First Course Italian Cooking 101 Italian Food Italy

Asparagus Risotto

When it’s asparagus season it is hard to choose which recipe to make!

I find that the recipe I turn to the most is risotto di asparagi. This to me is spring!  When the weather starts to get nicer here in Italy, the first time I find asparagus at the local market, I make asparagus risotto for my family.

If the word ‘risotto’ scares you because you think – I don’t know how to make risotto – or – that sounds too time consuming – or – that’s a heavy dish.  I’m here to prove those thoughts wrong! Asparagus risotto is a relatively simple recipe and one that, in my opinion, emphasising the natural brilliance of asparagus while offering a healthy meal.

This spring vegetable makes every dish feel light and healthy!




350g Rice (Carnaroli rice)

500g Asparagus

1 litre Vegetable broth

1/2 onion

1 carrot

1 celery stalk

1/2 cup White Wine

2 teaspoons Olive Oil

80g of grated parmesan cheese

50g Butter

Salt & Pepper

(serves 4)


Separate the stems from the tips of the 500 gr of asparagus, set the asparagus tips aside, peel and then boil the stems in a pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain but keep the water. Then cool the asparagus with running water and slice the stems into small pieces, set aside to add into the rice later.  The tips, instead, keep until the end of the rice cooking.

Now add 1/2 l of asparagus cooking water (you previously saved) with 1 l of vegetable stock and boil. Peel the onion and chop it finely, with carrot and celery then brown it all with 30 gr of butter for about 3 minutes in a large non stick skillet. Add in 350 gr of Carnaroli rice for 2-3 minutes, stirring. Turn the heat on high and add in the white wine, keep heat on high until the wine starts to evaporate.

Once wine evaporates, add in a ladle of broth (you can keep broth heated in a pot next to the skillet where rice is being cooked) and stir while lowering the heat to a low flame. Always be sure that the rice is evenly covered with broth, the rice will cook in the broth. Add in the chopped asparagus stems after rice cooks in broth for about 5 minutes and continue cooking the risotto adding broth (one ladle at a time), for about 18 minutes until rice is completely cooked. Season with salt and pepper.  In a separate small skillet, cook in olive oil the asparagus tips until a little brown.

Remove from heat and whisk in butter and 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese and mix with wooden spoon until creamy. Serve hot with placing asparagus tips on top.



Dessert Italian Cooking 101 Italian Food Italy

Chocolate Italian Salami

Who doesn’t love a chocolate surprise on their table?

That is exactly what the Chocolate Italian Salami is!  The perfect little touch of chocolate to finish a meal or have with an espresso as a midday snack.

This recipe is one I inherited from my fabulous Italian mother in law.  I remember first eating this and thinking how delicious this was at the same time being completely surprised in finding out what was in it.  I was also taken aback because I remember just how hot it was that summer day I tried this dessert for the first time and thought how did she ever bake a dessert in this hear?! I learned after that day that this is the secret summer dessert of the Italian women, because here when the summers become unbearable and you have no air conditioning the last thing you’re going to do is turn on the oven! And a highlight of this recipe is that it’s quick, little prep, and no oven baking necessary.

But I find that this recipe is so easy to whip up and just the perfect amount of chocolate that you can serve it anytime of the year. Get the kids involved and let them take the lead the way and have fun in shaping their salami dessert.




150 grams of butter

100 grams of powdered sugar

50 grams of cacao

2 egg yolks

150 grams of armaretti cookies

150 grams of novellini cookies (or vanilla wafers)

3 walnuts

3 tablespoons of rum



Chop well the armaretti cookies, novellini cookies(vanilla wafers) and walnuts, add sugar, cocoa, eggs, melted butter, rum (this can also be eliminated from the recipe if you prefer and/or making for kids).
Mix all together well and give the dough a form of a salami by rolling it with a piece of baking paper. Once you are happy with the salami shape of the dough, make sure to keep it covered and in that form and put it in the fridge for 1 hour before serving.
Cut into slices, like a salami, when it is very cold.



Italian Food Italy

Eating & Skiing in Gressoney,Valle D’Aosta

Photo from Valle D’Aosta Official Website

Places to Go & Eat. Gressoney, Valle d’Aosta.  Gressoney is a ski village in the Italian Alps, at the foot of Mount Rosa.  This village is a well-kept secret in Italy and even throughout Europe.  What truly makes Gressoney unique is its position inside a scenic valley, how it has been left untouched by the change of time and  maintaining its original historic architecture.  All of this creates an overall picturesque charm of a winter wonderland and allows for exquisite, authentic Alpine dishes.


Italian Food Italy

Terra Madre in Turin

Event.  Slowfood & Terra Madre.  Turin,Italy.

Every fall the leaves change, the weather becomes cooler and the season for eating begins!  The best part of autumn is gathering together with friends and family to share moments together over a good glass of wine and a plate full of comfort foods.  Turin celebrates all this with its annual food festive in September known as Terra Madre sponsored by the Slowfood organization.  For all foodies alike, near and far, Terra Madre is an opportunity to see one of Italy’s historic cities at its culinary finest. During the festival Italian products from all over Italy are presented in the main park, divided by region and city.  Visitors are able to walk through Valentino Park enjoying little nibblings of fresh pasta, cheese, desserts, and wine.

Your nose can lead the way through the perfumes of Italy’s best, stopping as one desires.  It is a wonderful opportunity to have a deeper understanding of the wide variety of quality Italian products available and gain a knowlegde on the culture and origin of each product.

There are events located all through the city in piazzas, and even a special event at the convention center highlighting food from around the world.  But what Terra Madre is truly known for is having a accumulation of everything Italy has to offer.

When one thinks of Italian food, or visiting Italy, Turin is not typical on the must see list.  However, it should be!  Turin is often referred to as the Paris of Italy for its history, architecture, art and beauty.Turin is a well kept secret for its culinary excellence.  Turin is the capital city of Piedmont and for this reason  the capital city of the region has some of the world’s most exquiste products just a quick drive away.   Piedmont is home to the reknown wine country found in the Langhe and Monferrato where Barolo, Barbera, and Arneis originate from along with being the land of Truffles and chocolate hazelnut spread, gianduja.

Article on traveling to Turin 



Veal in Carpione

Carpione is a typical Piemontese dish, from the north west region of Piedmont.  Carpione is a white vinegar marinate with white wine, onions, sage and your choice of  fried vegetables like zucchini for an appetizer course or with meat like breaded veal or chicken and even fish like trout for a main dish.  Carpione is a great dish to make ahead of time, at least 24 hours before serving.