During my last week in Italy (back in September) I was busier than ever.
In Venice I met with Gianni Bonaccorsi, chef-owner of my favorite restaurant in Venice, Il Ridotto, who generously agreed to give me the recipe for his pistachio "flan" cake. Rather than give me a written description, he had me come back
the next morning so I could watch him prepare the dessert for that day's guests. The recipe should be posted to Allrecipes.it, and hopefully translated to the English site at some point, but it's actually pretty simple:
“Flan” di Pistacchio
Per circa 20-25 porzioni
500g burro morbido ma non sciolto!
500g zucchero a velo
250g farina per dolci - fine
250g farina di pistacchio (pistacchi tritati finissimi)
5g lievito puro o 16g lievito per dolci
Amalgamare bene lo zucchero e il burro, mescolando per alcuni minuti.
Aggiungere le uova, 2 alla volta, amalgamando bene ogni volta
Aggiungere la farina e la farina di pistacchi, poco a poco e mescolando sempre
Aggiungere lo lievito, mescolare un po’ poi versare l’impasto in uno stampo di metallo per muffin e infornare a 170 gradi per 10-11 minuti. Si può servire con gelato al pistacchio.
Keep in mind this is the daily recipe for the whole restaurant, so using half or even a quarter of the ingredients might be a good idea. The pistachio flour can be ordered here in the US for a pretty reasonable price online.
In the middle of the week I took a train south to Rimini, to visit Marina, a former teacher of mine who gives vegetarian cooking lessons. She reminded me that the key to the best, simplest dishes in Italian cuisine is the freshness
and quality of the ingredients. In her basic tomato sauce recipe she uses a mix of cherry and plum tomatoes and prefers to cook it quickly rather than let it simmer, for a brighter flavor. Marina also showed me around the old Borgo of Rimini, and the beachfront
Grand Hotel, which was famously the setting for several scenes in the Fellini film Amarcord.
I returned to Venice only briefly, because the next day I put on my hiking boots and headed north for a weekend in the Italian Alps. It's shocking how quickly the landscape changes. I left Venice at sea level, but after only a couple
hours of driving I found myself in an Alpine valley, hiking to a pass at a couple thousand meters of altitude.
One of the most distinctive meals during my stay in Italy was the goulash, sausage and polenta I had at Rifugio Maria, at the summit of Piz Boè (3150m). The little chalet has its beer and non-perishables delivered biweekly by helicopter,
while meats and bread are carried up the steep ascent daily.
This post marks the end of my time in Italy over the past few months. I'm actually in China now, and while I've been enjoying the local food in Shanghai all week, revisiting the last week of my summer internship is certainly making me
crave some pasta.
A big thank you to everyone who has found my blog posts interesting and commented, and to Allrecipes for making this possible!