Mar 26

Schiacciata alla Fiorentina is a specialty typical of Florence that can be found there during the first months of the year, especially during Lent. This cake is the quintessential Florentine dessert because it is based on olive oil and is simple and healthy.

This recipe is from my mother and, like every recipe, hides some little secrets. This one has three:

  1. It must be baked on a very ordinary iron oven tray, not an aluminum one.
  2. As soon as you have prepared the mixture and have laid it out, put it in the oven, immediately!
  3. Make sure the oven is at the right temperature before you start cooking because the preparation only takes a few minutes.

This cake is simple to make but the decoration is what makes it impressive: an egg with a bow if you do it for Easter, or with a Lily of Florence on any other occasion.

The Easter egg design you see here may look hard, but it’s as easy to do as the schiacciata!  Just click here to download the stencil and to get the step-by-step instructions.

  • Schiacciata alla Fiorentina
    1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons
    extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra
    2 1/2 cups flour, plus extra
    2 eggs
    3⁄4 cup sugar
    1 tablespoon orange zest
    1 1⁄4-ounce package instant yeast
    1⁄8 teaspoon salt
    1 1⁄2 cups whole milk
    confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly brush a 9-by-13-inch pan with olive oil and sprinkle with flour. Shake the flour around the pan so that there are no spots left uncovered and tap to remove any excess. Place the eggs, sugar, orange zest, yeast, and salt in a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whisk until well combined. Add the olive oil and milk in a slow, steady stream and mix until combined. Add the flour and mix until a smooth batter is reached. Pour the batter into the pan and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the schiacciata is golden and springs back when touched. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, using a stencil, if desired, and serve. Serves 10

Mar 18

Although bucatini alla carbonara is a very popular and famous Italian recipe, the dish was not created by Italians, but instead was made by a group of American soldiers during WWII! But this is not the only American link the recipe has…it’s also the preferred Italian dish of First Lady Michelle Obama.


  • Want to hear the whole story of how these American soldiers invented bucatini alla carbonara? Click here to listen: Carbonara
  • The recipe for bucatini alla carbonara (or “Carbonara a la Michelle” as we renamed it here) and many more delicious ones can be found in the premiere issue of Cibo: Italian Food for Body, Mind & Soul, Italian Cooking Forum’s new monthly e-magazine. It’s free to download, so check it out!
Mar 3

Let’s Talk!

Food for Love

Last night I had dinnerwith a group of friends passionate offood and I was told of one that I would consider a new aphrodisiac. Apparently pork, especially roasted, is a good aphro-disiac because pigs are always looking for sex! According toa scientific research the high sex drive of pigs would be in theirDNA and it will pass on to who eat their meat.

It is true that the world is changing; in my very youth, living inthe country, I have seen our farmer’s pigs daily and I had the impression that they were restlessly looking for food even inthe mud, not for sex; maybe pigs are changing too!

I am sure that in nature one can find erotizing elements thatmay be used in the kitchen, in perfumes or in the magicpotions of which we all have heard a thousand times and I amwaiting to hear your comments, and your experiences.

Personally I love to eat well and I believe that goodfood with a nice glass of wine put me in the bestmood to enjoy the company of the people I like; Ido not remember having been more excited than bythe unexpected smile of a woman I liked. Maybe Iam a romantic creature!

In any case I wish to assure you that I can very well tell the difference between the effect of a boiled squash and a young,fresh, artichoke saute’ in a copper pan with beef broth androasted meat gravy. This is why I carefully avoid to eat theboiled squash!

I have a few aphrodisiac recipes all using very expensiveingredients; I am going to give you a falsely humble one andI hope you will like it; most important I hope it will work mar-velous deeds on you….