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Franco's favourite ... Venetian food & restaurants

Franco's favourite ... Venetian food & restaurants

Jun 2nd, 2006, 02:28 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 353
You are so very kind to take your precious downtime to reply to my request--thank you, thank you! Now, I can hardly wait to get cooking in Venice--cooking is my passion, also, and wine is my husband's passion--so we make a good pair!
The apartment we stay in has quite a well equipped kitchen--not too far from the Rialto market. ( It's near Campo Santa Maria Mater) I will definitely find Casa del Parmigiano--thank you for that recommendation.
We don't leave home until the end of August (will be in Stresa, Montepulciano and Fonterutoli before we get to Venice early October), so should your work schedule and inclination permit, I would appreciate any other recipes or specialty shop recommendations you have time to provide--mille grazie!
roamer is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2006, 03:04 PM
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Hi franco,

Great to see you back.....I wish, I wish, I wish I could be across the table from you watching you put these amazing dishes together!!!!...You describe with such brio that I can taste it all as I read....

Traviata is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2006, 03:54 PM
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TRSW is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2006, 04:31 PM
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Traviata - hi. They're even better when you taste them with your papillae than just with your imagination

roamer - you're welcome. I might add that for the baccalà mantecato, it's important to mash it till it falls apart into its single thin fibers, and if it's too strenuous to do that with a fork, you can use a food processor as well, provided it's a slow food processor, one that doesn't crush those thin fibers to pulp. Buon appetito!
franco is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2006, 08:39 PM
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It isnt Venetian food & restaurants
but do you know anything about the ca foscari apts. or that area in Venice?
Thank you so much for your time.
JandaO is offline  
Jun 5th, 2006, 07:21 AM
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What a lovely thread. We will be in Venezia from June 9-15, staying in an apartment not far from the Rialto market and we are looking forward to cooking there, as well as trying your favorite restaurants. Any produce or fish for which we should particularly be on the lookout at this time of year? Also, any favorite spring or summer recipes?
Grazie mille!
Sea_Marks is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 04:20 PM
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Sea_Marks - since you're leaving so soon, I simply must take time to give you some recipes, though in a hurry. I'll take mostly recipes that I've already written down once, for an exchange with another food addict...

Now in June, you'll still find artichokes, and of course, zucchini!! (The main season for seafood is in winter and spring, and spring means March in Venice, not June - this is already early summer!, so the most interesting goods on the market might be vegetables now.)

First of all, my favourite artichoke pasta: take those marvellous artichokes that they're selling already cleaned in Venice, cut them into thin slices, sauté in a small quantity of water with a dash of white wine, salt, pepper. When half of the cooking is done, add a little bit of minced hot pepper. When the cooking is done, add butter and lemon juice, mash. Prepare a light bechamel sauce (made of butter, flour, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg), combine with the artichoke mash. Serve on farfalle or penne.

Another artichoke delicacy is Marcella Hazan's gratinated artichokes (she's actually living in Venice, so she must be preparing it with Venetian artichokes herself). Cook four or six artichokes (according to size) in plenty of boiling water with a dash of lemon juice, donít overcook. Cut them into very thin slices now. Put into a baking pan, alternating with grated parmesan cheese and small pats of butter, finishing with plenty of parmesan and butter. (The parmesan, of course, should be bought at Casa del Parmigiano, theirs is the best. But if anyone wants to prepare this recipe elsewhere: please take only Parmigiano Reggiano for every recipe that says "parmesan" - never Grana, this cheap surrogate.) Put into the hot oven, let brown for 15 or 20 minutes. Let stand for a few minutes. Serve with white bread.

Another marvel of the Venice markets are the small onions that they're equally selling already cleaned (how many tears they're sparing their clients!). They're just delicious marinated, as a starter: Fry one pound of small onions in olive oil. Add the juice of one lemon, a glass of white wine and 20 leaves of sage. Boil for four minutes, adjust with salt and pepper. Let stand for one day before eating.

