Cantucci di Prato

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Cantucci (or biscotti, as they are called in the States and UK), can’t tell you how many of those I ate when I lived in Tuscany. Actually it was one of my favourite dessert when I went at the restaurant. A nice glass of Vin Santo, the relaxed dipping of the cantucci in the golden boozy liquid. The most perfect way to end a dinner. Before Christmas I was unable to bake panettone so I indulged with backing plenty of cantucci and pandolce (a Genoese version of panettone) that I gave as a gift to family and friends. Searching for the best recipes I came across this one which is just perfect. I found it on a very reliable blog which I already known for years, Anice e Cannella. The only two changes I made have been replacing orange zest with lemon zest, which I much more prefer, and not brushing the cantucci with the egg (more out of laziness than anything else). A gift which my guinea pigs welcomed and appreciated very much. You can store them in nice tin boxes and bring them as a gift to friends who invite you over for dinner, maybe with a good bottle of Vin Santo!

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Gnocchi with tomato, thyme and fennel seeds / MTC o anche pararsi le terga in corner: Gnocchi freschi al pomodoro, timo e semi di finocchio

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Time flies so quickly it’s hard for me to believe that next month will mark my three years as a participant to the MTChallenge. The toughest, craziest and most instructive foodblogger challenge in the worldwide web. Some challenges I had to give up to, many ones I took part to were spent addressing not so nice thoughts to the challengers but all of the challenges have been an occasion to learn new techniques and recipes. I always tried to participate to the best of my means, were they economical, in terms of the time I had on my hands and my creative resources. But never a challenge had been so tough on me. Gnocchi. Apparently an easy one, but someone like me who has always eaten gnocchi straight from a bag and topped them with butter, sage and parmesan this challenge has been THE CHALLENGE. No wonder I do have the sentiment that I am participating as a loser from the start, except for one thing: finally I was able to make proper gnocchi for the first time in my life. So thank you so much Annarita for her thorough post in which she presents us with three different recipes, perfectly described in every detail.

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Macro dumplings for MTC Challenge / Canederli macro per l’MTC Challenge

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New year, new challenges. It seems only yesterday that Francesca challenged us with a her literary inspired muffin, but it has been two months now. Enough to relax and forget how the MTC Challenge can put my brain and creativity under enormous pressure. Couple this with my macro lifestyle adventure and you can just imagine how difficult it will be for me from now on…but stubborn as I am the goal this year will be to be able to participate to all of MTC’s challenges by inventing all sorts of macro alternatives to the recipes and ingredients we will be given. Honestly these dumplings were a walk in the park if I consider the risk of running into a dessert recipe, or worse a brioche dough rich in eggs, butter and sugar. But challenges are vital in my life and for my blog(s) too and I am ready to face any recipe, even though I fear many tears will be shed being failure and disappointment just around the corner with macro cooking!
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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Pizza with zucchini, lemon zest and mint / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Pizza con zucchine, scorza di limone e menta

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Pizza is one of my fixations. The ones who know the baking world are well aware of how this recipe can cause insomnia, stress and nervous breakdowns. Whether it is baked in a pan or the classic round neapolitan pizza shape it doesn’t matter, both variants need some knowledge to come out of the oven as true masterpieces. I don’t recall confessing it, but my infatuation with sourdough started with an obsessive search for the perfect pizza, which began three years ago and perhaps has now come to an end at last.

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Garganelli and Ragù alla Mamma / Garganelli del riciclo pasquale e ragù alla mamma

garganelli ragùI still remember the day when I virtually met Michela, aka Menta e Rosmarino, on Facebook’s group Panissimo. She had just published a recipe for a very nice bread. As absurd as it sounds I vaguely remember the loaf but remember very well the main colors of the photo, white and red, which I later discovered to be her “signature colors”. A sort of White Stripe of baking my friend, the third missing element who I imagine playing the pans using woden spoons. No time for digression, let’s get on with my story.

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