Feb 22

Feb 15

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄4 lb. pancetta, julienned
1 large carrot, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1⁄2 c. lentils, rinsed and picked over
4 c. chicken broth, heated
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In an open pressure cooker over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook for 2 minutes. 2. Add the carrots and onions and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender. 3. Stir in the lentils, add the broth, bay leaf, and thyme and bring to a boil. 4. Close the lid and bring the cooker to full pressure. Cook for 5 minutes, then slowly depressurize the cooker. 5. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprig, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and serve. Serves 4

Replace: pancetta with unsmoked bacon
Replace: chicken broth with vegetable or beef broth

A medium to full-bodied red wine, such as Rosso Conero

Feb 8

All of us, sooner or later have lived an adventure, I have gone through many more or less exciting and or positive ones. I’m not speaking of the fundamental ones like marriage(s) or educating your children, I’m talking of the others, of those that have shaped our lives and put to task our very own values and personality. I have lived many of these adventures also because I lived in two very different worlds, Europe and America, and I have changed many jobs. The one that I have just started to live is probably the most dangerous one, maybe it is happening for a good reason, and I thought of calling it “The Pancreas Adventure”.

This adventure forces me to put CIBO on hold for a few months, but I will be accompanied by my new blog: .

I’ll be telling you some of my past adventures while updating you on the one I’m currently living which, believe me, is making me discover a world completely unknown to me before, rich of many surprises – often curious ones, occasionally funny ones. Obviously, my new diets and therefore my new recipes will be part of this new adventure.

This rather personal letter is addressed to all of you: my subscribers, old and new, the friends that contribute to CIBO and all my other friends wherever they are.

To all of you, I’m asking you to write to me, to question me, to make requests, to send me your comments as is done with most blogs; this will allow me to continue to be useful to you and it will be of great help to me during this new adventure of mine!

So, we’ll talk to each other in the next few days on this blog and on my new blog, ; recipes will be freely available in as well as in this blog.

See you soon!

Feb 1

Preparing seafood dishes, is simple as long as you have the freshest and best ingredients to work with. Below are a few easy steps to help look for and prepare some common frutti di mare, or fruit of the sea.

HINT 1 Squid. What to look for: Squid should have bright, white flesh and greyish skin. They should smell vaguely like the ocean but not fishy at all. How to prepare them: In a strainer under cold water, peel off the skin and discard. Clean by removing all the organs, the ink sac, and the bony beak. Chop the body into rings (unless you are stuffing it), keeping the tentacles intact. Cook for 2 to 5 minutes or until tender.

HINT 2 Octopus. What to look for: Medium-sized octopus, about 2 to 3 lb., are easiest to work with. Make sure they have no fishy smell. How to prepare them: Add the whole octopus to a pot of cold water and bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour until tender. Turn off the heat, but leave it in the water for 10 minutes. This makes the skin easier to remove.

HINT 3 Mussels and Clams. What to look for: Discard mollusks with broken shells. If you find open shells, tap them together. If they close, they’re fine; if they pop open again, discard them. Mollusks should smell fresh and not fishy. Mediterranean mussels and Manila or littleneck clams work best in these dishes. How to prepare them: Scrub to remove grit. Mussels need to be debearded—grab the fibrous beard and pull it off.

HINT 4 Scallops. What to look for: Avoid scallops with a fishy smell. Color can range from beige to creamy pink. Be aware that bright white scallops may have been soaked in water to increase their weight and their price. How to prepare them: Remove the tough muscle strip and cook scallops briefly (1 to 2 minutes per side) until they are opaque.

HINT 5 Shrimp. What to look for: Shrimp naturally range in color from grey to slightly reddish. Avoid shrimp that smell fishy. How to prepare them: Remove from heat when they become opaque, anywhere from 3 to 7 minutes.