This is our favorite way to handle an overabundance of produce—depending on the season you can make a filling with mixed berries, apples and cinnamon or ricotta and marmalade. Here Liam uses a mix of ripe figs, honey and a dash of vincotto. The wine (vincotto translates to “cooked wine”) deepens the flavor and rounds out the sweetness of the figs, leaving you with a balanced and elegant dessert. Enjoy!
FIG CROSTATA RECIPE
For the crust:
300g flour + more for dusting
140g butter, room temperature
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1 ½ Tbs baking powder (or 1 packet of Italian bkg powder w vanilla)
For the filling:
6 cups of fresh ripe and plump figs
¾ cup honey
1 T a.p. Flour
3 T butter, cubed into small pieces
1 T vin cotto
Roll the dough to about ½” thickness. Place in a 10” pie pan.
Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the filling and put in the pie pan. Fold the outer edges of the dough around the perimeter of the fig filling. Brush the dough with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Put in refrigerator for 1 hour before baking at 375 for 30-45 minutes.
This is our favorite way to handle an overabundance of produce—depending on the season you can make a filling with mixed berries, ...
We love those recipes that are low effort, maximum reward and that’s exactly what this truffle frittata is. With so few ingredients, quality is paramount—we recommend using Tartufi Bianconi’s delicious truffle flavored oil to impart a taste of Italy into your frittata.
TRUFFLE FRITTATA RECIPE
Truffle sauce or “Truffled Flavoured Oil” from Tartufi Bianconi
-Beat the eggs with salt and a few teaspoons of your favorite truffle sauce or oil.
-Heat olive oil in a skillet and cook the omelette on both sides—serve with truffled mashed potatoes.
We love those recipes that are low effort, maximum reward and that's exactly what this truffle frittata is. With so few ingredients, ...
To continue with our celebration of cheeses, we’re enjoying one of Italy’s finest formaggi in a simple but decadent way. Almost perfect on its own, pecorino gets a boost from a generous drizzle of good olive oil and cracked black pepper. Buon appetito!
1 lb pecorino
1/2 c olive oil
Black pepper, ground coarsly
-Break or cut the cheese into small bite-sized cubes, about 1 inch.
-Toss with the olive oil and black pepper. Put in a serving bowl and cover.
-Let the cheese marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving. Can be made ahead but should be served at room temperature.
To continue with our celebration of cheeses, we're enjoying one of Italy's finest formaggi in a simple but decadent way. Almost perfect ...
Love cheese? Join us for our Cheese of the Month Tasting featuring Sweet Grass Dairy on Wed, August 1 or reserve a seat at our Cheesemaker Dinner with Sweet Grass Dairy on Fri, August 10. Better yet, come to both!
I didn’t know all that much about Murray’s cheese before my most recent trip to New York City. Basically, I knew it was a famous shop that sold good cheese and was willing to wholesale to me. Now that I’ve been, I’m in love.
Here at Via Umbria we deal with a lot of different cheese producers from all over Italy, the United Kingdom, the rest of Europe and the United States. Walking into the shop on Bleeker Street I felt right at home. It wasn’t that I recognized every single cheese they were selling (although there were quite a few familiar faces)—it was that I could tell I was somewhere that cared about sourcing great cheese from great producers. It was awesome, and I was ready to taste.
You may know of Murray’s as an excellent purveyor of fine cheeses, but what most don’t know is that Murray’s is also an affineur (an ager of cheese). A few days after visiting the store, we were fortunate to travel to glamorous Long Island City to tour their “caves” (it’s actually a set of climate and humidity controlled rooms—I don’t think there’s much in the way of caves in Queens). And learned a bit about the history of these cheeses.
If you’ve read my blog post about Neal’s Yard Dairy in London, it’s a pretty similar story. A cheese shop taking care of their cheese decided to reach out to some producers and get things specially for the shop. In the case of NYD, they preserved a whole range of traditional British cheeses. At Murray’s, it was a case of innovation. The team took cheeses that were already in production and began to age them differently. They started inoculating cheeses with different molds and washing rinds of varieties that weren’t typically washed. In short, they were creating some deliciousness. They even worked in a dairy lab upstate with some local milk to make their own cheese from scratch—a delightful cheddar that tastes almost like cheddar-swiss hybrid.
