LIVE LIKE AN ITALIAN

Roasting Bell Peppers for July 4th (recipe)

roasted bell peppers recipe

As our friends in America are preparing for a three-day Fourth of July weekend, we know that many of them will be grilling hot dogs and hamburgers for the holiday.

Here’s a recipe for Italian-style roasted bell peppers, a perfect accompaniment to give an Italian flair to your Fourth of July menu.

Roasted and Marinated Bell Peppers

ingredients

yellow and red bell peppers
extra-virgin olive oil
wine vinegar
kosher salt
freshly cracked pepper
chili flakes
Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

Wash and dry the bell peppers. And then place them on stove-top burner over medium heat (see video below).

Using a pair of tongs, turn the peppers until they have blackened. Once they are entirely black, place them in a brown paper bag and roll up the top of the bag to seal.

After the peppers have cooled, remove them from the bag and peel off the blackened skin (the easiest way to do this is under running water).

Slice off the tops of the peppers and discard. Slice the peppers in half and remove their seeds. Then slice the peppers into strips roughly ¼-inch wide.

In a mixing bowl, toss the peppers with the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, chili flakes, and whole parsley leaves to taste.

Let the peppers marinate for at least an hour and ideally for 3-4 hours before serving.

Pair with Mazzoni Vermentino-Chardonnay.


How do you say “enjoy the game” in Italian? #WorldCup

ITALY PLAYS COSTA RICA THIS FRIDAY IN GROUP D
CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE ITALY WORLD CUP SCHEDULE

More than once on the Live Like an Italian blog, we’ve posted about some of our favorite Italian saying and how to wish someone, for example, a good weekend (buon weekend!).

In the spirit of Italian football (otherwise known as soccer in the U.S.), we wanted to do a post on how to say enjoy the game.

If someone is going to watch the game on television (or other streaming device), you say: buona visione (BOO’oh-nah vee-ZEE’OH-neh). It’s the same thing you would say to someone about to watch a film or a television show.

If someone is going to the stadium to see the game, you can say: buona partita (BOO’oh-nah pahr-TEE-tah), meaning literally [have a] good game (even though that person isn’t playing in the game but is just a spectator).

You could also say, goditi la partita (GOH-dee-tee lah pahr-TEE-tah), literally, enjoy the game.

Below you’ll find some other common sayings we’ve posted in the past.

Buona Coppa Mondiale! Enjoy the World Cup!

Here’s a list of simple Italian sayings that can really come in handy, especially when you’re trying to say have a great weekend!

Work/Study

Buon lavoro = may your work be fruitful.
Buona lettura = enjoy your reading.
Buona lezione = may the lecture/class be fruitful.
Buon seminario = may the seminar/class be fruitful.
Buono studio = may your study be fruitful.

Senses

Buon appetito = enjoy your food.
Buon ascolto = enjoy the music [listening].
Buona degustazione = enjoy the tasting.
Buona spaghettata = enjoy your spaghetti [pasta].
Buona visione = enjoy the movie.

Travel/Recreation

Buona continuazione = enjoy the rest of your day/activity.
Buona domenica = enjoy your day of rest [the day of the Lord].
Buone feste = happy holidays.
Buon fine settimana [buon weekend] = have a great weekend.
Buona permanenza = enjoy your stay.
Buon proseguimento = enjoy the rest of your stay/activity.
Buone vacanze = enjoy your vacation.
Buon viaggio = have a safe trip.
Buon volo = have a safe flight.
Buon weekend [buon fine settimana] = have a great weekend.

Health/Rest

Buona guarigione = I wish you a speedy recovery.
Buon riposo = sleep well [get well soon].

Greetings/Salutation

Buona giornata = have a great day.
Buon giorno = good day [greetings].
Buona notte = good night [good-bye].
Buon pomeriggio = good afternoon [greetings].
Buona sera = good evening [greetings].
Buona serata = have a great evening.

Which ones are we missing? Please feel free to add others in the comment section…


Forza Azzurri! Go Blue! World Cup 2014 brings nations together

italian national soccer team

The World Cup 2014 begins today in Brasil and as it does every four years, it brings together nations from every part of the globe.

Soccer — or calcio as it is known in Italy (meaning literally kick) — is practically a national religion for Italians. You’ll often hear Italians say that the only thing that truly unites the country is its national soccer team. That’s because Italy is really 20 different countries: each of its 20 regions has its own customs, foods and wines, its own dialects, and its own culture and traditions. But when the national soccer team plays, every Italian cheers in chorus.

mazzoni toscana rossoIn many ways, the team unites Italians from all walks of life in the same way that the World Cup unites nations from across the globe. And here at Mazzoni wines, we think of it in the same way as we unite an international grape, Merlot, with a classic Italian grape, Sangiovese, in our Tuscan red blend, Rosso di Toscana IGT.

The team is known as the Azzurri, Italian for blue, the color of the Italian national jersey. And when cheering their team on, the Italians cry forza Azzurri!, literally, Go Blue!

The tournament begins tomorrow and Italy has its first match, against England, on Saturday. Here are some useful links for following and cheering along. Note that local time in Brasil is one hour ahead of EST.

FIFA page devoted to the Italian national team, including schedule, English-language news, and updates.

Complete World Cup 2014 schedule.

Italy plays its first game this Saturday at 4 p.m. EST vs. England (you’ll find the complete Italy schedule on its FIFA page here).

Here at Live Like an Italian, we’ll be following and cheering the Azzurri as they progress through the tournament. They have won the World Cup four times in its history and are always a favorite. We hope you’ll join us in cheering: Forza Azzurri!

