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ekscrunchy, koreaprincess and franco invite you to join them expanding on the secrets of Italian cuisine

ekscrunchy, koreaprincess and franco invite you to join them expanding on the secrets of Italian cuisine

Old Mar 31st, 2007, 11:32 PM
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OOPS! After the radicchio in my recipe, I meant to say 4 oz. PROSCIUTTO! Sorry.
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 04:58 AM
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My goodness ... my arteries are having spasms thinking about that 2 cups of whipping cream. Sounds divine. Do you think it can be done in an acceptable fashion with UHT whipping cream from a carton??? Hard to get fresh cream here in the burning sands of Arabia. Also, I must confess to having difficulty making gnocchi. Have done it several times and end up with stodgy little lumps, obviously doing something wrong, although (succumbing to temptation to blame quality of ingredients) we don't get great flour here either. It's all imported, much from India for chappatis and such, or from elsewhere foreign with no clue as to the use to which it should be put. Not to mention bugs from time to time ... Anyway, I could use a recommendation for basic fool proof gnocchi if anyone can bother with such a mundane request!
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 07:02 AM
  #103  
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Ahhh... koreanprincess! You missed a great chance to do a subtle but good April Fools post for hausfrau by something like:

This ingredient should be dressed with vinegar and pepper, and then thrown out! Or,

Now I really not sure what to do with that prosciutto!

Just kidding. Good day.
 
Old Apr 1st, 2007, 07:10 AM
  #104  
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arabianjedi, your shopping situation is really unenviable... you've my deepest sympathy! The quality of gnocchi depends on the quality of potatoes more than flour: you need floury (starchy) potatoes. These are particular species not easy to find even in Italy - or to put it more precisely, in many parts of Italy, just Rome and Bologna seem to have really good potatoes, as far as I've experienced it (Venetian potatoes? brrrrr). Austrian, German, and above all, French potatoes would be fine - these countries are used to differentiate between floury, baking, hard boiling, and salad potatoes... Ok, if you happen to get anything like what you need: boil 2 lb. of those potatoes, mash, let cook a little, combine with 10 oz. flour and one egg, salt and nutmeg, form gnocchi, and boil as described above by our Princess.

