Strawberry Nutella Coconut Milkshake

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Buon Ferragosto!

Also known as the day where everything is closed and I feel slightly trapped. Hmmm the gelato place is closed so I’ll just run to the store and pick up some…oh wait, all the grocery stores are closed. Ok, well maybe I’ll go browse some shops, oh wait, all closed. I’ll go walk around in the center for a bit…nope, hardly any buses running today to get to the center. Even if I could find a bus, all the places I could buy a ticket are closed. Ok, so I’ll walk to the gym to work out and enjoy some air conditioning. Ah, closed. So, I hunker down and eat whatever food is in the house, try to stay cool. Actually we’ve come to a bit of a cool spell, today only has a high of 90°F. I’ll take it!

I actually planned ahead this year and went grocery shopping last night. I got fruit and veggies for lunch and dinner today, but why didn’t I get better snackies? But then I remembered that I have a good stash of gelato in the freezer, and made me think of this delectable milkshake I made a few weeks ago.

So with all this time on my hands, I shall be milkshaking and sharing this milkshake with you! What’s so great about this milkshake?

It’s a Strawberry Nutella Coconut Milkshake. That’s such a long name, and kinda going against my own rule of not listing every ingredient in the title, but otherwise I didn’t quite know how to get the dream across, ya know?

How about this: Strawnutelloco Milkshake. Stranucoco Milkshake. Conuterry. Strawconutella. Regardless, this milkshake tastes like a chocolate covered strawberry rolled in coconut with a hint of hazelnut.

I have a confession to make. I originally made this milkshake to try and hide this not-awesome gelato I bought. There was a sale on a brand I had never tried before at the grocery store, and they had coconut and I love coconut but it just did not end well. Icy and so much coconut it was chewy. I didn’t want to waste it, but I also didn’t necessarily want to force myself to eat gelato?

Enter the milkshake idea. I had strawberries, Nutella, and milk, and this beautiful combo was born. The copious amounts of coconut from the gelato still rendered my milkshake a bit chewy, but if you have a GOOD brand of coconut ice cream, or even vanilla ice cream with a bit of flaked coconut and maybe a drop of coconut extract or two thrown in, you’ve got yourself the perfect summer day’s treat.

So thank you, gelato brand that shall remain unnamed, for the not delicious gelato that prompted me to create a delicious milkshake.


Strawberry Nutella Coconut Milkshake

Serves 2

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups coconut ice cream, slightly softened

  • 1/2 cup milk, any variety

  • 1/2 cup hulled strawberries, fresh or frozen

  • 2 heaping Tbsp Nutella

  • Dash of vanilla extract, optional

  • Whipped cream, optional

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients except whipped cream to a blender and blend until smooth. Check consistency and add more milk if desired.

  2. Spoon into 2 glasses and top with whipped cream. Serve immediately.


Jenny’s Notes:

  • Don’t have coconut ice cream but still want that coconut taste? Substitute chocolate or vanilla ice cream and add a bit of flaked coconut and a drop or two of coconut extract.

  • For creamier shakes, use whole milk.

  • For thinner shakes you can sip, add more milk. For thicker, spoonable shakes, add less milk. Some blenders don’t blend thicker shakes well, so if yours is having problems, either wait a minute or two for the ice cream to soften a bit more before continuing to blend, or add a touch more milk.

  • To make fresh whipped cream, whip about 1/4 cup / 60g heavy whipping cream with 1 Tbsp / 14g sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, or with a handheld mixer. This makes about 1/2 cup fresh whipped cream. Store in fridge, best if used within a few days.

milkshake, milk, strawberry, Nutella, coconut, ice cream, vanilla, fresh whipped cream, dessert, summer
Dessert, Beverage
American
Yield: 2 Servings
Author:

Strawberry Nutella Coconut Milkshake

Thick and creamy milkshake with coconut ice cream, Nutella, strawberries and whipped cream on top.
prep time: 5 Mcook time: total time: 5 M

ingredients:

  • 2 cups coconut ice cream, slightly softened
  • 1/2 cup milk, any variety
  • 1/2 cup hulled strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 heaping Tbsp Nutella
  • Dash of vanilla extract, optional
  • Whipped cream, optional

instructions:

How to cook Strawberry Nutella Coconut Milkshake

  1. Add all ingredients except whipped cream to a blender and blend until smooth. Check consistency and add more milk if desired.
  2. Spoon into 2 glasses and top with whipped cream. Serve immediately.

NOTES:

Don’t have coconut ice cream but still want that coconut taste? Substitute chocolate or vanilla ice cream and add a bit of flaked coconut and a drop or two of coconut extract. For creamier shakes, use whole milk. For thinner shakes you can sip, add more milk. For thicker, spoonable shakes, add less milk. Some blenders don’t blend thicker shakes well, so if yours is having problems, either wait a minute or two for the ice cream to soften a bit more before continuing to blend, or add a touch more milk. To make fresh whipped cream, whip about 1/4 cup / 60g heavy whipping cream with 1 Tbsp / 14g sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, or with a handheld mixer. This makes about 1/2 cup fresh whipped cream. Store in fridge, best if used within a few days.

Calories

440.85

Fat (grams)

23.21

Sat. Fat (grams)

19.31

Carbs (grams)

54.51

Fiber (grams)

3.87

Net carbs

50.64

Sugar (grams)

40.58

Protein (grams)

6.95

Sodium (milligrams)

49.23

Cholesterol (grams)

9.42
Nutritional information is approximate and based on 2 servings and includes whipped cream.
Created using The Recipes Generator
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Tzatziki Cucumber Salad

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Fresh, cool, crunchy, creamy, and delicious Tzatziki, which is basically a Greek cucumber salad made with thick, strained yogurt, and seasoned with dill and garlic. Uh, yum, right? If you’ve ever had tzatziki, you know what I’m talking about!

It’s funny because I’ve known about tzatziki for a long time, enjoying it at restaurants and such, that wonderful Greek yogurt sauce dip wonder. I’ve seen several cucumber salad recipes around this summer on some of my favorite recipe sites like foodgawker; German cucumber salads, normal cucumber salads, and others. It got me hungry, so I decided to make my own. And let me tell you, I got right on it because zero cooking or baking in a recipe is a wonderful thing when the summer here in Florence has been between 90-106°F / 32-41°C since June.

I noticed most of the recipes I came across used sour cream, but I used plain greek yogurt because it’s more nutritious. Once I found a nice balance between the flavors, I wrote down the recipe and decided to share it with you guys! Then I recalled that tzatziki has very similar flavors, and although I’ve never made it nor even looked up a recipe, my curiosity got the best of me to see just how similar they would be. What do you know, I basically made tzatziki and didn’t even know it! So much for making an original recipe, haha!

So what I’m sharing with you today is my accidental take on tzatziki, similarly enough to be called so, but not THE original. If you make the changes listed below, however, you can have yourself a delicious and authentic Greek tzatziki!

What are the differences from a traditional tzatziki and the one you see below?

  • The cucumber is usually grated and drained (either by squeezing or letting sit in cheese cloth over a bowl overnight) instead of sliced. I also use more cucumber to make a creamy salad rather than a dip that features cucumber. if you want to make real tzatziki, use a half of a large cucumber or a smallish one.

  • Traditional would have more yogurt so again, more of a sauce or dip rather than a salad. For real tzatziki, double the yogurt to 1 1/2 cups / 340g.

  • For the acidic element, I used lemon juice, but vinegar of some sort is usually called for. I’ve read in Greece they most often use red wine vinegar.

  • I added more fresh dill! Because I love dill. If you think about it, this is like a creamy dill pickle dip. It has the cucumbers, the garlic, the dill….no wonder I like it so well! For original tzatziki, use about 1 Tbsp chopped.

If you eliminate the cucumbers (or shred them like the traditional way), it makes an excellent and much healthier alternative to most veggie dips. I might even like it better than Ranch!


Tzatziki Cucumber Salad

Serves about 2

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup / 170g plain greek yogurt or vegan yogurt

  • generous 2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill

  • 2 tsp / 10g lemon juice

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, or 1/4 tsp garlic powder

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1 large cucumber, chopped with skin/seeds removed as desired

  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling, optional

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl combine yogurt, dill, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

  2. If serving immediately, add cucumber and stir to coat; drizzle with olive oil. Otherwise, refrigerate until ready to serve, adding cucumber and drizzling with oil at the last minute.

Jenny’s Notes:

  • For optimal creaminess, I would use full fat greek yogurt. If you are vegan or dairy-free, use a thick/Greek dairy-free yogurt alternative!

  • In an ideal world the dressing would be made a day ahead of time and the cucumber added just before serving. This helps the flavors meld together and cuts the sharpness of the garlic a bit, without the cucumber sitting in the dressing for a day and losing its liquid. However, this makes a great last minute dish and it tastes just fine if eaten right away!

vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free, veggie dip, cucumber, garlic, fresh dill, Greek yogurt, Ranch substitute
Side dish, lunch, sauces and condiments
Greek
Yield: 2
Author:

Tzatziki Cucumber Salad

Creamy salad form of the classic Tzatziki sauce: Cucumbers, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and fresh dill.
prep time: 10 Mcook time: total time: 10 M

ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup / 170g plain greek yogurt or vegan yogurt
  • generous 2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tsp / 10g lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large cucumber, chopped with skin/seeds removed as desired
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling, optional

instructions:

How to cook Tzatziki Cucumber Salad

  1. In a medium bowl combine yogurt, dill, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  2. If serving immediately, add cucumber and stir to coat; drizzle with olive oil. Otherwise, refrigerate until ready to serve, adding cucumber and drizzling with oil at the last minute.

NOTES:

For optimal creaminess, I would use full fat greek yogurt. If you are vegan or dairy-free, use a thick/Greek dairy-free yogurt alternative! In an ideal world the dressing would be made a day ahead of time and the cucumber added just before serving. This helps the flavors meld together and cuts the sharpness of the garlic a bit, without the cucumber sitting in the dressing for a day and losing its liquid. However, this makes a great last minute dish and it tastes just fine if eaten right away!

Calories

123.72

Fat (grams)

7.21

Sat. Fat (grams)

1.05

Carbs (grams)

5.89

Fiber (grams)

0.61

Net carbs

5.28

Sugar (grams)

3.78

Protein (grams)

9.30

Sodium (milligrams)

181.86

Cholesterol (grams)

4.25
Nutritional information is approximate.
Created using The Recipes Generator
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How to Learn Some Italian Using Words You Already Know - Lesson 3

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Here we are at the third and final installment of this little series, “How to Learn Some Italian Using Words You Already Know.”

What originally began as my fascination with the amount of English words used in Italian ended up turning into these comical learn-Italian-effortlessly lessons. Aren’t you glad I decided to write them down? Heheheh. :)

In Lesson 1 we saw all the English words Italians use in every day conversations, or that are the same. Words like budget, Facebook, privacy, password, etc.

In Lesson 2 we saw all the Italian words we can learn simply by adding vowels onto the end of English words, like tubo, musica, dieta, cono, etc.

After Lesson 2 you might be feeling pretty snazzy with all the new words you learned. If you spend any time listening to or reading Italian, maybe you have started to keep an eye out for other words that can easily be deciphered. You’ll probably notice plenty of them that didn’t even make it in these lessons!

Therefore, before things get too comfy, I am going to burst your bubble a bit in Lesson 3. How lovely. We are still going to learn some new words, but we will look at a variety of words that are the same (at least written) or that you think would be the same or mean something similar. But they’re not, or they don’t.

For example, let’s look at the word “peperoni.” You might be looking at an Italian pizza menu and spot a friendly face: Peperoni Pizza. (Truly it would probably be called “Pizza ai Peperoni” or “Pizza con Peperoni” but regardless, you understand “pizza” and “peperoni,” right? Maybe not—>) You order your peperoni pizza while snickering at how they spelled “pepperoni” with only one “p” instead of two. Your pizza arrives and to your shock and dismay, you have a cheese pizza with bell peppers, not pepperoni, and are snickering no more. This is an all too common mistake made by meat-loving American tourists, as indeed “peperoni” means bell peppers in Italian, not spicy-meat-sausage-pizza-condiment.

One more for ya: If you saw the word “arma” you might think it means “arm.” I probably would, too. But guess what? It actually means “weapon.” So don’t go around saying what a nice “arma” that person has, thinking you’re complimenting their strong biceps, alright?

You’ll be happy to see that today’s list is not as extensive as the other lessons, but I’m sure it will continue to expand as I’ve been adding new words almost daily to the other lessons since I’ve posted them. If you want to be of help in growing any of these lists, drop me a note in the comments below!


Italian Words That Are Not All That They Seem

  1. Camera (CAH-mair-a) - not a photo camera, but a room. An apartment with two camere.

  2. Lampone (Lahm-PO-nay) - you might think this means lamp, but it actually means raspberry.

  3. Lampo (LAHM-po) - still doesn’t mean lamp, but this refers to a twinkle, flash of light, or lightning. I frequently get this confused with lampone and am forever saying “ohhh, did you see that raspberry in the sky?” It’s embarrassing.

  4. Stiro (STEE-ro) - not stir, but a verb that means “I iron.”

  5. Topo (TO-po) - I’m on topo of the world! Nope. Topo means mouse.

  6. Formica (for-MEE-ca) - You might be thinking formica countertops? Nope. Formica means ant. So you might have a formica or two on your formica.

  7. Peperoni (peh-per-OHN-ee) - As mentioned above, this is not pepperoni misspelled, but actually bell peppers. By the way, I love peperoni on my pizza! Give me all the pizze ai peperoni! ;)

  8. Sale (SAH-lay) - Shopping friends, don’t get too excited, this doesn’t mean

  9. Salsa - salsa means sauce. While Americans take salsa to mean the spicy red tomato and pepper sauce (ya know, chips and salsa?), this is used much more generically in Italian. It can be used to mean a dressing, condiment, sauce, gravy, etc. You can also say sugo, which is a bit more specifically translated to sauce. So if you’re deciding which sauce you want to go with your pasta, you would be better off saying sugo.

  10. Moka - if you hear someone talking about moka, you might be thinking of the mocha with coffee and chocolate. What they’re probably referring to, though, is a moka pot, the instrument of choice for making espresso at home!

  11. Latte - another word that often results with tourists in a conundrum. Latte as it is known in the English speaking world is really a shortened form of caffè latte, which is Italian in origin. So when you try and order a simple latte in Italy, you will end up with a glass of milk. If you want a latte WITH coffee, then go ahead and order that caffè latte, sometimes also spelled caffelatte or caffellatte.

  12. Kebab - While we could call anything in America that’s skewered (fruit, meat, veggies) a kebab, in Italy it refers to the very large hunk of mixed meats that is skewered and slowly roasted while rotating. This meat is shaved as it’s roasted and used to make kebab wraps or sandwiches, referred to as just kebabs. It has origins in the Middle East, and is why most of the kebab restaurants will be Pakistani, Turkish, Indian, etc. It’s delicious, by the way.

