During the last 2 years, we found ourselves spending extra time in our kitchens. I spent hours creating and perfecting bucket list recipes like a sourdough starter, and time consuming Neapolitan ragù.
Eleonora, Carolyn and I rolled up our sleeves, tied on our aprons and invited you to cook with us online.
Carolyn churned out uncountable fresh pasta shapes with you; while Eleonora whipped up carbonara and I shared my family meatball recipe. We realized that the lessons were joyous and a fun challenge for our viewers and friends overseas. You really loved our recipes!
From carbonara to cacio e pepe, here are 10 much loved dishes that you wanted to cook with Casa Mia.
- Cacio e Pepe (cheese and pepper) a classic Roman pasta dish is listed on menus far beyond the eternal city. Despite gaining fame in the twentieth century, some argue that the roots of this dish are in ancient Roman cuisine as pecorino romano was the cheese that nourished the Roman legions. Regardless of its origins, the peppery pecorino sauce is top.
2. Another Roman classic, Carbonara is a symbol of Roman cuisine. There are diverse theories about its origins: some speculate that it was created by coal workers, others attribute it to American soldiers who arrived in Italy during the Second World War. Whichever theory we choose, one thing is for certain, it’s delicious.
3. Fresh pasta has different forms and names. Homemade pasta is usually mixed, cooked, and eaten on the same day. Shapes vary from square to tubes, from corkscrews to guitar strings, they number more than 200 all with regional specialties. Gnocchi was a contender in our lessons.
4. Ragù alla Bolognese, more often called just ragù di carne is a pillar of Italian cuisine. It originates in the region of Emilia-Romagna which is home to the city of, you guessed it, Bologna. This rich meat sauce is traditionally served with fresh tagliatelle but it can be served with fettuccine, pappardelle, or stuffed pasta shapes. The soffritto, ground meat, milk and splash of tomato simmers away for hours resulting in a dense sauce.
5. Meat-filled Cannelloni is the pasta made with love by my adopted Neapolitan family for Christmas Day. Cannelloni pasta very well may date back 1800’s when a Neapolitan chef stuffed tube shaped pasta with with ground meat and cooked it in tomato sauce. The meat, cheese and tomatoey dish is one of my favorite baked pastas, reserved for special occasions.
6. Lasagna may just be the most iconic Italian dish worldwide, perhaps next to pizza? Before living in Italy, I believed the only lasagna was a southern Italian masterpiece of pasta sheets, layered with tomato-meat sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella. Little did I know the whole lasagna story.
7. Meatballs, a staple of Italian restaurants in the U.S. are different than those found in Italy. Polpette are usually smaller, some as small as marbles. Food historians argue that meatballs date back to the Roman Empire with polpette being made from chicken or fish. Today we devour them as the main course, served in tomato sauce or simply fried in butter and sometimes in broth. They are almost exclusively served in homes and family-run trattorie.
8. Month after month, we made Arancini, in traditional and not so traditional flavor combinations. One of Sicily’s most revered street foods is the arancina (rice ball)! The hearty handheld snack comes in a variety of shapes. The classic is meat-filled, but nowadays, fillings range from ground meat and peas to pistachio nuts and chicken, using local ingredients and experimenting with combinations of flavors. On your next trip to Rome try our 5 Favorites for Supplì and Arancini.
9. Created in Treviso in the 1800’s, Italy’s most famous dessert, tiramisu, translates as “pick me up”. The combination of eggs, sugar, lady fingers, mascarpone, coffee and cocoa surely do pick us up when we are in need of energy. It was the international dessert of the 80s and continues to be served in restaurants throughout Italy today.
10. Ricotta Pie, torta di ricotta, this ugly but delicious pie is made and loved by many Italian-Americans at Easter time. In its simplest form, it is filled with sweetened ricotta and candied citrus. Add shaved chocolate to win over guests. While in Naples, Pastiera is the beloved Easter pie filled with cooked wheat berries, ricotta and candied citrus. Ricotta pie was the clear winner in our lessons.
Revisit this post as we will continue to update it with recipes as we publish them. Click Live Cooking & Wine to book an online experience with us.