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Exciting Case of Italian Reds

Exciting Case of Italian Reds

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This is a very exciting collection of 12 red wines from Italy, mostly from Tuscany and the sangiovese grape, but also with a few from the Italian islands.

We’ll start there with wines from Stemmari, a major producer from Sicily that is carving out a reputation for affordable quality. This is followed by a complex red from another Italian island: Sardinia.

If you haven’t heard of Morellini di Scansano, don’t be surprised. Like unheard-of relatives that come popping up after a lottery prize, the lesser-known regions of Tuscany have been making their appearances as the region’s wines come into more and more demand. The “morellini” refers to the local iteration of sangiovese.

This is followed by wines from the “Police estate” outside of Florence owned by the singer Sting and his wife Trudie Styler. They are mostly IGTs. Finally, we finish with Banfi and its delicious Brunello di Montalcino.

Stemmari Sicily pinot noir 2012 ($11)

Muted cherry fruit with light tannins and dried herbs in the finish. Not as fragrant as most pinots, but very easy-drinking.

Stemmari Sicily nero d’avola 2012 ($9)

Nice mixture of ripe cherries and gaminess with lots of dusty tannins. Satisfying and well balanced.

Stemmari “Cantadoro” Sicily red wine 2011 ($14)

Mainly nero d’avola with some cabernet sauvignon, the resulting blend is quite nice — think blackberry and raspberry jam with some grated orange peel tossed in. Good fruit, good balance, mild tannins.

Barrua Isola dei Nuraghi IGT 2011 ($36)

A murky wine with red cherry and mulberry flavors and a dried-herbs finish. Not a vibrant wine, but one that would go well with charcuterie and aged cheeses.

Poggio Argentiera “Capatosta” Morellini di Scansano 2011 ($23)

This wine would be great for someone who loves Manhattans — muddled cherry flavors with some cooked rhubarb and red Vermouth notes.

Acquaviva “Nero” Morellini di Scansano 2012 ($9)

A little gamy and funky, but still enjoyable in a rustic style.

Il Palagio “Sister Moon” Tuscan IGT 2011 ($46)

The first of four from Sting and Trudie, it is somewhat perfumed with fragrant fruit flavors — tart cherry and creamy blueberries — with some green herbal and chocolate notes in the finish.

Il Palagio “Casino delle Vie” Toscana IGT 2011 ($27)

Good mix of fresh red and purple fruits, yet with good depth of flavors. Ripe, dark cherries with savory tannins in finish.

Il Palagio “Message in a Bottle’ Toscana IGT 2011 ($18)

My least favorite of the four — sweetish and quite fruit-forward with only fair balance in the finish.

Il Palagio “When We Dance” Chianti 2013 ($17)

Very pleasant if not complex chianti with mild fruit and a typical sangiovese raspy finish.

Castello Banfi “Belnero” Toscana IGT 2011 ($23)

Ripe cherry forward fruit with hints of anise and chocolate. Well-balanced with moderate tannins. Quite nice.

Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino 2009 ($56)

One of those wines of substance that also has finesse and leaves you with a feeling of pure pleasure with each sip. The flavors are of lightly tangy cherries with touches of dark chocolate in the finish.

So simple you may never buy store-bought sausage again!

1. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Take an old-fashioned potato masher and mix ingredients until well combined. Better yet, use your hands!

3. Weigh out the Italian sausage into one-pound portions.

4. Wrap in freezer paper, label, and freeze the homemade Italian sausage until needed.

The Regions, Part 1 of 3


Valle D'Aosta


Lombardia (Lombardy), home to Italy's second largest city, fashionable Milano, is historically a trendsetter in its food as well as design sensibilities. Once ruled by the Spanish, Milan's iconic saffron-infused risotto is perfection in its simplicity and classically paired with Ossobuco, braised veal shanks garnished with a gremolata herb condiment. Lombardy boasts many varieties of cheeses that range from very soft and creamy to the long aged and hard grating variety. Soft spreadable Crescenza and Stracchino are a tasty contrast to mighty Mascarpone, most famously known for its starring role in the perennially popular Tiramisu, found almost everywhere in Italy. Bitto cheese is a long-maturing cheese that can age up to 10 years while Grana Padana is a kissing cousin to Parmigiano Reggiano with its own loyal fans. Bresaola, a cured lean beef from the Valtellina valley makes a delightfully refreshing salad, when the thin meat slices are topped with rucola/arugula greens, parmesan shavings and dressed with a squeeze of lemon and extra virgin olive oil. Make sure to enjoy a Valtellina Superiore DOCG produced from the nebbiolo grapes which are less acidic and tannic than neighboring Piemonte's nebbiolos. Panettone, a light egg rich cake spiked with candied citrus, is Lombardia's most famous dessert. It is the quintessential Italian Christmas cake made and enjoyed everywhere in Italy. Delicious served with the slightly sparkling and prestigious Franciacorta wine.

