Pesche ripiene (Roasted peaches Piedmontese style)

One of the most classic and classiest desserts of the Italian repertoire, from Piemonte: peaches, stuffed with amaretti biscuits mixed with liqueur, then roasted. I prefer not to include the customary cocoa powder in the filling, because I feel it overpowers the delicate peach flavour, but if you like the idea, just add a tablespoon to the mix. I also prefer to roast the peaches before stuffing them – this makes them creamy tender, the way I like it. Eat it warm.
This lovely dessert works well also with the lustreless peaches we often get here in the UK and it is the loveliest farewell to summer.

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Torta langarola di nocciole (Hazelnut cake from the Langhe area, in Piedmont)

The hazelnut is not an ingredient one immediately associates with Italian cookery, yet they are definitely rooted in our food culture: or instance, I have never come across a gelateria that does not have nocciola (hazelnut) flavour, one of the best actually (and, as you know, gelaterie are everywhere in Italy), you can often spot a roasted hazelnut atop pasticcini, the diminutive Italian pastries, and biscuits, a signal that what you are going to taste contains the nuts. There is Frangelico too, a hazelnut liqueur from Piemonte that can elevate anything it is drizzled over to new heights, and, well, then there is Nutella, one of the most famous Italian foods, a mix of chocolate and (not so many) hazelnuts and other, more or less, insalubrious ingredients. If you travel to central Italy, in particular in the Tuscia region of Lazio and in Umbria, you will see vast, intensively cultivated hazelnut groves, which contribute hugely to the local economy but that are also cause for concern.  What was once a minor crop has become very important, to the point that Italy is now the world’s second-largest producer, for better or worse. Here an article in Italian too.

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Pollo o coniglio ai peperoni (chicken or rabbit with peppers, Piedmontese cooking)

Chicken with peppers

One of the great dishes of Piedmont: a braised chicken (but it could be rabbit too, a very popular meat in Piedmontese cooking) with peppers and lots of herbs.  This is classic home cooking done entirely on top of the stove and it follows a usual pattern: the chicken is browned, then wine and aromatics are added, when the chicken is half way done, some mixed peppers go into the pot. By the end, the pan juices are not copious but the few tablespoons left are deliciou and the meat has been infused with the flavor from the herbs, the wine and the peppers. Continue reading “Pollo o coniglio ai peperoni (chicken or rabbit with peppers, Piedmontese cooking)”

Bônet astigiano (Chocolate, amaretti and savoiardi baked caramel custard from the town of Asti, in Piedmont)

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Another splendid recipe from Piemonte: Bônet, which is pronounced

 If you do not trust my Piedmontese accent (and you might be right, actually) check this more authentic https://italianhomecookingdotcodotuk.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/bonet1.m4a voice.
It is a caramel-topped baked custard, generally made with crushed amaretti biscuits (one of the glories of Piedmontese baking), lots of eggs and milk, with or without cocoa/chocolate and/ with or without coffee. It is sumptuous and voluptuous. Continue reading “Bônet astigiano (Chocolate, amaretti and savoiardi baked caramel custard from the town of Asti, in Piedmont)”

Sformato autunnale di tre verdure (layered autumn three vegetable terrine from Piemonte)

Time to change gear: autumn is here and I want to explore more of the wonderful northern Italian repertoire, which I think lends itself better to this time of the year.

This vegetable terrine hails from Piemonte, or, to be precise, from this tremendous book about Piedmeontese cooking: if you read Italian, do get it. This is not your typical recipe driven cookery book but one where the emphasis is on food as culture.
it is a layered affair of cooked chopped vegetables, with each vegetable layer enriched with eggs and béchamel sauce: an excellent example of that Italian bourgeois , Sunday lunch cooking, now almost disappeared. Continue reading “Sformato autunnale di tre verdure (layered autumn three vegetable terrine from Piemonte)”