Home / Author Archives: Francesca Bruzzese

Author Archives: Francesca Bruzzese

Francesca Bruzzese is an avid cook and baker who has been living in Rome, Italy since 2011. A Rhode Island native with Italian roots, you can usually find her in the kitchen making dolci to bring to her colleagues at work, developing new recipes to add to her repertoire, or planning her next dinner party. In addition to contributing recipes and articles to Eating Italy Food Tours, she also has a food blog, Pancakes and Biscotti (www.pancakesandbiscotti.com).

The almighty pizza dough!

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As enthusiastic as I was when I first got in to baking and cooking, there were a few things that I never considered making at home. This list included gelato, bread and, the subject of today’s post, pizza dough. I assumed that the store-bought versions were probably just as good as what you could make at home and saved you time. I did make quite a few homemade pizzas when I began to cook; I experimented with all sorts of toppings, like pesto and goat cheese, eggplant and sundried tomato, ricotta and fig. These toppings were however placed on top ...

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Rosemary focaccia

Focaccia 3

I’m guessing that although you’ve clicked on the link to this blog post, you probably aren’t considering actually making this recipe. After all, making your own bread must be difficult and time consuming, and unnecessary, because you can always buy bread at the supermarket, right? If you thought any or all of these things – hear me out! While I completely understand – bread from scratch can seem daunting – this recipe is actually super easy, not at all time consuming considering you’re making bread from scratch, and 1000 times better than any bread you will buy at the supermarket. ...

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Asparagus with Parmigiano and Prosciutto

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As some of you may know, I run a food blog – Pancakes and Biscotti – where, as the name suggests, I tend to focus on sweets and dessert. It is very much a place where butter, sugar, and chocolate reign supreme, and while there is nothing wrong with that – how could there be something wrong with that?! – the recipes I’ve posted for green, vegetable-y dishes are far and few between (and one of them would anyways be Basil Pesto which is served over pasta and thus doesn’t really count). That being said I find it’s nice to ...

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Laura’s Crostata di Marmellata

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When I was younger, my parents would bring my siblings and me to Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse for dinner about once a month. If you’re reading this article from New England, it’s likely that you know this chain restaurant, though I haven’t seen any in a while…. I wonder if they still exist. Going to Bugaboo was always a treat – I loved their chicken fingers and fries, the staff would sing to a funny song to you on your birthday, and there was a talking moose and pine tree at the entrance of the restaurant. Best of all however was ...

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Tiramisù

Tiramisù (photo by © Francesca Bruzzese)

Alright – I have something to confess. You might want to sit down for this. Seated? Okay. Here it goes: despite priding myself on being a good cook and being very skilled in Italian cuisine, I had never, ever – up until this post – made tiramisù, the most well-known Italian dessert and arguably one of the most popular Italian recipes. How did that happen, you ask? Perhaps it’s because I knew that I could always get a good tiramisù in any restaurant here in Rome; perhaps it can be chalked up to all the different components needed to assemble ...

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Frittata with Zucchine and Prosciutto

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In the first year I was learning to cook, I decided to plan a brunch for a group of friends back in Rhode Island. As I do when orchestrating any dinner party, I spent days carefully planning the menu, torn between pancakes or French toast, what kind of fruit to include in the fruit salad (does anyone even really like honeydew melon?) and whether I should serve the maple syrup cold or hot. After much deliberation, I decided on pancakes, bacon, omelets and fruit salad. I imagined myself serving up stacks of golden brown pancakes and fluffy omelets to my ...

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Swordfish with tomatoes, olives, pine nuts and raisins (Pesce spada alla siciliana)

Pesce spada alla siciliana (photo by ©Francesca Bruzzese)

Though I love to cook and am always up for trying out new recipes – whether it be homemade gelato or pizza from scratch – I’ve realized that I generally gravitate towards pasta, risotto, and dessert. As a result, I make an awesome ragù, a great risotto with peas and pancetta, and all sorts of cake and ice cream from scratch. While my repertoire of carbohydrate based dishes is ever expanding, this tendency has left me slightly unbalanced as a cook. The few secondi that I know how to make are meat based – I can probably count on one ...

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No hassle summer recipe: Basil pesto

Basil pesto (photo by ©Francesca Bruzzese)

As you can probably all gather by now, I derive great joy from cooking. Almost nothing gets in the way of my reveling in the preparation a good meal, whether it be an unusually small kitchen, a dinner for picky eaters (I like the challenge!) or, most difficult of all, a –gasp–vegan. Note however that I used the word almost. This is because I find on a yearly basis that my desire to cook begins to wane with the arrival of summer, or rather, the unbearably hot weather in Rome. My apartment has no air conditioning (most apartments here in ...

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Escaping the summer heat: Rice Salad (Insalata di Riso)

Insalata di riso (photo by &copyFrancesca Bruzzese)

In keeping with the theme of my past few recipes, I’m sharing another summer friendly dish that takes minimum effort and heat to prepare. Insalata di riso — or rice salad — is a dish that I came across for the first time while living in Bologna. It was June, and the heat was already at its peak. My go-to favorites, tagliatelle al ragù and piadina with prosciutto and mozzarella, suddenly seemed too heavy to eat when the weather was so hot, and tortellini in brodo was completely out of the question. The hearty Bolognese cuisine that I had grown ...

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Bringing back memories of Bologna: Piadina

Piadina (photo by ©Francesca Bruzzese)

One of the things I love so much about food – beyond the preparing, eating, and sharing of it – is the nostalgic value it often holds. For example, the smell of olive oil heating up in a pan immediately transports me back to my grandfather’s house in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, where he was always cooking up something delicious; my sister is reminded of our childhood summers anytime she has a hot fudge sundae; a friend of mine from Mexico taught me how to make avocados stuffed with tuna, tomatoes, and jalapenos, a dish his mom made him when he ...

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The comeback of the mighty polenta

Polenta (photo by ©Francesca Bruzzese)

Anyone who knows me will tell you I am a list maker. It’s a great way to organize my thoughts and keep track of things I might otherwise forget, not to mention there is a great sense of accomplishment when crossing an item off of said list. My lists are everywhere: on post-its in my office, on the backs of receipts, or saved on my cell phone. While I have many practical lists (weekend to-do list! Work to-do list!) I have many more that are, perhaps not surprisingly, culinary. There is my “recipe to try” list, my “restaurants to try” ...

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Not quite summer yet: Risotto with peas and pancetta

Risotto with peas and pancetta (photo ©Francesca Bruzzese)

While the Spanish have paella, the Chinese have fried rice and the Mexicans arroz con leche, risotto is rice done the Italian way.

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