January 30th, 2014
12:30 AM ET
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One reason Sicilians tend to identify with Sicily first and Italy (a distant) second?

Sicilian food.

The same goes for Veneto in the north or Puglia in the south.

Italy is a young country - it only celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2011.

Despite the successful export of the "Italian restaurant," the idea of a unified Italian cuisine is something many Italians reject.

Instead there are regional dishes, sometimes with tastes as different as you'd find between countries.
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Filed under: Italian • Italy


December 5th, 2013
01:30 PM ET
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The Feast of Seven Fishes, or the Festa dei Sette Pesci, is the traditional dinner that many southern Italian and Italian-American families will sit down to this Christmas Eve. (It is also one of the few appropriate times to pluralize fish as fishes.)

The significance of the number seven reels in many different theories: Some families say it's for the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, others say it's for the seven hills of Rome, and still others say it represents the days of creation or stands as a reminder of the seven deadly sins. Other families' traditions even allow for 10 or even 14 different aquatic dishes.

And just as the numeric explanations are allowed loose translations, so are the types of seafood served. The true meaning isn't in the number or kind you choose, but with whom you decide to share your feast.

This Christmas Eve, Alex Guarnaschelli, chef of Butter in New York City and Food Network star, encourages you to serve the humble sardine atop lightly fried cauliflower, an ode to her mother's Sicilian roots.

Fresh sardines - not the pungent, little canned guys - are delicious, inexpensive and sustainable, three wise choices for this holiday season.

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Filed under: Christmas • Christmas • Holiday • Holidays • Italian • Make • Recipes • Step-by-Step


November 5th, 2013
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman have been friends since childhood - that is after the two of them got past the habit of badmouthing each other every time their rival Catholic schools met on the playing field. Though the duo were born and raised in Memphis, both come from large, Italian-American families that ritualize meals and celebrate their culinary heritage.

The two 2013 Food & Wine Best New Chefs preserve and progress their dual Southern/Italian culture at their restaurants Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy. Their recently-published cookbook, "Collards and Carbonara" shares many of the techniques and recipes, so their ever-growing fan base can explore this soulful, seasonal meld at home.

And you can't nail the Italian half of the equation without mastering fresh pasta. Here are five shapes that - with a little practice - may make you say "Ciao!" to the boxed stuff for good.

Five classic pasta shapes to make at home: Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman
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Filed under: 5@5 • Italian • Make • Pasta • Recipes • Staples • Think


Capturing summer in a Mason jar
August 20th, 2012
03:00 PM ET
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Ashley Strickland is an associate producer with CNN.com. She likes twisting her own soft pretzels, perfecting pineapple upside down cake, tackling English toffee, sharing people-pleasin' pizza dip, sunflower cheesecakes and green soup and cajoling recipes from athletes.

Each year, I can tell by the languor of the tomato vines in our backyard that it’s time. They recline like some exhausted 1940s Hollywood starlet, even though we’ve already relieved them of their burden.

The kitchen countertops become laden with fiery red, homegrown tomatoes. Garlic, onions and bell peppers appear in the kitchen in bulk, while fresh herbs disappear from the garden and local grocery store and take up pungent residence in the refrigerator.

Add a quartet of the largest stock pots to the stovetop, and the ritual has begun. It’s time to capture the last sunset of summer in a jar.
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Filed under: Italian • Recipes • Tomatoes


August 9th, 2012
04:45 PM ET
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I thought I knew how to make eggplant Parmesan (or ParmiGIANa if you're feeling especially Italian). Eggplant, a little breading, sauce, cheese – what can go wrong with that?

Then I met Chiara Lima. She's the bubbly Italian woman who taught the best way to make this traditional Italian favorite at Mamma Agata's Italian cooking class I recently took in Ravello, Italy.
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Filed under: How To • Italian • Italy • Make • Recipes • Staples • Techniques & Tips


Beyond Chianti - a guide to pairing wine with pasta
March 30th, 2012
04:30 PM ET
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Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.

If you want to get a sense of the scale of Italian wine, you could do worse than to go to VinItaly, the annual wine-related trade fair in Verona, Italy. I was there a few days ago, along with, according to the VinItaly press office, more than 140,000 other people - roughly the population of Fort Collins, Colorado, if every inhabitant of Fort Collins were obsessed with Italian wine. Regardless, being in Italy means the opportunity to eat, regularly, platefuls of fantastic pasta.

Since I’ve got pasta on the mind - in fact, since I’m mostly composed of pasta at the moment - here are some thoughts about pairing wine (Italian wine, of course) with some classic pasta dishes. Of course, the actual pasta itself doesn’t make much difference: When it comes to wine-pairing, a rigatoni is a penne is an orecchiette. Pasta alone is the ultimate blank food canvas; what matters is the sauce.

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Filed under: Bite • Content Partner • Dishes • Food and Wine • Italian • Pasta • Sip • Wine


5@5 - Italian-inspired March Madness munchies
March 26th, 2012
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Over the weekend, Kentucky became the only number one seed to make it to this year's Final Four. While the Wildcats celebrate their Big Dance victories alongside Louisville, Ohio State and Kansas, most of us are crying over our busted brackets.

Eat your March Madness emotions through the rest of the tournament - Italian-style - with chef Doug Psaltis, Executive Chef of RPM Italian in Chicago, Illinois.

Five Cicchetti (Italian snacks) to Munch on During March Madness: Doug Psaltis
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5@5 - Events that changed the course of Italian food
December 14th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Unless you grew up with an Italian family - or one well-versed in culinary cultures for that matter - Italian food probably meant spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna and the occasional chicken parmesan thrown in here, there and every other Tuesday.

But the cuisine of the boot-shaped country is more - oh so much more, in fact. From the to artichokes of Venice (fondi di carciofo) to the Piemonte region's penchant for truffles, Italy on a plate is as much of a melting pot as the United States is.

And its culinary heritage has been shaped by a series of fortunate events that chef Marco Frattaroli of Bastas Trattoria in Portland, Oregon, has kindly summed up.

Top Five Events That Changed the Course of Italian Cuisine: Marco Frattaroli
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5@5 - Five sweet treats from Italy you need to know
October 4th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Francine Segan spent a year in Italy eating desserts for her new cookbook Dolci: Italy’s Sweets. Tough gig, we know.

Sure, she found the usual beloved suspects - tiramisu, panna cotta, affogato, cannoli - but she also discovered a sampler platter of regional specialties that have been popular in Italy for decades, centuries even, that we've hardly ever heard of on this side of the Atlantic.

Here's to la dolce vita.

Five Sweet Treats from Italy You Need To Know: Francine Segan
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Filed under: 5@5 • Bite • Cuisines • Italian • Think


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