Tag Archives: italian recipes

Maria has a soft voice and a very easy manner, nothing seems to stress or worry her.

Even though she is planning a wedding for her daughter in 3 weeks, we are welcomed in and offered cakes and coffee around the large table before getting started.

Maria is unable to sit still and if she is sitting, her hands are at work on the tombolo (to make lace) or embroidering a bedspread, or crocheting clothes for her grandchildren. Even the caciocavallo hanging in the cantina are homemade and having watched this regional formaggio stagionata a pasta filata (stretched curd cheese) being formed by the strong arms of the lavoratori in the artisan caseifici of the countryside, we are stunned not only that she has the time, but the strength.

The amarena are ripening on her trees so we plan to be back making sour cherry jam over the next weeks. But tonight we are cooking in two groups: the first to make ravioli con ricotta e spinaci al burro e salvia, the second to make contorni ripieni.



The pasta is pummelled and rolled first by Mary who is a natural, being a bread maker, the rest of students were not so skilled, but everyone has a go.We roll the pasta through la macchinetta over and over before it’s smooth enough to go in the moulds and filled with ricotta e spinaci. Very satisfying and worth the effort!

Next is the simple, southern Italian cucina povera recipes of melanzane, peperoni e zucchini ripieni, hard to grasp how stale bread crumbs and a few bits of seasoning can be so tasty, but the fresh seasonal ingredients put together in just the right amounts combine to make a delicious dish.

Recipes on the website:LiveandlearnItalian.com

pasta makers


Around a big long table in the garden outside, the students were joined by some of Maria’s family and friends, we share the meal and had a relaxing conversation in Italian over dinner. Everything we have made is delicious, and we finish off a lovely afternoon and evening with Maria’s crostata di albicocca. 

Cooking and sharing a meal together is a great way to loose any inhibitions about speaking  Italian and this group of students is fantastically open and easy, really taking every opportunity to find conversation. It’s been a great start to the sessions of summer 2016.

by Jenifer, founder of LiveandLearnItalian.com, off the beaten track

Students’ testimonials: click here

Join Jenifer: click here and get an idea of programmes and prices

The last undiscovered region of Italy: Molise


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The best way to let your inhibitions fly out the window and get practicing Italian is to find a place where no one speaks English and then engage in an activity.

Cooking is one of the best – this summer at Live and Learn Italian  everyone enjoyed the cooking sessions so much that in 2016 there will be more opportunities woven into the programme. A festive meal around a big table with our Italian cooks and hosts, being focused on the ingredients, a relaxing and friendly atmosphere –with a bit of wine – and everyone got speaking.







We cooked in the kitchens of our hosts and in that environment were really able to get a feel of their daily lives and of the person behind the apron.



And we noticed some interesting differences in our kitchen cultures:

We were struck by how little seasoning was used.For example, a simple sugo al pomodoro:

1 garlic clove – left whole and once infused the olive oil, discarded-half a stick of celery – a whole one was deemed too overpowering-half a carrot (only if you like……)-no onions-no herbs – just some fresh basil thrown on at the table

Of course the tomatoes were fresh and if not straight from our host’s garden, from l’orto del contadino. Everyone seems to have a friendly and reliable contadino from whom to obtain home made sausages and salamis, fresh produce and of course jams and marmellata (sweet and savory preserves).And plenty of the local women make all this themselves, including their own cheese.



So, the freshness of the ingredients (pretty much organically grown and no traveling) meant that we actually tasted the food and not just the seasoning, which thus became surplus to requirements.


Recipes vary a lot – not just from region to region but village to village, family to family. Of course we have all kinds of variety in our recipes, but not in such a proprietorial way! In that place it is cooked like that……we do it like this…..My mother would never do it that way….. and the way it is done a casa sua is usually the best.

Sometimes we had difficulty getting a recipe at all – our very experienced cooks, when asked ‘how much flour’ could only reply ‘ quanto basta’…….

This became our catch phrase – ‘when it is enough’ between all the participants of 2105.

 by Jenifer@ liveandlearnitalian.com

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Where no one speaks English

Easter in Agnone with Jenifer: get an idea of the programme

Exploring and learning Italian: Molise

The oldest bell foundry in the world


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