And here comes another great delicacy: stuffed zucchini (or pumpkin) blossoms (yes, in Italy they don't just eat zucchini, but also they're blossoms!!).
This is no easy cooking (you have to work very carefully in order not to tear those tender blossoms apart), but it's worth every effort. You'll need about six to eight blossoms per person; the stuffing is made of mozzarella cheese (of course, mozzarella di bufala, made of buffalo milk, and of course to be purchased at the Casa del Parmigiano), cut into small cubes, basil, and some (few, but not too few!) hashed salted (of course, washed and drained) anchovies (the shops alongside the fish market are selling them, in two qualities, from Spain and from Sicily - those from Spain are the better ones; btw, you have to fillet them yourself), few salt, pepper. Stuff carefully into the blossoms, dip the stuffed blossoms into a light, almost liquid pancake dough (milk, egg, flour, salt), fry in olive oil. Exciting!

Zucchini: other than the zucchini with olives (and swordfish) mentioned above, I'll give you one of my pasta recipes. For two persons, cut one small or two tiny zucchini in thin slices; mince one onion; and cut two slices (each as thick as a lady's finger) of pickled, and of course already cooked and tender and peeled, beef tongue (lingua salmistrata, in Italian) into cubes. In olive oil, fry the onion first, then add the tongue, then the zucchini. Add salt and pepper, nutmeg, few garlic and, if you happen to find that in Venice, ground caraway seeds (cumino, in Italian - try at the "drogheria" on Ruga dei speziali). Sprinkle with two spoons each of water and balsamico vinegar, cook vividly for a few moments, serve on penne.

I've taken for granted, and maybe erroneously, that you've already husked the mazzancolle in the recipe above, before wrapping them into the lardo slices - sorry if this may have caused confusion.

If you don't mind, now... I have to go back to my work!
franco is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 10:13 AM
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Grazie mille! My mouth is already watering with the thought of the artichoke and zucchini and we'll think of you when we're shopping at the Rialto market on Saturday morning.
Sea_Marks is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 02:40 PM
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I think I would have figured out that the mazzancolle needed to be husked before wrapping in lardo, but grazie mille for taking the time to mention it!
I have eaten the stuffed zucchini blossoms in restaurants, but never dared try them myself--now I will, thanks to your kind response to Sea-Marks.
The only way I had prepared artichokes before Venice last year was to boil them in water with lemon, then pull off each leaf, dip in butter or lemon-mayo, scrape the tender part off with my teeth, and anticipate the lovely heart after scraping out the bristly choke. I was just amazed at the market to see the vendor--with a few quick whacks of a very sharp knife--cut off and discard the leaves and choke, pare the heart, and toss it into a bucket of lemon water! The hearts were something like 2 euro for 5, and we enjoyed them just sauteed with a little garlic and lemon. Now I will surely make the pasta!
Please do not jeopardize your work to supply more recipes, but if time permits for you, could you explain how to prepare the quite small artichokes that I see in the markets in Italy? They are not available here--we get only the large "globe" kind.
Again, thank you.
roamer is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 02:53 PM
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wombat7 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2006, 08:25 AM
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I was referred to your threads from Eloise and the information is invaluable. It is really helping me plan for Venice and Rome. Thanks!
clehrman is offline  
Jun 17th, 2006, 03:57 PM
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roamer, sorry to answer only now - but better late than never, isn't it?
Well, the preparation of small artichokes depends on the variety - artichoke and artichoke is not the same!
In Venice, you'll find castraure, very early in winter (beginning already in November, but the castraure "nostrane", i.e. those from Venice itself, would arrive in February). You can eat them raw, as a salad; or you can simply wash them thoroughly, and without cutting away anything, fry them in plenty of olive oil (the leaves are still perfectly tender, no woody parts at all). I must say, though, that castraure are not my favourite artichoke variety; for me, they're slightly too bitter, and generally, their taste is not as subtle as you might expect from vegetables as young as they actually are, especially since the "adult" artichokes of Venice are VERY subtle. (In Rome, they have another variety, I don't recall the name, that's being gathered very young, too, in order to be fried - for which purpose I prefer that Roman variety.)
Another small variety that is to be found actually now in Venice is called botoi. They have to be cleaned, but with less effort than big artichokes, since you don't need to eliminate the "hay" (which accounts for most of the labour of cleaning artichokes) - just break away the dark leaves, cut all green parts from the outer side of the bottom, and cut the upper half of the yellow leaves, too, but don't bother about the hay. Cook them in a mixture of half (or slightly less than half)olive oil and half water, add a dash of white wine, garlic and parsley, cover, and heat for 20 minutes - delicious as a starter, or as a side dish. You could also marinate them (either sour, with vinegar, or just with olive oil and anchovies).