hausfrau, you've already got an excellent proposal for your radicchio/gorgonzola sauce from Princess. Three cents I'd like to add:
- First of all, this is no Roman dish, though you've had it in Rome; it's a cook's dish, and it's inspired by Venetian cuisine (everything involving radicchio belongs to the Veneto, though I've never seen them combining it with gorgonzola - which sounds gorgeous, however!).
- As for cholesterol, I couldn't care less, but if you want it to be less heavy, you could substitute wine for half of the cream, that's giving an excellent taste with radicchio. For gnocchi, I normally use prosecco, following a Venetian recipe, but with gorgonzola, I'd probably prefer a light red wine (that's a matter of trial and error).
- I strongly suggest not to try this dish in Germany, or anywhere outside Italy (in fact, outside Veneto). You might end up terribly disappointed, since (and here we're again speaking of product quality) no other product is so different in quality between Veneto and the rest of the world (see my "favourite Venetian food" thread for more examples). I don't say you've had bad radicchio in Rome, since I'm sure a good Roman cook would know how to purchase Venetian radicchio. But as a matter of fact, nothing I've ever had outside Italy was bearing even the slightest resemblance with Venetian radicchio. It's as if it were not the same kind of vegetable, a difference like between cauliflower and carrots. So if you take my advice, book an apartment with a nice kitchen in Venice for next winter, and prepare it there. (That's the next important point: the radicchio season is over, radicchio can only be eaten from November to February.) And use radicchio tardivo di Treviso or radicchio di Castelfranco (yes, even in Venice, there are several types of radicchio, and very different in quality).
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 07:12 AM
  #105  
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Ah yes, and a fourth cent: dose the gorgonzola to taste - differences between various gorgonzolas are considerable (thinking of gorgonzola dolce or piccante)!
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 12:46 PM
  #106  
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And though nobody asked, the Palm Sunday pie was de-li-cious. Anyone else tried it today?
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 04:55 PM
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Franco, you are hilarious! And poor arabianjedi and hausfrau, you are giving them suggestions which will only frustrate them, as they are so product deprived. As for the potatoes, I agree with starchy ones. Also, I wasn't aware of the different varieties of radicchio. In America, as well as Korea, we get only one type. This will suffice. I also would like to suggest a substitution of swiss chard. However, I cannot get that here! O.K., as for the wine, why waste prosecco (my very favorite which I discovered in Germany, though it is italian, a few years back)and it is sparkling. Since we are talking of using italian wine, I myself would stick with a white like perhaps pinot grigio and be sure to cook it way down with the cream. Hausfrau, don't be intimidated by the gnocchi recipe, it's not that difficult. Or maybe you may want to just use what you can buy, maybe a short penne or orichiette or farfalle. Happy eating to everyone, glad you enjoyed the pie Franco.
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 05:40 PM
  #108  
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Princess, sorry to answer back, but Prosecco is not sparkling wine as everyone seems to be thinking. Prosecco is a grape variety, like Chardonnay, Riesling, or Viognier, that's why it has a distinct flavour, and cannot be easily substituted by another white wine, much less so by Pinot Grigio, since it is hard to imagine a grape variety with a more different taste as compared to Prosecco. Of course, most Prosecco wines ARE sparkling, but that's just because this particular grape variety achieves the best taste in sparkling form; yet there is also still prosecco, there is prosecco grappa... and vice versa, it's of course not true that every sparkling Italian white wine may be called "Prosecco". This is not a synonym for "sparkling"... Well, and in Venice, they love to use Prosecco for cooking (sparkling or not, there's not much difference when you're boiling the wine); and with radicchio in particular, the Prosecco taste goes very, very well. Also from the economic point of view, btw, there is no reason NOT to cook with prosecco, since there is hardly any cheaper wine.
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 05:50 PM
  #109  
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This moment, I've noticed I made one of my famous-infamous typos in the gnocchi recipe above: "let COOK a little", this should be "let COOL"... sorry!

And as a further note on the prosecco issue, since we've had a discussion about cooking wine recently with ek, and I said I prefer wines with a not-so-distinct flavour for cooking - if we're talking about grape varieties, prosecco, IMO, is one of the best cooking wines in this respect (Riesling Sylvaner aka Müller-Thurgau being another cooking favourite).
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 11:40 PM
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Thank you all for your replies!

ek, I'm glad to know I've been saying your name right. And there's nothing wrong with being scrunchy!

franco, I had no idea about the radicchio. I've only ever seen one type here, although I know I've seen several varieties in the States. But since it is getting cooked down, I am hoping that it won't affect the flavor too much.

koreaprincess, that recipe sounds fantastic. (The dish I had was at Vecchia Locanda near the Pantheon, in their wonderfully atmospheric cantina.) I don't think my dish had prosciutto, but as my husband says, anything with prosciutto in it has to be good. Normally I don't worry too much about minor details like cholesterol, but I like the idea of substituting some of the cream with wine. I don't know if I can find a non-sparkling prosecco here but franco, I can find 2-3 Euro Sylvaners and Mueller-Thurgaus, no problem! I will probably try it with store-bought fresh gnocchi the first time around.