  13. Granite (grah-NEE-tay) - more countertops? No, rather the Italian version of a slushy. I’ve never had one, maybe because I don’t really like slushies. I’m sure if I tried one, in its little 8oz-ish cup with fresh fruit flavors, I would enjoy it, especially if I were in Sicily where they’re supposed to be the bomb.

  14. Gusto (GOOS-toh) - I always thought we used this to mean with oomph, with style, in English. As in, “he swirled his cape with gusto.” In Italian, this means taste. So it still kinda works, “he swirled his cape with taste.” Eh, not quite the same.

  15. Punto (POON-toh) - Not a football punt, but a point, period, or dot. Get my punto?

  16. Solo - dance solo, flying solo? Yes, finally one that is more or less correct! Solo means by yourself, alone, or just or only, as in “just one pizza, please!” How many cones of gelato did you eat today? “Solo uno!” (Only one!)

  17. Mano (MAH-no) - if someone asks you if want a mano, they’re asking if you want a hand, not a man, silly. Man is uomo. Mano is hand.

  18. Oro - do you want pizza oro pasta? <——Not correct usage. Oro means gold. The Italian way to say “sweet dreams” is to say “sogni d’oro” or literally, dream of gold! Awwwwwww.

  19. Argento - maybe this one isn’t all that close to Argentinian, but if I didn’t know what it meant that would probably be my guess. It actually means silver! Now that you know how to say both silver and gold in Italian, you can sing your favorite song come Christmas time. Argentooooo e oroooo, argentoooo e oroooo..!!

  20. Avvocato - if you ask someone what they do for a living and they respond with, “I’m an avvocato,” they’re not delusional, they mean that they’re a lawyer. That double v and t for a d makes a very big difference in differentiating between our little green friend and a career choice.

  21. Slip (sleep) - we might say slip in reference to an under-dress or under-skirt, but in Italian this refers to underwear. This can be men’s briefs or ladies’ undies.

  22. Casino (cah-ZEE-no) - you might think Italians talk an awful lot about casinos as you hear them mutter, “che casino!”, but this really means “what a mess.” If you come to Italy to live you too will soon be muttering this under your breath, often and fervently. To say casino it’s actually casinò, with the accent on the end.

  23. Per - this literally means for in Italian, and although it is used in both languages, we use it a bit differently in English. If you want to translate the English per to Italian, sometimes it’s per, other times a. “Let’s make 3 cookies per person” / “Facciamo 3 dolcetti per persona.” “We earn about $100 per day” / “Guadagniamo circa $100 al giorno.” It can also be used to talk multiplication. Five times five equals twenty-five. Or cinque per cinque fa venticinque.

  24. Grasso - what a nice, lovely yard of green grasso you have there! Grasso means fat. We basically just insulted someone’s fat yard. If you want to say grass, say erba.

  25. Grosso - not gross, but another way of saying big, fat, and wide. For example, the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is called “Il Mio Grosso Grasso Matrimonio Greco” in Italian. If you wish to say gross, say schifo. Che schifo! / How gross!

  26. Fine (FEE-nay) - La fine / the end! Not “Fine and dandy!”

  27. Arma - this one we also discussed above, so you should be wise enough to know it doesn’t mean arm, but rather weapon. Unless you swing a good one and want to think of your arm as a good one?

  28. Pronto - “I need the report pronto!” meaning right away, asap…in Italian, this means ready, and also what they say when they answer the phone. “Pronto? ahh ciao Chiara, come va?”

  29. Vesto / Vesti / Veste - none of which mean vest. These are the first, second, and third person of the verb vestire which means to dress, so I dress, you dress, and he/she dresses, respectively. Sounds like an article of clothing but refers to dressing, easy enough to remember, no?


Here we are, 3 lessons later, actually 4 if you needed a refresher on the Italian alphabet and pronunciation. What have learned? Oh, ya know, only 200+ new Italian words!

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta

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July pasta month is over and I find I still have pasta dishes I want to share with you! Like this Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta with toasted walnuts.

Several years ago I went through a phase where I wanted everything roasted red pepper. I’m not sure if that was an actual thing in the culinary world, or it just happened to be the first time that roasted red pepper really came to my attention, and thus started noticing and wanting all things roasted red pepper. Pastas and dips, sandwiches and wraps, and anything you could incorporate roasted red peppers into. That smoky, sweet flavor you get from grilling the red peppers was this elusive, elegant flavor profile because I didn’t know how it was made.

Then I found a recipe for roasted red pepper sauce, made it, and was floored by how NOT elusive it is. It’s so attainable. I even grilled my own peppers instead of going for the much easier option of buying a jar of roasted red peppers at the store. And you know what? Even grilling the peppers and peeling off the blackened skin wasn’t nearly as hard as I imagined it all to be. Sometimes those mountains we build in our heads are much more scalable than we make them out to be, even if that’s just learning how to make a dish you really like, as in this example, harhar. Or you come to realize it’s WAY more difficult than you ever imagined, and you were right to wait. Aha!

This was not meant to turn into a inspirational post, back to food.

It’s been a while since I’ve eaten roasted red pepper anything, definitely not much of a thing here in Italy. But I decided, while being inspired and eating so much pasta in the month of July, to make my own little twist of a roasted red pepper sauce. And it turned out really great! Amazing! Delizioso! As I stated above, however, it’s really not rocket science to make, so I should probably calm down. Adding goat cheese and toasted walnuts are no new pairing to goat cheese, but remain such a good combination. Never had nuts on your pasta? At least not that you’re aware of? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Unless you have a nut allergy, then please don’t. (You’ve probably eaten basil pesto on pasta, yes? Pesto is made from pine nuts traditionally, and often walnuts when pine nuts are not available or too expensive. See? You love nuts on pasta and didn’t even know!)

The great thing is, the roasted red pepper sauce actually makes enough for two meals, and freezes well. The next time you want roasted red pepper pasta, just thaw the sauce and boil the pasta. So easy peasy.

For extra easy-ness, you can buy a jar of roasted red peppers or grill them yourself, completely up to you.

Are you vegan or dairy-free? Simply omit the goat cheese or substitute a vegan-friendly cheese!


Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta

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Serves about 6

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz / 500g spaghetti

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil

  • 1/2 onion, diced

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 16 oz / 454g jar roasted red peppers, drained and sliced

  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme

  • 1/2 tsp / 1g chili powder

  • 1/2 tsp / 1g turmeric

  • 1 tsp / 5g balsamic vinegar

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 3 oz / 85g fresh goat cheese, cut into pieces, optional

  • 1/3 cup / 30g walnuts, chopped and toasted, optional

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat, adding salt just before water boils. Cook pasta according to instructions on package. Drain pasta and return to pan, reserving a generous 1 cup / 237g of pasta water.

  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.

  3. Add sliced peppers, thyme, chili powder, turmeric, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook until peppers are heated through.

  4. Transfer all of the pepper mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.

  5. Pour half of the roasted red pepper sauce over the pasta and add a bit of the pasta water. Add goat cheese and toss until pasta is well coated and cheese has melted, adding more pasta water to thin out sauce as desired.

  6. Plate pasta and top with toasted walnuts.

  7. Refrigerate remaining half of sauce for up to 2-3 days or freeze.

Jenny’s Notes:

  • To roast red peppers yourself, place whole on a heated grill or near an open flame, turning occasionally, until all sides are blistered and start to blacken. You can also roast them on a lined baking sheet in the oven for 30-45 minutes, or very carefully over a gas burner. Once done, place in covered pot, bowl, or re-sealable plastic, anything you can close, to let the peppers steam for about 20-30 minutes. This helps the skin to slip off easily. Then remove stems and seeds, and slice. Proceed as in recipe.

  • If you don’t have fresh thyme available, substitute about a scant teaspoon of dried.

  • Add more chili powder, cayenne, or hot spice of choice for a spicier kick!

  • If you’re in a pinch you don’t have to toast the walnuts, although you miss out on that tasty flavor that comes out of the nut only by toasting. But it will still be delicious!

  • Omit goat cheese or replace with suitable substitute to make vegan and dairy-free.

roasted red pepper, red pepper, thyme, turmeric, garlic, onion, goat cheese, toasted walnuts, pasta, recipe, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free
Yield: 6 servings
Author:

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta

Pasta in a smoky, sweet, roasted red pepper sauce with goat cheese and toasted walnuts.
prep time: 30 Mcook time: total time: 30 M

ingredients:

  • 16 oz / 500g spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 oz / 454g jar roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 1/2 tsp / 1g chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp / 1g turmeric
  • 1 tsp / 5g balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 oz / 85g fresh goat cheese, cut into pieces, optional
  • 1/3 cup / 30g walnuts, chopped and toasted, optional

instructions:

How to cook Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat, adding salt just before water boils. Cook pasta according to instructions on package. Drain pasta and return to pan, reserving a generous 1 cup / 237g of pasta water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  3. Add sliced peppers, thyme, chili powder, turmeric, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook until peppers are heated through.
  4. Transfer all of the pepper mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.
  5. Pour half of the roasted red pepper sauce over the pasta and add a bit of the pasta water. Add goat cheese and toss until pasta is well coated and cheese has melted, adding more pasta water to thin out sauce as desired.
  6. Plate pasta and top with toasted walnuts.
  7. Refrigerate remaining half of sauce for up to 2-3 days or freeze.

NOTES:

To roast red peppers yourself, place whole on a heated grill or near an open flame, turning occasionally, until all sides are blistered and start to blacken. You can also roast them on a lined baking sheet in the oven for 30-45 minutes, or very carefully over a gas burner. Once done, place in covered pot, bowl, or re-sealable plastic, anything you can close, to let the peppers steam for about 20-30 minutes. This helps the skin to slip off easily. Then remove stems and seeds, and slice. Proceed as in recipe. If you don’t have fresh thyme available, substitute about a scant teaspoon of dried. Add more chili powder, cayenne, or hot spice of choice for a spicier kick! If you’re in a pinch you don’t have to toast the walnuts, although you miss out on that tasty flavor that comes out of the nut only by toasting. But it will still be delicious! Omit goat cheese or replace with suitable substitute to make vegan and dairy-free.

Calories

240.54

Fat (grams)

10.29

Sat. Fat (grams)

2.79

Carbs (grams)

29.36

Fiber (grams)

2.01

Net carbs

27.40

Sugar (grams)

2.96

Protein (grams)

8.35

Sodium (milligrams)

121.89

Cholesterol (grams)

6.52
Nutritional information is approximate. Based on 6 servings using half of the prepared sauce and includes goat cheese and walnuts.
Created using The Recipes Generator
Now we’re being more honest about a real portion size! :)

Now we’re being more honest about a real portion size! :)


How to Learn Some Italian Using Words You Already Know - Lesson 2

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This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!

In the first lesson of How to Learn Some Italian Using Words You Already know we focused on all the English words Italians use on a daily basis, thus making our lives that much easier when trying to communicate. There are over 70 words, in fact, that are either English, the same in Italian and English, or so similar that you understand anyway, and I keep finding words to add to that list!

To read Lesson 1, click here.

For Lesson 2 we are going to focus on taking the English words you can turn into Italian, simply by adding a vowel on the end. (If you hadn’t noticed from lesson 1, these lessons aren’t exactly serious… they aren’t aimed at the studious, full-time Italian-language student, but rather can be enjoyed by anyone, whether you speak any Italian or not. :)

If you have spent any time around the Italian culture (or just watching The Godfather) you will have noticed that Italian words all end in vowels, and that it’s very easy to imitate them by adding a vowel on to any word. This is often found highly entertaining by other cultures (ahem, American), even if it (obviously) ends with made-up words. '“Yes, ciao, I will take-o the pizza and the pasta to take-away-o!”

If you don’t want to sound like you are speaking Ameritalian or someone who has lived their whole life imitating Italian stereotypes, read this post about the Italian alphabet and pronunciation of key letters. Some words in the list that follows are spelled the same as in English but with a vowel on the end, but the pronunciation might be slightly different. Likewise, some are spelled differently but are pronounced the same, aside from that last vowel, of course. If I don’t indicate how it should be pronounced, that means the accent and pronunciation stay essentially the same as in English.

One more note to remember as we progress: Italian words are split into two categories, feminine and masculine, usually ending in a or o, respectively. The ending of adjectives can fluctuate, depending on if the word or person they are describing is masculine or feminine. For example, “buono” is an adjective that means “good,” and you could say “oliO buonO” or “pizzA buonA.”

One more example to make sure we’re clear, let’s take #1 from the list below. I am an American, (and a woman) so I would say, “sono un’Americana.” I can’t (or shouldn’t) say “sono un Americano” because the adjective “Americano” no longer matches what it is describing, me the woman. So if you see the o/a below or realize a word is an adjective, remember it depends on if the noun the adjective is describing is masculine or feminine!

Ok, ready to add to your Italian vocabulary?


English Words to Which You Can Add Vowels to Make Italian Words

  1. American, Italian, Indian, and others / Americano/a, Italiano/a, Indiano/a - This holds true for several nationalities, but not all. For example, Australian is Australiano/a, but British is Inglese and French is Francese, Ah well, helpful for some!

  2. Person / Persona (per-SOHN-a)

  3. Tube / Tubo

  4. Cube / Cubo (COO-Boh)

  5. Sphere / Sfera (SFAIR-ah)

  6. Case / Caso (CAH-zo) - in any caso…

  7. Event / Evento - Hey let’s go to that evento!

  8. Concert / Concerto (cone-CHAIR-toh)

  9. Art / Arte

  10. Ballet / Balletto - Ah, finally you can pronounce that “t” sound like you’ve always been tempted to!

  11. Dance / Danza (DAH-nza)

  12. Music / Musica (MOO-zee-cah)

  13. Tambourine / Tamburino

  14. Battery / Batteria (Baht-TAIR-ee-ah) - this also can refer to drums.

  15. Angelic / Angelico/a (ahn-JEL-ee-co)

  16. Content / Contento/a - I am so contenta to see you!

  17. Conversion / Conversione (cohn-VAIR-zee-ohn-ay)

  18. Impression / Impressione (eem-PRESS-ee-ohn-ay)

  19. Candle / Candela (cahn-DEL-ah)

  20. Diamond / Diamante (dee-ah-MAHN-tay)

  21. Mark / Marchio note that there is also “marca” but that means a brand or make, such as Gucci or Ferrari, rather than a mark on something.

  22. Television / Televisione (tel-eh-viz-ee-OHN-ay)

  23. Kiosk / Chiosco (kee-OH-sco) - or newspaper stand.

  24. Zone / Zona

  25. Current / Corrente (cohr-EHN-tay) - this can be used for all forms of “current” in English, current in water, current events, etc.

