Artichokes and Peas, Risotto with sole, toasted almonds and roasted tomatoes, Cape Town, Kosher for Easter, Spaghetti con Seppie e Asparagelle, Pansotti al brasato e carciofi, Cime di Rape Affogate al Vino, Linguini with Fresh Shelled Peas and Calamari, Risotto ai Cardoncelli e le Vongole, Torta di Carciofi e Fave, Insalata di Polipo & Baked Fettucine with Bechamel and Artichokes

Three Years Ago: Mure delle Pietre Secche, Casa di Nonna, Signs of Spring, Catalogna, Puntarelle Pugliesi, Carciofi Carciofi Carciofi, Pasqua Napoletana, strascinati con carciofi e panna, Fried Artichokes, Agretti & Parmigiana di Carciofi

Four Years Ago: Shrimp and Grits alla Mediterranea, Spaghetti Squash all’Aglio e Olio, Agnolotti al Brasato, Penne with Roasted Tomatoes and Fennel, Pureed Potato and Broccoli Soup, Funghi Trifecta Risotto, Funghi Trifecta Risotto Croquettes, Flounder and Fennel filled Mezzelune with Salsa di Pistacchi, Mantecato of Flounder and Fennel over Gemelli with Pistachios, Cavolfiore alle Olive, Wahoo with Citrus and Pistachios, Ziti with Grilled Sausages and Ricotta, Flounder Fillets in White Wine, Lasagna, Southern Style, Lamb Shanks with Oranges and Olives, Zucchini Flower Pizza & Risotto With Beet Greens and Roasted Beets

Five Years Ago: Sweet Potatoes Wrapped in Sage and Prosciutto, Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew, Ziti alla Sorrentina, Chili and Honey Chicken Legs with Braised Collards, Mint, Spinach and Ricotta Frittata, Pastiera, Spaghetti alle Sarde con Erbette, Asparagus and Ham Risotto with a Fried Egg & Ragù with Fresh Egg Fetuccini

Six Years Ago: Pizzette, Ravioli con Ragù Napoletano, Ragù Napoletano and Grits, Farfalle with Salmon and Fennel, Soba Noodles With Tofu, Shiitake Mushrooms & Broccoli, Pesto, Gemelli with Fennel & Bacon, Salsa di Pistacchi, Tzatziki Potato SaladBeet and Blood Orange Salad, Red Snapper alla Ligure, Pork Loin Stuffed with Figs, Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread, Morningside Farmers Market, Atlanta GA, No-Knead Pizza Dough, Risotto with Scallops, Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes, Cornbread Dressing, Collard Greens, Southern Cheese Biscuits, Macaroni and Cheese, Gemelli with Asparagus and Roasted Tomatoes, Insalata di Farro with Beets and Feta Cheese, Apricot, Fig and Pistachio Haroseth, Carciofi alla Romana, Roasted Chicken with Pomegranate Sauce, Spinach and Sausage Lasagna, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Penne with Zucchini, Roasted Tomatoes and Pistachios, Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas, Lemon, Celery and Carrots, Red Beans and Rice, Ziti with Artichokes and Swordfish, Black Bean Enchiladas with Green Sauce, Spaghetti all’Amatriciana, Mediterranean Beet and Yogurt Salad, Marion Square Farmers Market, Charleston, SC, Collard Greens alla Italiana, Baked Fish in Salsa di Agrumi & Gemelli with Tuna alla Siciliana

 

Orecchiette With Grated Squash, Walnuts and Ricotta Salata

•February 22, 2015 • 1 Comment

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Living in Puglia we eat a lot of orecchiette with broccoli rabe, I order it at most restaurants and according to my husband I have perfected the dish in my own kitchen. It is hard to fail perfection when your primary ingredients are so incredible. Though we love “green orecchiette” as my daughter calls them, licking her lips, we don’t want them all of the time and when our neighbor brought us a tray of freshly made orecchiette I wanted to find a recipe that would do them the same honor. This pumpkin and walnut sauce absoultely made the cut.

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Orecchiette With Grated Squash, Walnuts and Ricotta Salata

adapted from The New York Times

  • pound butternut squash (about half of a large squash)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 ounces walnut pieces (about 1/2 cup), coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram, or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • Lots of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound orecchiette
  • 2 ounces ricotta salata, grated (about 1/2 cup)

Begin heating a large pot of water. When it comes to a boil, add a generous amount of salt and keep at a simmer.

Meanwhile, peel the squash (I use a vegetable peeler for this), cut it into chunks that will fit your food processor tube fitted with the grater blade, and grate. Alternately, grate with the large holes of a box grater.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy skillet and add the grated squash and salt to taste. Cook, stirring often, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the squash has softened. Add the garlic, walnuts and half the marjoram or all of the sage and cook, stirring, for another minute. Turn the heat down to medium.

Add 1/2 cup of the water for the pasta and cook for another couple of minutes, until it has been absorbed and evaporated from the pan. Add another 1/2 cup water and continue to cook for another 3 minutes, or until the squash mixture is tender and moist. Taste, adjust salt, and add a generous amount of pepper. Keep warm while you cook the pasta.

