Tag: common

Sour butter and rancid fat. When the kitchen defies common sense – Italian Cuisine

The chefs play with ancestral tastes and forgotten products, challenging our foreclosures and looking for new flavors. Good to eat, but not to think about? Change your mind with a (sexy) recipe

Acid, rancid, bitter, burnt … are not exactly words that make you hungry, on the contrary. And yet they are increasingly common on restaurant menus today. The chefs are looking for new flavors and with often ancestral procedures they recall forgotten preparations such as fermentations. But it's true, they also try to amaze us and capture our attention, challenging us to order dishes that sound like disturbing. But that I'm not at all.

"Rancid"It is said of a fat altered by contact with oxygen and evokes tastes such as that of old oil, of forgotten dried fruit who knows where and when the butter has now turned yellow, acid and with a bitter aftertaste: a disgust. We reject the idea of ​​rancid like that of bitter or acid, from the bottom because our body recognizes it instinctively as a danger. Rancid means spoiled, but rancidity is also a necessary process for obtaining spicy cheeses or blue cheeses, it is part of ancient products that are found in every tradition, in the north and south of the world (storage before the refrigerator generated foods such as smen Moroccan or Slovenian fermented cottage cheese). In the absence of a necessity, the rancidity masterfully governed has become a way to develop new tastes, and the chefs juggle us with increasing pleasure.

Moroccan smen.

Strong ricotta and rancid fat, from chef

Large pots of fermented ricotta are stored in the Hiša Franko cellar, Ana Roš and Valter Kramar's restaurant in Kaporid, Slovenia. It is eaten for breakfast on bread and is often found in the dishes on its menu, combined with the flavors of the forest, smoked eel or beetroot. Its iconic dish, not surprisingly, is Potato cooked in hay with fermented ricotta, a gourmet version of a grandmother's recipe.

Pasta, garlic, rancid fat and chili pepper is one of the (excellent) dishes that are eaten at Bros, a Michelin star restaurant in Lecce by chefs Isabella Potì and Floriano Pellegrino. In this recipe, spaghetti is cooked and then creamed in fat obtained by boiling the waste of Salento ham fat, and then seasoned with garlic and sweet and spicy pepper powder. But just from Bros one of the signature dishes is the Ricotta forte and ricci, in which they use a typical ancient Apulian product with an intense, spicy and slightly bitter taste.

The fat of the Iberian ham

Rancid is the flavor that the Spaniards pursue in the extreme seasonings of raw ham, which year after year sees the fat transform to a golden color and an aromatic flavor with notes of wild herbs, mushrooms, truffles … cheese. Joselito Iberian ham, undoubtedly the most famous in the world, is also aged for ten years, served at room temperature, dark and deliberately unctuous, and the flavor is unforgettable.

Marchesi's sour butter

Sour butter, on the other hand, is nothing new. The father of the kitchen Gualtiero Marchesi used sour butter to whisk the risotto, necessary to impart acidity and therefore balance to the dish. In France, sour butter has a more elegant name, beurre blanc, and sees the addition of sour cream. To make it Italian, Marchesi eliminated the crème fraîche and studied a different procedure: lightly fry the butter with chopped onion and white wine, let it simmer slowly and then filter. Add more butter, mix and put back in the refrigerator until ready for use.

The recipe for sour spaghetti

At the pastry-restaurant Venom of Brescia, the chef Maurizio Amato uses the same technique to prepare acid spaghetti, with butter and beetroot. To amaze, and to break our prejudice towards words, flavors and memories, and to conquer: the name of the recipe is Visceral Love and these Spaghettoni sour butter and beetroot offers them for Valentine's Day.


Ingredients for 2 people

1 golden onion
50 g of white wine vinegar
110 g of white wine (Pinot bianco)
120 g of butter
2 red turnips
120 g of Felicetti Spaghettone


Blend the turnips, sift to obtain the juice. In a saucepan over low heat, put the onion cut into thin slices. Add vinegar and wine until the onion takes on a transparent appearance and the alcohol has evaporated. Remove from the heat and gradually melt the cold butter. Sift all the mixture. Cool and refrigerate. Cook the pasta in salted water, drain and stir in the cold sour butter and beetroot juice.

Eat at school. Canteens: the 10 most common mistakes – Italian Cuisine

Eat at school. Canteens: the 10 most common mistakes

From the experience of Foodinsider, Claudia Paltrinieri analyzes the menus of school canteens in a book and reveals the lights and shadows of the meals offered to Italian children

Eat at school it is a book that was born from the experience of Foodinsider, or a group of parents who joined in 2015 to "transform the school canteen into a health tool for children and for the planet". They are those who actively participate in the so-called "canteen commissions", giving votes, proposing improvements, sometimes fighting to get them. On the other hand, school catering is a phenomenon with significant numbers, if we count that in Italy there are 380 million meals served in canteens every year.
In addition to being a founding member of Food Insider, Claudia Paltrinieri, author of the book, is the creator of the canteen rating, or a grid for judging the meals offered to children. In the book Eat at school has selected the experiences, skills and case histories collected in these five years of work. And there is no lack of critical issues on which parents must watch and, if necessary, intervene.

Protein share too high

An example: pasta with meat sauce, cooked ham and peas, three protein sources in the same meal. Added to this is a tendency to abound with red meats, which however Paltrinieri notes as it is gradually being reduced. Added to this is the use of preserved meats, or cured meats, which are recommended to be totally eliminated from the menus. Also because the same reasoning can be applied to cured meats that Paltrinieri does with regard to cheeses: it is not correct for canteens to offer meals that are not actually cooked internally, such as cold cuts and cheeses, which on the contrary can be save-dinners for parents often in trouble at the end of the day. Add to this the attention that Paltrinieri emphasizes towards "hidden" proteins that are often not counted in the balance of the menu, such as egg in the dough or parmesan on the pasta.

