Welcome to my kitchen

Americans are crazy about Italian food! For years the western world was seduced by not only its appetizing medley of aromas, tastes, colors and textures but also by the “dolce vita” life style that it suggested. Now as the trend toward eating the Mediterranean diet escalates, Italian food is doubly appealing for its healthful use of olive oil, vegetables, grains, fish, cheese, fruit and wine. But Italy doesn’t have a stereotyped national cuisine. It is instead a very diversified, delightful cuisine reflecting the ever-changing landscape that varies from region to region and town to town. Italian food is also about using the freshest natural ingredients, prepared in a simple fashion to be shared with friends and family.

In this column I will share with you information about food staples and ingredients from the Italian pantry that are the fundamental building blocks of Italian cuisine along with some simple basic recipes. While preparing these dishes, I hope that you can relive memories of growing up in an Italian household or you might just feel like an Italian as you bring the aromas, tastes and spirit of Italy as close to your own kitchen. Along the way I also look forward to bringing you some brief essays on Italian food traditions, the ins-and-outs of Italian eating habits, and the role mealtimes play in the Italian life. There’s also certainly sure to be some musing about my individual pursuit of good honest Italian food.

The kitchen is the soul of the Italian home, welcome to my kitchen! – Michele Topor

Pastiera – Easter cheese and grain pie

This famous Easter cake is a wonderful survivor of Naples’ culinary traditions and is now much appreciated in all of Italy. Its exotic ingredients are a reminder of the past, when Phoenicians, Arabs, crusaders, and Romans would come into Naples harbor with their bounty of new found spices and flav

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Crostata Alle Fragole – Strawberry tart

This summer dessert allows you to exercise your creativity. Although this recipe is made with whole strawberries creatively arranged on a thin cookie shell, any selection of assorted or single variety of fruits can be used. Rum flavored whipped cream makes a quick and easy topping!

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Frutta alla griglia – grilled fruit

Grilled fruit makes a light, fresh dessert or an accompaniment to grilled meat and fish. Cook fruit over a medium/low heat. Sprinkle with sugar to create a caramel finish. Here are some of my favorites.  

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Verdura Mista in Gratticola – Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables should be a summer staple! Wonderful as an antipasto, a summer salad or a contorno to serve with grilled fish or meat. Leftover vegetables should be refrigerated, then brought to room temperature before serving; drizzle with OO and aceto balsamico or cut into bite sized pieces and

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