Saturday, July 21, 2012

Gelato for Lunch?

Sure, why not? Italians do it all the time! Gelato is the perfect cool treat to break the heat. Under the scorching midday sun it's very acceptable in Italy to trade in your fork for a spoon. It's not uncommon for Italians to have 2 sometimes 3 gelatos in a day. In the evening the ritual passegiata or stroll with a cono in hand is a must. Families, couples, and friends come together in the evening to just wonder up and down the main street on their way to the gelateria. Gelato and summer go hand in hand and with less fat and calories of regular ice cream you don't have to feel bad about that second...or third scoop!

Gelato is regularly eaten in a cone or cup but it's also found its way in other delicious treats. The simple espresso is revamped with a dollop of gelato called an affogato. In Sicily, take a bite into your gelato with a warm brioche typically eaten in the morning. Adds a whole new meaning to the breakfast sandwich!

Try making your own gelato treats with our recipe below or stop by our kitchens and we can teach you how La Dolce Vita, Dessert & Pastry Making in Positano. Call us today to learn more!

Gelato Alla Crema ~ Italian Creamy Ice Cream  

Serves 12

3 cups Milk
1 1/4 cup Sugar
1 Vanilla Bean
1 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
8 egg yolks

Blend eggs with sugar. In a pot, bring the milk, vanilla bean and heavy cream to a boil.  Add in the egg-sugar mixture and cook on the stove on a very low flame.  (Temperature of this mixture should not exceed 205 F or else the eggs will scramble). Place in ice cream machine.

Note:  This is the basic recipe for “gelato”.  The “flavor” of the ice cream is determined by what ingredient you add to the milk-cream mixture.  For instance, vanilla bean, chocolate, coffee, tiramisu should all be added when you bring the milk and heavy cream to a boil in order to get that particular flavor. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer Zucchini with Pasta

If your farmer's market or garden is anything like ours - zucchini are everywhere! At the farmer's market they're piled high at every stand and in our gardens a new batch is coming in before we've had a chance to eat the first. Oh the stresses of summer!

One of our favorite ways to enjoy zucchini is Pasta with Zucchini, a Positano classic. It's a simple Mediterranean dish and you can always add your own twist, perhaps with a few quartered cherry tomatoes. For a more complete meal add some whole shrimp. Serve with a chilled bottle of Falanghina - compliments this dish perfectly on a warm summer evening.

Pasta e Zucchine ~ Pasta with Zucchini
Serves 4-6

4 zucchini, sliced into disks
Peanut (or olive) oil for frying
½ stick butter
Grated Parmesan cheese
Basil, ripped by hand 
Pasta, spaghetti or penne

Cut off ends of zucchini and slice into thin disks.  Heat a large pan with oil.  Test the oil with a piece of zucchini; it should rise to the top immediately when dropped in.  Add the zucchini until it covers the bottom of the pan and fry until golden on both sides (about 5 minutes). Drain on a paper towel and fry the rest of the zucchini in batches.  

The zucchini can be fried even the day before.  Then as you are boiling your pasta, prepare the final steps of the sauce.  In a frying pan, add butter and zucchini and heat.  Add several spoonfuls of grated Parmesan and rip basil leaves into zucchini mixture. 

Add cooked pasta to the zucchini and toss together for a minute over the heat before serving.  Serve sprinkled with additional Parmesan cheese and a basil leaf garnish. 

Email us anytime for more zucchini recipes...we've got plenty!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Music is in the Air in Ravello

Summer in Italy often means friends and family at the spiaggia with plates of pasta and fresh grilled fish,-Italian style barbecues-, Sunday afternoons with grilled spiedini, and of course, musica nella piazza, -live music in the square.  

Whether in a cafĂ© or an amphitheater, la musica Italiana, Italian music, comes alive as its surrounded by the beauty of nature and a starry night overhead in Italy. Now imagine a stage suspended on the cliffs of the beloved Amalfi coastline with the waves of the Tyrrhenian Sea as a background.  This is is the stage for the Ravello Music Festival at the Villa Rufolo.

From piano, to violin, to orchestras sometimes with 100 musicians hitting the high notes of Mozart, Verdi & Wagner, music lovers from around the globe come to for this festical held in Ravello.  The concert series, which showcases musicians from all over the world, is held in the the 13th century, Villa (and in the ancient village of Scala). Rufol0s' gardens are the inspirational setting for the world class series of open air concerts performed by both Italian and international musicians. The Ravello Summer Concert series began in 1953 in honor of Richard Wagner, and plays on all summer long.  For concerts and dates, visit  

At Cooking Vacations we can satisfy both your love of food and music with programs like Ravello~Music in the Kitchen with Chef Raffaele One-day and Five-day vacations.
Call us at 1.800.916.1152 to learn more about our cooking and music programs,- or any others!