  26. Equilibrium / Equilibrio (ee-quil-EE-bree-oh)

  27. Diet / Dieta (dee-EH-ta)

  28. Vitamin / Vitamina (vee-tah-MEE-na) - Let’s go soak up some vitamina d!

  29. Ingredient / Ingrediente (een-GREY-dee-en-tay)

  30. Rice / Riso ( REE-zo)

  31. Cone / Cono

  32. Carrot / Carota (cah-ROH-ta)

  33. Melon / Melone (Meh-LOHN-ay)

  34. Marmalade / Marmellata (mar-may-LAH-ta) - you might not eat marmalade very often, but “marmellata” refers to all jams, jellies, and marmalades.

  35. Olive / Oliva (oh-LEE-va)

  36. Liquor/Liqueur / Liquore - although liquor refers to stronger spirits (vodka, taquila, etc.) and liqueur to sweeter spirits (Kahlua, Bailey’s, etc.) both of these are encompassed in the Italian “liquore.”

  37. Cream / Crema - this can refer to any kind of cream, such as a face cream or a cream you would eat. Crema is also how you would say “pudding” in Italian.

  38. Spinach / Spinaci (spee-NAH-chee)

  39. Protein / Proteine (pro-tay-EEN-ay)

  40. Pork / Porco it’s also often referred to as “maiale”

  41. Pen / Penna - if this word looks familiar, that’s because yes, penne pasta literally means “pens” in Italian! Remember to lay those n’s on nice and thick, because if you take away one “n” you end up with a completely different word that you definitely don’t want to be ordering for dinner! (If I got you curious, it’s anatomy, not a swear word or worse, but you can go translate it because I prefer to keep this blog G rated. :)

  42. Train / Treno (TRAY-no)

  43. Airplane / Aeroplano (air-oh-PLAHN-o)

  44. Airport / Aeroporto (air-oh-PORT-o)

  45. Bank / Banca (BAHN-ca)

  46. Post / Posta - this can refer to the post in your mailbox as well as the actual post office.

  47. Postal / Postale (post-AHL-ay)

  48. Pharmacy / Farmacia (far-ma-chee-ah)

  49. University / Università (oon-ee-vers-ee-TAH)

  50. Camp / Campo (CAHM-po) also means field, realm, sphere, domain, any of those kinds of camp.

  51. Metal / Metallo (Meh-TAHL-lo)

  52. Metallic / Metallico/a

  53. Atomic / Atomica (Ah-TOH-mee-ca)

  54. Comic / Comico/a also known as a comedian or used as an adjective to describe something funny

  55. Animal / Animale (ahn-ee-MAHL-ay)

  56. Elephant / Elefante

  57. Lion / Leone (lay-OHN-ay)

  58. Dolphin / Delfino (del-FEEN-o)

  59. Serpent / Serpente

  60. Rat / Ratto

  61. Vote / Voto

  62. System / Sistema (sees-TAIM-a)

  63. Problem / Problema

  64. Terrible / Terribile (tair-REE-bee-lay)

  65. Crucial / Cruciale (croo-CHYA-lay)

  66. Special / Speciale (speh-CHYA-lay)

  67. Incredible / Incredibile (in-cred-EE-bee-lay)

  68. Important / Importante (eem-por-TAHN-tay)

  69. Fine / Fino - thin, the dimension, not “fine, be that way.”

  70. False / Falso - true or falso?

  71. Liberty / Libertà

  72. Destiny / Destino (des-TEEN-o)

  73. Ocean / Oceano (och-YA-no)

  74. Divine / Divino/a (Dee-VEE-no) - not to be confused with “divano” which means “couch.”

  75. Noble / Nobile (NO-bee-lay)

  76. Dollar / Dollaro - (DOL-lar-o)

  77. Button / Bottone (boo-TOH-nay)

  78. Distant / Distante (dee-STAN-tay)

  79. Second / Secondo

  80. Moment / Momento

  81. Medicine / Medicina (meh-dee-CHEE-na)

  82. Pulse / Polso (POHL-so)

  83. Palm / Palma

  84. Penicillin / Penicillina (pen-ee-chee-LEE-na)

  85. Vein / Vena

  86. Nude / Nudo/a - Don’t come in, I’m nuda! In English we more commonly say naked rather than nude, but in Italian you get one option. Try not to laugh too much the first time you actually get to use it.

  87. Cigarette / Sigaretta

  88. Rose / Rosa - means rose as well as pink.

  89. Vase / Vaso (VAH-zo) - I got you a vaso to put your rosa in.

  90. Medium / Medio (meh-dyo)

  91. Category / Categoria

  92. Comment / Commento (cohm-MEN-toh)

  93. Phrase / Frase (FRAH-zay)

  94. Alphabet / Alfabeto

  95. Letter / Lettera - as in English, this can mean both a letter in a word and a letter you write someone.

  96. Note / Nota - like a note you write someone along with musical notes, etc.

  97. Icon / Icona (ee-COHN-a)


There is yet another taste for you, that Italian can be easy to learn! And fun(ny). There are many, many more words like this, which is why it can be almost effortless to expand your vocabulary of nouns and adjectives. And this doesn’t even touch upon all the letter combinations you’ll start to pick on, those that are in English but not Italian, then figuring out the Italian equivalent, which enables you to translate words on your own without using a translator or asking a friend. Huh? Let me explain quickly.

Take for example, words in English that end in “tion.”

Frustration. Eradication.

If I tell you that “frustration” becomes “frustrazione” and “eradication” becomes “eradicazione,” you can see that the root of the word stays the same, and the “tion” suffix becomes “zione" in Italian. Easy, right? I bet you can figure out the next three.

  • Extraction = Estrazione

  • Indication = Indicazione

  • Indecision = Indecisione

Did you catch the exceptions? Where one root word didn’t stay the same, and one word didn’t end in “tion”? The “ex” in “extraction” became “es” in “estrazione,” and “indecision” ends in “sion.” This, in turn, could open the next letter combinations you could translate by yourself. There is no “x” in the Italian alphabet, therefore the combination of “ex” usually becomes “es,” and words that end in “sion” often become “sione” in Italian.

  • Expulsion = Espulsione

  • Extrusion = Estrusione

  • Extrinsic = Estrinsico

  • Invasion = Invasione

I’m getting ahead of myself, and going beyond the just the light-hearted lesson I had planned-o today-o, but I’ll leave you with on last word to translate on your own. Conversation…go!

Until next time, alla prossima!





Garlic, Oil, and Pepper Pasta - Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

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Aglio, olio, peperoncino is a pasta found often throughout Tuscany, and even more often on my table for lunch. It originally hails from Napoli but has become beloved throughout Italy.

It’s simple, so simple, with the classic version requiring just 4 ingredients: spaghetti, garlic, olive oil, and a hot pepper. It’s great to whip up in a pinch because it’s quick and the ingredients are those you probably have in your pantry. It can be on the table in about as long as it takes to boil and cook pasta, plus 2 minutes for mixing. Because of its simplicity, as many Italian dishes are, attention to the quality and freshness of your ingredients will really make this dish shine. (Especially with that olive oil, nice and shiny. :)

There are many slight variations, but they hardly vary more than an ingredient or two. Some use fresh hot peppers, some use chili flakes; some versions call for bread crumbs, others a bit of fresh parsley added at the end, some say to mince the garlic, others slice. Based on these variances, you can always decide to play a bit to find exactly how you like to eat your aglio, olio, e peperoncino pasta.

The version that follows I learned from my husband, the fresh pasta expert. We usually use fresh hot peppers, but will also use chili flakes if we don’t feel like running to the store. It’s pretty close to the classic recipe, with one exception. We add a bit of grated Parmigiano Reggiano and it catapults the pasta to the next level. OH YES, cheese!

A note about using fresh peppers: I’m not actually sure what kind of peppers I use here in Italy. At the supermarket there are usually bell peppers “peperoni” and hot peppers “peperoncini” with no indication what variety they might be. Bell peppers come in red and green, but not always at the same time, and the hot peppers are usually red OR green, depending on the season. I suppose they’re jalapeños or a similar variety because they’re spicy but not overly so. Apparently Italians are not pepper connoisseurs, you certainly won’t find jalapeño, habanero, serrano, and other pepper types readily available year round! If I were writing this recipe in Italian I would just put “peperoncino,” and everyone would know to get the only kind of peperoncino available from the store. In English recipes we are used to being told more specifics, and writing “1 hot pepper” would not be as helpful. So I wrote jalapeño on the recipe, but just be aware that you can play around with the kind you use if you want, especially if you try a jalapeño and decide you want spicier, like serrano!

Recipe from my husband


Garlic, Oil, and Pepper Pasta - Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

Serves about 6

IMG_1093.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 500g / 16 oz spaghetti

  • 84g / 6 Tbsp olive oil

  • 4 garlic cloves

  • 1 small red jalapeño pepper

  • generous 1/4 cup /30g grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Bring water to boil in a large pot over high heat. Just before boiling, add some salt.

  2. While water is heating up, mince the garlic and dice the pepper. Add the oil, garlic, and pepper to a small pot or pan.

  3. When the water boils add spaghetti and cook according to instructions on package. Meanwhile, place the small pan of oil over low heat.

  4. Simmer oil for 5-8 minutes; remove from heat when garlic is fragrant and starts to appear to dry with barely golden edges.

  5. When pasta is done cooking, drain, reserving about 1/2 cup / 120g of pasta water.

  6. Return drained pasta to the pot and immediately add oil mixture, reserved pasta water, and cheese. Working quickly, use two forks to mix and toss spaghetti until oil, cheese, and water have coated the pasta in a light, creamy sauce. Serve immediately.


Jenny’s Notes:

  • These measurements are approximate, we never measure when making this, but this is pretty close to our normal. So if you decide you want to use 5 cloves garlic and 2 jalapeños, that’s fine, too, because this is not an overly precise recipe!

  • For less heat, remove the seeds of the pepper before dicing. If using chili flakes, don’t simmer them in the oil but add to the pasta with the cheese at the end.

  • Look for parmigiano reggiano, which is the best. It can only be called so if it is made and aged in the designated area in Italy according to their regulations. Even if you are a world-class parmesan maker but make it in Wisconsin, it cannot legally be called parmigiano reggiano. This pasta is also delicious with other sharp, aged Italian cheeses. I like a mixture of aged pecorino and parmigiano.

  • Keep a close eye on the simmering oil, the garlic goes quickly from perfectly cooked (barely golden) to burnt (anything golden or beyond.) Even if you happen to burn your garlic, it only takes a few minutes to start the oil, garlic, and pepper over again and could still be ready before the pasta even finishes cooking.

  • One of the great things about making this is that even if you add too much pasta water, it will eventually evaporate out while mixing. One of the first times I ever made this solo, I added way too much and had a good inch or so sitting in the bottom of my pan. I had already added the oil and cheese and it was too late to dump the extra out. So I tossed and mixed for several minutes, and what do you know, the water eventually evaporated and mixed in, and I ended up with a wonderfully creamy and cheesy sauce.

aglio, olio, peperoncino, garlic, olive oil, hot pepper, spaghetti, Napoli, pasta, Italian pasta dish,
Italian
Yield: 6
Author:

Garlic, Oil, and Pepper Pasta - Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

A simple and classic pasta dish served throughout Italy with plenty of garlic, olive oil, spicy pepper, and a bit of parmigiano reggiano.
prep time: 25 Mcook time: total time: 25 M

ingredients:

  • 500g / 16 oz spaghetti
  • 84g / 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 small red jalapeño pepper
  • generous 1/4 cup /30g grated parmesan cheese

instructions:

How to cook Garlic, Oil, and Pepper Pasta - Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

  1. Bring water to boil in a large pot over high heat. Just before boiling, add some salt.
  2. While water is heating up, mince the garlic and dice the pepper. Add the oil, garlic, and pepper to a small pot or pan.
  3. When the water boils add spaghetti and cook according to instructions on package. Meanwhile, place the small pan of oil over low heat.
  4. Simmer oil for 5-8 minutes; remove from heat when garlic is fragrant and starts to appear to dry with barely golden edges.
  5. When pasta is done cooking, drain, reserving about 1/2 cup / 120g of pasta water.
  6. Return drained pasta to the pot and immediately add oil mixture, reserved pasta water, and cheese. Working quickly, use two forks to mix and toss spaghetti until oil, cheese, and water have coated the pasta in a light, creamy sauce. Serve immediately.

NOTES:

These measurements are approximate, we never measure when making this, but this is pretty close to our normal. So if you decide you want to use 5 cloves garlic and 2 jalapeños, that’s fine, too, because this is not an overly precise recipe! For less heat, remove the seeds of the pepper before dicing. If using chili flakes, don’t simmer them in the oil but add to the pasta with the cheese at the end. Look for parmigiano reggiano, which is the best. It can only be called so if it is made and aged in the designated area in Italy according to their regulations. Even if you are a world-class parmesan maker but make it in Wisconsin, it cannot legally be called parmigiano reggiano. This pasta is also delicious with other sharp, aged Italian cheeses. I like a mixture of aged pecorino and parmigiano. Keep a close eye on the simmering oil, the garlic goes quickly from perfectly cooked (barely golden) to burnt (anything golden or beyond.) Even if you happen to burn your garlic, it only takes a few minutes to start the oil, garlic, and pepper over again and could still be ready before the pasta even finishes cooking.

Calories

257.59

Fat (grams)

15.37

Sat. Fat (grams)

2.72

Carbs (grams)

24.37

Fiber (grams)

1.09

Net carbs

23.28

Sugar (grams)

0.94

Protein (grams)

5.56

Sodium (milligrams)

94.52

Cholesterol (grams)

4.30
Nutritional information is approximate.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_1100.jpg

How to Learn Some Italian Using Words You Already Know - Lesson 1

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This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!

Did you know that you already know a whole bunch of words that Italians use everyday? You’re basically fluent in Italian and don’t even know it. Ok, ok, not really, but the fact is, Italians use a good bit of English in their everyday jargon. I’m not talking about Italians when they’re speaking in English, I mean the English words that are thrown in to Italian conversations. English words that have come to replace the traditional Italian, or words that were coined in English in recent decades and have wound their way into Italian.

Some Italian words by now are almost obsolete. I’ve spent almost 3 years’ worth of time in Italy, only including the time in which I was learning Italian and conversing maybe more in Italian than English, and still have yet to hear the Italian equivalent of certain English words. For example, “privacy.” Written, spoken, it’s always “privacy.” I didn’t even notice I had no idea how to say nor had I ever heard someone say “privacy” in Italian until someone brought it to my attention. So I had to ask, how do you say “privacy” in Italian? “Privatezza.” By now with "terms of privacy” and the like around the internet, especially here in the EU, “privatezza” has been rendered all but forgotten, I guess. Maybe just uncool.

English is a desired language and thus becomes cool if you can speak any. Plus Italy is so dependent upon tourism that many people’s jobs require them to speak some basic English, if not fluently. Many parents look to English speaking au pairs to teach their children English from a young age, or get them in any programs that involve English native-tongues, no matter the program, just for the language experience. Teaching English is almost always an option for native speakers.

