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Archive for Pasta-Pizza

FREEBIE: Italian Cookbook From Barilla

Pumpkin PastaFettuccine With Pumpkin and Bread Crumbs will be a hit at your table.   Last year, Barilla created a free downloadable cookbook featuring Italian recipes from celebrities and prominent chefs. For every cookbook downloaded, Barilla donated $1.00 to America’s Second Harvest—The Nation’s Food Bank Network, which helps the needy. This year, five celebrities—Chris Daughtry, Debra Messing, Natalie Portman, Marisa Tomei and Stanley Tucci—contributed their favorite recipes, which were further developed by Mario Batali into this year’s cookbook. Party planner David Tutera contributed table setting concepts. The cookbook is available through the end of this month at CelebrityItalianTable.com. So download your free copy and feast on Eggplant Involti With Ricotta and Scallions, Farfalle with Pancetta, Rucola and Truffle Paste, Penne Alla Vodka, Penne In Spicy Sauce With Capers and Olives, Rigatoni with Basil and Gorgonzola, Sicilian Chickpea Fritters, Spaghetti al Tonno and Steamed Cockles in a Haban?ero Chive Broth.
Follow the main course with desserts like Cherry Jam Tart, Chocolate Hazelnut Fritters and Torta di Cioccolato Abruzzese.

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TODAY IN FOOD: It’s Pizza Pie Day

Pizza RomanaOur favorite frozen gourmet pizzas, from Pizza Romana.   While National Pizza Week is celebrated the second week of January, today is Pizza Pie Day. Most of us aren’t old enough to remember that pizzas were formerly called pizza pie—you can catch the reference in movies from the 1950s. The history of pizza is relatively recent, given how ancient flat breads and cheese are in man’s cuisine. The key element that turned them into what we know today as pizza is the tomato, which was brought to Europe from the Americas in the 16th century. This was the yellow cherry tomato, and as a member of the Nightshade family of plants, it was believed by many Europeans to be poisonous. The tomato was enjoyed as a houseplant. However, famine in the 18th century caused the fruit to be eaten by the poor, and no one died. The poor in the area around Naples then add tomato to their flat bread, often serving as their main meal with melted cheese and/or anchovies, and so the pizza was born. (So was tomato sauce for pasta and other dishes.)
Pizza gained in popularity, sold from open-air stands by street vendors, and soon became a tourist attraction. Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba in Naples is regarded as the world’s first pizzeria. It began as a pizza bakery in 1738, providing street vendors with pizzas, but in 1830 expanded to include a pizza restaurant with chairs and tables. It remains in business today. Pizza arrived in the U.S. with the first wave of Italian immigrants in the late 19th century.
– See our favorite line of frozen gourmet pizzas, Pizza Romana—imported from Italy.
– Try something different: An apple, cheddar and bacon pizza recipe.

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TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Fettuccine Alfredo Day

Fettuccine Alfredo is rich comfort food, made from fettuccine, ribbon-shape strands of pasta (fettucce means “small ribbons” in Italian).

Wider than the other popular flat shape, linguine, fettuccine provide a better surface for catching rich and creamy sauces. (Fettuccine is similar to tagliatelle, the flat pasta from the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, but is narrower. See our Pasta Glossary for more shapes.)

To make Fettuccine Alfredo, the pasta is tossed with cream, butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; the cheese melts when tossed with the hot pasta, cream and butter, creating a sauce (at home, the ingredients are simply stirred on the stovetop. In a restaurant, tossing at tableside is part of the experience.

The original recipe was created in 1914 by Alfredo Di Lelio, owner of Alfredo alla Scrofa, a restaurant in Rome. It is simply a variation of traditional Italian recipes, fettuccine al burro (fettuccine with butter) and fettuccini al burro e panna (with butter and cream)—both served, of course, with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Alfredo tweaked the traditional recipe slightly.

When butter is added both before and after fettuccine is put in the serving bowl for tossing, it is known as doppio burro, double butter.

Di Lelio doubled the amount of butter in the bowl before the fettuccine was added, creating a triplo burro, triple butter, recipe: more butter made more of a sauce.

Why? The chef created the dish to entice his pregnant wife, who had lost her appetite. He served it with egg fettuccine, hoping that the “nutritious dish” would do the trick.

Today, we know that a typical serving of the “nutritious dish” has 455 calories, 38g of fat, 291mg of sodium and 143g of cholesterol. But for people who love rich, creamy food, it hits the spot!

By the way, in Italy, fettuccine Alfredo and Alfredo sauce are not common terms. Instead, orders fettuccine al burro e panna—triplo burro.

 

Fettuccine Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo

[1] The original Fettuccine Alfredo was a triple butter and cream sauce (photo courtesy Cooking Classy). [2] In the U.S., green peas were added to give some color to the dish (photo courtesy Three Bell Peppers).

 
For something different, try these recipes:

  • Fettuccine Alfredo with Goat’s Milk and Goat Cheese—if you like goat cheese, you’ll like this variation.
  • Blue Cheese Alfredo (a recipe for traditional Alfredo sauce is included).
  • Dessert Fettuccine Alfredo, with crème anglaise instead of cheese sauce.
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    FOOD TIP OF THE DAY: Celebratory Pasta

    SoupDelight the family with a theme pasta of the month—above, snowflakes and snowmen.
      Use specialty shaped pastas to have a monthly celebration dinner: snowmen in January, hearts in February, stars for Independence Day, pumpkins in October, turkeys in November, Santas in December and so forth. With this new monthly dinner tradition, select a family member to research interesting facts about the holiday or season to share at the table. Read our review of Pasta Shoppe novelty-shape pastas, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week. Visit the Pasta Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine for a world of great pasta articles and reviews.
     

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