Thursday, February 20, 2020
It's Carnevale time. It is the period falling right before Lent when we Italians indulge in rich foods. Kids (and sometimes adults) we dress up for Carnevale and even go to school and local parades, all dressed up.! And of course in Venice there is our famous Carnival that attracts thousand of tourists.
To savoring the festivities are some delicious Carnevale treats, like the , frittelle, castagnole, and crostoli. My mom usually makes one batch of each and they all disappear pretty quickly. Crostoli are the treat that goes the quickest, as they are utterly and sneakingly addictive!
For us in Italy, making crostoli is a family affair. Since it happens once a year, everybody is happy to help! Plus, additional manpower is always needed because it can easily turn into an assembly line: roll, cut, fry, dust, repeat. But it's all worth it as the results are to die for.
The crostoli are made simply of eggs, flour, butter, and sugar, crostoli are perfectly crisp and delicate sheets of fried dough, dusted in powdered sugar. Their popularity is proven by the variety of names they carry throughout Italy: frappe, bugie, chiacchere, galani, lasagne, cenci, lattughe, sfrappole — just to name a few! In the region of Friuli, Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige, we call them “crostoli”.
· TIPS FOR AWESOME CROSTOLI
· HELP: If possible, get another person to help you. While one rolls the dough and cuts it, the other one fries it (it’s also possible to do it all on your own, if you work in small batches).
· DOUGH: Roll out your dough into a paper-thin, almost see-through sheet, using a pasta machine. Start from the widest settings, and work your way to the thinnest (I usually go from 3, to 5, to 7). Always cover the rolled doughwaiting to be fried, so it doesn’t become dry.
· ALCOHOL: Do not skip the alcohol, as it works as a leavening agent and it also helps to add more flavor. We used a plum grappa we had in the cabinet, but you could definitely use Marsala, brandy, or rum.
· DEEP-FRYING: Use peanut oil for crispier and lighter results. Start deep-frying only when the oil reaches the ideal temperature ( 175°C/ 345°F). Don’t overcrowd the frying pan: fry only 3-4 crostoli at a time.
Before leaving you to the recipe, let me share with you my very own way to measure “crostoli success”: if you make a big mess when you bite into it, you pretty much nailed it! The more crumbs (and powdered sugar), the better.
Here we go.
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cutting / Frying Time 1 hour
· 400 g bread flour sifted
· 100 g pastry flour sifted
· 60 g granulated sugar
· 1 orange zested
· 4 g salt
· 4 eggs lightly beaten
· 60 g butter melted
· 50 g plum grappa (can sub with Marsala, rum, or brandy)
· peanut oil for frying
· powdered sugar for dusting
1. CROSTOLI DOUGH: In a medium-sized bowl, combine both types of flours, sugar, salt, and orange zest. Using a fork, whisk in the lightly beaten eggs with rest of the dry ingredients. While whisking, gradually add the melted butter and the grappa (or your liqueur of choice). Transfer your dough onto a clean work surface and start kneading until you obtain a smooth ball. For better results, beat the heck out your dough ball with a rolling pin a few times (10, 20?). Wrap the dough ball in plastic film and let it rest for 1 hour at room temperature.
2. ROLL & CUT: Divide the dough into 8 smaller portions and keep the unused portions covered with a kitchen towel.
Roll: Using a pasta machine, roll out one portion, dusting it with flour at every passage. Starting from a wide setting, feed the dough through the pasta machine 2-3 times, folding the dough to obtain an even rectangle. Work your way to a very thin setting (I usually go from 3, to 5, to 7).
Cut: Cut the thin sheet of rolled dough into rectangles, about 6-7 cm (2.5-3 inches) wide. Cut a slit lengthways along the center of each rectangle (this will help avoid big bubbles during frying).
Cover: Cover the rolled dough with a kitchen towel so it doesn't dry out. If you don’t have anybody helping you, proceed to frying as the rolled dough shouldn’t rest too long. You'll then repeat the whole process, working in batches.
3. DEEP-FRY: Pour about 5 cm/ 2 inches of peanut oil in a medium-sized saucepan and set it over medium heat. When the oil temperature registers 175 C/ 345 F, start frying your crostoli (3–4 at a time). When they are light gold and crisp, drain them with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a tray lined with paper towel. Dust with powdered sugar. Repeat with the the rest of the dough, working in batches, and reheating oil in between.
Crostoli are best enjoyed within the first 2-3 days. Keep them covered with a paper towel so they stay fragrant and crispy.
Buon appetito e buon Carnevale a tutti.
Join me on my trip to Italy with Perillo Tour for the most amazing time, with wine testing, cooking classes, concerts and sight seeing.
To lean more and to book it visit:
Friday, July 19, 2019
Happy summer dear readers.
Everybody hopefully is enjoying this wonderful summer time.
Time for vacation, travels. And for the one of us still stuck at the office working, well we can at least hang at the pool in the weekend, go to the shore, enjoy a day on the beach and just day dreaming about the next vacations and make plans for them.
