Italian recipes: Easter egg bread! | Senza categoria

Italian recipes: Easter egg bread!

Many typical recipes are prepared in Italy for Easter; peaple are happy to go out and wellcome the sun back in the sky…try to make the easter egg bread and take it for your outdoor springtime lunches!

Ingredients:

1 package Rapid Rise yeast
1.25 cups scalded milk, cooled to room temperature
pinch of salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar

3.5 cups flour (approximate)
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
6 dyed Easter eggs
sprinkles

Indications:

In a large mixer bowl, combine yeast, warm (not hot) milk, salt, butter, eggs and sugar. Add about half the flour and beat until smooth with dough hook.   Slowly add the remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Don’t worry about how much flour it ends up being, just keep adding until the dough is not sticky anymore.  Knead until smooth with either dough hook attachment or turn out on floured board and knead. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.

Punch dough down, divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1 inch thick rope about 14 inches long and, taking two pieces, twist to form a “braid”, pinching the ends,  and loop into a circle.

Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until double, about an hour again. Brush each bread with beaten egg wash. Put on the sprinkles. In the middle of each bread ring, gently place an Easter egg, making an indentation with the egg.

Bake at 350 degrees until golden – about 20 – 25 minutes. Cool on rack.

(source: http://italiandish.squarespace.com/imported-20090913150324/2008/3/19/italian-easter-bread.html)

So what are you waiting for? Cook it and surprise everyone!

Are you interested in traditional Italian dishes? Take one of our Italian cooking courses at Institute Galilei, and choose the menu you want to study!

Italian recipes: Easter egg bread! | Senza categoria

Italian slang: Avere un chiodo fisso in testa…

Literally: to have a nail fixed in the head. But don’t worry, not in reality!

Avere un chiodo fisso in testa means to be fixated on something; to have a mania, something that keeps our mind concentrated just on it. It could be something like “Jane thinks always about her boyfriend…she’s fixated on him!”

This is a common Italian slang! Would you like to learn more and more of them? Take a look to our Italian language personalized courses.

Italian recipes: Easter egg bread! | Senza categoria

Art history and more: Dante’s stone

We all know Dante Alighieri for his importance in the Italian language and literature. During his life he was also a lively character of the Florentine life and in Florence there are many Dantesque places; churches, streets and corners where Dante used to go and to spend his time. It may happen that you can face the place where the Dante’s Stone used to be, and recognize it from a simple marble plate with the inscription “Sasso di Dante” (Dante’s Stone).

It was located in the Duomo square, between Piazza delle Pallottole and via dello Studio. Dante used to sat on that stone, whatching the construption of the Cathedral.

For more information about this curiosity, check the following link (in Italian) – http://firenzecuriosita.blogspot.com/

Discover the secrets of Florence with our guided visits and art history courses at Institute Galilei!

Italian recipes: Easter egg bread! | Senza categoria

Italian recipes: Torta pasqualina!

Easter is already approaching! We can feel it in the air…so why not surprise your guests with a special and savoury typical Italian easter recipe? Try to bake the Torta Pasqualina your own!

The Torta Pasqualina finds its origins in Liguria, a region in northeastern Italy. It is mostly made of a green mixture; the most common is swiss chard but you can also use spinaches or arugula. In Liguria they add to the mixture a slightly sour fresh cheese called prescinsena in place of the ricotta. Originally, the Torta was made with layers of filling alternated with paper-thin sheets of pastry: 33 layers of dough were used representing each year of Christ’s life. Also, 12 eggs were added to represent the apostoles. The one we propose here is an easier one,  made with 2 layers of douogh forming a top and a bottom crust. Good luck in the kitchen!

Ingredients for the dough

  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water

Ingredients for the filling

  • 10-12 ounces Swiss chard, washed and trimmed
  • 10-12 ounces spinach, washed and trimmed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 6 eggs, divided
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
  • Olive oil

To make the dough:
Combine the flour and  salt  in a large bowl. Stir in the oil and 1/2 cup water to make a smooth, non-sticky dough.   Knead just to bring the dough together. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, one three times the size of the other.  Wrap each piece with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.

To make the filling:
Combine the Swiss chard and 1/2 cup water in a large pot. Cover and cook over medium heat until tender and wilted, about 10 minutes. Add the spinach and season with salt.  Cook 5 more minutes or until spinach is wilted.   Drain the greens and allow to cool. Squeeze out as much water as possible from the greens.   Place on a cutting board and finely chop.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter.  Add the onions and cloves. Cover and cook over medium heat until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes.   Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, beat 2 eggs until blended. Add the greens, onions, ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan, marjoram, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Oil a 9-inch springform pan.

On a floured surface, roll out the larger piece of dough to a 15-inch circle. Place the dough into the pan, pressing it against the bottom and up the sides.   The ends will overhang the edge of the pan.
Add the filling to the pan and smooth the top. Make four evenly spaced indentations in the filling.   Carefully break on egg into one of the indentations. Repeat with the remaining 3 eggs.
Sprinkle each egg with some of the remaining tablespoon of Parmesan.