Trentino-Alto Aldige

Friuli-Venezia Giulia


The Veneto is home to two of the most romantic cities of Italy: Venice, with its maze of canals, and Verona, Shakespeare's setting for the star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet. The Veneto reflects its watery ways with a passion for seafood dishes and risottos, Baccala' al latte, cod cooked in milk or Sepia, cuttlefish with its signature black ink in risotto and pasta. For the less adventuresome diners there is always the classic Risi e Bisi, rice and peas. Many colorful varieties of radicchio are the mainstay of winter greens throughout Italy, although Treviso's famously curled, spear-shaped heads are oftentimes enjoyed grilled. Flavorful Asiago and Monte Veronese are just two Veneto cheeses to try. You'll certainly not go wrong with any of the Vento's well known wines like Pinot Grigio, Valpolicella, and Amarone. You might try pairing a Prosecco with Zaleti, a traditional Veneto cookie made of cornmeal, pine nuts and raisin, for a light treat.

I will begin the next portion of my Italian Regional Culinary Guide with Liguria and Emilia Romagna as they are also part of the north and begin the transition to the central portion of Italy.

Marla Gulley Roncaglia is an American expat living in the Italian Alps. Marla is an accomplished pastry chef, and a master at high-altitude baking. She and her husband Fabrizio (who has also worked as a chef) teach Italian cooking classes and run a bed and breakfast named Bella Baita ("beautiful mountain house"), where they are active supporters of the slow food movement.

Editorial Reviews


"Really good, if not downright delicious."&mdash Grace Dent, The Guardian on Gloria

"No prizes for subtlety, but this gaudy Italian wins on flavour."&mdash Marina O'Loughlin, The Times on Gloria

"Is this restaurants' last hurrah before Brexit? French owners, Italian staff, ingredients imported from Italy, an atmosphere of optimism and glee currently in short supply on this side of the channel."&mdash Fay Maschler, Evening Standard on Gloria

"When it comes to the food. there's no time for jokes. Savour every bite."&mdash Luxury London on Gloria

"Legitimately feels like the hottest place in town."&mdash Jimi Famurewa, Evening Standard on Circolo Popolare

"You'll have seen the cheese wheel carbonara on Instagram, heard about the 10-level lasagne from excited friends, and read about the mountainous lemon meringue pie in restaurant reviews. The menu is the main draw."&mdash Evening Standard

"Trendy, Fresh, Authentic Italian Dining."&mdash HIP Paris

"La Dolce Vita indeed."&mdash Tatler

"Big Mamma sets out to evoke "the generosity, humor and simplicity of Italian gastronomy". Think laid-back, vibey trattoria serving authentic Italian food." &mdash Urbanlogie

"A simple but extremely enticing collection of Italian classics."&mdash Harper's Bazaar Arabia

"Famous for its delicious pasta with truffles."&mdash Vogue France

"Perfect for newbies in the kitchen."&mdash The Week

"Contemporary Italian recipes from 2019's most instagrammed restaurant. Jam-packed with 130 mouth-watering recipes. Easy to prepare,delicious dishes."&mdash STYLIST

"If you want a cookbook that reflects the perfect environment in which to dine with friends and family - in a stimulating and deliciously Italian atmosphere - this is it. For those that have experienced the energy in London's Gloria or Circolo Popolare - the book will be an extension of the fun and passion that you're familiar with and give you an opportunity to recreate some of their unique Mediterranean magic 'a casa'!"&mdash Enjoy It!