I can’t tell you how often my Italian colleagues in every day conversation would sprinkle in some English. “Yes” would replace a “si,” “excuse me,” “oh my god,” “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” would be used just as often as their Italian counterparts. And my colleagues often weren’t talking to me, the only native English speaker who worked there. Americans learn a second language often in high school, but because we have no need of the language it is never exercised and usually forgotten. Even the basic words we retain we don’t often use, even if we also think it’s cool, because it seems a bit pretentious. At least I think the general consensus is that it is. Here, I don’t know, maybe the desire to learn English (and French, German, Spanish, etc.) is almost so accepted that it’s more common everyone is “practicing” in a way, and therefore not pretentious? Shrug.

Whether you’re looking forward to an upcoming Italian adventure, learning Italian, or simply curious, here is a great way to add some QUICK and EASY words to your repertoire. Heheh.

Buca di Beppo requires full out Italian speaking mode ON

Buca di Beppo requires full out Italian speaking mode ON

Quick Note on Italian Pronunciation

Even if it is a true English word that Italians use, they often pronounce it with their wonderful accent ( and sometimes may not understand you the first time [or ever] if you pronounce the same word but in the correct English way.) So as you are reading the words that follow, you might want to learn or brush up on the Italian alphabet and how to pronounce some of their key words to get the full appreciation. (Click here to do so.) It’s way more fun to pronounce things in an Italian accent anyway, so let your inner Fabio/Martina come bursting forth!

If you want to actually learn Italian or you have a base that you would like to build upon, I have found this book to be very useful in clarifying all the different verbs in Italian. One of my best friends used it while she was in Italy as an au pair, and later gave it to me to use when I first came to Italy!


Italian Words You Already Know

Some they borrow from us, some we borrow from them, either way we understand each other!

  1. Weekend - Il Weekend. By now everyone wishes you a “buon weekend!” instead of “buon fine settimana!” I once heard an elderly gentleman say “buon fine settimana” to an acquaintance on the bus. It actually made me turn around and take note of this gentleman. And that’s it. Just that one time I’ve heard it. It’s really just the older generations that use it. I think it’s a bit sad, really, that some words aren’t hardly even used anymore. As someone who wants to learn Italian and learn it well, it feels a bit like cheating injecting words you already know!

  2. Relax - you could use the Italian verb rilassarsi, but why don’t you relax and use what you already know? ;)

  3. Budget - I was using the Italian “bilancio” for the longest time until I realized that Italians use “budget.” Why do I even try?

  4. Zero - one number down, uh, a couple trillion to go?

  5. Radio - La radio. This I learned when briefly taking Italian lessons. Yay for words that are the same, just a slightly different pronunciation! Rahhhhdio instead of Rayyyydio. Remember those pronunciation rules?

  6. Computer - they even say this one a bit like we do, the u is a “yoo” sound instead of the usual Italian “oo.” But try and roll that r a bit. I know I know, but you’ll get there!

  7. iPhone, Android, iPad, and other well-known technological products and companies - Even though Android seems to have a higher number of cell phone users, Apple is still as desired here as it is in the States. Except an iPhone can cost about €100-300 more than it’s American retail price. Add that in with a weaker economy and it doesn’t take much imagination why Android is still #1.

  8. Social - the only difference here is that Italians don’t say “media” after. It’s always just “social.”

  9. Facebook, Instagram, selfie, etc. - all those trendy words coined in recent years are all the same!

  10. Email - la email…

  11. Password - la password…I don’t even know if these have a translation in Italian. I think they are what they are.

  12. Account - I believe you can also say il conto, the same you would say when asking for the bill or tab at a restaurant. But I’ve never heard anyone use anything other than account, so, no worries!

  13. Display - what a nice display of words we have here! There are several different ways to say this in Italian, such as “mettere in mostra” / to put on display, or “sfoggiare” / to show off, display. But it’s much easier just saying display, now, isn’t it?

  14. Wi-Fi and Internet - need WiFi? You can communicate with one word. WiFi? Si? Grazie!

  15. TV - pronounced “tee-vo,” and short for televisione, but reading it is the same.

  16. Modem and Router - at this rate you might be thinking you can handle calling a help center for internet or something. You can say password, account, email, internet, modem, router…right? Wrong. This bit of knowledge I can pass on to you, internet, cable, and phone companies are awful to talk to all the world round. You may have already known this. ;)

  17. Giga - like social media, they don’t say the second word. Instead of giga-byte, it’s simply giga. I have 50 giga per month, and so far my phone service has only taken unauthorized money from my account once, and they fixed it afterwards, these are two positives of my phone company!

  18. Touch Screen - you could be all fancy and say “schermo tattile” or “schermo sensibile al tatto” but I haven’t seen those readily as touch screen is way easier to say, no?

  19. Cliccare and taggare - these might be the only verbs on this list, but they make me laugh because they just turned English words into Italian verbs. All Italian verbs end in “are” (ah-ray), “ere” (air-ay), or “ire” (eer-ay) in the infinitive form. Thus “click” became “cliccare” (to click) and “tag” became “taggare” (to tag, as in Instagram).

  20. Privacy - as stated above, I finally had to ask, how DO you say privacy in Italian? Ah. Privatezza. But goodness, you’re so uncool if you say the Italian.

  21. Area - pronounced like the name “Aria” this is the same in Italian and English.

  22. Marketing - Italians have taken American marketing to new levels. The kind that makes you roll your eyes and say “marketing.”

  23. Logo - “il logo” logos are logos the world round!

  24. Range - this one seems really random to me. But useful, because I can’t think of how to say it in Italian. Gamma, assortimento, portata, actually there a quite a few.

  25. Babysitter - or you can be a tata!

  26. Stalker - useful. Very useful.

  27. Gas - as in water “with gas.” You’ll hear this quite a bit in restaurants, but not necessarily to be used for gasoline, or the other kind. Um, flatulence?

  28. Spa - the relaxing wellness center, not to be confused with S.p.a. which is the Italian equivalent of our LLC.

  29. Fitness - fitness is so important, people! Even Italians understand this.

  30. Personal Trainer - there are so many at the gym I go to!

  31. Zumba, Spinning, Yoga, Pilates, Box, and other popular sports and activities - there are also plenty of corsi di fitness at my gym. Note that boxing is said just “box.”

  32. Studio - Pilates è in studio 1. Pilates is in studio 1. Only one word is different. Crazy, huh? (Although 1 would be pronounced “uno”)

  33. Sport - lo sport, very important in Italy and Europe.

  34. Basket - like social and box, basketball is just “basket.” Or pallacanestro.

  35. Trek - un trek!

  36. Adidas, Nike, Prada, Timberland, any well-known international brand - except, much to my enjoyment, the pronunciations are sometimes different. Not just the letters but the accent, too. I grew up hearing Adidas as “ah-DEE-des” but here it is “AH-dee-das.”

  37. Performance - or spettacolo.

  38. Record - un nuovo record! Used as in “setting a record” and that type of record, but I haven’t heard it used as the type of record related to music and other meanings.

  39. Stop - I learned some Italian phrases before coming to Italy for the first time, including the useful “basta” (stop, or enough). It would have been nice to know I could’ve also used good ol’ STOP, too.

  40. Bus - short for autobus, but ends up essentially the same in the abbreviated.

  41. Mascara - long a’s, ladies, for long eyelashes.

  42. Shopping - shoppers, rejoice!

  43. T-shirt - mi piace la tua t-shirt! Italian is “maglietta,” but they are interchangeable.

  44. Jeans - jeans are jeans. “Pantaloni” refers to all long pants, but if you want specifically a pair of jeans, the term is jeans.

  45. Push-up - I’m not sure about the exercise push-up, but ladies will have an easy time finding a certain type of lingerie in this style!

  46. Influenza - the sickness, but is also Italian for “influence.”

  47. Stress - lo stress. Yes, even Italians living their dolce vita experience stress. Che stress / what stress!

  48. Idea - what a great idea! Che bella idea! It’s the same, different pronunciation.

  49. Blu - said the same as our blue, but without the e. There is another word for blue in Italian, azzurro, that is more commonly used, especially for medium and lighter blues, but for your purposes, using “blu” is just fine.

  50. In - this is actually Italian and English, and generally used in the same way: Inside something.

  51. Me - also both Italian and English. Chi, me? Yes, you.

  52. Circa - this is usually used in English to determine an approximate date. “He was born circa 1950.” You can use it this same way in Italian, but also in many other ways, such as: with regard to, about, approximately, roughly, thereabouts, etc etc.

  53. Via - Used similarly in the two languages, to express a means of getting somewhere. “I sent it via email.” Only in Italian, however, it is the equivalent of street. I want to live in Via delle Belle Donne! In Italian you can also say “attraverso,” meaning through.

  54. Film - usually used in place of movie. Do you want to go see a movie? Vuoi andare a vedere un film?

  55. Set - film set, set of plates/set di piatti, set of silverware/set di posati…if Italians lift weights in the gym they probably have a number of steps they do. I just said set too many times in my head and now it seems like the most bizarre word. Set. Weird.

  56. Fan - this is widely used in Italian in reference to a fan club (not the ventilation fan), but if you want to sound more Italian you could say appassionato/a, fanatico/a, or tifoso/a for a sports fan.

  57. Video - a videoclip on Facebook or recording on your phone is considered a “video.”

  58. Foto - short for fotografia, but pronounced the same.

  59. Piercing - your parents might not appreciate that there isn’t even much of a language barrier for getting a piercing here. Heheh.

  60. Bomber - I’m not cool enough to know how to use this exactly right in actual English, but I do know that Italians understand it as a cool, “fuoriclasse,” or out-of-their-league person. Cristiano Ronaldo is a bomber. Maybe “This cake is the bomb” and if you made the cake, you’re the bomber? I’m trying, ok!?! Let’s just say it can be used exactly the same in Italian as it is in English, mmmk?

  61. Rock, Pop, Rap, and other types or styles of music - la radio, pop, per favore! Look, we’re already able to easily build phrases from this list. Amazing. “Per favore” I realize is not on here, but you’ll find that in any guidebook. ;)

  62. Bar - bar is the same in both languages, although it is a bit more widely used term in Italy. Bar is used to refer to just about any place that sells coffee. A true bar usually opens early with coffee and pastries, somewhere around 10am transitions to selling sandwiches “panini” and maybe some lunch dishes, and sells alcohol all day long, and finally closes sometime in the early evening.

  63. Hotel - these, of course, you will see everywhere, and if you ask an Italian they will point you to the nearest “otel.” Italian is albergo, but maybe they also eventually adopted hotel because the people who search for hotels, that would be tourists, would find and understand hotel better than albergo. Just a theory.

  64. Pizza - I think this has long been accepted as both English and Italian.

  65. Pasta - Another dual citizen here, except it has a few more meanings in Italian, not always meaning the delicious plate of carbs with wonderful sauces. Pasta can also mean dough, batter, paste, and pastry.

  66. Spaghetti, Gnocchi, Linguini, etc. - these probably seem obvious, however I will add a quick note: for whatever reason, types of pasta are sometimes referred to in their singular form. You may not notice this as a tourist, but if you hang out enough with pasta and Italians, you’ll start hearing “spaghetto” and “raviolo” or “gnocco” and “casereccia.”

  67. Panini - important note on this one…panini is PLURAL. You shouldn’t ask for one panini in Italian, that’s like ordering “one sandwiches.” It’s panino, and denotes any kind of sandwich rather than the American grilled sandwich. Just so you know. :D

  68. Cheesecake - there are many cheesecake gelato flavors and cheesecakes themselves in restaurants and gelaterie, but they generally taste quite different. They are more like a semi-freddo in texture. I don’t know why. I thought it was the cream cheese, but after making cheesecakes at home that turned out great, I still don’t understand. It shall remain a mystery for now.

  69. Hamburger - to be pronounced as Jacques Clouseau from the Pink Panther. Hamburgers are very popular here, and based on the restaurants Italians seem to think that America is stuck in the 1950’s diner era and all we eat are hamburgers, French fries, and milkshakes. Ah well, Americans think Italians only eat pizza, pasta, and wine, so we’re even, right?

  70. Hotdog - not as popular as the hamburger, but it has it’s own following and can be found in most grocery stores.

  71. Yogurt - the yogurt section can be quite extensive in grocery stores, as Italians are rather obsessed with their digestion.

  72. Avocado - millennials, rejoice! No translator needed to find your beloved green fruit. Your wallet will not rejoice, as avocados usually hover about €5/kg (that’s about $2.50-3.00/lb)

  73. Banana - you say “bah-naaa-nah,” Italians say “bah-nah-nah.”

  74. Lime - sometimes called the same as a limone. But lime and lemon are very different, how can I tell what you are offering me if you say limone? I don’t understand.

  75. Sushi and other ethnic foods - entering an ethnic restaurant that then tries to explain under the title what the dish is in Italian, can be very amusing to me. Lo mein that is explained as spaghetti just doesn’t get it for me, haha.

  76. Paprika - spelled the same, but in Italian it has a different pronunciation: PAH-pree-kuh instead of pah-PREE-kuh

  77. Curry - the same, although the u is not pronounced as the Italian u, instead it is a strong a, like in “carry.”

  78. Sultana - we usually say raisin in English, but sultana works in English and Italian!

  79. Brioche - technically a buttery, enriched French bread in French or English, this term in Italian applies to any pastry.

  80. Cocktail - cocktail and most of the classic cocktail names, Mojito, Moscow Mule, etc. will get you far during aperitivo hour.

  81. Espresso, Cappuccino, etc. - yes, all the famed coffee drinks that were invented in Italy are the same and so far we haven’t managed to mess up the pronunciation too much! Good job, everybody!

  82. Broccoli - the same in Italian and English. Random, but hey, we could all use a little more broccoli in our life!

  83. Hobby - an Italian hobby might be sitting at the local bar and people watching, wine tasting, long dinners, long strolls, watching soccer, discussing soccer, watching news discussing soccer, and playing soccer.

  84. Food Truck - Italians have picked up on the food truck trend in America and are following suit with their own trendy hamburger food trucks!

  85. Street Food - like food truck above, except I don’t think that restaurant I saw the other day advertising “street food” fully understood the concept.

  86. Take-away - mangi qui o take-away? Italian is “da portare via” or “d’asporto.”

  87. All You Can Eat - ALL sushi restaurants I have ever seen or eaten at in Italy are always the “all you can eat” formula. And “all you can eat” is always written in English, everything else in Italian. Don’t ask me why.

  88. Freezer - I always appreciated this one because for a while there I could never remember “congelatore.” Maybe because I heard the English more often than the Italian, didn’t stick with me, haha!

  89. Zebra - the same, except I say ZEE-brah, you say ZAY-brah…

  90. Zoo - everyone loves the zoo! It’s the same word except for in Italian you pronounce it “Zo.”


There you are, a whole list of “Italian” words you already knew. My little Italian prodigies!

I’m sure I’m missing a whole slew of English/Italian words, if you want to add to this list drop me a comment below!

Spinach Artichoke Pasta

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Welcome back to pasta month on Jennyblogs!