Image via FIGC.it, the official site of the Italian national soccer team.


Mazzoni in Eugene, Oregon, one of the hippest food & wine cities in America

belly eugene wine list

Here’s what Mark Bittman, food critic for the New York Times, had to say about Belly in Eugene, Oregon a few years ago: “Belly, a popular new Eugene restaurant run by a lovely young couple doing honest, straightforward food and doing it well.”

Ever since Brendan Mahaney opened the restaurant in 2009, he’s been racking up the praise from the local and national media. It’s just one of those places that hits the mark on every level: great, wholesome food, prepared thoughtfully.

It’s no small accomplishment in a part of the country where great restaurants and fantastic wines abound. Indeed, many consider Eugene and Portland to be among America’s most hip food and wine cities.

Here’s how he describes his cooking on his website: “Rustic, European Farmhouse Soul Food.”

Belly current serves Mazzoni Vermentino-Chardonnay by the glass. It’s a great list and we’re proud to be part of it.

We highly recommend it.

Belly Restaurant
30 E Broadway
Eugene, OR 97401
(541) 683-5896
Google map

Image via the Belly website.


Italy at the beach: Castiglione della Pescaia (Tuscany’s best-kept secret)

best beach in italy

Above: Castiglione della Pescaia is one of Tuscany’s best-kept secrets. Click here for the Google map to see where it’s located on the Tuscan coastline.

Now that summer’s around the corner, we know that a lot of you are planning your summer vacation in Italy.

Many of you beach-lovers will head to the glitzy Amalfi coast or to the swank beaches of the Lido in Venice.

But Mazzoni winemaker Alessandro Bindocci will be spending his summer vacation (in August) in Castiglione della Pescaia in Tuscany, a roughly one and a half hour drive (depending on how fast you drive) from his home in Sant’Angelo in Colle where Mazzoni wines are made.

Castiglione has all the amenities of Italy’s more famous beaches. There are camping spots, beaches with cabana/umbrella services, and some of the most famous seafood restaurants in Italy, mostly on the economical side.

But the best part is that the village of Castiglione della Pescaia — which translates loosely as “the fisherman’s castle” — is a wonderful hilltop medieval hamlet. It’s a great place to get lost in its winding little streets, to have a coffee at a café with the local folks, or just to relax with one of the greatest views of the Mediterranean (the Tyrrhenian Sea).

And from Castiglione, you’re only a short drive from Montalcino where they make Brunello di Montalcino (and Mazzoni wines), an even shorter drive from Bolgheri wine country, and there are also a number of interesting historical and archeological sites in the area as well, including many Etruscan excavations and museums, like the Museo Archeologico e d’Arte della Maremma.


Tomato sauce: the great garlic vs. onion debate

best puttanesca recipe

Above: Puttanesca sauce is just another variation on classic pomodoro (tomato) sauce. The difference is that anchovies, capers, and pitted olives are sautéed with the garlic before the tomato is added. For our basic pomodoro recipe, please click here.

Anyone who’s lived in northern Italy knows that pomodoro (tomato) sauce is regularly made using finely chopped onions and garlic in the sauté (the soffritto in Italian, similar to the French mirepoix).

But when you travel south of Rome, you’ll find that home cooks religiously omit onion from the recipe. In fact, the mere thought of using anything more than garlic in the soffritto is considered sacrilegious to those living south of Italy’s capital.

In Naples and Campania (the region that forms the “shin” of Italy’s boot and claims Naples as its capital), classic pasta al pomodoro is made exclusively with garlic.

Some would attribute this to the fact that the warmer climate in the south produces richer garlic than in the north, where temperatures are colder and other species of Allium, the onion genus, are easier to cultivate.

In the period after the second world war, when canned tomatoes and dried pasta began to be sold across Italy, pasta al pomodoro went from being a southern Italian dish to being a pan-Italian, national dish. Indeed, today pasta al pomodoro is served regularly throughout Italy and is widely considered one of the symbolic dishes of Italian national cuisine, despite its true origins in the south.

It’s kind of like pesto. In Liguria, home to true pesto, the dish is prepared almost exclusively with a pasta shape called trenette and Pecorino, sheep’s milk cheese, is used. In the rest of Italy, pesto is prepared with Parmigiano Reggiano (from Emilia-Romagna) and spaghetti are commonly used.

When you make your pomodoro, do you use onion and garlic? Or do you use just garlic?


A tomato sauce secret

best tomato sauce

Last week, we posted our basic recipe for making tomato sauce for pasta.

There are infinite variations: over the next few weeks, as summer tomatoes begin to come into season, we have a whole series of posts planned on seasonings, the “onion vs. garlic” debate, pasta shapes, and other tips on how to make great, authentic tomato sauce.

But before we move on to the finer points of a great salsa al pomodoro, we wanted to take a moment to discuss one of the most important elements in “finishing” any pasta with tomato sauce.

While we have nothing against those who simply top their cooked noodles with a ladleful of sauce, we do subscribe to the camp of those who believe that the pasta should be folded into the sauce (as in the image above).

Here’s the trick.

Right before the pasta is done cooking, add a quarter or half ladleful of its cooking water to the simmering sauce (it’s important that you use the salted cooking water, which also contains some starch from the pasta).

Be sure too cook the pasta very al dente and you can even remove it from the burner while still undercooked.

Strain the pasta carefully and then fold it into the simmering sauce.

As the pasta finishes cooking through, it will absorb the flavors of the sauce (if you omit this step, the sauce will still flavor the pasta but not as deeply).

For many pasta lovers, this a key element in preparing any pasta sauce.

Coming soon: the great “garlic vs. onion” debate…


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