Sea_Marks, please don't fail to report on your culinary experiences in Venice.

Everybody else, I'm glad if these threads are helpful for some of you!
franco is offline  
Jun 21st, 2006, 04:26 PM
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Certainly better late than never--but I won't leave for Italy until the end of August anyway.
Thanks to you, I now know quite a lot more about artichokes-I thought the smaller ones were just young ones of the large variety! I will see what is available when we are there and follow your suggestions.
Once again, mille grazie!
roamer is offline  
Jul 1st, 2006, 01:28 PM
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Hello Franco, I have a friend in the region of Veneto that cooks the artichokes that you describe along with boiled potatoes. Quite good actually.
LoveItaly is offline  
Jul 17th, 2006, 11:52 AM
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ek - I've stolen a few days for myself and been to Venice (it was already time!!)... and I must admit: I've had a look at Al Vecio Bragoso, and yet didn't go in! The menu was quite ok, but when I had looked at it for 15 seconds, there was already a waiter addressing me in English with the usual Venetian "nice food, nice price" litany, at 6.30 or 7 p.m. (!!), when no Italian would ever go for dinner (and I wouldn't, either). Sorry, but this is the perfect method to chase me away; if a waiter in Italy addresses me in English, I'm away in a second (not without answering in Italian)!

LoveItaly - I didn't know that they're combining artichokes and potatoes in the Veneto, but I've done that myself (without any recipe), and I confirm that it's a particularly good combination!
franco is offline  
Jul 17th, 2006, 02:21 PM
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Wonderful information. Makes me want to return to Venice.

Woody is offline  
Aug 29th, 2006, 06:08 AM
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Sorry you found the waiter at Al Vecio Bragoso off-putting, franco. I generally drop by and book at restaurants earlier in the day. Given that Americans and northern Europeans eat dinner early it's perhaps not surprising that he took you for somebody who might be anglophone if you were perusing the menu at 6:30 or 7:00, and it's also not surprising that he might approach you, as he knows that he'd still be able to feed you and turn the table in time for later, much busier time of the evening when I ate.

The night I ate there (in the company of an American friend who speaks English only) there were no attempts to speak English by any of the staff (although Italian is not my first language) and the crowd was predominantly if not entirely Italian.

I ate lunch with an Italian friend later in the week, similarly nice experience.
Therese is offline  
Sep 4th, 2006, 05:11 AM
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We loved La Zucca. It was our favorite meal in Venice.

I was wondering if you are familiar with the restaurant Da Pinto? We had the best house red wine there. We ate there a couple of times. Food was always decent, but the house red wine was amazing. Do you have any idea what it is? I would love to have some more. Thanks.
mauitammy is offline  
Sep 4th, 2006, 06:23 AM
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Thank you so much for all of the information. My husband and I will be leaving for Italy for the first time this month. Info will definentely come in handy.
lola34 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2006, 04:31 AM
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mauitammy - I know this place only from passing by. I recommend to simply call them by phone and ask about the red house wine. If you need Italian telephone numbers, this is where to search: http://www.infobel.com/italy/
(Venice, of course, has to be Venezia in an Italian telephone directory.)
franco is offline  

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