Tag: hands

La Sbrisolona, ​​the cake that breaks with your hands. In Mantua, but not only – Italian Cuisine

La Sbrisolona, ​​the cake that breaks with your hands. In Mantua, but not only


It is the most friable cake there is. Because it is made of crumbs (hence the name), held together by butter and eggs

It has the (messy) appearance of a crumble with the surface covered with almonds, the cake Crumble Cake, specialty of the city of Mantua prepared since the sixteenth century. Its name derives from the dialectal term "Brisa", crumb: its dough, in fact, is anything but compact.

The peasant origin of the cake

Like many regional recipes, even that of the Sbrisolona cake has its origins in the farming world. In the sixteenth century yes kneaded cornmeal with lard and what ensued was breakfast for those who could not afford anything more elaborate. In the years to follow these ingredients were added 00 flour, hazelnuts, sugar, eggs or, for those who did not own hens, white wine. So the recipe reached the court of the Gonzagas, who enriched it with spices and the finest almonds.

Prohibited the knife

What has never changed over the years is the consistency of Sbrisolona, ​​which has always remained an agglomeration of crumbs, impossible to cut with a knife. Even today it is customary break the cake with your hands, once cooked, and serve it like this.

We prepare Sbrisolona

Mix 200 g of 00 flour with 200 g of corn flour (foil), add the seeds of a vanilla pod, the grated rind of an untreated lemon, 150 g of brown sugar, 200 g of peeled and chopped almonds some whole almonds, 200 g of butter at room temperature, a pinch of salt and two egg yolks. Form a fountain and start kneading everything with your fingertips until you have a crumbly mixture. Grease and flour a baking pan and pour the crumbled mixture into it, making it fall to rain. Press it lightly with your hands, decorate with whole almonds and then bake at 180 degrees for 40 minutes, until you see the surface of Sbrisolona brown.

In the tutorial the tips for the perfect Sbrisolona

Tóc: the polenta to eat with your hands – Italian Cuisine

Tóc: the polenta to eat with your hands


For years, the laghés have fed and fed on this poor dish around the cauldron: polenta and cheese, to eat with their hands. A typical dish to taste in Bellagio and on the lake

There are dishes that before being ingredients, are above all moments. Like the Tóc, a polenta that is eaten with your hands, and therefore you touch, hence the name. It is still prepared by a few like Angelo Becci, who meticulously learned the ancient techniques from the oldest of Bellagio, on Lake Como. Because we often forget that the lake, besides being water, is also land. Peasant land, of laghé, who for years have been nourished and fed with this poor dish around the cauldron, in front of the fire, in the family: here, the deepest meanings of the Tóc. "I prepare the Tóc in particular for the youngest, because I want to make them understand what it means to share the warmth of the family, look into each other's eyes and be together around a cauldron, carrying on these traditions before they disappear".

What is the Tóc

The main ingredients of the Tóc are three: cornmeal, butter is cheese (skinny, like casera). The Tóc, in fact, is a polenta that is prepared for hours, worked with the addition of butter and cheese that gradually swell, as they are slowly incorporated with the rodec, the typical wooden spoon. The doses and the times are fundamental: "I learned from the elderly especially the precision and the ability to mix in the right place". There are various hypotheses about the origin of the name: some believe it is for the noise tóc that makes with the rodec during the preparation; others for the continuous addition of a tòc of butter and cheese. But in reality the name derives from the fact that the Tóc you eat with your hands and then touch. And when you touch with three fingers there are three rules that must respect: it must not grease, it must not burn and must not attack. "The magic of the Tóc is that there is butter but you do not grease yourself, but it does not scald you and is compact but does not stick to your fingers".

How to eat the Tóc

The Tóc differs from the other polenta to be softer, tastier and tastier, far from oily. In the past we ate with the missultìn, or the salty and sun-dried agons typical of the lake; or, in case of missed fishing, with the salami. With time and the change in availability, we started to accompany the Tóc too with lard is bacon, while recently it is often found with cotechino, pig is hen. Usually next to the Tóc never fails miascia: a dry and poor cake from the area, prepared with dry bread, yellow flour, walnuts, figs, pine nuts, apples and pears. Better to avoid cheeses, which are already added in quantity during cooking.

Where to eat the Tóc

The Tóc remains a dish deeply linked to the home, to family. This is why the Tóc feast that the few restaurants that prepare it have made it more a business than a memory or a moment of sharing from such a unifying function. Angelo Becci, but no, because it is his personal story that has tied him so viscerally to the Tóc. It's been ten years now, in fact, since Angelo lost his son Emanuele 30 years because of a leukemia, that before dying told him: "Dad, never stop preparing the Tóc for people and get on with your public relations". So, if Angelo was already determined to carry on this local secular tradition in danger of extinction, for over 20 years he no longer has any doubt and continues to prepare the Tóc on various occasions: at home of people, in restaurants, in schools, at parties, raising funds for thePaolo Belli Association fighting for leukemia. And every time, he dedicates it to his Lele, in particular the moment of the Regel.

It looks like sangria but it is Regel

At the end of the Tóc, something very special and touching is happening, with background music: it's the moment of Regel. As in the past, they are poured into the same pot where the polenta was prepared, wine, liqueurs, fruit, sugar, bay leaves and cloves. The result is first a big fire and then one hot drink exquisite reminiscent of sangria and goes to conclude this ancient rite, which we can still live today thanks to real laghé like Angelo Becci.

Creamy Asparagus & Cauliflower Soup with Hold the Bacon

It’s hard to make a plain old vegetable soup with a well-stocked fridge. You want to make a light, healthy, restorative soup, but as you reach in the fridge for the vegetables, your hand has to pass things like butter, cheese, and crème fraiche; not to mention dealing with bacon’s sweet, smoky, siren song.


But this time, I resisted all temptations and somehow managed to keep this fairly pure. I don’t expect you to show the same restraint. However, if you do, you’ll be rewarded with a delicious bowl of soup that despite being dairy-free, looks and feels pretty creamy. We have cauliflower to thank for that.

The soup looks like a classic cream of asparagus, and your eyes will fool your palate to a certain extent. In addition to giving it a nice color, the bumpy superfood also provides a smoother texture to the soup than the less starchy asparagus could achieve alone.

Speaking of nice color, try to get your hands on some nasturtiums. They are quite safe to eat…I’ve heard from several people…and have a very subtle watercress-like flavor. They’re not fried bacon, but what is? Anyway, whether you choose to accessorize this soup or not, I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 8 cups of soup:
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 chopped cloves garlic (you can also add diced onions, leeks, shallots, etc at this point as well)
*6 cups chicken broth, or water for you vegetarians
1 head cauliflower cut into small florets (about 1 3/4 lb)
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste 
nasturtium petals for garnish
*use more or less broth to adjust soup to your desired thickness.

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