"[Big Mamma's] OTT menus. have proved a huge success."&mdash The Telegraph

"If you're yet to hit up cult London eateries Gloria and Circolo Popolare, Big Mamma, the group behind the buzz, are bringing their twist on Italian cooking straight to your kitchen with a cookbook."&mdash Living Etc magazine

"A big deal in Paris for some time, this book focuses on their biggest hits."&mdash Hot Dinners

"This year, Big Mamma group has already nailed a couple of uber-sucessful restaurant openings. now it's released some of the most sought-after recipes from the crowd pleasing menus at both of them. "&mdash Sheerluxe

"This is an ideal cookbook for readers who are looking to create Italian dishes with a contemporary twist." &mdash Publishers Weekly

" Big Mamma includes 130 recipes inspired by its chefs who contributed dishes [with] silly names that reinforce the company motto to embrace food - and life - joyfully."&mdash Globe & Mail

"Pleasingly bold."&mdash Restaurant magazine

"This cookbook is good for anyone who got that taste of Big Mamma food and just can't get enough. You may not be cooking French food, but it's an Italian taste of Paris that gets the job done."&mdash Frenchly

"This new cookbook will broaden your imagination about what Italian food is and can be. Every recipe is accompanied by a gorgeous, mouth-watering photo." &mdash Seattle Book Review Online

About the Author

Founded in 2015 by Victor Lugger and Tigrane Seydoux, the Big Mamma family includes (so far!) seven restaurants in Paris (BigLove, Pink Mamma and more), one in Lille, two in London (Gloria and Circolo Popolare), and with more to come. Big Mamma plans to fill the world with the tastes and aromas of Italy, one restaurant and one cookbook at a time.

37 Oven Lovin' Baked Pasta Recipes

These hearty baked pasta recipes are the perfect crowd-pleasing meal. Bake a melty masterpiece to enjoy right away, or stock up the freezer with these tasty make-ahead options. Pasta tastes perfect fresh out of the pot, but these easy, baked pasta recipes show you how simple it is to savor pasta fresh out of the oven. When you need a make-ahead meal, you’ll appreciate a Southern staple like our Chicken-Spaghetti Casserole, the rustic goodness of Baked Ziti with Sausage, the Classic Chicken Tetrazzini, or any of our many other baked pasta recipes. Scrumptious Baked Smokin’ Macaroni and Cheese is light on both butter and cheese, and ideal for add-ins: think sweet peas and prosciutto, or ham and broccoli. So for a mouthwatering lasagna, a fresh new approach to your favorite mac ’n’ cheese, or a new way to enjoy vegetable casseroles, preheat your ovens and prepare to delight in one of these fantastic baked pasta recipes.

What Makes Calabria So Special For Chilis?

Different food types flourish and grow in certain regions across the world, and Calabria is no different. Profiting from over 300 days of sun every year, Calabria has the perfect climate for chili to flourish. Chilis are versatile for food preparation, providing a quick way to add color and heat to any dish. And the beauty is that there are many different varieties to chose from. The varieties differ in appearance, color, and intensity Let’s examine some of the more popular ones.

  • Peperone Dolce – Surprisingly not all chilis are hot and spicy, and this variety is actually sweet. Add fresh in salads, or roasted and skinned and for pasta sauces.
  • Italian Cayenne – which as you might expect is very hot
  • Sigaretta – only grows in upright clusters, and is very hot
  • Naso Di Cane – This one comes in both a mild and a hot variety, so be careful which one you choose!

If you want to expand your culinary horizons, try the Speciality Produce App. This free app allows people to share their product finds and recommendations, also in total anonymity. It is an excellent tool when traveling abroad as it introduces you to different types of food.

Although we are lovers of Italian food and spicy tastes we would still recommend our readers to try chili. You might be surprised at just how delicious they genuinely are, let us know about your experiences.

75 Delicious Cake Recipes for Every Kind of Situation

There are times&mdashbirthdays, holidays, anniversaries&mdashwhen a nicely decorated cake is a must-have part of the celebration. And then there are the random Saturday afternoons when you just want to treat yourself, and/or your family to something nice, and it feels like making a cake would be a good way to while away the time. This roundup is for just that moment, when you want to make a cake for any reason, or for no reason at all. From whimsical homemade cake decorating ideas and cupcake decorating ideas to quick, simple flavor ideas, there's something here to spark your imagination and get you in the baking spirit. We've got homemade birthday cake ideas, Texas sheet cake recipes, amazing fall cakes, and every kind of cake that will keep you busy all year.

