Crostata di Nutella

I can’t believe that this is my 67th blog post and it is only the 3rd mention of Nutella. Nutella is a very big part of my life since being introduced to the bella vita! I grew up with peanut butter for breakfast and snack. Marco grew up with Nutella for breakfast and snack. I like them both, but, if I had to choose which one to have on a deserted island. . . I’d take the Nutella (of course, because there is chocolate in it)!

If we are thinking about health, the peanut butter appears to be healthier considering the protein, vitamins and minerals. In our house we don’t think about health when it comes to Nutella, just the pure creamy nutty chocolate goodness as we eat a spoonful for dessert, spread it between french toast (click here for the Nutella stuffed french toast blog post), or spreading it on the tart pastry to make the dessert pictured here.

We recently posted a video of Marco making the tart crust for the Torta con pere, amaretti, e cioccolato (click here). This is a versatile pastry crust that is used for many delectable treats. One of our favorites is perhaps the simplest one to make. Once the pastry crust is complete and spread out in the pan, simply spread the Nutella on top. In this case, we had a friend for Sunday lunch who loves Nutella, thus the decoration in the photo below. You can also make stripes with the extra dough or whatever decoration you like.

Bake the crostata in a pre-heated 400° oven for 30 minutes.




Buon appetito!

Marco’s 6 minute cooking class: torta con pere, amaretti, e cioccolato 

IMG_7743.JPGFinally, I convinced Marco to star in a cooking video. In just 6 minutes, you will learn how to make the wonderful tort pictured in the photo above. The recipe itself was in a previous post and can be found by clicking here. He had so much fun that he even forgot that he was speaking in Italian for the first segment!! Enjoy the quick cooking class and I hope you sample this simple but elegant dessert in your own kitchen!

Here’s the 6 minute cooking class:


The “pringles factor”

I began going to Italy regularly after meeting Marco in 1997. I not only fell in love with Marco, but I also fell in love with the Italian lifestyle, the people, the culture, the food. . . and the land. I noticed many things that were different from my upbringing in suburban Connecticut, a product of the 70’s.  It was fun to experience life in Italy with my “outsider” eyes. This blog is often a reflection of Italian life and culture through the eyes of this one American. Marco and I have learned to blend our cultures into a fun, usually functional, sometimes crazy, productive life together!

As you know from this blog, I love the fresh, earthy, and simple aspect to Italian cooking. Not only is the food of Italy tasty, it is healthy; the Mediterranean diet is held up as a model for healthy aging.  Early in our relationship, however, I remember watching t.v. on one of our visits. It seemed to me that every other commercial was selling Pringles. I sais to Marco,  “if Italians start eating what these commercials are suggesting, they will begin to have the problems associated with too many fast processed foods.”

Sad to say, my words have come true and the Italian diet is slowly becoming infected with the worst of the processed foods. The basic premise of the Pringle, it seems to me, invented in the late 60’s, is to find a way to package the best/worst combination of salt, sugar, and fat and then produce a money-making cheap product that satisfies the taste buds and feeds our addictive desires.

It is clear that over these 18 years the Italian population is continuing to grow in the waist line, along with the diseases that go with it. Italians are gaining weight, increasing in early onset diabetes, and dealing with the other impacts of an over reliance on processed foods laden with salt, sugar, and fat.

I love Italy for the food culture it has birthed. It is challenging to battle the mass media power of a Pringle, along with the science that goes into creating treats to satisfy and create an addiction. I hope that the slow food movement that began its battle against McDonald’s opening on the Spanish steps in Rome will continue to gain strength.  I also hope that Italians keep making meals from ingredients that our grandparents would recognize.