So far we’ve seen a Thai-inspired pasta, an Italian pasta, and today an American pasta. One of the biggest differences between these cuisines is the amount of cheese used. We Americans really like our cheese! Italian cuisine uses quite a bit of cheese in certain dishes, but it’s usually a seasoned, more pungent cheese (hello, beautiful parmigiano!) used as a finishing touch. Aside from pizza, of course, but even then, their pizzas or not nearly as cheese-blanketed as an American pizza can be!

From that you’ve learned that today’s pasta is going to be cheesy…even if you’ve already learned that my posts are usually cheesy….

You’ve heard of spinach and artichoke dip? That rich, creamy, decadent dip usually found at parties served with little pieces of toast? That one you say you aren’t going to eat because it’s so high-fat, but you just can’t help yourself and end up splurging anyway? Today we’re going to make a Spinach and Artichoke PASTA. As much as I love spinach and artichoke dip, I think this pasta is even better. Plus, there is no sour cream, mayonnaise, or cream cheese involved! It’s still cheesy of course, but you can largely control how much or how little cheese you add, and the same goes for the veggies, in particularly the spinach.

For as much as I love the precision and science behind baking, I’m really coming around to cooking and how versatile it can be!

I mentioned that this Spinach Artichoke Pasta is delicious, right? I made an 8x8in pan once for lunch and my husband and I ate the WHOLE THING in one sitting. I listed the servings as 3-4 for an 8x8in / 20x20cm pan, but don’t be surprised if it becomes only 2 servings! Especially if there are men or growing children involved. Or, just double the recipe and put it in a 9x13in / 23x33cm pan. Problem solved!

Short on time? You can make this ahead of time, store in the fridge, and broil the pasta about 10 minutes before serving, OR you can serve this straight out of the pan and skip the broiling. Sprinkle the cheese on top and voila, you just saved yourself a step.

Recipe adapted from Dam* Delicious (and yes, I just censored that.)


Spinach Artichoke Pasta

Serves 3-4

IMG_0913.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz / 250g (half package) penne or your choice of short pasta (my favorite are the shells for this!)

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil

  • 1/2 large onion, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 Tbsp / 15g all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup / 60g water, or chicken or vegetable broth

  • 1 cup / 237g milk

  • about 5 oz / 150g fresh spinach, chopped

  • 7 oz / 200g frozen or canned cooked artichoke hearts, drained/thawed and chopped

  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, or a few grates of fresh, if available

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • about 2 oz / 57g fontal or other semi-soft cheese, shredded

  • about 2 oz / 57g parmesan cheese, shredded or grated

Directions:

Ungreased 8x8in / 20x20cm pan, if you’re making this ahead of time (see step 8. and 9.)

IMG_0917.jpg
  1. Place a large pot of water over high heat, adding salt just before it boils. Cook the pasta al dente according to directions on package; drain.

  2. While you’re boiling the water and cooking the pasta, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes or so, until the onion is translucent and garlic fragrant.

  3. Add flour and stir, it will absorb all the liquid. Cook 1-2 minutes, until flour is toasted.

  4. Slowly add in the water, stirring constantly to make a thick paste (roux), then slowly stir in milk.

  5. Bring to a simmer to thicken the sauce; add spinach, artichokes, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until spinach has wilted and artichokes are heated through, about 2 minutes.

  6. Remove from heat and add a generous half of the fontal and generous half of the parmesan, stir until melted.

  7. Add the cooked pasta and stir to coat.

  8. If serving right away, spoon onto plates and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

  9. If serving later, transfer pasta to prepared baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and refrigerate. When ready to eat, place oven rack near top and broil pasta for a few minutes, or until cheese is melty and starts to turn golden.



Jenny’s Notes:

  • Instead of fresh spinach you can also use frozen spinach, defrosted, drained, and chopped. Or you can use beet greens, arugula, or other cookable green of choice.

  • If you are watching your fat intake, feel free to reduce the cheese and use low-fat milk. On the other hand, if you love cheesy pasta and could care less about the fat, double the cheese!

  • Double this recipe and put in a 9x13in / 23x33cm pan!

  • If making ahead more than a few hours, I suggest boiling the pasta by 1-2 minutes less than indicated time, as it can become mushy sitting in the sauce. You may also need to add a bit more liquid (water, broth, or milk) to the sauce to compensate for the bit the pasta absorbs.

  • If you don’t know what to do with the other half can of artichokes, I suggest 1) making this dish twice within a few days, 2) doubling the recipe, or 3) using frozen artichokes or cooking them yourself so you don’t have to worry about the half can. I usually end up going for option 1, honestly, because making this once just isn’t enough.

American
Yield: 3-4 servings
Author:

Spinach Artichoke Pasta

Pasta in a cheesy, creamy sauce with spinach and artichokes, playing off the flavors of the beloved spinach and artichoke dip.
prep time: 50 Mcook time: 10 Mtotal time: 60 M

ingredients:

  • 4 oz / 250g (half package) penne or your choice of short pasta
  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp / 15g all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup / 60g water, or chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup / 237g milk
  • about 5 oz / 150g fresh spinach, chopped
  • 7 oz / 200g frozen or canned cooked artichoke hearts, drained/thawed and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, or a few grates of fresh, if available
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • about 2 oz / 57g fontal or other semi-soft cheese, shredded
  • about 2 oz / 57g parmesan cheese, shredded or grated

instructions:

How to cook Spinach Artichoke Pasta

  1. Ungreased 8x8in / 20x20cm pan, if you’re making this ahead of time (see steps 9. and 10.)
  2. Place a large pot of water over high heat, adding salt just before it boils. Cook the pasta al dente according to directions on package; drain.
  3. While you’re boiling the water and cooking the pasta, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes or so, until the onion is translucent and garlic fragrant.
  4. Add flour and stir, it will absorb all the liquid. Cook 1-2 minutes, until flour is toasted.
  5. Slowly add in the water, stirring constantly to make a thick paste (roux), then slowly stir in milk.
  6. Bring to a simmer to thicken the sauce; add spinach, artichokes, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until spinach has wilted and artichokes are heated through, about 2 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and add a generous half of the fontal and generous half of the parmesan, stir until melted.
  8. Add the cooked pasta and stir to coat.
  9. If serving right away, spoon onto plates and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  10. If serving later, transfer pasta to prepared baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and refrigerate. When ready to eat, place oven rack near top and broil pasta for a few minutes, or until cheese is melty and starts to turn golden.

NOTES:

Instead of fresh spinach you can also use frozen spinach, defrosted, drained, and chopped. Or you can use beet greens, arugula, or other cookable green of choice. If you are watching your fat intake, feel free to reduce the cheese and use low-fat milk. On the other hand, if you love cheesy pasta and could care less about the fat, double the cheese! Double this recipe and put in a 9x13in / 23x33cm pan! If making ahead more than a few hours, I suggest boiling the pasta by 1-2 minutes less than indicated time, as it can become mushy sitting in the sauce. You may also need to add a bit more liquid (water, broth, or milk) to the sauce to compensate for the bit the pasta absorbs. If you don’t know what to do with the other half can of artichokes, I suggest 1) making this dish twice within a few days, 2) doubling the recipe, or 3) using frozen artichokes or cooking them yourself so you don’t have to worry about the half can. I usually end up going for option 1, honestly, because making this once just isn’t enough.

Calories

488.68

Fat (grams)

23.74

Sat. Fat (grams)

8.73

Carbs (grams)

47.45

Fiber (grams)

6.94

Net carbs

40.51

Sugar (grams)

2.65

Protein (grams)

23.43

Sodium (milligrams)

668.13

Cholesterol (grams)

38.81
Nutritional information is approximate. Based on 3 servings using water (not broth) and 2% milk.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_0932.jpg

The Italian Alphabet and Pronunciation

A nook along Cinque Terre hiking trails in full Italian speaking mode…you don’t like to find crevices that are just your size??

A nook along Cinque Terre hiking trails in full Italian speaking mode…you don’t like to find crevices that are just your size??

This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!

Listening to Italian makes you happy, doesn’t it? It doesn’t even matter if you know what they’re saying or not. The rolls and lilts of the language are filled with an over-exaggerated sense of passion and drama, and you can’t help but smile. Unless they’re yelling, then I’m not smiling. Even if it’s probably just a friendly exchange about the last soccer match. I’m very non-confrontational and the public displays of conflict make me nervous. Run awayyyyyy! In fact, someone once thought I was Hungarian because I was so laid back and calm. Hmmm…

As far as languages go, Italian is really not that difficult to learn. Yes, it’s a foreign language and difficult, but. Have you ever tried to learn Chinese or Arabic? That’ll put things into perspective real quick! With Italian you can learn just a few phrases and suddenly you feel alive and all the hand gestures come as if you were born doing them. But before we warm up our hands and our best “mamma mia” expressions, let’s go over the alphabet and pronunciation of vowels that is oh-so-important.

The Italian Alphabet

Alright sing this and see if you can figure out which letters are missing:

A B C D E F G H I L M N O P Q R S T U V Z

(Pronounced: ah-bee-chee-dee-ae-effe-jee-acca-ee-elle-emme-enne-oh-pee-coo-erre-esse-tee-oo-voo-zeta)

Haha got it? See, Italian is easy because they have less letters than the English alphabet! Only 21, to be exact. But they messed up our nicely coordinated ABC song by Mozart. Rude. (You’ve made the connection by now that the ABC song is the same as Twinkle Twinkle, yes? Great. Ok, we can move on.)

The following letters don’t technically exist in Italian, except for in the foreign words that have been adopted:

J K W X Y

(Pronounced: ee loonga - kappa - doppio voo - eex - eepsilon)

And thusly we have eliminated half of the letters in my first name. Thanks guys!


Pronunciation of Those Vowels in Italian

  • “A” in Italian is a long A as in “ah”

    “casa” (CAH-zah)

  • “E” is usually a hard A as in “mate,” but can also be softer, closer to “eh”

    “re” (RAY [king]) / “permesso” (pair-MEH-sso [permission]); the first e is harder, the second softer

  • “I” is a hard E as in “feet”

    “ravioli” (rah-vee-oh-lee)

  • “O” is usually a hard O as in “poke,” but can also be softer, closer to “moss”

    “otto” (OHT-toe [eight]); the first o is softer, the second harder

  • “U” is a hard U as in “fluke”

    “cappuccino” (CAP-poo-CHEE-no)



How to Pronounce Key Consonants in Italian

  • “C” is a hard c as in “cup” unless it is immediately followed by an i or e in which case it is a soft c as in “chocolate.”

    “cono” (CO-no [cone]) / “cioccolato” (CHYO-co-lah-to [chocolate]) / “cena” (CHAY-na [dinner])

  • “Ch” is always pronounced as a hard c.

    “chiuso” (kee-OO-zo [closed])

  • “G” is a hard g as in “gas” unless it is immediately followed by an i or e in which case it is a soft g as in “Germany.” (J doesn’t exist in the Italian alphabet, so any j sound is made with a g and an i or e. The Italian version of my name is spelled Genny, short for Giovanna.)

    “gatto” (GAH-to [cat]) / “giardino” (jyar-DEE-no [garden]) / “gelato” (je-LAH-to)

  • “Gh” is always pronounced as a hard g.

    “ghiaccio” ( ghyA-chyo [ice])

  • S” is a z sound like the s in “pose” if it is between vowels, otherwise it is an s sound as in “soup”

    “casino” (ca-ZEE-no [mess]) / “pasta” (PAH-sta)

  • “SS” is an s sound like in “messy”

    “bellissima” (bell-EE-see-ma [so pretty])

  • “Z” is a normal z sound as in “zebra” at the beginning of words, otherwise it is a ts sound as in “mats”

    “zucchero” (ZOO-kair-o [sugar]) / “stazione” (Sta-tsee-O-nay [station])

  • “R” is always semi-rolled, not the “er” sound we make in English where the tongue doesn’t come in contact with any part of the mouth.

    “mercato” (mair-CAH-to [market])

  • “RR” is an exaggerated roll. And yes, you can learn to roll your r’s!

    “ferro” (FAY-rrrr-o [iron])

  • “GN” is pronounced like the ñ in Spanish; the g is silent.

    “gnocchi” (nyO-kee)

  • “GLI” when it is in the middle of a word or used as an article (“gli” [plural for the]) is the L version of ñ; the closest example would be like the lli in “million.” This one is harder to write without hearing it, especially because many people struggle with this subtle but particular sound. It’s like saying “Lee” while trying to stretch the back of your tongue between your molars and the roof of your mouth instead of just touching the tip of your tongue to the front of the mouth to make the normal L sound…or in other words trying to say it more from the back of your mouth than just the front. (How are we doing? If there is anyone by you, you may want to explain why you’re contorting your mouth so much.)

    “famiglia” (fa-MEE-lya) / “gli uomini” (LYEE oo-OH-mee-nee [the men])

  • “SC” is an sh sound as in “shop” if it is followed by an i or e, otherwise the letters are pronounced normally as in “escape.”

    “scienza” (shee-EN-za [science]) / “sconto” (SKOHN-toe [discount])

  • “H” is always silent.

    Santa Clause says “ho ho ho” / Babbo Natale says “O O O”


In my head it was going to be a lot easier writing all that out than it actually was. It seems like a lot of information, but don’t worry, it’s actually quite simple with a bit of practice!

Spaghetti with Tuna - Spaghetti al Tonno

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Spaghetti with tuna; It’s like spaghetti, but instead of meatballs you add tuna to the tomato sauce!

Now, that might sound kinda weird at first to my American friends, just like Italians think we’re weird for putting meatballs on our spaghetti in the first place. But let me tell you. It’s really delicious and I find it strangely comforting. Italian comfort food.

If you haven’t noticed, July is pasta month here at Jennyblogs! What, you couldn’t tell from the 1 other pasta recipe I’ve posted so far this month that this whole month is going to be pasta? I’m so offended. (I’m just kidding you guyssss.) But now you know! So be sure to stay tuned (you can sign up for updates) for the rest of the month where I will share with you various recipes, some Italian, some American, and last week was Thai inspired! Everyone should have some quick and delicious pasta recipes in their repertoire that don’t need store-bought sauce! Homemade is always better, if you can manage it. That way you control exactly what goes into your and your loved ones bodies. No more excess sugar, preservatives, and high levels of salt and fat that can be hidden away in the store-bought jars of sauce.

Today, a recipe for Italian spaghetti al tonno, or spaghetti with tuna. Homemade sauce and all this can be on your table in less than 45 minutes!

Recipe by my husband, the pasta master


Spaghetti with Tuna - Spaghetti al Tonno

Serves 6-8

IMG_0899.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. / 500g spaghetti

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil

  • 1/2 onion, chopped

  • 3 tomatoes, diced

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 Tbsp / 14g tomato paste

  • 1/2 tsp / 2.5g ground turmeric

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 5 oz / 148g can of tuna, drained

Directions:

  1. Heat a large pot of water over high heat, adding salt just before it boils. Cook pasta al dente according to directions and drain.

  2. Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until just fragrant and translucent, about 1-2 minutes.