I'm Italian so my whole life I've been exposed to what the world calls "La Dolce Vita", the sweet Italian live stile.
It's normal for us Italian to wake up early in the morning and be surrounded by beauty. In a city like my own Venice, early in the morning the city is quiet and like a flower ready to bloom. You can hear the leap of the water on the canals, the voices of the gondoliers getting ready for work. Imagine the blue sky and the fresh air, a cup of coffee and delicious croissant on a balcony facing the water....magical. And if you are in the country side you hear the sound of church bells while the early morning sun paints the sky in a soft pick on the vinery all around you.
It may be early, but you’re already dreaming of fresh pasta al dente and a drop of Barolo for a lazy lunch on a sunny terrace. For us Italian this is normal. For most of the people a dream, until they are there and experience this themselves.
In Italy we always look to share happiness with another human being and try to make the most of that moment. The food, wine and the experience of living – it is only beautiful if you can share it with somebody.
We Italians are passionate about food. On the street, you’ll hear people sharing recipes and debating about where to find their favorite ingredients.
So here are 5 amazing secrets of the Italian Dolce Vita, basically the way we live.
1. Food is a fuel to the soul
ou won’t understand pasta unless you have been trained by a Ligurian. “The art of making linguine in Liguria, the rugged coastal region in Northern Italy, is something Italian are very passionate about it. It is said that “Liguria is to pasta what Naples is to pizza".
And so Liguria a small, hilly region, they made terraces on the hills to grow their vegetables. They don’t produce a lot, but they produce the highest-quality artichokes, asparagus and basil, one of the main ingredients of Pesto, the famous sauce you can now find everywhere in the world. But nowhere is like in Liguria.
So, while in Italy enjoy our local food. Risotto with fish in Venice, meat in Tuscany, pasta with pesto in Liguria, bucatini with any meat sauce in Roma, pizza in Naples.
And don't be surprised to hear Italian humming while eating their food in a restaurant in Italy or talking very animated about it. We really love our food.
We Italians dress to impress, and competition is especially fierce on the streets of Milan, the country’s fashion capital. But pretty much everywhere I will say.
There are many trends in Italy, but one the most loved by us Italian is the a word created particularly to describe the artful way Italian men mix and match jackets and trousers versus simply suiting up.
Spezzato, a signature of classic and effortless Italian style, describes the way men and women put together jackets and trousers that complement each other but are not part of the same suit.
In Italy, style is more than just looking the part – you must live and breathe it through a commitment to top-tier fabrics and tailoring, worn with an air of unstudied, effortless elegance. In Italy we really care about the way we dress. It's an old fashion way of thinking that elegance is not an optional, it a must. People will see us, and we need to be taken care. And we come to the third important secret of being Italian and living La Dolce Vita.
We Italians like to create a good impression wherever we go. You might call it showing off. We call it . The best way to arrive in style is behind the wheel of an Italian sports car – with the convertible top down, sunshine streaming in and opera playing on the radio. Fancy sunglasses on, always, we spend a lot of money to have the most trendy ones every season.
An Italian that arrives on a place will look to the rest fo the world like a scene from a movie. For an Italian is just the way to be. La bella figura.
So, imagine yourself hopping into a beautiful convertible sports car and travel 55 miles (90 kilometers) out of the city, along picturesque, tree-lined lanes and quaint villages, to arrive at the deep-blue waters of Lake Como. Spectacular right?
Then spend the day zipping around the town’s spectacular pastel-colored villas, stopping only to admire the views eating an ice-cream with someone you love, and then dine at a lakefront restaurant. You get the picture, right? La Dolce Vita.
For us Italians, a good meal is not solely about delectable dishes. Flavor goes hand in hand with and creating the right setting to indulge in both. If you follow me, when I cook, when I sing, when I tell about about my life, you know that my secret ingredient is always amore. Amore, love, in all we do. Now you know why I sing love songs and my Concerts always have love in the air. Love is La Dolce Vita. And being Italian is celebrating amore in all we do.
And here with some to another fundamental thing of being Italian and living La Dolce Vita. Ask any Italian: they will all tell you the best way to enjoy la dolce vita is with someone you treasure, be it family, friends or a soulmate. And that said we Italians are also happy to open our doors and offer hospitality to people from faraway places. Everyone is welcome. "Aggiungi un posto a tavola", "add a place on the table" is the title of a popular Italian song, but also the way we live our days. Life is only beautiful if you can share it with somebody.
Anyone can experience and share la dolce vita in Italy, where language is no barrier, and everyone is family.
I think we Italian know how to live well – we know how to create pleasure, whether it’s a dish of pasta or a landscape. It is part of our identity, and it is something we have to share.
So if you want to live La Dolce Vita in Italy with me, well I'm going next year with a group of fans to experience all of the above.
here below all the info.
Happy summer and let's enjoy life at the fullest no matter we are in the world the Italian way.