Bring the pot of water back to a rolling boil and add the orecchiette. Cook al dente, usually 10 to 11 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the cooking water to the squash mixture before draining, then drain the pasta and toss with the squash, along with the remaining marjoram and the ricotta salata. Serve hot.

Advance preparation: You can make this through Step 4 several hours ahead. You will have to moisten the squash with more hot water when you reheat in the pan.

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One Year Ago: Insalata di Calamari

Two Years Ago: Fancy Pasta with Grated Fennel, Lemon and Orata, Risotto with Orata, Leeks, Sundried Tomatoes and Saffron & Zuppa di Pesce

Three Years Ago: Trattoria al Gambero, Porto Cesareo (LE), I Secondi della Lanternaia & L’Antro, Crispiano (TA)

Four Years Ago: Reezy Peezy & Kale with Cannellini and Polenta

Five Years Ago: Herb Egg Salad, Lentil Tomato Soup & Spaghetti alla Gricia

Six Years Ago: Farfalle with Portobello Mushrooms, Frittata di Maccheroni, Asparagus and Spinach Risotto, Chicken Tikka with Pomegranate Couscous Salad, Pot Stickers, La Carbonara, Chicken Thighs with Saffron, Green Olives & Mint & Tiramisu

La Genovese

•February 9, 2015 • 1 Comment

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I’m going back to a recipe that I posted in my first years of blogging, La Genovese, which is a classic Neapolitan dish, or dishes for that matter. A roast cooked in the sauce that you dress the pasta with. It is a favorite of my husband and has become one of my favorites too. Continuing, slowly, with the dishes that my mother-in-law prepared when she was here, I couldn’t leave this one out. I had never actually followed the preparation of a genovese by anyone but my husband and I am so pleased that I did.

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I knew that there was an outrageous, tear-streaming amount of onions, but was somehow convinced that the meat that you needed was chunks of stew meat as opposed to a roast, never having attempted to make this on my own. I was also surprised that you don’t brown the meat at all before braising it in the onions, but put it all in the pot together, the result being very tender and deicious bites of meat and a sweet marmalade of onions to dress your pasta with.

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This is serious comfort food. On a recent trip to Naples, we went to a classic Neapolitan osteria above the neighborhood La Sanità called La Mattonella. With tiles on the walls that date back to the 1700’s and a genovese to swoon over. I have to confess though, my mother-in-law’s was far superior.

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La Genovese

from Naples at Table by Arthur Schwartz

  • 2 pounds (approximately) chuck roast, tied or a chuck steak, we used spezzatino which is meat cut up for stew
  • 4 pounds onions, halved through the root end and finely sliced, about 12 cups (my husband will often use a mix of red, yellow and white onions, you can use a few onions for this to make a good stew)
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced (or ribboned)
  • 1 large, outside rib celery, finely diced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 rounded tablespoons finely cut parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Place the meat in a heavy-bottomed, 7- to 8-quart pot. Surround and cover the meat with the onions, carrot, celery, salt, parsley, marjoram, and 8 cups water. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered over medium-low heat, simmering gently but steadily, and stirring every so often. As the liquid reduces in the pot and the meat becomes exposed, make sure to turn the meat regularly – every 20 minutes or so – so that it cooks evenly.

After about 3 hours, most of the liquid should have evaporated, the onions should be almost creamy, and the meat should be tender. Even if the meat is not as tender as you would like, remove it and set it aside. It can be further tenderized when reheated.

Raise the heat under the onions and add the wine. Boil, stirring frequently, until the wine has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Then continue to boil, stirring frequently, even constantly, until the sauce has reduced and thickened so much that when it is stirred you can see the bottom of the pot for a second. This can take as long as 20 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste at this point and cook another minute. (If, when reheating, the sauce seems too tight, stir in a little water to loosen it.) Season with plenty of freshly ground pepper. Correct the salt, if necessary.

Serve the meat with about 1/2 cup of sauce, save the rest of the sauce for your pasta (tomorrow’s post).

If the meat did not become entirely tender during its cooking with the onions, slice it and layer it with spoons of the sauce in a baking dish or casserole. Cover (with foil if necessary) and reheat in a 325-degree oven until heated through and almost fall-apart tender.

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One Year Ago: frittelle di cavolfiori e baccalà & Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

Two Years Ago: Stuffed Squid, Colcannon, Wild Mushroom Risotto & Fancy Pasta with Artichokes and Clams

Three Years Ago: a walk in the country, Gli antipasti della Lanternaia, I Primi della Lanternaia & La Cantina di Papa Ggiru

Four Years Ago: Meatloaf, Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms, Saffron and Red Wine, Farfalle with Butternut Squash, Olives and Grapes & Gemelli with Cauliflower and Saffron

Five Years Ago: Brasato

Six Years Ago: An interpretation of La Genovese, Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto & Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables

Il Gateau di Patate

•January 24, 2015 • 2 Comments

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Neapolitan comfort food. This is a favorite of my husband’s and was a must have when his mother was here. He has attempted this recipe several times and I honestly was never won over by it, not sure what that is about, I love potatoes and all of the goodness that goes into this gâteau, but I was just never feeling it. I have to say that a mother’s touch to certain foods makes all of the difference and this was a gâteau di patate that I actually went back to for seconds.