  3. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until they are pretty well broken down. If the sauce becomes too thick or starts to stick, add a bit of water.

  4. Add the garlic, tomato paste, turmeric, salt and pepper, and a small chunk of tuna*; simmer for another few minutes.

  5. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, toss and stir to coat pasta. At this point you can either add the rest of the tuna and stir, or plate the pasta and add the tuna on top.

  6. Serve and eat!


Jenny’s Notes:

  • As with any pasta recipe, you don’t have to use spaghetti or the type called for. Use your favorite kind or whatever you think would go best with the sauce you’re making.

  • If you prefer a stronger tuna taste, you can use the liquid from the tuna can instead of water to keep the sauce from getting too thick while simmering. It doesn’t matter if it is packed in water or oil.

  • Add just a bit of tuna to flavor the sauce instead of the whole can because it doesn’t need to be cooked. The rest will be added in at the end.

  • In a pinch you can use a 15oz can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh.

Italian
Yield: 6-8 servings
Author:

Spaghetti with Tuna - Spaghetti al Tonno

A classic Italian pasta dish with spaghetti, homemade tomato sauce, and tuna.
prep time: 25 Mcook time: 15 Mtotal time: 40 M

ingredients:

  • 1 lb. / 500g spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp / 14g tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp / 2.5g ground turmeric
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 5 oz / 148g can of tuna, drained

instructions:

How to cook Spaghetti with Tuna - Spaghetti al Tonno

  1. Heat a large pot of water over high heat, adding salt just before it boils. Cook pasta al dente according to directions and drain.
  2. Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until just fragrant and translucent, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until they are pretty well broken down. If the sauce becomes too thick or starts to stick, add a bit of water.
  4. Add the garlic, tomato paste, turmeric, salt and pepper, and a small chunk of tuna*; simmer for another few minutes.
  5. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, toss and stir to coat pasta. At this point you can either add the rest of the tuna and stir, or plate the pasta and add the tuna on top.
  6. Serve and eat!

NOTES:

As with any pasta recipe, you don’t have to use spaghetti or the type called for. Use your favorite kind or whatever you think would go best with the sauce you’re making. If you prefer a stronger tuna taste, you can use the liquid from the tuna can instead of water to keep the sauce from getting too thick while simmering. It doesn’t matter if it is packed in water or oil. Add just a bit of tuna to flavor the sauce instead of the whole can because it doesn’t need to be cooked. The rest will be added in at the end. In a pinch you can use a 15oz can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh.

Calories

216.63

Fat (grams)

6.08

Sat. Fat (grams)

0.62

Carbs (grams)

29.31

Fiber (grams)

2.14

Net carbs

27.17

Sugar (grams)

3.19

Protein (grams)

11.05

Sodium (milligrams)

151.14

Cholesterol (grams)

10.36
Nutritional Information is approximate.
Created using The Recipes Generator
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Food in Florence: Great Aperitivo

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Aperitivo. You either love it or…don’t know what it is?

Aperitivo in Italy refers to a period in the evening, usually between 6pm - 8pm where people gather to drink cocktails, wine, or non-alcoholic drinks and eat some light snacks and food. You usually pay between 7-10euro for a drink and includes all the food they have set out in a buffet-like style. It’s a bit like happy hour, except the point isn’t to take advantage of the cheap drinks, but to stimulate your digestion before dinner. Ya know, science, heheh.

Plate of random food from buffet at O Bar

Plate of random food from buffet at O Bar

In my personal experience, if I actually want to be able to eat dinner afterwards, I just get a drink without going for the actual “aperitivo” price which includes the snackies. But. Also in my experience, if you plan on going out for aperitivo, especially with a group of students, people on a budget, or people with light appetites, that actually means you’ll linger so long you basically eat a meal of the hors d’oeuvres, or end up ordering a couple plates to share because everyone is too full to eat their own but felt bad that their party wiped clean the buffet bar. The larger your group I think the more likely the latter is to happen, but it’s not uncommon, and either way is highly enjoyable. Either way you look at it you’re with good food, drinks, and company.

A Quick History of the Aperitivo

The Italian word “Aperitivo” comes from the Latin “Aperitivus” which means “che apre” or “which tends to open the bowels.” (Do I sound like the dad on My Big Fat Greek Wedding?) Namely, a drink that is able to stimulate or “open” your digestion from the forthcoming onslaught of food. That thing we normally call dinner.

Apparently, in the 5th century the Greek physician Hippocrates discovered that a drink based on white wine, flowers of dittany, absinthe, and rue could help his patients who complained of loss of appetite. This concoction was then passed down through time until it reached the medicinal doctors of Medieval times. These doctors found that it wasn’t so much these particular ingredients that had this effect, but rather the bitterness of them. For this reason, the principal drinks served during aperitivo hour are based on bitter components.

The actual aperitivo as it is known in Italy today was born in Torino in the late 1700’s by one Antonio Benedetto Carpano, who invented vermouth. It was tasted by the then King of Italy, Vittorio Emanule II, who enjoyed this bitter drink so much he made it an official drink of court. It became a must drink for many famous people to come, such as Cavour and Garibaldi. Entering the 1800’s others eventually invented their own bitter drinks for the aperitivo to be drunk before a meal, with amaro, Campani, and Martini becoming particularly popular and are still the main stays of aperitivo today.

Which brings us to the question, what are the cocktails you can expect to find in Florence and around Italy?

Typical Cocktails in Italy

  • Spritz - prosecco, club soda, and either Aperol or Campari. Born in Italy, this is probably the most famous aperitivo here. There are two main versions, the Aperol Spritz, with Aperol, and the Campari Spritz, with Campari.

  • Negroni - gin, vermouth rosso, Campari. Invented in Florence in the 1920’s.

  • Negroni Sbagliato - vermouth rosso, Campari, prosecco. Created by accident in the 1960’s when a barman went to make a Negroni and instead of gin found in his hand prosecco…the rest is history.

  • Americano - Campari, sweet vermouth, club soda. Created in the latter half of the 19th century in either Torino or Milan.

  • Martini Dry - gin, dry vermouth. Another Italian cocktail born in the 19th century.

These are the typical Italian aperitivi, although be sure to check out the menus or ask wherever you go to see the creations and offerings of that particular place, including all the classics such as mojito, Moscow mule, gin and tonic, etc.

If for whatever reason you don’t want to partake in an alcoholic beverage, you can usually get a tonic with lemon or various other flavors of Schweppes they might have on hand, fruit juice, Crudino (a sweet and bitter non-alcoholic drink similar in taste to the alcoholic ones, I love it), soft drinks, or ask if the barman can make you a special non-alcoholic drink of his or your choice!


Great Aperitivo

In no particular order

Non-alcoholic cocktail invented by the barman.

Non-alcoholic cocktail invented by the barman.

  1. ARTS INN

    Via del Porcellana, 63r, close to the church of Santa Maria Novella.

    A very cool little place specializing in cocktails, two floors and various nooks and crannies where you’re bound to find a cozy little corner to chat with friends.

  2. La Cité

    Borgo S. Frediano, 20, south of the river not far from the church of Santo Spirito.

    This place is also featured on my list for the best coffee in Florence (as is Caffetteria delle Oblate below), because it is such a great and versatile place. Great for meeting friends, studying, going for cocktails or coffee. Like ARTS INN, it has an up and downstairs and much more exciting seating options than your typical place.

  3. La Pescatoria

    Via Palazzuolo 80r, not far from the train station SMN.

    This is the aperitivo for fish lovers. Most of their buffet has something to do with some kind of fish, dips, crostini, salads etc. I think my favorite part was the fried fish, so good! Nice atmosphere as well.

  4. Caffetteria delle Oblate

    Via dell’Oriuolo, 26, in the center not far from the Duomo.

    An aperitivo on the third floor of an old convent. It has views of the Duomo without paying the higher prices of aperitivos usually on hotel rooftops. This place is very popular with students and at times it can be hard to find seating, but sitting on the steps or floor around the terrace is always an option if your bones can take it.

  5. Quelo Bar

    Borgo Santa Croce, 15r, two steps from the church of Santa Croce.

    Very chic place with nice offerings in a relatively quiet street leading straight to Santa Croce. Limited outdoor seating, nice seating inside.

  6. O Bar

    Via de’ bardi, 54, just a few steps from Ponte Vecchio.

    Nice wines and buffet with a great view of Ponte Vecchio and the river! Prices aren’t bad either considering, I believe it’s 10euro for drink and buffet, which is pretty standard.

  7. Gallery

    Via dei Benci, 30, close to the church of Santa Croce.

    This for me is the quintessential aperitivo in Italy. Something about the type of place and their offerings make them appealing to many and accessible, but not super special. This was one of the more frequented places for meeting with friends when I first came to Florence. There are quite a few aperitivo places on the street, and it has quite the night life.

  8. Kitsch

    Two locations: Viale Antonio Gramsci 1/5r on the east edge of the city center, and Via San Gallo, 22r, close to San Marco.

    An eclectic place with a decent offering of drinks and buffet food. Usually one of the first places suggested when trying to meet for aperitivo, as it’s known to most and has two convenient locations.

Seasonal summer pop-ups:

Because these are seasonal places they don’t usually have an actual address, but you can find it on Googlemaps by typing in the name. These places don’t include the buffet but you can choose to order some small plates or meals along with your drinks.

  1. Utopiko

    Lots of unique and hand crafted seating in a park along the river, outside the city center. They have some delicious cocktails, but their non-alcoholic options are limited.

  2. Lungarno del Tempio

    Food truck style food kiosks and bars appear for the summer in this park along the river just outside the crazy city center. Great to finally catch the breeze off the river while sipping on a cold drink after a hot day walking around the city. Note: Typing in Lungarno del Tempio will get you a pin on the map actually across the street, for more accuracy type in La Toraia Lungarno del Tempio which is one of the food kiosks.

  3. Molo Firenze

    Outdoor and great summery aperitivo on the river, just past Lungarno del Tempio. They can get the music going so best if you want more of club vibe than a quiet, chat with my friends type feel.

For a classy aperitivo experience try:

  1. The Fusion Bar & Restaurant

    Vicolo dell’Oro, 3, a few steps from the Ponte Vecchio.

    A part of a hotel, this place is a local institution with competent barmen and original cocktails. The food is Asian fusion cuisine, so don’t forget the sushi! Higher end prices.

  2. Harry’s Bar Firenze

    Lungarno Amerigo Vespucci, 22r, just a 6 minute walk from the American Consulate.

    Elegant ambience in a historic Florentine locale with nice views and elevated prices.

  3. Locale Firenze

    Via delle Seggiole, 12r, between the Duomo and Santa Croce.

    A historic restaurant with a notable bar and aperitivo smack dab in the center of the center. If you decide to stay and dine you’ll find well-thought out Italian dishes. You’ll want to dress up a bit for this place for sure.


If you have any questions or have suggestions to add to the list, leave a comment below! I always love hearing from you guys!

Simple Thai Noodles

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Some nights you get caught unprepared and need something quick to whip up for dinner. Or maybe that’s every night? I know Sunday food prepping is all the rage, and it’s a really great idea…if you’re only feeding yourself or a small family, and not taking into account the unexpected that happens. Even if you’re the most organized person cooking just for yourself, those nights are going to spring up on you when you want something quick and easy, delicious, and you have all the ingredients on hand. This recipe for Simple Thai Noodles falls in that category.

Sesame oil might not be in everyone’s pantry, but if you invest in a bottle, it can last you months, depending on how often you make Asian or other dishes that often call for sesame oil. It really is worth it, if you try and substitute another oil it won’t be the same. It lends such a nutty depth to dishes!

I actually have several versions of lo mein, Thai noodles, fried rice, etc. and even a couple more waiting to be tried that all have in common varying quantities and varieties of green onion, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, peanuts or peanut butter, and a sweet and a spicy element. Each with their merits, and the occasions for which I like to make them. If you can’t tell, I love Asian dishes, whether they’re authentic or simply inspired by Asian flavors.

This pasta is kept in my repertoire for its simplicity while still retaining all the delicious flavors, and now you can make it too, whether you’re in a pinch for a quick dinner, or not! No one said you have to make it only when in a pinch. :)

Recipe adapted from A Small Snippet


Simple Thai Noodles

Serves 6-8

IMG_0878.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz / 500g linguine or spaghetti

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g olive oil, or oil of choice

  • 1/4 cup / 54g sesame oil

  • about 1 Tbsp / 5g red pepper flakes

  • 3 Tbsp / 63g honey

  • 3 Tbsp / 45g soy sauce

  • cilantro, chopped peanuts, chopped green onions, julienned carrots, sesame seeds, or your choice of toppings

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, adding salt just before it boils. Cook pasta according to directions on box; drain, and return to pot.

  2. While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the oils, red pepper flakes, honey, and soy sauce in a small bowl.

  3. When the pasta is done and drained, add the sauce to the noodles and toss to coat well.

  4. Serve immediately, adding toppings of choice.

Jenny’s Notes:

  • You can adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to suit your spicy preference. 1 Tbsp, as in the recipe, results in reasonably spicy, but not overwhelming. Also, you could use a spicy oil if you have some on hand instead of the red pepper flakes.

  • For a stronger sesame taste, use all sesame oil instead of olive oil. (6 Tbsp / 84g total of sesame oil.)

  • Feel free to add veggies or a protein, if you desire. For veggies, chop small and sauté in a pan with a bit of oil for a few minutes or until tender, toss in when you add the sauce. Cook your protein and slice as desired, add at the end on top of plates of pasta or mix in with sauce.

  • I’ll be honest with you, this usually serves 4, max…

Thai
Yield: 6-8 servings
Author:

Simple Thai Noodles

The simplest Thai noodles for a quick and easy dinner using ingredients already in your pantry.
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 15 Mtotal time: 25 M

ingredients:

  • 16 oz / 500g linguine or spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp / 28g olive oil, or oil of choice
  • 1/4 cup / 54g sesame oil
  • about 1 Tbsp / 5g red pepper flakes
  • 3 Tbsp / 63g honey
  • 3 Tbsp / 45g soy sauce
  • cilantro, chopped peanuts, chopped green onions, julienned carrots, sesame seeds, or your choice of toppings

instructions:

How to cook Simple Thai Noodles

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, adding salt just before it boils. Cook pasta according to directions on box; drain, and return to pot.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the oils, red pepper flakes, honey, and soy sauce in a small bowl.
  3. When the pasta is done and drained, add the sauce to the noodles and toss to coat well.
  4. Serve immediately, adding toppings of choice.