Still, you might be thinking: "I've already got my go-to recipe. Why should I switch it up?" Well, for starters, our extraordinarily beautiful cake recipes are an easy way to learn new skills and tricks in the kitchen, which you can incorporate into your existing recipe book for an upgraded version of the desserts your family already knows and loves. Never made a Boston cream pie before? How about an upside-down cake? Now's your chance!

But these cake recipes aren't just intended to get you to think outside the box&mdashthey're also just plain delicious. Test kitchen-approved and beloved by bakers around the country, these are light, fluffy, moist, and all-around crowd-pleasers. They're filled with the tastiest custards, and topped with fantastic homemade icing, too. Just be warned: After slicing into these cakes, your dinner guests will be asking for seconds!

File this polenta recipe for when summer fruit is abundant. It is delicious with the plums called for in this recipe, but you may also want to consider using figs, or pitted sweet cherries.

Instant polenta, mushrooms, spinach and an egg get you a plate of comfort food for one in only 15 minutes.

Since 1995, Epicurious has been the ultimate food resource for the home cook, with daily kitchen tips, fun cooking videos, and, oh yeah, over 33,000 recipes.

© 2021 Condé Nast. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement and Your California Privacy Rights. Epicurious may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Ad Choices

Keto Meals That Bring The Family Together

Mama left before I was ever able to share one of my low carb keto meals with her. I have no doubt that she would have loved my Keto Italian stuffed peppers.

She battled diabetes for years and this lifestyle could have really benefited her. It always concerned her that both her sons had also developed diabetes.

Thankfully, Randy reversed his diagnosis over four years ago, and Paul her youngest, is seeing great strides as he too is using a keto diet to keep his diabetes in check.

Oh, how I wish I knew then what I know now. If I did those meals we shared would certainly not look the same. As I am sure that this very opinionated girl would have insisted they be made lower in carbs.

Unfortunately, I can&rsquot go back in time. So instead, I&rsquove made a concerted effort to offer her loved ones recipes and meals that would ensure greater lasting health.

I hope to always honor her legacy by living life to the fullest and making every moment count.

Without a doubt, Mama&rsquos laughter echoes in the walls of my kitchen. A kitchen that was once hers. When I&rsquom busy cooking it&rsquos when I remember her the most.

Italian jobs: the best wines from Tuscany

Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia, Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy 2018 (from £58, There’s a certain kind of wine lover who gets very het up about indigenous grape varieties. It’s all part of taking a stand for cultural diversity, a way of fighting the creeping internationalisation of local wine cultures at the hands of a handful of globetrotting, globalising grape varieties, all of them French in origin. I have a great deal of sympathy with this way of thinking. One of the most exciting recent trends of recent years has been the rediscovery of once-forgotten local grape varieties. But I can’t go the whole ideological hog. Sometimes the wines made from imported varieties are just too good to overlook. The coastal Tuscan region of Bolgheri is a case in point: it’s become a second home to Bordeaux varieties such as merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot – the ingredients of the magnificently polished, harmonious, complex Le Serre Nuove, the second wine of the celebrated Ornellaia.

Villa Boscorotondo Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscany, Italy 2016 (£16, Co-op) What makes Le Serre Nuove and other greatwines made from Bordeaux varieties in Tuscany (such as Ornellaia itself and the no-less-celebrated and Sassicaia) so special is that they don’t simply taste of transplanted Bordeaux. There’s something distinctively Tuscan in these winesthem, a very subtle herbal quality, some tobacco leaf, and notes of balsamic and sage as they age. For that reason it would be hard to argue, as many did when these wines were first being made a half-century ago, that they are somehow not properly Tuscan. And there are uncomfortable echoes of the current, fraught, anti-immigrant rhetoric of Italy’s resurgent far right whenever I hear in that argument repeated today. Still, that’s not to say that Tuscany’s own stock of grape varieties isn’t capable of making great wines. Indeed, the red sangiovese is behind the vast majority of Tuscany’s best bottles, such as Co-op’s superb (and superb-value) chianti, with its suave layers of blackberry, black cherry, tobacco and oregano.