Garlic bread: variations and alternatives

The first time I’ve tried garlic bread it wasn’t actually at my Grandma’s. In fact the person who introduced me to the tastiest garlic bread I’ve ever had is Mrs. Frances from Buffalo New York.

I don’t know if you’ve read a little about her story, so I’m going to shortly introduce Mrs. Frances to you.

[Mrs. Frances story and recipes are included in my new Book:
“Discovering Italy. Mediterranean cooking and lifestyle. Recipes and stories from Tuscany and more”
To See the Book>>> Click Here]

… It was in the late nineties when from my small town in Tuscany I flew to the USA and spent a year in Buffalo NY with Mrs. Frances and her family. We had an awesome time together and most of all we enjoyed trying different recipes from both our cultures so we would plan theme parties and dinners filled with delicious Italian or American recipes and sometimes both.

One night I was about to make my special chicken recipe (which I will tell you about in more details later on in this post) and she suggested that we made garlic bread to go with it.

When I went back to Tuscany I made garlic bread for my Grandma and she loved it although she still prefers her own version.

But let’s get back to party night…It was me, Mrs. Frances, her husband Leo, her son Anthony and various guests who were going to come over: friends, coworkers and neighbors.

Mrs. Frances and I went grocery shopping the night before the party, we started cooking in the morning just like my Italian Grandma would have done: “start cooking early so that everything is ready on time and…there’s time left to make a little extra”!

So the main course was going to be my special chicken recipe. As an appetizer we were going to make my special baked dried prunes with bacon (yes, don’t worry I’ll reveal the recipe to you before the end of this article!). Then she suggested garlic bread (different variation and alternatives) and as dessert all American chocolate chips cookies and peanut butter blossoms.

Continue reading “Garlic bread: variations and alternatives”

7 Pizza Topping Ideas: choose your favorite!

In the previous article of this category we’ve talked about how easily you can make original Italian Pizza dough but once you’ve made your dough you need to have some Pizza topping ideas to prepare delicious fragrant pizza recipes.

In addition to the most traditional Italian pizzas like Margherita, Marinara and Calzone there are literally tons of pizza topping ideas that will help you make a pizza, one for each taste. You can choose to season your pizza with veggies, sea food, salami, ham, sausage. It’s nice to have different pizza topping combinations to keep things interesting.

You can even make what here in Italy we call “white pizzas” which is pizza without tomato sauce but with lots of different cheeses to make it “white”.

My Italian Grandma, who loves more traditional pizza recipes, simply can’t accept the idea of a pizza without tomato sauce but I told her some people like to eat their pizza without the sauce and that’s OK. There is no way she’ll get over Hawaiian pizza (the one with pineapple on top) or pizza without the sauce.

Besides having good pizza topping ideas please keep in mind that the quality of the ingredients, the kneading and the rising of the dough, as well as the baking, will make the difference between a so-so and a delicious, mouth-watering homemade Italian pizza.

Here in Italy each region has its own typical ingredients consequently there are different traditional pizza topping combinations according to the local products.

Here are some of my favorite traditional pizza topping ideas for you to choose from.

Continue reading “7 Pizza Topping Ideas: choose your favorite!”

Focaccia Bread Recipes [and a sweet version]

<<Have you ever tried authentic Focaccia bread?>>

Authentic in this case means authentic Italian Focaccia bread but in fact, if someone ever asks you such a question, you have to reply:

<<what do you mean by “authentic”>>?

Authentic Focaccia bread from Liguria (the Italian Riviera), from Puglia (a region of southern Italy) or Focaccia bread from Susa (that is sweet Focaccia from the northern area)? .. And you thought it was a simple question, right?

Whenever Grandma and I travel from the Piedmont Region down to Tuscany (where we live) we always “have to” stop at Recco and eat Focaccia bread.

In the Liguria area you’ll find many different kind of Focaccia bread toppings like rosemary Focaccia, Focaccia with black olives and coarse sea salt on top, Focaccia bread with onions (I love this one!). But the most typical around here is Focaccia di Recco (from the town Recco) filled with Stracchino soft fresh cheese.

Focaccia bread from Recco consists of two layers of dough filled with Stracchino cheese and baked in the oven. You should eat this warm to enjoy it the real Italian way! The dough of Focaccia di Recco is worked real thin and it’s similar to pizza and bread dough.

Continue reading “Focaccia Bread Recipes [and a sweet version]”

Original Italian Pizza from Naples (Italy)

Here is the story of the Original Italian Pizza…

Yesterday I was at the beach all day with Grandma enjoying the sunshine and the Mediterranean Sea. After a day at the beach we thought: let’s have a pizza tonight.

So we went to this really nice Pizzeria Restaurant and as always she got all goofy about the now-very popular “Hawaiian Pizza”.

She said pineapples are not supposed to be on a pizza…and it went on and on “it’s like cheese and chocolate!” and I said “Grandma, things change, taste change, trends change…now Hawaiian Pizza is a big thing!”.  Ok, she just couldn’t get over it!

Anyways, it can be thin, it can be thick, it can be round or square cut. It can have a huge variety of toppings. Usually it involves tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese but one thing is for sure: Pizza is a real Italian Classic.

Continue reading “Original Italian Pizza from Naples (Italy)”