Panettone Pudding (“Budino di Panettone”)

The holiday season just wouldn’t be the same without Italian panettone to enjoy. And luckily, if you don’t get through a whole one there are some great things to do with the leftovers. A simple way to enjoy it is sliced and toasted and then spread generously with butter or mascarpone, or you could, as we did, try this excellent recipe for “panettone pudding”.

Finished Pudding

From “The Concise Gastronomy of Italy” by Anna Del Conte

Serves 4-6

About 7 slices regular panettone (I had some mini panettone to play with so did two layers of 9 slices each in an 8″ baking dish)

2 tbsp rum or brandy

1 tbsp Marsala

1 1/4 cups light cream

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Grated rind of 1 small lemon

1/2 cup sugar

3 extra large eggs



Heat the oven to 325 degrees F

Cut the panettone into thin slices. Sprinkle with the alcohol

Bring the cream and milk slowly to the boil with the cinnamon, lemon rind and sugar. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.

Beat the eggs very lightly together and then pour in the milk mixture, beating constantly.

Butter a heatproof dish. Put the panettone in it and pour over the custard mixture. Put the bowl in a roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come about two-thirds of the way up the sides of the bowl. Place in the preheated oven and bake for one to one and a quarter hours until set.

Remove the bowl from the roasting pan, allow the pudding to cool and chill until ready to serve.

Pane Frattau

Pane Carasau is a thin, crisp flatbread from the island of Sardinia. Its origins date back hundreds of years, when shepherds would take the bread on extended trips into the mountains, its crispness ensuring it would last for many months.pane carasau

It has many uses: traditionally Sardinian shepherds ate it with sheep’s cheese or olive oil but it also works well as a base for cheese or meats.

A classic Sardinian dish which uses this bread is pane frattau, where it is softened in stock and then layered with tomato sauce and cheese and finally topped with a poached egg.

Tomato Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large clove garlic, chopped finely

A pinch of chili flakes

28oz can of whole San Marzano tomatoes

Red wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

For the sauce, cook the garlic and chili flakes in olive oil for a minute or two, and then add the can of tomatoes. Simmer for 45 to 60 minutes until the sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally to break up the tomatoes. Season to taste with red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper.

To assemble the pane frattau, briefly soak pieces of pane carasau in hot stock to make them pliable. I used vegetable stock but a meat one would work as well. Put the bread on a plate, spoon over some tomato sauce and then sprinkle over some grated Pecorino cheese. Repeat for two more layers, and then finish with a poached egg on top.

pane frattau

This is a dish that is pretty easy to make and assemble, but the result is delicious

Four Great Wines for Summer Celebrations

Summer is for celebrating. Here are four great wines that are sure to please everyone at your festivities or just a nice quiet evening al fresco with friends and loved ones.

  1. Cavazza Prosecco Cavazza Prosecco

At this time of year, no gathering is complete without a chilled bottle of fizzy. Cavazza Prosecco ($11.99) is a great choice. It is “frizzante” meaning it has a light sparkle. It has a delicate fruity bouquet and is fresh, dry and bubbly on the palate. Perfect on its own it also mixes well if you’re in the mood for a bellini or a mimosa.

2. Primaterra Chardonnay Primaterra Chardonnay

If the word “Chardonnay” triggers thoughts of big, oaky wines, Primaterra Chardonnay could be a real eye opener for you. A great value wine at $8.99 it is unoaked, making it crisp and clean with apple and pear aromas and pleasant fruit on the palate. Great for summer drinking and outdoor picnics.

3. Viticcio “Bere” Viticcio Bere

If summer means cooking in the backyard then you could be on the look out for an easy, drinkable red that can stand up to those meats on the grill. Viticcio “Bere” ($12.99) is a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon that see a little oak aging resulting in a wine that is bright red in color with red berry aromas and cherry hints on the palate. Perfect with burgers, sausages or steaks it also pairs really well with pizza and tomato based pasta dishes.

4. Tintero Moscato d’Asti Tintero Moscato

Finally, a touch of sweetness from Tintero Moscato d’Asti ($13.99) which offers rich fruit flavors and aromas and a perfect balance between sweetness and acidity. With light fizz and low alcohol,it is a versatile summer wine that will complement many desserts including cakes, fruit tarts and fresh berries.



