ZZAFF!: Amaretti ticinesi

For this month’s ZZAFF! Episode we offer you a recipe for a sweet ticinese treat which often accompanies coffee at the end of a meal. I’m talking about amaretti, slightly bitter biscuits, crumbly on the outside and soft on the inside, which were born from the need to use egg white left over from the preparation of recipes based on yolk, such as panettone or cream custard. Amaretti are very popular all over Italy, where different types of this biscuit can be found. In fact, those from Ticino are different from the best-known Italian amaretti biscuits, which are round and soft (amaretti di Sassello) or crispy (amaretti di Saronno). The term amaretti comes from the bitter taste given by armelline (bitter almonds) which are added in small quantities, but for convenience I used sweet almonds only adding a few drops of bitter almond flavour.
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ZZAFF!: Pesce in carpione

Pesce in carpione is a typical dish from the lake regions of northern Italy such as Lake Como and Lake Garda. This recipe requires fatty fish, such as shad, whitefish, bleak or smelt. The recipe was born from the need to preserve the fish for a long time. The fishes are fried, then dipped in a marinade of white wine and vinegar which is flavored with herbs and vegetables. Fish thus prepared can be eaten warm but more often pesce in carpione is eaten cold, after a rest of 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Here you can listen the program, every first Sunday of the month:
At 20 pm Rendez-vous on http://www.radiogwen.ch to hear Vostok’s podcasts in French!
At 21 Rendez-vous on http://www.radiovostok.ch to hear Gwen’s podcasts in italian!
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ZZAFF!: Risotto con la Luganega

This month recipe for ZZAFF! is a classic of Ticino cuisine. Luganega or luganighetta is a sausage made with pork, pepper and spices, which is usually grilled in summer and country festivals. I remember when I was a child at the Sassello Fair in Obino, the village where I grew up, they served luganighette rolled on wooden sticks which looked like a snail. This sausage is usually associated with carnival and is appreciated with the classic risotto, a dish formerly reserved for holidays.

Here you can listen the program, every first Sunday of the month:
At 20 pm Rendez-vous on http://www.radiogwen.ch to hear Vostok’s podcasts in Italian!
At 21 Rendez-vous on http://www.radiovostok.ch to hear Gwen’s podcasts in French!
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ZZAFF! Bülbora

The recipe I wrote for this episode of ZZAFF! is a classic of autumn and winter season. Pumpkin is a very popular vegetable in Ticino as in the whole of Switzerland. In Ticino pumpkin soup is traditionally cooked with rice and enriched with milk and butter. Not to make my own recipe too heavy without giving up tastiness I added bacon, which also adds crunchiness. Alternatively, you can always fry stale bread cubes, for about ten minutes in olive oil. The soup is delicious when flavored with dried herbs like thyme and rosemary. A classic to warm you up in these frosty winter evenings!

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ZZAFF! Spampezie

For this month’s installment of ZZAFF! I chose a traditional Christmas recipe. Spampezie biscuits are a typical Christmas treat filled with a mixture of nuts, grated bread, spices, grappa, sugar and honey which are only produced in some Leventina villages. They keep for very long periods and it is said that the families used to send them overseas to their emigrated children. Spampezie are produced only in Faido, Prato, Dalpe, Osco, Chiggiogna or in other municipalities of the lower valley such as Bodio, Personico and Pollegio. Some say that Osco is the homeland of spampezie.
Typically the cookies are pressed into wood shapes that have different shapes. Carved figures recall festivities or represent the coat of arms of a family. The basic preparation method has remained virtually untouched until today: however, everyone has his personal recipe, which is unlikely to be revealed.
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Panissimo February: Ticinese bread / Panissimo Febbraio: Pane alla ticinese

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Panissimo’s theme for this month was regional breads. As soon as I read Sandra’s post I knew I would be baking pane alla ticinese, one my favourite breads as a kid. Funnily enough my first article for Azione was about this special kind of bread, a thing which brought back to mind many colourful memories about my childhood and the afternoon snack I used to eat with my friends: bread and chocolate. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Merlot flavoured Ticinese Taralli with polenta breading / Il ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Taralli Ticinesi al Merlot con panatura di polenta

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I already mentioned Maroggia’s Mill and the high quality of its Farina Nostrana flour in my post for my Autumn Flower’s recipe, a sweet brioche with pumpkin and chestnuts cream, and I expressed the good intention of making an extra effort in the selection of flours that I use for my experiments in the kitchen. Said and done.

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MTC Challenge’s Chestnuts: Chestnut flour Ravioli, stuffed with walnuts and bread, topped with melted cheese / Le Castagne dell’MTC Challenge: Ravioli alla farina di castagne ripieni di noci e pane, con fonduta di formaggella ticinese

ravioli castagne cotti

And here I am, out of breath, red faced and perpetually late. Kind of funny, because this is not my usual self. Indeed, more than often I am the one standing at the meeting point staring nervously at the clock ten minutes in advance (In fact I was almost one hour in advance at the Migros contest!). But with the blog things work differently and last minute posts are the rule. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…

October’s Panissimo: Farina bona, potatoes and walnuts yeasted bread rolls / Panissimo di Ottobre: Panini di farina bona, patate e noci

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When reading this month’s theme for Panissimo challenge, ancient/special flours, there was no doubt, farina bona would be one of the ingredients I would use. Farina bona is a very special cornflour, finely ground and toasted, with a earthy deep perfume reminiscent of roasted hazelnuts, butterscotch and freshly popped corn. Used for centuries in Val Osernone, in the italian part of Switzerland, this flour went gradually lost until recent times when, probably following the latest trends in reviving regional/traditional ingredients and recipes, it has had a strong comeback on our tables. Continue reading / Continua a leggere…