(I too am of the mind that reasonable-tasting cheap wine is the best for cooking. Most of what I drink daily here in Germany is in the 5-6 Euro range and even in the States I try to keep it under about $12!)
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Old Apr 2nd, 2007, 03:23 AM
  #111  
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hausfrau, but you CAN use sparkling prosecco, there's nothing wrong with it (and I repeat, the combination of radicchio and prosecco flavours is particularly appealing). Sparkling wine, used for cooking, gives a somehow fresher and lighter taste than still wine.
As for the different radicchio types, sorry, hausfrau & Princess, I can very well understand you, but I have to say you're trying to trick yourselves... it DOES make a difference, and a HUGE difference. Believe me, radicchio cannot be prepared anywhere else than in the Veneto region, and in winter, of course. To make it clear, there are even two problems: the first is that you're getting but one radicchio species. May I guess? It's this one, http://www.agricoltura.provincia.ven...D=125&LangID=2, right? Radicchio di Chioggia, a nightmare, unenjoyable. Voilà, compare the others species: http://www.agricoltura.provincia.ven...ber=2&LangID=2 (the fourth, and best, is on page 3 there). Precoce di Treviso, another type that connoisseurs don't touch - Castelfranco, rare and delicious - Tardivo di Treviso, the glory of the family, one of the best vegetables on this planet. (There is a fifth variety, radicchio di Verona, which is so rare that I, too, have never sampled it.)
Well, and here's your second problem: there are actually delicatessen stores outside Italy that sell Tardivo di Treviso (maybe not in South Korea, sorry, Princess, but certainly in Germany, hausfrau). BUT, and please don't ask me why and how: it's inedible. This is truly one of the miracles of Italian food: it's radicchio tardivo di Treviso, it's coming from Veneto, and yet you can hardly choke it down, it's not tart as it should be, it's outright bitter. No, I have no explanation, only assumptions: either this is a vegetable that is not at all transportable, or the Venetians keep the good quality for themselves and send the rubbish abroad. Honestly, I've no idea. But it DOES make a difference, believe me, a difference so enormous that I go to Venice at least for one week every winter just to prepare my favourite radicchio dishes (radicchio happens to be one of my favourite vegetables). I repeat, preparing a radicchio dish with radicchio bought anywhere else than in the Veneto is like preparing a cauliflower dish with carrots, or a wild boar dish with chicken. I really don't want to frustrate anyone, but that's what reality is, unfortunately...
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Old Apr 2nd, 2007, 03:44 PM
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Franco, I guess Hausfrau and I had better throw in our dish towels or slit our throats, because we can't get proper radicchio!haha Seriously, the radicchio that I get at the upscale markets in CA and also here in Korea is quite palatable. It is not too bitter. I had some last night in my salad. I haven't cooked with it though. I definitely will order that dish which started all this conversation when I'm in Rome. Thanks for clarifying the Prosecco for us. It is not very popular in the states, and I only came across it while living in Cologne a few years back in a cafe where I saw it on the menu and wondered what it was. Back home, I was able to find it at Trader Joe's and I really enjoy the sparkling one. The "no gas" one may taste too sweet for me, but I'll try it. I do like Sylvaner, and when I was in France it was inexpensive. Here in Korea, I buy Chilean wine, as it's the least expensive, at $10 -$12 a bottle. I cringe when I see California wines that I normally pay $12 a bottle for, selling for $30! I splurged $60 on some Pouilly Fume' for our anniversary, and was thrilled to find that Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, which I pay $19 a bottle for back home, was only $25. However, they only had one bottle! Well, I'm packing for my trip back home. Caio all!The Princess
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Old Apr 2nd, 2007, 03:56 PM
  #113  
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Princess, I guess you don't believe me... well, of course I've never bought radicchio in South Korea, maybe it's good there, who knows? You could find out if you went to Venice in winter, and tried it yourself... Happy travel, enjoy Italy, and bring back gorgeous new recipes, and share them with us!!!
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Old Apr 2nd, 2007, 04:01 PM
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Princess, Prosecco is pretty popular among my circle! (In fact, just typing the word tempts me to pull that bottle out of the fridge ... but for one, it's a little too much.)Shopping around in NYC I get various good ones for between $11 - $13 usually - although the price can vary by 30% for the same label between stores. There is even one sold now with a soda/beer "bottle cap", which is especially good in the half bottles and "single serving" that it comes in.

