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Pignolata for Carnevale

Quick – they’re almost gone!

Maria Merola, pastry chef and owner of Maria’s Pastry Shop, made her famous Pignolata for Carnevale, the last celebration before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. From the word pigna, or pine cone, egg dough is shaped into small cylindrical pieces (vaguely resembling pine cones), …

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Frantoi Cutrera Olive Oil New Harvest

It’s finally here – the new harvest!!!

My favorite olive oil is “Primo” from the Frantoi Cutrera in the Chiaramonte Gulfi region, located in the heart of the Iblei Mountains of Southern Sicily. For this particular oil, the  family run business uses a single varietal, the tonda iblea olive (organically farmed), …

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Burrata

It seems like the current darling of the cheese world is fresh burrata. Born in the 20th century and although a newcomer, or at least among world cheese, it originated in the region of Puglia as a way to use up the leftover scraps of mozzarella. …

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Pizza Rustica – a Southern Italian Easter Tradition

In Boston’s North End it wouldn’t be Easter without a savory ricotta tart called pizza rustica or pizza chiena in Neapolitan dialect. A slightly sweet, flaky egg-enriched crust surrounds a salty filling of ricotta or basket cheese, Parmigiano and mozzarella cheese, with chopped pieces of prosciutto, salami and mortadella.  …

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Dandelion greens – a spring tonic

What a nice surprise to find  dandelion greens at the greengrocer – a sure sign of spring! In Italy, dandelion is considered a spring tonic for its diuretic and purgative action. After a winter of heavy foods, the slightly bitter taste is most satisfying and refreshing. Lucky are those who can soon dig them in their backyards. …

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