A to Z of Italian Grapes: Barbera

Originating in the Piedmont region at least 200 years ago, possibly longer, Barbera is one of the most widely planted red grapes in Italy after Sangiovese, especially in Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and its native Piedmont.

A productive grape it is known for its deep color and soft tannins. Traditionally it was used to make relatively light wines for everyday drinking but over the last 20 to 30 years the use of vinification techniques including lower yields in the vineyard and oak barrels in the winery have seen the emergence of more powerful, elegant Barbera wines.

The most commonly found Barberas in the USA are from its traditional home: the Piedmont areas of Asti and Alba. Barbera d’Asti in general is lighter and brighter than Barbera d’Alba which tends to be deeper in color and flavor.


In terms of food pairing, Barbera is a versatile wine, given its low tannins, high acidity and good fruit. It matches well with grilled meat, especially lamb, burgers, roast chicken, grilled mushrooms, pasta with tomato or meat sauces, pizza and sausages.

Strawberry, Amaretti and Mascarpone Tart

It is strawberry season once again in Georgia, which inevitably means a visit to our favorite local pick-your-own farm.

We came home with a bumper haul of berries, many of which will find their way into jams and syrups over the next couple of days but we also wanted to enjoy some of them fresh in an Italian inspired dish. This recipe is pretty simple but results in an attractive, decadent dessert. Strawberries, Mascarpone, Amaretti

Strawberry, Amaretti and Mascarpone Tart

7oz Amaretti cookies

3oz butter

1 egg

8oz Mascarpone

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Vanilla Extract

6oz strawberries

Take a 7oz bag of amaretti and crush them, I find the easiest way is to put them in a freezer bag and give them a few good whacks with a rolling pin. Melt the butter and stir in the crushed amaretti. When well mixed spoon the mixture into a tart tin with a removable bottom (I used a 6 inch square tin). Put this into the fridge until it sets.

For the mascarpone layer, separate an egg and then beat the yolk with the tablespoon of powdered sugar. Stir in the mascarpone and a few drops of vanilla extract. Beat the egg white until stiff and then fold into the mascarpone mixture. Spread this on top of the amaretti layer and return to the fridge to set.

Finally, slice the fresh strawberries and arrange them on top of the tart. Keep chilled until you are ready to enjoy.

Strawberry, Amaretti & Mascarpone Tart

For more strawberry ideas, click here.

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Collard Green Florets with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

Spring has arrived in Atlanta, meaning rising temperatures, blossoming trees, the advent of pollen season and the welcome return of many of the city’s seasonal farmers markets. I have already made a few trips to the excellent Freedom Farmers Market held every Saturday morning at the Carter Center.

On a recent visit my eye was caught by a display of “collard green florets”, tender stalks of young collard greens, far removed from the huge bunches of collards more familiar to market shoppers.

Collard Florets

These beautiful young vegetables were crying out for a simple treatment so I steamed them for 4-5 minutes until the stems were tender, and then served them with a drizzle of gorgonzola cream sauce.

The gorgonzola cream sauce is simplicity itself as it only has two ingredients: crumbled gorgonzola cheese and heavy whipping cream. Just heat 1 cup of heavy whipping cream over medium heat and stir in 1.5 cups of crumbled gorgonzola. Cook, stirring regularly, until the cheese has melted to form a smooth sauce, about 10 minutes. If you have leftover sauce it goes really well with pasta too.

Collard Florets with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce


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We often get asked about some of the less familiar ingredients on our panini menu. One which many customers are unfamiliar with is taleggio, a delicious semi soft washed rind cows milk cheese from the North of Italy.


It has been made for hundreds of years, primarily in the region of Lombardy, home to the alpine valley called Val Taleggio from which the cheese takes its name.

During its maturation period it is washed with salt water which gives it a characteristic orange tinged edible rind.

Taleggio often has a quite pungent aroma but this is not matched by the taste, which is rich, creamy and buttery. It melts beautifully, a feature we take advantage of on the “Giovanni” panino at Toscano & Sons where we combine it with fontina and truffle oil to make a decadent grilled cheese sandwich. For a simple but indulgent side dish melt some slices of taleggio on freshly cooked potatoes. Another of our favorite uses for taleggio is this stunning pizza recipe.

When it comes to pairing with wine we either choose a crisp white like Soave or Verdicchio or a soft red such as Barbera.

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Taleggio Label