Haven't cooked with it, but I sure will when I have a bottle that isn't finished before it goes flat.

Speaking of which ... when you have leftover wine after dinner or a party, pour it into small sized recycled (and washed) water bottles and freeze. (Compress the bottle to remove most of the air before putting back the cap, to keep it from bursting in the freezer. This also works for keeping small amounts in the fridge, for drinking the next day. Removing most of that air helps keep the wine from oxidizing - it's a quasi vaccum.) You'll have good, unspoiled wine for cooking at a moment's notice. It won't hurt the wine, and when you need just a cup or less you'll have it handy. By the way, you can thaw it in the microwave before pouring. And if you don't believe it hasn't hurt the wine, taste it! It's usually as good as it was when you put it in the freezer.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2007, 04:40 PM
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TC, Thanks for the wine tip! I'll try it. I can't find Prosecco here, but my dear friends from Las Vegas,sent us a Christmas present of Crown Royal (my husband's favorite) and several little splits of Freixnet for me which I have in the fridge. I don't know how they made it through customs, as they have thrown away or torn open a lot of our mail in the past, and of course these friends must really love us to spend the exhorbitant postage costs, but I just opened a split last night to drink with my overpriced cheese!
I prepared a wonderful champagne sauce for chicken awhile back, and so I apologize to Franco for suggesting that Prosecco would not be appropriate to cook with.
As a former N.Y.er,I know you guys are always in the "know" about what's new and terrific. So I think probably in CA Prosecco might be less known. I do love it though and can't wait to order some in Italy! It's amazing the things we miss that we cannot have as ex-pats. My friend brought me sauerkraut back from Germany, and I cherish it! Pork is found everywhere, and I love to cook a pork roast with the kraut in the oven yum! Gotta run, still working on my itinerary. TTFN Princess
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Old Apr 2nd, 2007, 04:51 PM
  #116  
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Great thread although I am wondering if some of you are real connoisseurs or wanna-bees! franco, did you know that deep-red radicchio is as Venetian as a German Shepherd? It was engineered in eighteenth century by A Belgian agronomist who used a technique called whitening! And mixing cauliflower and carrot? What is wrong with that? But if you go to Venice a week a year to cook and eat Radicchio dishes, I am impressed. And many of your posts are interesting for sure.
 
Old Apr 2nd, 2007, 05:07 PM
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Princess, I have to admit that I've yet to run into a still prosecco, so Franco will now have me on the prowl. But that education is what I'm here for!
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Old Apr 2nd, 2007, 06:53 PM
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Franco, is this the Tardivo radicchio? It's beautiful.

http://www.producehunter.com/productdisplay.asp?ID=2184

Princess/Tomasso: Lots of Prosecco being consumed here in Connecticut! Now, I'll have to look for the single-serving bottles (how clever) and the still variety. See, Fodor's is educational.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2007, 07:45 PM
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This is a link to the site of the Prosecco Consortium:
http://www.prosecco.it/

Good and clear English version available. Tells of FOUR prosecco types: The spumante and frizzante I knew of, the first being the full-sparkling style, the latter a semi-sparkling, which many people prefer.

Then there is the Cartizze, which is apparently a more elegant (higher-priced? rare?) version. Finally the still wine, which the consortium says isn't widely known outside the region. I'll check around to see if I can find it and/or a Cartizze.

I love Italian wines - had a delicious Chianti classico last night that a friend served with his excellent home-made pizza. Yummy - was even good with chocolate chip cookies after ...
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Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 03:36 AM
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koreaprincess, LOL! Let's just agree to eat our radicchio and NOT tell franco! ;-) The next time I go down to the Stuttgart Markthalle I will pick up the ingredients for the dish.

Franco, yes, I understand your point about sparkling prosecco. I honestly have never cooked with sparkling wine of any kind, so I will have to give it a try.

fooslover, there is no such thing as a real connoisseur or wanna-bee on this thread. You must just love cooking and eating good food (and wine, obviously).

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