NOTES:

You can adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to suit your spicy preference. 1 Tbsp, as in the recipe, results in reasonably spicy, but not overwhelming. Also, you could use a spicy oil if you have some on hand instead of the red pepper flakes. For a stronger sesame taste, use all sesame oil instead of olive oil. (6 Tbsp / 84g total of sesame oil.) Feel free to add veggies or a protein, if you desire. For veggies, chop small and sauté in a pan with a bit of oil for a few minutes or until tender, toss in when you add the sauce. Cook your protein and slice as desired, add at the end on top of plates of pasta or mix in with sauce. I’ll be honest with you, this usually serves 4, max…

Calories

294.66

Fat (grams)

14.65

Sat. Fat (grams)

2.10

Carbs (grams)

36.05

Fiber (grams)

2.12

Net carbs

33.93

Sugar (grams)

9.54

Protein (grams)

5.69

Sodium (milligrams)

418.72

Cholesterol (grams)

0.00
Calculated with green onion, carrots, and cilantro as toppings. Nutritional info is approximate.
Created using The Recipes Generator
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Food in Florence: Where to Find the Best Eats

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Choosing where to eat in a new city is always one of the hardest decisions. Especially if that city is half way across the world and you don’t get over there every day.

Fiesole+pasta.jpg

This is important because I essentially love traveling for two principle reasons: The culture and the food. But how to find, say, good Belgian waffles and frites in Bruges, Belgium, or croissants and baguettes in Paris, France, or pizza and mozzarella di bufala in Napoli, Italy, when most of the places you see are screaming “tourist trap!”?

Unless you are fortunate enough to know some locals, you are completely left to yourselves, aside, of course, from the hundreds of books and online guides touting the 10 best places to eat. The overwhelming part for me is weighing through the endless sites and opinions, some of which are good, and an amazing number of which are not at all reliable. So here I’m just going to throw myself in the mix, as a local in Florence, with some of my favorite places to eat, namely lunch and dinner!

Lunch and Dinner in Italy

First, a few quick notes about lunch and dinner in Italy.

Sit-down lunchtime is roughly from 12:00pm - 3:00pm, with the peak being 1:00pm - 2:00pm. If you go before or after these hours, chances are the restaurant will be closed or not serving lunch anymore.

If you find yourself in need of a snack before lunchtime hits, pop into any bar and pick up a quick sandwich. If I eat a late breakfast at a bar I often notice quite a few working men who pop in for a sandwich starting as early as 10:00am. These sandwiches are pre-made (but should be made that same day!) in the display case and slowly replace the pastries as the morning wears on. You can get a large or small, and they are usually simple with just 2-3 ingredients on a focaccia type bread. You could try a mozzarella, tomato, and lettuce, or prosciutto and tomato, or mortadella (Italian equivalent of bologna) and cheese, or bresaola (prosciutto made with beef instead of pork), arugula, and cheese, etc.

Dinnertime in Italy generally starts from 7:30pm and can linger on until 11 or later, especially in the summer when that is when it finally cools down. Most restaurants don’t open until 7:30pm for the dinner shift. It’s rare to find a restaurant that doesn’t close between the lunch and dinner shifts, as you’ll be able to see from the opening hours below.

Remember, if you sit down there will almost always be a “coperto” or cover charge, usually about 1.50 - 2euro per person, which cover the cost of napkins, bread, etc. And you have to pay for water, even if it’s tap water that comes in a refillable bottle. For more dining and Italy tips take a look at this list.

Hours may vary. You can make reservations on quandoo.it or thefork.it.


Where to Find the Best Eats

In no particular order

  1. Simbiosi Organic

    Via de’ Ginori, 56r, 58r/60r (two locations), near to San Lorenzo.

    Simbiosi has two different locations around the corner from each other. The original location is an organic pizzeria, with great decor: exposed bricks and chandeliers! The second location features organic pasta and other plates, and both locations have a nice selection of organic beer and wine. Oh, and the food is really good, especially the pizza. They appreciate reservations.

  2. Le Follie di Romualdo

    Via di San Niccolò, 39r, south of the city center on the way to Piazzale Michelangelo.

    Open 7:00pm - 1:00am Monday through Friday, 7:00pm - 12:00am Saturday, closed Sunday.

    Romualdo is a well-known “pizzaiuolo” (pizza maker) around Florence and beyond, his being named among the top 20 best pizzas in the world by the New York Times and has received twice the highest acknowledgment from the best pizza guide Pizzerie D’Italia del Gambero Rosso. All that to say, you’ll eat some really, really good pizza here. The other food is good, too! During the summer he has a popup pizza place near the river.

  3. Osteria Cinghiale Bianco

    Borgo San Jacop, 43, just a bit away from the Santa Trinita bridge in a lovely neighborhood south of the center.

    Open 6:30pm - 10:30pm Monday through Friday, 12 - 2:30pm & 6:30pm - 10:30pm Saturday and Sunday.

    Lovely local place with delicious typical Tuscan food and wine, housed in the bottom of a tower from 300 a.d.!

  4. Enoteca Fuori Porta

    Via del Monte alle Croci, 10, on the way to Piazzale Michelangelo.

    This is a cute little wine shop with great meat and cheese plates and, of course, wine. Great for a snack, a light meal, or just a drink. Indoor and outdoor seating and conveniently located on the way to Piazzale Michelangelo (a nice uphill hike to get the views) for a snack after all that exertion. ;)

  5. All’antico Vinaio

    Via dei Neri, 76, between Palazzo Vecchio and the church of Santa Croce.

    Open 10:00am - 10:30pm Monday through Sunday.

    This is the most famous sandwich place in Florence, and have had lines since the first time I went in 2014. They have since expanded to at least 2 locations, one for sandwiches and one Osteria. I recommend going before or after prime lunch time to avoid the long lines; I’ve never been for dinner so can’t vouch for what the lines are like. Take your sandwich to go and sit on the steps of a church or piazza to enjoy your food.

  6. Antica Panineria

    Via Faenza, 53. Between the train station and San Lorenzo.

    Another delicious and cheap focaccia sandwich place. Located not too far from the train station, this makes for a convenient lunch on the train, or there is a nice area outside to sit!

  7. Gustapizza

    Via Maggio, 46r, south of the river.

    Open 11:30am - 3:30pm & 7:00pm - 11:30pm Tuesday through Sunday, closed Monday.

    Decent prices and just really good pizza. This is considered by some the best pizza in Florence. In my personal opinion, as they’ve become well known and busy, their quality control has dropped a bit. Obviously, they still made this list, but maybe instead of THE best they are one of the best. How’s that?

  8. Mercato Centrale

    Piazza del Mercato Centrale, Via dell’Ariento, near to the church of San Lorenzo

    Open 8:00am - 12:00am every day

    On the second floor is the Italian style food court, except everything is made fresh and on the spot. This is great for larger groups because there is something to please everyone, but be warned, it can get crazy up here even if there are hundreds of tables; it’s popular! So aim for a bit before or after lunch or dinner, if you can. There’s pasta, pizza, sushi, hamburgers, steak, vegan, seafood, various typical Florentine options, and more. My only word of warning is that not every stall is made equally. I personally recommend the pizza (that fluffy Neopolitan crust, oh man!), the seafood fresh or fried, the famous Florentine steak (bistecca fiorentina, one of the best), gelato, bread or desserts from the French stall “Bedu,” and vegan. They also have large TVs setup so you can watch the soccer matches, although that also means many seats will be occupied by people who aren’t even eating during those times. Rude. ;)

  9. Da Nerbone

    Piazza del Mercato Centrale, near to the church of San Lorenzo

    Open 8:00am - 3:00pm Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday.

    This is a very busy, very delicious, traditional Tuscan food stand on the ground floor of the Mercato Centrale among all the farmer’s market stands. They usually have a long line but it moves fast enough. The hard part is getting a seat, so have someone ordering and picking up the food, another scouting and claiming a table! I love the Lampredotto (very typical Florentine, I’m gonna go ahead and let you google that one), any of the pasta dishes, and the beef cheek. And I don’t even hardly eat beef! Comfort food at it’s greatest.

  10. Pizzeria Orto del Cigno

    Via di Varlungo, 27, on the east side of the city center not far from Tuscany Hall.

    Open 7:00pm - 11:45pm Tuesday through Sunday, closed Monday.

    A pizzeria that feels like home, because they serve large pizzas that everyone can eat a slice from American style, instead of the individual pizzas. You can get each pizza with 2 or 3 of the topping options, so you can try more! I absolutely fell in love with the parmigiana…definitely one of the top 5 pizzas I’ve ever eaten!

    I recommend taking a stroll from the city center along the river going east, the sidewalk eventually turns into a peaceful reprieve from the touristy center, with nature and the river on your right and locals jogging past. About a 45 minute walk and the pizzeria will be on your left.

  11. Aji Tei

    Viale Spartaco Lavagnini, 20A, not far from the tip of the city center, Piazza Libertà.

    Open 12:30pm - 2:30pm & 7:30pm - 11:00pm Tuesday through Sunday, closed Monday.

    My favorite sushi in Florence, and that’s saying something because there are a ton of Japanese restaurants around. I have yet to meet a sushi in Italy that is not the “all you can eat” formula, but have you ever not wanted to eat all you can of sushi? Their menu is extensive (sushi, sashimi, special rolls, fried stuff, hot and cold plates) and the “all you can eat” includes everythinggggg except drinks, I think it even includes dessert. The price is high, around 30euro a head for dinner, but if you break down how many rolls of sushi I can consume, it turns out to be a pretty good deal. Oh, and the ambience is super cool.

  12. Ristorante Giapponese Rakutei

    Via della Casaccia, 19-21-23, on the east side of the city center.

    Open 12:15pm - 3:00pm & 7:15pm - 11:45pm everyday, except Monday is only open in the evening.

    I just mentioned my favorite sushi above, but this place is also really good and much more conveniently located for where I live, and also for those of you who are staying on the east side of town or at the campground. “All you can eat” once again! Take bus 14 to get here and get off at the “casaccia” bus stop.

  13. PassaGuai

    Borgo San Frediano, 44r, on the south side of the river near to the church of Santo Spirito.

    Open 12:30pm - 3:00pm & 7:30pm - 11:00pm everyday, except Tuesday is only open in the evening.

    This was one of the favorite places my family ate at during our vacation here, a cool little spot with absolutely delicious sandwiches for 4euro. It’s now evolved into a restaurant with an emphasis on meat and fish, but still the same owners and quality food.

  14. Le Sorgenti

    Via Chiara, 6r, right by the Mercato Centrale.

    Open 11:00am - 3:00pm & 5:30pm - 11:00pm everyday, except Tuesday is only open in the evening.

    One of my favorite Chinese places, although there are so many and quite a few of them are delicious! Order lots of small plates and share, they’re reasonably priced. I recommend the taglierini alla griglia (basically grilled lo mein) and the branzino alla griglia (grilled sea bass). YUM.

  15. 米先生餐厅 SIG.RISO RESTAURANT

    Via Sant’Antonino, 8r, close to the train station and Mercato Centrale

    Open 11:00am - 10:30pm everyday.

    Another great Chinese restaurant, I used to live almost next door. This area is a bit like the unofficial Chinatown. I recommend the spicy seaweed! Good prices.

  16. Los Chicos

    Via dei Benci, 15r, near to the church of Santa Croce.

    Open 11:00am - 3:00am everyday.

    Florence has a sadly lacking Mexican food scene. This place, however, can get a you a nice burrito or taco! Last I can remember the tacos are 3euro each, but when did I ever eat just one taco? Oh, and don’t forget margaritas!

  17. Ararat Ristorante Armeno

    Borgo la Croce, 32r, near to Sant’Ambrogio on the east side of the center.

    Open 12:00pm - 11:00pm every day.

    I had never had Armenian food until I ate here, but I can now say I’m a fan! Their food is well-executed with lots of meat and vegetables. The flatbread is DELICIOUS. It’s also a really pretty place, gold silverware, anyone?

  18. Avanti - Pizza & Grill - Ristorante Arabo

    Via S. Pier Maggiore, 6r, close to the Santa Maria Nuova hospital.

    Open 11:00am - 11:00pm everyday.

    The menu is a mix of pizza and Iraqi food, and although I can’t speak for the pizza, I haven’t eaten anything short of scrumptious from the Iraqi section. And why would you need a pizza if you have such Arab goodness in front of you?

  19. Rosticceria Tavola Marrochina

    Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 11, directly opposite the Mercato Centrale on the parking lot side. Beware of the pinpoint on google maps because it isn’t on the right street, even if the address itself seems to be correct.

    Open 9:00am - 11:30pm Tuesday through Sunday, closed Monday.

    This is a little hole in the wall restaurant owned and run by a Moroccan family. The seating can be a bit tight, but the food is delicious and the prices decent. Lunchtime is best, as the options get slimmer the longer the evening wears on. My favorites are couscous (of course), the harira soup, msemmen (thin, crispy bread often filled with cheese, harissa, and boiled eggs or cheese and honey), and the mint tea.

Now I’m hungry…ah well off to eat some homemade vegan sloppy joes, it’ll be just as good. I hope.


More Ideas

This is a list of places that I would like to try one day, either that I’ve heard good things about or they just looked really interesting walking by! If you try any of them before me, let me know in the comments below how you liked it!

  1. Adagio

  2. Cacio Vino Trallalla

  3. Foody Farm

  4. Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura


Where are your favorite places to eat around Florence, what have I missed? Have you tried any of the places on here? Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love hearing your thoughts and experiences!

Strawberry Shortcake

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Strawberry shortcake is a summer classic. All you need are juicy, ripe strawberries, shortcakes, which are really just biscuits with a bit of sugar added to them, and whipped cream. If you decided on adding some vanilla ice cream to the mix I don’t think anyone would be mad about it. I certainly wouldn’t be. Did I mention they’re really simple to make?

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It’s so simple because the strawberries are the shining star and don’t need much dressing up. If you try and make this when strawberries are out of season, even if you can find them in the grocery store, it just won’t be the same. This is a dessert that calls for strawberries ripened under the summer sun, bursting with flavor.

Do you want to know a secret? Strawberry shortcakes will reach the pinnacle of their goodness if you are able to pick the strawberries yourself! Not only will you be the one choosing the juiciest berries, but you’ll KNOW they’re as fresh as they come! Plus, you’ll taste the fruits of your own hard work and it makes it that much sweeter. Literally. I loved going strawberry picking with my mom as a kid. Strawberry season in Michigan is always in beginning to mid summer, usually end of June or early July, and we’d come home with baskets full. Then I’d help my mom hull and slice them, keeping some for eating, some for making strawberry shortcake and other desserts, and some for freezing and making jam.

Eat strawberry shortcake for dessert, or breakfast, snack, lunch, and dinner. I mean, biscuits and fruit sounds like a balanced and great way to start off the morning! Plus you’ll want to eat them as much as you can while the strawberry season lasts. A great thing about these is that you can add as little or as much sugar as you want! See notes at bottom of recipe for some ideas.

Recipe from my mama with tweaks from moi.


Strawberry Shortcake

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients:

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For the Macerated Strawberries

  • 4-5 cups strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced

  • 3-4 Tbsp / 35-50g sugar or to taste

For the Shortcakes

  • 2 cups / 240g all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup / 50g sugar

  • 4 tsp / 19g baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp / 2g salt

  • 1/2 cup / 113g cold butter or scant 1/2 cup / 100g oil

  • 2/3 cup / 158g cold milk or buttermilk

For the Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup / 237g heavy whipping cream

  • 3-4 Tbsp / 35-50g sugar or to taste

  • 1 tsp / 4g vanilla extract

Directions:

Oven 450°F / 232°C. Have ready an ungreased baking sheet.