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My mother-in-law did not use a recipe, she’s got this one, but for simplicity’s sake and the fact that she moves like a ninja in the kitchen, I decided to use the recipe from my Neapolitan bible, Naples at Table. There are a few differences, we used prosciutto cotto instead of salami, due to certain dietary restrictions and only used mozzarella and skipped the smoked cheese, though I think that the salami and the smoked cheese would have really made this potato cake pop. We’ll try it again in a few months.

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Gâteau di Patate

from Naples at Table by Arthur Schwartz

  • 3½ pounds all-purpose potatoes, preferably yellow-fleshed, washed and peeled
  • 3 cups loosely packed grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 ounces Neapolitan-style salami or soppressata, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 rounded tbsp finely cut parsley
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 to 2 tbsp butter (for greasing the pan)
  • ¼ cup dried bread crumbs (for the pan)
  • 4 ounces smoked provola, cut into ½-inch or smaller cubes
  • 8 ounces mozzarella, cut into ½-inch or smaller cubes
  • Optional: freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp butter

Boil the potatoes in plenty of salted water until just tender. Rice the potatoes into a bowl. (Do not mash.)

Add the Parmigiano, butter salami, egg, milk, parsley and salt, stirring only enought to incorporate everything evenly.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Heavily butter a 10-inch pie dish or cake pan, then coat with bread crumbs.

Turn 2/3 of the potato mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth out gently, using a spatula or the back of a spoon, making the layer even. Do not press down. Try not to disturb the bread crumbs coating the pan.

Sprinkle evenly with the smoked cheese and mozzarella cubes, but don’t bring them to the very edge. Season with freshly ground pepper, if desired. Top with the remainder of the potato mixture. Smooth gently again. With a fork, make a decorative pattern on the surface of the potatoes; sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs, then dot with 1 tbsp of butter.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.

Serve hot, cut into wedges or spooned out of the pan.

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Two Years Ago: Baccala’ alla Vicentina con Polenta

Three Years Ago: dalla nostra terra

Four Years Ago: Potato-Mushroom Cake with Braised Lentils

Six Years Ago: pesce all’acqua pazza

Gamberoni al Vino Bianco

•January 20, 2015 • 1 Comment

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I had the best intentions of posting regularly when my mother-in-law was in town or at least after she left, but it has been over 2 weeks since her departure and dust is being collected around all of her recipes.

There are certain houseguests who demand more of you than others and that time to hole away on my own to write, think and relax, just wasn’t available, so those times that I was resting I was either asleep or vegetating in front of the boob tube. After a month with a person who obviously does not enjoy solitude, I realized just how much I cherish it.

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I did enjoy these gorgeous shrimp that she made the first Sunday that she was here. As I have mentioned several times in the blog, shrimp is one of my faborite foods, but I don’t cook it very often because my husband is allergic. So she prepared some just for the ladies of the house, my daughter also loving the pink fish. This was a very simple recipe with white wine and garlic, sauteed in a pan. Delicious and very little prep since you clean them out of their shells after cooking them.

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Gamberoni al Vino Bianco

  • 1 lb large shrimp
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • a few sprigs of parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 tbps extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a shallow pan over medium heat, add garlic and sautee for a few seconds before adding the shrimp, placing them in the pan in an even layer. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and pour the wine over the shrimp, cover. Allow to cook over moderate heat for about 10 minutes or until the shrimp have changed color. Shrimp in Italy is pink when it is raw as well and becomes a little bit more orange when they are cooked, the color measurement will be easier with grey shrimp which turn pink when they are done.

When the shrimp has reached its appropriate color, remove the shrimp from the pan with tongs and reduce the liquid in the pan to create a sauce. You can plate the shrimp in their shells or peel them before serving, pouring the sauce over the shrimp after they have been peeled.

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One Year Ago: Panettone Gastronomico & Pollo alla Cacciatora

Two Years Ago: La Vigilia di Natale, Roasted Cauliflower with Raisins and Olives, Polipo al forno con le patate & Pasta al Forno con Funghi Pleurotus e Spinaci

Three Years Ago: Risotto with Salmon, Chanterelles and Chives & Relais Histò

Four Years Ago: Lentil Stew With Pumpkin, Zuppa di Pesce, Farfalle with Portobello Mushrooms and Arugula & Herb Crusted Pork Loin

Five Years Ago: Nasi Goreng & Spaghetti e Vongole

Six Years Ago: Panettone, Alici Fritti, Roasted Fennel Gratin, Zucchini Quiche & Polpo Affogato

 
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