Roll out the smaller piece of dough. Cut out a 9-inch circle, using the bottom of the pan as a guide, if desired. Place the dough circle on top of the filling. Trim the overhanging dough to 1-inch.   Fold the dough inside the pan over the edge of the dough circle.   With your fingers, crimp the rolled edge to seal.  Brush the top of the dough with olive oil. Make several small slits in the top crust. Bake for 45 minutes, or until browned.   The top with puff up during baking but will relax when cooled. Cool on a wire rack about 10 minutes before removing the side of the pan. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Wanna learn more typical Italian dishes? Try our Italian cooking courses at Institute Galilei held by professional chefs!

Italian recipes: Easter egg bread! | Senza categoria

Italian literature: Eugenio Montale

Eugenio Montale was a poet, journalist and Italian critic who was awarded of the Nobel price in 1975.

Despite his technical studies, he always showed a special attraction to writing and reading; in his young ages, he used to spend the great part of his time between the many libraries of his town, Genova, and also used to follow the University’s philosophy lessons with his older sister.

Montale was a self-taught man; he took inspiration from many Italian previous writers, such as Dante Alighieri, and the places of his life (the Levante, eastern Liguria) were so important in his formation.  During the World War I, he asked to be sent to the front but came back just after one experience.

He didn’t write many works but all of them are very intense. Most of his writing life was devoted to the newspaper Corriere della Sera. He came in contact with some Hermetic poets, but wasn’t an Hermetist. The raise of the fascist regime higly influenced him, who felt detached from contemporary society and found refuge in the solitude of nature, a fact that can be easily recognised in his first poetry collection, Ossi di seppia (Cuttlefish bones). his later works were more dry and ironic. Following, one of his poems:

Bring Me the Sunflower

Bring me the sunflower so I can transplant it
here in my own field burned by salt-spray,
so it can show all day to the blue reflection of the sky
the anxiety of its golden face.

Darker things yearn for a clarity,
bodies fade and exhaust themselves in a flood
of colors, as colors do in music. To vanish,
therefore, is the best of all good luck.

Bring me the plant that leads us
where blond transparencies rise up
and life evaporates like an essence;
bring me the sunflower sent mad with light.

Montale became famous all over the world and gained honorary degrees by the University of Milan, Cambridge, Rome, and has also been Senator-of-life in the Italian senate.

Discover this and many other Italian writers with our Italian literature courses – on request, we create special programs for Italian literature.

Italian recipes: Easter egg bread! | Senza categoria

Italian modern art: Fausto Melotti

Fausto Melotti has been a very influent italian sculpturer and painter, who revolutioned ‘900 plastic art.

Born in Rovereto in 1901, he lived his artistic life in Florence, where he got in contact with many writers and artists of the time and where he could experience first hand the masterpieces of Giotto, Simone Martini, Botticelli and Michelangelo. He kept contact with his hometown, and he had there some important friendships with Fortunato Depero and with the architecht Gino Pollini, who founded the Italian rationalism.

Melotti studied first music, and then decided to devote himself to sculpture. His style changes between different times but always keeps a reseach for shapes and an almost musical rhythm. His link with metaphysical art and in particular with Lucio Fontana is highly recognisable in his work.

His sculpture lies mostly on a “mental” state, and it’s very sinthetic also with the materials used: ceramic, and mostly steel. Everyone of his work is hironic and surreal.

Discover your own style with our drawing & painting courses at Institute Galilei!

Italian recipes: Easter egg bread! | Senza categoria

Italian slang: Essere tra le nuvole…

It’s something that happens often in springtime! Have you ever experienced the feeling of being somewhere else than where you actually are? That’s what we define in Italian Essere tra le nuvole, which means to daydream, to be “in the clouds”…but without flying of course! 😀

italian slang, italian learning in florence, italian classes in florence, italian courses, italian courses florence, holidays in tuscany, holidays in florence

Maybe you’re in love? Maybe you’re bored and you would like to be in a wonderful place? Your eyes look towards the sky and you seem to be asleep…with your eyes open! You’re tra le nuvole…a good thing to feel happy…but mind your steps!

Wanna learn more about Italian colloquial expression? Have a look to our intensive fully-personalized Italian courses.

Italian recipes: Easter egg bread! | Senza categoria

Italian wines: Chianti Classico

This fine wine, one of the most Italian wines indeed, is generally remember for its typical bottle called fiasco, a squat battle encloses in a straw basket although nowadays this particular bottle is used only by a few wine makers.

Chianti’s original recipe was developed by Baron Bettino Ricasoli and it’s composed by 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo and 15% Malvasia Bianca. The growing area is comprehending many villages surrounding Florence. You can recognize a real Chianti bottle thanks to the pictures of a black rooster (in Italian gallo nero) printed in the neck of the bottle, which represents the Chianti producers association.

The taste of Chianti wines tend to be medium-bodied with a medium acidity degree and firm tannins completed with floral accents, cherry and nutty notes. However, the taste may slightly change depending on the exact area of growth.

Also this wine is recognized as DOCG.

If you want to know more about the Chianti story, check the following link – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chianti

Passion for wines? Take a look to our Wine tasting tours page, held in Montalcino and in Chianti!