Make the Macerated Strawberries

  1. Place strawberries in a bowl, add sugar, and mash them a bit or a lot, as desired, with a fork or masher. Place in fridge while you prepare the shortcakes.

Make the Shortcakes

  1. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

  2. Cut in butter or oil until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in milk. Mix just until most of the flour is moistened, then turn mixture out onto a floured surface.

  4. Knead lightly, up to 10-12 times, until you have a soft but not too sticky dough. Don’t overwork or biscuits will be tough.

  5. Gently pat dough out into a circle about 1in / 2.5cm thick, checking to make sure underneath is still floured well and the dough isn’t sticking.

  6. Using a biscuit cutter or a round glass 2-3in / 5-7cm in diameter, cut out as many biscuits as you can. Place biscuits on baking sheet. Collect the dough scraps and reshape into a ball. Repeat patting into a circle and slicing biscuits until dough is used up. You’ll probably only repeat the cutting process 2-3 times at most, depending on the size of your biscuit cutter.

  7. Bake biscuits in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until risen and lightly golden brown.

Make the Whipped Cream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form.

  2. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.

Assembly

Slice your biscuits open and spoon over strawberries and whipped cream!

Jenny’s Notes:

  • The sugar mixed in with the strawberries is traditional but not absolutely necessary. Although it helps soften the strawberries to lose their juice and create more of a soft sauce, I like it also without adding any sugar, because everything else in this recipe is already a bit sweet. On the other hand, if you love sweet strawberry shortcakes, feel free to up the sugar, it’s completely up to your taste!

  • The biscuit dough might seem too soft at first, but the moment the baking powder starts working and it hits the floured surface it should become very workable. Just be careful not to over work it, a little bit goes a long way.

  • When cutting the biscuits, cut straight down, no twisting, or this can seal the edges and prevent a good rise. You can dip the biscuit cutter in some flour to help prevent any sticking.

  • If you place the biscuits next to each other on the baking sheet they can help each other “climb” up and achieve a nicer rise! I know this feels counterintuitive, but give it a try!

American
Yield: 8-10 servings
Author:

Strawberry Shortcake

Classic strawberry shortcake recipe handed down from my mama. Homemade biscuits, juicy strawberries, and fresh whipped cream assembled together in a summery dessert.
prep time: 40 Mcook time: 12 Mtotal time: 52 M

ingredients:

For the Macerated Strawberries
  • 4-5 cups strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
  • 3-4 Tbsp / 35-50g sugar or to taste
For the Shortcakes
  • 2 cups / 240g all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup / 50g sugar
  • 4 tsp / 19g baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp / 2g salt
  • 1/2 cup / 113g cold butter or scant 1/2 cup / 100g oil
  • 2/3 cup / 158g cold milk or buttermilk
For the Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup / 237g heavy whipping cream
  • 3-4 Tbsp / 35-50g sugar or to taste
  • 1 tsp / 4g vanilla extract

instructions:

How to cook Strawberry Shortcake

Make the Macerated Strawberries
  1. Place strawberries in a bowl, add sugar, and mash them a bit or a lot, as desired, with a fork or masher. Place in fridge while you prepare the shortcakes.
Make the Shortcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 450F / 232C. Have ready an ungreased baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Cut in butter or oil until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in milk. Mix just until most of the flour is moistened, then turn mixture out onto a floured surface.
  5. Knead lightly, up to 10-12 times, until you have a soft but not too sticky dough. Don’t overwork or biscuits will be tough.
  6. Gently pat dough out into a circle about 1in / 2.5cm thick, checking to make sure underneath is still floured well and the dough isn’t sticking.
  7. Using a biscuit cutter or a round glass 2-3in / 5-7cm in diameter, cut out as many biscuits as you can. Place biscuits on baking sheet. Collect the dough scraps and reshape into a ball. Repeat patting into a circle and slicing biscuits until dough is used up. You’ll probably only repeat the cutting process 2-3 times at most, depending on the size of your biscuit cutter.
  8. Bake biscuits in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until risen and lightly golden brown.
Make the Whipped Cream
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form.
  2. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.
Assembly
  1. Slice your biscuits open and spoon over strawberries and whipped cream!

NOTES:

The sugar mixed in with the strawberries is traditional but not absolutely necessary. Although it helps soften the strawberries to lose their juice and create more of a soft sauce, I like it also without adding any sugar, because everything else in this recipe is already a bit sweet. On the other hand, if you love sweet strawberry shortcakes, feel free to up the sugar, it’s completely up to your taste! The biscuit dough might seem too soft at first, but the moment the baking powder starts working and it hits the floured surface it should become very workable. Just be careful not to over work it, a little bit goes a long way. When cutting the biscuits, cut straight down, no twisting, or this can seal the edges and prevent a good rise. You can dip the biscuit cutter in some flour to help prevent any sticking. If you place the biscuits next to each other on the baking sheet they can help each other “climb” up and achieve a nicer rise! I know this feels counterintuitive, but give it a try!

Calories

436.99

Fat (grams)

24.15

Sat. Fat (grams)

7.94

Carbs (grams)

51.65

Fiber (grams)

2.77

Net carbs

48.88

Sugar (grams)

24.49

Protein (grams)

5.28

Sodium (milligrams)

368.72

Cholesterol (grams)

35.06
Nutritional Information is approximate.
Created using The Recipes Generator
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Coffee Culture in Italy

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Coffee. caffè. قهوة. ቡና. koffie. kafe. սուրճ. קפה. kaffi. caife. café. コーヒー. кофе. 咖啡. káva. kahve. ყავა. coffi. καφές. kope. ikhofi. cà phê. کافی. കോഫി. kahvi. kape. kohvi. kafo. kaffe. కాఫీ. kafija. capulus. kahawa.

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More than 33 ways to say coffee in at least 37 different languages.  (Some overlap, i.e. café is Spanish, French, and Portugal.)  And even the ones that don’t share the Latin alphabet and I can’t even begin to sound out sound similar to the word “coffee.”  I know that because Google Translate and transliteration.  Amazing, isn’t it?  I mean, the languages, not Google Translate, but yeah, that’s pretty amazing also.  So many different cultures and people and centuries, and coffee is so important in so many of them.  Not least of all Italy, which is why I’m writing this post.  (Coffee in Italian is the second language written, “caffè,” and you will hear it and see it, ALOT.) 

In fact, Italy is the birthplace of many of the coffee drinks you drink today, including cappuccino, espresso, macchiato, and latte, although ordering them at Starbucks is going to get you something very different than what you would get in Italy.

So, what are the principal coffee drinks in Italy?

(You can find your own espresso depresso t-shirt on Amazon, yasssss)


The drinks on a typical Italian coffee menu

Cappuccino

Cappuccino

  • Espresso - “Expressed”

    A strong shot of coffee and what is considered “normal coffee.” If you go into a bar and order a “caffè,” they will usually clarify by asking “caffè normale?” which of course, literally means normal coffee. It is drunk throughout the day at any time, and particularly after lunch and dinner to help digestion.

    You can order a “ristretto” (restricted) where the espresso shot is pulled early resulting in a shorter, stronger shot, or you can order a “lungo” (long) which is the opposite, a taller and waterier (is that a word?) shot of espresso.

    The name means “expressed” which could denote any or all of the three meanings of the word in English or Italian. First, the method in which espresso is made, where the steam “expresses” and pressures the coffee flavor into the water, second, that it is made quickly or “expressly,” and third, that it is made “expressly” for one person. This, however, still does not give you license to call it an “expresso,” mmk?

  • Macchiato - “Stained”

    You can order a macchiato two ways: A caffè macchiato or a latte macchiato. Caffè macchiato means “stained coffee” so you will get an espresso with a small dollop of milk, usually foamed. A latte macchiato means “stained milk” and will get you hot milk with some coffee served in a glass, with or without the foamy milk, depending on the different preparations.

  • Cappuccino - “Little Hood”

    The Italian coffee of choice for breakfast (and mine!) and probably doesn’t need much intro. The cappuccino, also called cappuccio which means just “hood,” got its name from the color of the hood of the Capuchin monks which it apparently resembles. According to this site (in Italian) a cappuccino should be 25ml of coffee and 125ml of milk with lots of foam.

    Oh, and you might have heard that you should never drink a cappuccino in Italy after noon or you’ll get kicked out of the country? Not exactly true. It’s mostly because, according to most Italians, milk upsets digestion unless it is a part of the traditional cappuccino and pastry breakfast in which the milk acts as an element of the meal.  But consuming milk after a heavier lunch or dinner, especially at night, is too much.  As this Italian Mamma explains, “When the casein in milk combines with the hot coffee, given the high temperature, it combines with the tannic acids characteristic of the drink (or rather the coffee); this meeting then produces a chemical composition that weighs down the digestion.” I’m not here to vouch if this is sound science or not, just quoting so you can get an idea of the Italian thinking. If you choose to abide by this “rule,” drink your cappuccino by itself or with a cookie, pastry, or something small and light and far away from mealtimes, breakfast aside.

  • Caffè Latte - “Milk Coffee”

    Or caffellatte. In America we have long since dropped the “caffè” and simply order a latte. This strategy in Italy, however, will simply get you a glass of milk. A caffè latte is essentially a cappuccino without the foam.

  • Caffè Americano - “American Coffee”

    A larger cup of weaker coffee in comparison to the classic espresso.  The classic way to prepare a caffè americano in Italy is to add hot water to an espresso.  Yum.  Not.  There are a few places you can find that have drip “American” coffee and even a few who do pour overs. 

  • Caffè Corretto - “Corrected Coffee”

    Because, normal coffee is not correct. It must be corrected, and with a small amount of liquor. The type of alcohol used can vary depending on the region, but usually grappa is used, sometimes brandy, Sambuco, or l’anice, a type of anise liquor, or even Bailey’s.

  • Caffè al Ginseng - “Ginseng Coffee”

    This is definitely one you should try, delicious even if it is a bit pre-fab. It is usually a powder mix they add to a machine and dispense as ordered, so not fresh coffee, but it’s a pungent and sweet little drink that I unabashedly love. You can order an “alto” tall or “basso” short, depending on if you want it to be the equivalent to roughly a shot of espresso or double shot. The sugar usually lies at the bottom so you’ll want to stir it before consuming.

    Ginseng has long been a part of Chinese medicine and has become popular around the world where you can find it in just about any store’s health supplement section. It is supposed to have many health benefits, including being a powerful antioxidant reducing inflammation, benefiting brain function, benefiting against cancer, boosting the immune system, increasing energy, lowering blood sugar, and having aphrodisiacal qualities. However, many of these studies seem to prove only the “may benefit” or “could help” factors with nothing concrete.

  • Marocchino - “Moroccan”

    Despite its name this drink was also invented in Italy, in Piemonte. At first glance it may seem just a cappuccino with cocoa, but it is much better than that. There are quite a few different preparations, but almost all include espresso, cocoa, and steamed milk served in a clear glass. Often the glass is first sprinkled with cocoa, then the espresso is added, then steamed milk and finally more cocoa. The official site of Illy (one of the top Italian coffee roasters, you’ve probably heard of them or seen their coffee in the States) gives the preparation for the Marocchino at home as thus: Place about 1 Tbsp / 10-15ml of hot chocolate in a glass, then prepare directly in the same cup about 2 Tbsp / 20-25ml of espresso, sprinkle with a thin layer of cocoa, then steam about 2 Tbsp / 25ml of milk and add to the glass over the cocoa.

  • Shakerato - “Shaken”

    Coffee shaken in a cocktail shaker with ice and if desired, sugar. The resulting refreshingly icy coffee with a bit of foam is usually served in a martini glass, sometimes a flute glass.

    I like this word because it is an English word that has been Italianified. I don’t think that’s even a word. “Sh” doesn’t exist in traditional Italian spelling, nor does “k.” They say a “sh” sound, but it is spelled with “sci” or “sce.” Essentially they took the word “shaker” and turned it into an Italian verb, shakerare, which means to shake drinks in a shaker. Then this drink’s name is the past tense, shakerato, meaning shaken. It makes me laugh, neither truly Italian or English!

  • Caffè d’Orzo - “Barley Coffee”

    For those who prefer decaffeinated drinks you have the choice between ordering your favorite coffee decaffeinated or with orzo / barley instead of coffee beans.

    Decaffeinated coffee, as you probably know, are coffee beans which have gone through a process to remove the caffeine. They process usually involves hot water and methylene chloride, of which trace amounts will end up in your coffee (it’s also used as paint stripper, yum). The USDA requires that a minimum of 97% caffeine be extracted for coffee beans to be considered decaffeinated. Decaffeinated coffee will always have a small amount of caffeine in it.

    Crushed barley is used much like coffee beans to attain a dark and bitter drink which assimilates coffee, although it has its own distinctive taste. It became popular during war times in Italy when coffee beans became too expensive. Unlike decaffeinated coffee, barley is completely caffeine free, but not suitable for those who can’t consume gluten.


The Italian coffee experience

You could parachute out of a plane and land just about anywhere in Italy and still be in sight of some place that sells coffee.

My happy face while trying the coffee at Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè, a historical cafe and roastery in Rome.

My happy face while trying the coffee at Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè, a historical cafe and roastery in Rome.

The Italian bar is a way of life here. “Bar” is a general term for any place that sells coffee. Often the name of the place has “bar” in the title, but this can also include any cafe or pasticceria that sells coffee. A bar usually has, what do you know, a bar with a rung at the bottom for standing comfortably with one foot propped up while you wait for and down your coffee.

Anytime you see an old friend or need to meet up with a colleague, you head to the nearest bar, offer them a caffè, throw it back, and you’re each on your way. And this can happen several times a day, because I don’t think I’ve met an Italian yet who stops at one coffee a day. It’s very different from the lingering 2 hour catch-up with friends or I’m-just-going-to-sit-here-and-use-the-free-wifi-on-my-computer-and-get-some-work-done experience in America. In fact, the very few times I’ve brought my computer and sat in a bar or pasticceria I felt very strange, and very millennial. Even if I linger over my coffee for more than say, 20 minutes, by the time I leave it’s a whole new crowd. The exception seems to be some of the older generation who will sit outside and people watch for hoursssss.

If you are looking for more of an American coffee shop type experience, there are a select few that are on the cutting edge, and these are the only ones that I don’t feel the oddball out if I linger too long or decide to bring my computer. You’ll find that the other young and international people who take their coffee seriously and felt more at home in a “coffee shop” type setting have gravitated to these places as well.

Then there are the restaurants, where you will always find caffè as your post-meal digestive, a must for many Italians, lunch or dinner!

For the best coffee around Florence, read this.

What are your favorite coffee drinks in Italy? Let me know in the comments below!