We’re so pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Murray’s team, as well as all the other cheesemakers and cheese lovers that we partner with. Stop on by and ask to try some of our cheeses!
Love cheese? Join us for our Cheese of the Month Tasting featuring Sweet Grass Dairy on Wed, August 1 or reserve a seat ...
This past April on a trip to VinItaly, Suzy and I snuck off for a day to indulge our sweet tooths with a tour with two of our favorite Panettone producers—Loison and Filippi. One step (or really one sniff) inside the baking facility at Loison and we knew we had made the right choice. Even during their off season, a time when there are no ovens on, no cakes baking, and no ingredients in sight, the entire factory smelled like sugar, butter, and fluffy, decadent cake. We wandered around the production line—looking at the giant (seriously huge) stand mixers where they carefully mix the panettone dough, coaxing the ingredients to combine together in just the right way to create the light, airy cakes, the enormous ovens that bake hundreds of carefully handcrafted cakes at a time, and the inventive machines that flip those cakes upside-down straight from the oven to keep their shape. If you’ve never seen the process I definitely encourage you to take a look—it’s pretty incredible. And for those of you who have ever had any doubts about whether or not the Italians are some of the most thoughtful, patient, and purposeful people on the planet take my word for it- one bite of a perfectly baked Panettone is all you need to change your mind.
In addition to the attention to detail during the baking process two other aspects of the production of the Panettone really stood out to me. The first being the pride that emanated from the bakers at both facilities as they walked us through each flavor of Panettone they were preparing to make for this holiday season (between 20-35 each) and exactly where every single ingredient in each of those cakes was sourced. Single origin chocolate drops from Domori, untreated Madagascar vanilla beans (and never any artificial flavors), free range eggs, figs from Calabria, Lemons from Sicily and fresh milk delivered every day during the baking season; each ingredient is carefully selected for it’s quality of production and taste to create the perfect marriage of flavors for each cake. As the Pastry Chefs at Filippi say “Just as in an orchestra, to create a symphony, every instrument has to be in harmony with the whole, so it does not suffice that every ingredient is good on its own. Each ingredient has to amalgamate well with all the others…” Each year they revisit the flavors of the year prior, sampling dozens of varieties of fruits, nuts, and honeys, ensuring that their cakes are always created using the just the ideal balance of flavors and ingredients.
The second aspect that the Pastry Chefs at both Loison and Filippi were quick and proud to point out is that each one of their cakes is hand wrapped in paper and tied with a bow. Out of context that may not seem like a big deal but when you think about the thousands of cakes being produced every Christmas and the intricate and precise wrapping each of these cakes is adorned with you really start to get a sense of the magnitude of this process. And the result is spectacular—3as they said at Loison “The result is a product that is more than just a baked good: it’s also a gift, a furnishing item and a piece of art.” It’s clear in speaking with them that there is no detail of the panettone making process that is overlooked and the result of all of that effort and attention to detail is the essential (and most delicious) emblem of the Christmas holiday.
Don’t just take my word for it though- come see and sample for yourself! On July 25th we’ll be celebrating Christmas in July- we’re so looking forward to the holiday season that we can’t possibly wait any longer. Stop by our market and taste samples of this year’s spectacular concoctions, see that intricate and delicate paperwork and ribbons adorning these beautiful parcels and pre-order some of your favorites.
This past April on a trip to VinItaly, Suzy and I snuck off for a day to indulge our sweet tooths with ...
Filled with toasty fregola sarda and delicious summer vegetables like sweet peppers, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, Chef Simone’s panzanella is a classic summer cookout staple. The crisp vegetables offer a bright contrast to the tender cooked grains—Simone’s Summer Salad is the star of every BBQ.
SIMONE’S SUMMER SALAD
I cup raw Fregola Sarda
2 cups hot water
– Boil the water and cook the Fregola. Once tender, drain and let cool.
-Dice all the veggies and toss with salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste.
-Once the Fregola is cool, mix with the prepped vegetables and sprinkle with fresh basil.
