September 22, 2014

2014 Cooking Tour

Maribel will be travelling to Massachusetts to teach Bolognese cooking as well as Cooking with Kale (Tuscan style). While the majority of the events scheduled are private events organized by friends, there is one event open to the public.

I will be teaching a cookery class on traditional Bolognese specialties at Shubie's MarketPlace in Marblehead, Massachusetts

The menu selected is a typical informal meal with Bolognese friends; while generous in terms of number of dishes, the recipes are simple to make.

Our menu at Shubies is as follows:
~ with Italian Charcuterie, Seasonal Fruit with Prosciutto/Speck and Mortadella Mousse.
~ Pasta with Ragu Bolognese
~ Seasonal vegetable dish
~ A "Caprese", a Flourless, Moist Chocolate Cake
~ Italian Semifreddo with fruit garnish

Shubie's Signature wines will be sampled with the food.

In order to reserve your seat, you need to contact Shubies' directly at 781-631-0149.
Space is limited. Reserve Today!

While I am in the USA, our team will still be available to teach in Bologna so if you are in Italy, go ahead and write me an email (see upper right hand corner) to schedule a cooking lesson in Bologna.
Peach semifreddo

Flourless Chocolate Cake (gluten free) 

September 20, 2014

Is It A Sauce Or A Ragu'?

Tagliatelle al Ragù (Bolognese)
Ever wonder what the difference is between a Ragu' and Sauce? You might think that they are one and the same since they all go with pasta. But there are differences which I will try to explain.

"Sugo" or sauce is a general term that indicates a fluid sauce. It can be a simple tomato sauce like a marinara or can include whole plum tomatoes and some other ingredients, cut small.

A ragu' is a thick, chunky sauce usually made by cooking several kinds of meat in a sauce, usually tomato. That said, a ragu' can also made with seafood, vegetables or a combination of these. 

The most famous ragu's in Italy are the Bolognese and the Napoletan but almost every region (and sometimes cities) have their own ragu'. In fact, its not necessary to specify which ragu' you are preparing or talking about unless you are talking about a ragu' from a different town!

A Bolognese ragu' is made with ground meat cooked with vegetables and a small amount of concentrated tomato, added for color. The Bolognese ragu' is served with tagliatelle pasta. The Napoletan ragu' has lots of onions and a big chuck of beef that cooks in the tomatoes for many hours. You are supposed to serve the beef flavored sauce with spaghetti or linguine pasta and serve the meat as a second course. Still the "sauce" is considered a ragu'. The Pugliese ragu' includes several types of meats including ribs, porkchops and beef. The "sauce" is served with orecchiette pasta while the meats are served as a second course. And again, the "sauce" is considered a ragu'. 

Its interesting to note that East coast American-Italians call their meat sauce "gravy" instead of sauce. Its clear that the old timers who emigrated to the US wanted to differentiate the fluid, tomato sauce from the meat sauce; just like the relatives back home distinguish "sugo" from "ragu".

Buon appetito!

June 27, 2014

Summer in Bologna

The weather's been unexpectedly mild. Mostly cool at night but warm and sometimes muggy during the day. But hey, who is complaining with all the wonderful things to do at night.

Just grab a nice gelato (from one of my favorite places) and head on to one of these events one evening.

There is the Slow Food market that takes place every Wednesday evening in Piazzetta Pasolini (Cinema Lumière), in via Azzo Gardino street in the Giardino Klemlen. You can buy your fruit, vegetables, organic bread and baked goods, cheeses, eggs... but you can also buy handcrafted beer, wine, enjoy cooked seafood and listen to music. Its a great way to spend some time with friends and enjoy the warm weather. For more info click here, please remember its on Wednesday evening (not on Monday).

Then there's the free evening movie in the main square: Piazza Maggiore shown in the original language with subtitles. For the complete schedule, check the Bologna Welcome site here.

There are numerous, mostly free, concerts that take place in town, for every age group and pocket. Check the Bologna Be' site.

June 25, 2014

The Best Gelato in Bologna

Taste of
Cremeria Santo Stefano
No matter what the temperature, Italian gelato is always popular way to entertain our palate! Some of my favorite shops (all with lactose-free, vegan and gluten-free options) follow, in no particular order:

Cremerie Santo Stefano, Via Santo Stefano 14 Galleria 49 (ex-Stefino's), for its fabulous almond Sicilian granita and its Cream with a hint of lemon zest ice cream.

Stefino Bio, Stefino separated from his partners (above) and has opened shop on via San Vitale. A good number of his gelatos, sorbetti an granita are dairy-free and even vegan. All ingredients are organic.

Cremeria Scirocco in Via Barelli 1/C, Bologna, BO 40138.
fabulous and unusual flavors, all rigorously made with high quality and natural ingredients.

Gelatauro on via San Vitale
Any of their chocolate flavors (chocolate with hot pepper, chocolate laced with orange) or creamy nutty  flavours are fabulous.

Sorbetteria Castiglione, in Via Castiglione 44 for its fabulous dark chocolate and cassata Siciliana flavors.

The Sorbetteria has expanded and now has 2 outposts on Via Murri 81 and in Via Saragozza 83 (on the way up or back from San Luca, which is another good reason to visit San Luca!)

Although fattier and/or sweeter than my tastebuds are used to, many of my friends swear by these Gelaterie:

Cremeria Funivia, Piazza Cavour 1

Gelateria Islanda, Via Saragozza 65

Grom on via d'Azeglio. While they do use several Slow Food Presidium ingredients in their ice creams, Grom gelato is not an artisanal product as they receive the ingredients and mixes from their headquarters in Piedmont.

PS don't abide by any of the lists you see out there, do your own research and decide for yourself :)!

Another article on Gelato in Bologna:

March 27, 2014

Edible Books Festival in Bologna

The International Edible Books Festival 2014 will take place in Bologna, Italy on April 1st. Every participant will present an edible "book", or something that represents a literary work in some way and includes words. In other words, a book to eat!

Several local chefs will present their edible books/works of art. Taste of Italy will present a cooked Bolognese lasagna (fresh pasta, Bolognese ragù, Parmigiano cheese and home made Bechamel sauce). The text on the lasagna reads: Spaghetti Bolognese does not exist. The idea came about to destroy the myth that Bolognese ragu' is served with spaghetti. Never! With spaghetti, the ragu' stays in the bottom of the dish. In Bologna we serve our namesake sauce with fresh noodles, tagliatelle, which holds the ragù so you actually get to eat the pasta with the sauce.

The highest bidder will take a one of a kind, edible piece of art home, just in time for dinner! All proceeds will go to help the Ruffilli Library in Bologna, Italy.

More details as to how this event came to be and why its held on April 1st can be found at

To participate in the event, Just follow the following link: Hope to see you there!