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: Rye Tagliolini with Oil and Sage Emulsion / Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Tagliolini con farina di segale con emulsione di olio e salvia fresca

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And it’s Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook time again. And I’m back to making fresh egg pasta a couple of months after my recipe for Pici with sausage, hazelnuts and coffee sauce. I simply love making pasta at home. This time around I chose to use a beautiful rye flour, the same flour I used for my blood orange and onions chutney filled snails. The result is really good and rye, with its rustic quality, gives these tagliolini (as this very narrow pasta is called) a pleasant roughness. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

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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Testaroli with almond sauce / Testaroli con salsa di mandorle

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We already tried once before, but I had failed miserably. We have not talked about since, most certainly because both taken by other duties, maybe I was just a little embarrassed by my terrible flop. But in the end we made it. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Maroggia’s Miller Ciabattas / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Le ciabatte del Mugnaio

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Here we go, another “other friday”, another recipe from Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook. This time it’s not a recipe I made up but one that was given to me by the miller itself. Alessandro Fontana in fact is not the miller but headchief of production at the Mill, but I’m sure he won’t mind being “labeled” the miller, it has a romantic and vintage allure to it, don’t you think? Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

My heart belongs to Genoa. Sourdoug Surprises: Focaccia with pickled artichokes, red cabbage and anchovies / Il cuore a Genova, una focaccia alla crema di carciofi, cavolo rosso e acciughe per l’amore della mia vita

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Focaccia, Genoa’s most famous bread, is this month’s Sourdough Surprises theme. Genoa has adopted me for little less than a year back in 2006, and still is the city I consider my true home. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

Buckwheat Lasagna with Scampi and Leeks / Lasagna al grano saraceno con scampi e porri

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There are some culinary first times you cannot forget. The first look, the first taste, the first time that you venture into cooking a new recipe. I do not remember the first time I tasted a lasagna but certainly I’ll never forget the first time I made one. I was about 17-18 years old and madly in love with my first boyfriend, Christian, despite on and off and the usual teenage love drama.
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