Filled with toasty fregola sarda and delicious summer vegetables like sweet peppers, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, Chef Simone’s panzanella is a classic ...
ASPARAGUS AND RHUBARB SALAD
10 stalks asparagus – ends broken off
3 stalks rhubarb – slightly shaved
2 cups pea shoots
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Lightly brush asparagus with olive oil and roast until tender. Slice into 1” pieces. Slice the rhubarb into matchsticks. Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil and honey. Toss asparagus and rhubarb with dressing in a serving bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with pea shoots and lemon zest.
STRAWBERRY AND ASPARAGUS SALAD
1 pint strawberries sliced
4 cups baby arugula
10 stalks asparagus – ends broken off
Goat Lady Chevre
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Lightly brush asparagus with olive oil and roast until tender. Slice into 1” pieces. Put arugula in a serving bowl and add strawberries. Whisk together vinegar and olive oil – season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the arugula and strawberries. Top with dollops of goat cheese and almonds.
FAVA BEANS AND PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS
1 pound fava beans shelled
3 Portobello Mushrooms cleaned
¼ pound aged pecorino shaved
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup white wine vinegar
1 T dijon mustard
Steam fava beans for 1-2 minutes (should still be bright green) remove from heat and put on ice to quick chill. Slice portobellos. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar and mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss together mushrooms and cooled favas. Top with pecorino and serve.
ASPARAGUS AND RHUBARB SALAD
10 stalks asparagus - ends broken off
3 stalks rhubarb - slightly shaved
2 cups pea shoots
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup ...
Umbria is famous for its Norcinos – butchers – creating cuts to be grilled, roasted and cured. This Father’s Day our Norcino shares his in-house seasoning blend inspired by the flavors of Norcia. The fragrant and summery flavors of wild fennel and citrus provide a piquant and unexpected twist to a classic summer BBQ. Fennel pollen can be purchased in-store—just ask at the butcher counter.
HOUSE SPICE RUB
1 lb Sicilian fleur de sel
1 oz fennel pollen
2 oz coarse black pepper
2 oz muscovado sugar
2 oz dried orange zest
-Mix together blend ingredients and store in an air-tight container. Makes 1 1/2 lbs.
To use: rub steak, chicken, etc. with extra-virgin olive oil. Rub 1 oz. of seasoning per every 1 lb of meat and allow to marinate at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. Grill, roast, smoke, sous vide or cook however you like.
Note: this blend is also great on roasted olives tossed in good olive oil.
Umbria is famous for its Norcinos - butchers - creating cuts to be grilled, roasted and cured. This Father’s Day our Norcino ...
This recipe for whole-baked fish with olives comes to us from Elizabeth Minchilli, who enlisted a team of Italian mammas and nonnas to perfect it. After tinkering with her method and recipe for 25 years, she says she’s finally nailed it. The result is a tender roasted fish, flavored with briny green olives and bright, bursting cherry tomatoes. Spoiler alert: this might be our favorite recipe from her new book.
WHOLE-BAKED FISH WITH OLIVES
2 whole fish with the head on, cleaned and scaled (you can ask the fishmonger to do this for you)
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley
8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup briny green olives, unpitted
Olive oil (about ¼ cup)
Freshly ground black pepper
–Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
–Oil one fish generously, seasoning the cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff parsley and a few olives into the cavity and scatter half of the olives and tomatoes around the fish. Place fish on parchment or aluminum foil and repeat with the other fish.
–Wrap each fish, creating a seal so steam won’t escape. Bake for about 25 minutes, then let rest for 10 minutes
–To serve, place on platter, open the packet, and debone the fish. Pour the juices from the parchment paper along with the olives and tomatoes on top of the fish.
This recipe for whole-baked fish with olives comes to us from Elizabeth Minchilli, who enlisted a team of Italian mammas and nonnas to perfect it. ...
Guests from our most recent Chef’s Dinner (“Spring in Puglia”) will recognize this creamy-cool burrata with fiery peperoncino from the menu. As striking as it is, it’s remarkably simple to pull off and is a great way to end the day during those hot summer months.