Improper combinations

Another common mistake, adds Paltrinieri, are the improper combinations, which end up unbalancing the children's diet. First course pasta and side potatoes, first course with pasta or rice and pizza or polenta as a second course: in this way children are weighed down with carbohydrates. Conversely, the reverse also occurs, perhaps with a first course of legumes combined with a second one based on eggs or cheese, which involves an excess of protein.

Poor variety of cereals and legumes

"Pasta and rice are dominant on menus with a 4 to 1 ratio." Apart from a few exceptions related to the territorial characteristics, the velvety, the past, the Roman dumplings, the dumplings are almost unknown in the canteens of Italian children. We find barley and spelled only in central Italy and the polenta practically stops in the north and does not exceed the Rubicone. As for the wholemeal versions of pasta and rice, despite being recommended by the WHO guidelines, in Italian canteens they are almost unknown.

Monotony in vegetables

Vegetables are often the weak link in the food chain for children. Yet little is done to make them appreciate, often offering them as unattractive side dishes, including salads, carrots or raw fennel. The result is that the pot ends up being discarded evenly. Already if they were offered as an appetizer, suggests Paltrinieri, it would be possible to take advantage of the pull of the hunger of the children. Or make them become a second course in an intelligent way, perhaps combined with the easiest potatoes, or in strudel, patties or other "smart" dishes for children.

Fish and eggs: too easy if packed

As far as the difficulties of managing large numbers and food safety can be understood, Paltrinieri stresses how often products already pasteurized are used to prepare eggs and fish is almost always breaded and frozen. The result is that children end up eating anything but homemade products and that the menus are too repetitive, with omelettes that make up the lion's share and fish that becomes hopelessly stick-shaped.

End of meal: no to sweets and fruit

That the fruit should be eaten is not in question, but the end of the meal is not the ideal time to offer it to children. Rather, its ideal location, suggests Paltrinieri, is the mid-morning snack. On the contrary, desserts should really be banned from schools, especially if we talk about snacks, puddings and fruit yogurt. Yes instead with white yogurt and, if you really want to gratify the children every now and then, Paltrinieri suggests desserts made internally with a low sugar content.

Underrated bread

"Too often," says the author, "the importance of bread quality is underestimated in the canteen." On the contrary, he adds, this should play a crucial role, since it constitutes a sort of "safe haven" for children that children can count on when they do not like the other proposals on the menu. We hardly speak of a short chain or we know the flours or we propose breads that are perhaps made with wholemeal and organic flours.

Condiments not disclosed

Even if it is not said that there are flaws in this sense in school canteens, the mistake is nevertheless not in informing families about the condiments used. A good quality extra virgin olive oil must be communicated, also to convey to the parents a sense of tranquility on the general quality of the raw materials used in the canteen.

Dried fruit, seeds and olives, these unknown

It is true that in the school catering guidelines, warns Paltrinieri, they are not present, yet it is the WHO that promotes these foods for a number of good reasons: «They educate children on new flavors, they are good for health and should be included in habits even at home . As the author suggests, they can be used as condiments for main courses, or as a "crunchy note" in salads and vegetables.

Organic on the rise, but not everywhere

The increase in attention to organic food is evident, yet a little leopard-like. In the canteens analyzed by Paltrinieri in 27% of cases the use of bio exceeds 70%, but in contrast 19% does not even reach 30%. What the author points out is that, in cities where there is an important organic presence, such as in Bologna, there has been an important intervention by the parents, who actively collaborated in the definition of the specifications.

Tiramisu: 10 common mistakes – Italian Cuisine – Italian Cuisine

Tiramisu is the dessert most loved by Italians, there is no doubt. You are sure you can do it in a workmanlike manner!

In doubt about the cake to prepare, make tiramisu which is always a certainty. Everyone likes it, even children, and it's easy, fast and cheap.

Savoiardi or Pavesini?

The choice is yours, even if the answer is only and always one for the lovers of this dessert: Savoiardi.
In fact, the result is completely different if you use these biscuits which are taller and spongier and absorb less coffee. The consistency will therefore be less creamy and slightly more compact.
The only precaution is not to wet them too much because otherwise the excess coffee wets the mascarpone cream.
How to place them in the baking dish? Simply straight, with the sugared part facing up.

With a little sugar …

Sugar should not simply be whipped with eggs, but should be dosed following the half and half rule.
Then one part will be whipped with the yolks and another with the egg whites.
In this way the cream will be soft and compact at the same time and the sugar will leave no trace of itself.
You can also use it loose, boiling and slightly caramelized if you want to pasteurize the eggs.

Yes or no cream?

In the classic recipe, there is no mention of whipped cream, but someone likes to use it instead of egg whites.
If you decide to use it to give more coverage and flavor to the cream it is fine, but if it is only to remove a part of eggs because you do not like the aftertaste we suggest you to take other tricks, for example add marsala to the yolks while you mount them with the sugar.

Coffee, tea …

There is no doubt, in tiramisu there is coffee, and it must be good and restricted.
To make the dessert less strong, you can dilute the coffee with a little water or you can use it decaffeinated, while we do not recommend American coffee which is less tasty and therefore not too suitable for this preparation.
And if there are children at the table, opt for barley, but this is the only exception.
For all the variants of tiramisu that include fruit, instead, choose tea, milk or apple juice which has a delicate taste that goes well with everything.
And to give it an extra boost, add some liquor! Limoncello is good with fruit, and rum with classic tiramisu.

Everyone has their own secrets when it comes to preparing an excellent tiramisu, but sometimes small mistakes can be made. We offer you at least 10. Pay attention!

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