Dinner in a sea cave; no windows or ceiling; the ocean breeze wafting about as you listen to the waves crash on the rocks. This is the seaside town of Polignano a Mare in Puglia. The restaurant Grotta Palazzese is definitely a tourist attraction with over priced food – but it is well worth the price for the experience. We dined a bit early by Italian standards and were treated to the most prized table located on the edge of the cave, overlooking the ocean. For accommodations, we did not stay in the hotel associated with restaurant but rather in the neighboring town of Monopoli – a short 10 minute car ride from Polignano a Mare. I had seen this restaurant in a Facebook post of all places and just decided to make it a priority on our trip last October. I’m glad I did.
From Our Italian Table. Here’s something I didn’t know about. Grazie for a wonderful post! Click the link below to read the rest and get the recipe.
“The Italians have their own version of the infamous French onion soup – ‘carabaccia’. In fact, rumor has it that Caterina de’Medici actually brought her Tuscan chefs to France and actually created the first ‘French’ onion soup. “ See the full article here: Carabaccia, A Humble Onion Soup, Italian-style – Our Italian Table | Our Italian Table.
My first pizza. I used the pizza dough recipe from The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook made the sauce and carmelized onions from http://zesterdaily.com/cooking/healthy-mediterranean-pizza/ and cooked on an Emile Henry pizza stone in an oven that goes to 550 degrees. Not bad for a first try. I will make the crust thinner next time but even with this thickness, the crust was perfect.
Do you have a pizza secret to share?
Have you ever been to Puglia? Lecce is a charming city nestled in the heel of the Italian boot. She turns on her charm on warm summer evenings. Stop by a local shop to taste a local favorite wine – Salice Salentino – and enjoy the moment. Salice Salentino is a red wine produced mainly from the Negroamaro grape. Do not miss this or your evening passeggiata.
Doesn’t this look amazing? Adri Barr Crocetti has done it again. For those of you not familiar with her work, check out her website. I promise you won’t be disappointed. This article, written by Adri, was featured in L’Italo-Americano. Here’s an excerpt. Be sure to visit the site for the full article.
“It’s Winter. What better way to warm up than with the tender cheese filled crespelle floating in clear chicken broth? Crespelle in brodo, known in Abruzzo as Scriplle ‘mbusse, is a satisfying yet delicate soup that will warm you from the inside out.” Read the rest of the article to get the recipe: Crespelle in brodo, Crepes in broth, Italian cuisine.
A photo of Rome I snapped late in the afternoon in the fading sunlight. The quintessential nature of this fascinates me. The old overlays the new – or is it the other way around? The past intertwines with the present. The word Pentimento describes it beautifully. I first read this word in a Lillian Hellman biography of the same name. It is defined as an alteration in a painting, evidenced by traces of previous work, showing that the artist has changed his or her mind as to the composition during the process of painting. The word is Italian for repentance, from the verb pentirsi, meaning to repent. Something for us to think about.
Ok. Admit it. Your image of ricotta comes from a tub bought in the supermarket. Dry and tasteless. Think again. Imagine ricotta so light and smooth that it melts on your tongue. It has a rich yet vibrant taste. That’s the real stuff. When in Rome last October I became addicted to this. Try it with honey. Yum.
The only sad thing is that it’s almost extinct here in the U.S. I’ve searched high and low. Some say “make it yourself” with a combination of heating milk and curdling with lemon juice. This produces a nice and light homemade cheese but it is NOT ricotta. Ricotta (re-cooked) is an Italian whey cheese made from sheep milk whey left over from the production of cheese. Similar but not the same.
I sure wish I had some right now. Don’t you?
In an effort to retool my eating habits, I recently purchased the New Mediterranean Cookbook by Nancy Harmon Jenkins. If you don’t have it, you should take a look. This excerpt is from her latest article on healthy pizza in Zestor Daily
“Sun, Sea & Olives: Pizza is health food? Yes, it is, at least in the Mediterranean, and that doesn’t mean pizza with beans and tofu, either. Make dough with part whole-wheat flour, keep the toppings simple, don’t overload the cheese, and truly you will have something good to eat, simple to make and totally nourishing. “ Read the rest of the article via Pizza Can Be Healthy? It Is, If You Make It Mediterranean | Dough | Sauce | Nancy Harmon Jenkins.