BURRATA WITH PEPERONCINO CREMA
1 pc Fresh Burrata
2 t of Calabrian Hot pepper paste
1 t fennel pollen
1 t smoked sea salt
–Cut burrata in half, remove the stracciatella and place in a separate bowl. Add hot pepper paste to your liking and the fennel pollen. Once combined, use a spoon to put it back into the cavity of the burrata and set aside.
-To plate: Put about 2 tablespoons of the cold fava bean puree (recipe follows) down on the plate and place 1 burrata half alongside it. Add a small garnish of baby greens tossed with lemon and olive oil. Season the burrata with a pinch of smoked sea salt and finish with EVOO. Garnish with Taralli.
FAVA BEAN PUREE
2 cups fava beans, blanched, shells removed
1 small onion, small dice
1ea garlic clove, sliced
2 T mint leaves
-Sauté the onion in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and fava beans; sauté for 2 minutes on medium-high heat.
-Add about 1.5 cups water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Immediately turn off heat and transfer to a blender.
-Add the mint, and about ½ cup EVOO and puree on high speed till smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt. Reserve and cool.
Guests from our most recent Chef's Dinner ("Spring in Puglia") will recognize this creamy-cool burrata with fiery peperoncino from the menu. As ...
There are few greater joys in life than digging into an exceptional plate of pasta. The combination of perfectly hand rolled noodles and a rich, textured sauce is honestly what most of my dreams are made of. But no matter how many plates of pasta I delve into, no matter how many restaurants I visit, there is simply nothing that compares to the steaming bowl of chitarra with fresh spring peas we enjoyed on our most recent trip to Florence. It may not sound like much, but that combination of handmade chitarra with spring peas epitomizes the best of Italian cooking: simple ingredients and enormous flavor.
While nothing will truly match the experience of climbing down a tiny, steep stairway tucked away by the Ponte Vecchio and then descending into an impossibly small dining room bursting with mouthwatering scents and at least two too many tables, the magic of simple springtime pasta can be reproduced anywhere. This past Wednesday I was fortunate enough to witness this as Via Umbria’s Chef Liam LaCivita put his own twist on my personal favorite dish: his stringozzi with guanciale and fava bean puree was an exceptionally light yet toothsome pasta with the bright, fresh and almost nutty flavor of fava beans. Rounded out with the richness of guanciale, it was a rare, transportive moment.
For those of you who missed out, don’t fret. There are plenty of beautiful vegetables coming in season and I have no doubt that Chef Liam will be putting them to good use. Join us for one of our Sunday Pastapaloozas and enjoy Rigatoni Carbonara with English Peas, or for a Couples Cooking Class and learn how to make Roasted Eggplant with Fresh Ricotta and Mint, or grab a seat in our Cafe and enjoy one of the new springtime updates to our new lunch menu. Whatever way you choose to indulge, don’t miss out on the perfection that is springtime produce.
Italian food runs on simplicity, both in its ingredients and its technique. It’s how our kitchen operates, and it’s how the best Italian cooking is born. Please note that there are a few stipulations, however: 1.) Your ingredients must have integrity, 2.) your technique must be thoughtful and 3.) you shouldn’t ever skimp on parmesan.
This recipe for a simple, 10-minute pasta encompasses these three pillars of Italian cuisine. It’s the dish Lindsey describes as “a little sweet and a little salty, simultaneously fluffy and velvety,” and one you’ll surely return to again and again.
PASTA WITH SPRING PEAS
Fresh chitarra for four (bought or homemade)
2 cups fresh peas, shelled
1/2 stick butter
Freshly grated parmesan
–Bring salted water to a boil. Add peas and cook for 2-3 minutes until just tender and bright green. Remove from pot and add pasta. Cook 2-3 minutes until al dente.
–Divide the peas into two containers. Add butter and a drizzle of olive oil to one and puree using an immersion blender.
-When pasta is cooked add to pea puree, stir together until generously coated. Add pasta water and a drizzle of olive oil as needed.
-Put in serving bowl. Top with remaining peas and grated parmesan and serve.
There are few greater joys in life than digging into an exceptional plate of pasta. The combination of perfectly hand rolled noodles ...