It’s not only that I happen to love this particular cookie recipe (which I often make myself in a slightly different version including red wine and fennel seeds) – Alice also picked the best possible time to contribute to Dinner In Venice! I’m taking a short family vacation and this guest post means: “YAY! More play time with the kids”. While Allie is not Italian herself, her trademark cuisine, showcased in her addictive blog Ally’s Kitchen, is simple but sophisticated, a perfect balance of flavors – qualities that many identify with contemporary Italian taste. Her dishes are eclectic and show many different cultural influences, but this time she is actually taking us on a virtual trip to Central Italy……
Italian roots run deep in my life—married first time around to a D’Antoni, I was very influenced in my culinary growth in early years by being in the family. With three sons who could eat you out of house and home, some of their favorite dishes were all Italian inspired—pastas especially!
Still having a close connection to this part of my life, recently Ben and I traveled to Italy and visited our D’Antoni family there staying in their gorgeous home in Poggio Mirteto where food is the heart of living and breathing. Amid the stunning olive orchards, wine vineyards and listening to the gentle crowing of roosters in early morning, each day began with deliciousness! The long table set for family and friends and prepared by the expert hands of Antonella, ‘breaking bread’ was more than food, it was layers of entertainment, hours of laughter and sharing, and all with even more family in a rustic warm setting of food, wine, good stories, and laughter!
One recipe that captured my heart was ‘Ciambellini di Magro’—Italian cookies crispy and subtly sweet with distinct hints of the rich olive oil and wine in them! I couldn’t get enough. Antonella, who spoke limited English, and I, who speak even less Italian, had no problems communicating in the kitchen—she shared with me the recipe writing it in Italian and ‘talking’ with her hands and gestures explaining how to execute. We laughed as we both knew we were in a festive game of ‘charades’ talking recipes, food, and cooking!
I’ve made these cookies three times since returning—sharing them with friends who come sit in my kitchen, I retell the story of Antonella & Ally in the kitchen—and, sharing them on my website and Facebook proved to be one of my most popular recipe posts!