Antipasto (ahn-tee-PAH-stoh)
“Before the meal.“ An Appetizer. Antipasti have tremendous range and regional variety. When several of these are assembled it is called antipasto misto.

Asiago (ah-see-AH-goh)
A hard, sharp cows milk cheese from the Veneto region.

Caponata (kah-poh-NAH-ta)
A sicilian vegetable dish made from various ingredients but usually including grilled eggplant, chili peppers, olives, tomato, vinegar and onions. The word may derive from the Latin caupo (tavern), suggesting the kind of robust food served at a tavern or inn.

Capers (KAY-pers)
Caperi. The unopened bud from the Caper Berry bush. Capers are mixed with sea salt which creates a brine, then aged for two months or more. The best are said to come from the islands of Pantelleria and Salina.

Calamata Olives (kah-lah-MA-tah)
This large almond shaped Greek olive is purple-black, powerful in flavor; often considered the best of all olives.

Chèvre Montrachet (shev)
Montrachet is a fresh goat cheese taking its name from the celebrated white burgundy produced in the same region of France. It is soft, moist and pure white, one of the best of the mild fresh chèves. It is ironic that the “poor man’s cow” produces some of the worlds rarest and most sought after cheeses. Since goats are temperamental and often withhold their milk, supplies of these tiny, often pungent cheeses are uneven.

Ciabatta (ch‘yah-BAH-tah)
A rustic loaf about 8” long with a light thin crust; the shape resembles a common slipper.

il Cornicione (kohr-neh-CHO-neh)
“The big frame“ is what Neopolitans call the puffed-up ring of unsauced dough around the seasoned center of a pizza.

Espresso (eh-SPREH-soh)
It’s not Expresso. Coffee in Italy. Made by forcing steam through ground coffee to make a strong brew. Italians drink more than 9 billion cups of espresso annually. A well made espresso has a creamy foam floating on top, called crema or schiuma.

Fontina (fohn-TEE-nah)
An ancient cheese originally from the Valle d‘ Aosta. A mild, semi-soft cheese, it is made from whole cow’s milk and aged for about four months.

Linguini (leen-GWEEneh)
“Little tongues.” Narrow, flat pasta ribbons.

Marshmallows (MARSH-mal-ows)
The first marshmallow like confection, called pâte de Guimauve, was made in France in 1643 from the gummy juice of the marsh mallow, a relative of the hollyhock. The juice was mixed with eggs and sugar and beaten to a foam. In 1917 Kraft developed the JetPuff™ technique where a viscous protein, usually gelatin, is combined with a sugar concentrated to about the caramel stage, and the mixture is whipped to incorporate air bubbles. Whipping stretches the protein molecules out along the interface between liquid and air, causing partial coagulation; thus giving the structure stability.

Mozzarella (moh-t‘zah-REH-lah)
A soft fresh cheese made from cows or buffalo milk. One of the most important and ubiquitous cheeses in Italy. The name comes from the verb mozzare, meaning the process by which handfulls of the cheese are ton off and twisted during the cheesemaking process.

Orecchiette (or-reh-K‘YEH-teh)
“Small Ears.” Pasta shape that resembles small ears. From the Apulia region of Italy. Comes from the latin auris. Orecchiete are made from small thin rounds of pasta that are pressed with the thumb to form a hollow in the center.

Parmigiano (pahr-mee-J‘YAH-noh)
A cow’s milk cheese made in huge wheels and aged. One of the most esteemed Italian grana (hard / grainy textured) cheeses. Parmigiano-Reggiano, which is made only in the Parma and Reggia regions, dates back to the 17th century. The cheese may be made year-round but must be made in the morning and must contain no additives except rennet and salt. The cheese must be aged at least a year. Ours is actually an Argintinian produced Regianito, which follows the same strict rules set forth by the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano, but costs a whole bunch less.

Pizza (PEE-t‘zah)
Flat yeast bread topped with a wide variety of ingredients. Pizza is one of the most identifiable of Italian foods, though it was not until after WWII that this Neopolitan item became well known even in the rest of Italy. Indeed east coast American cities were more familiar with pizza than most Italians until the 1950’s. Fiona, Finn, Sofia & Bella are more than just pizza names, they are also the names of our dear little-kid friends. More to come in the pizza history department.

Pizzaiolo (pee-t‘zye-OH-lo)
Pizza Maker. Traditionally pizzaioli undergo months of training and years of apprenticeship before earning this title.

Polenta (poh-LEHN-tah)
Coarsely ground cornmeal. When corn came to Italy in the 16th century, the ground meal was used in a wide variety of dishes, beginning with boiled cornmeal, served as a porridge, baked and cut into squares, grilled or fried.

Porto (port)
What is Port? Port is a sweet, fruity, full bodied fortified wine. It originated in the Douro Valley in Northern Portugal, where it is made from numerous grape varieties. Grape spirit is added before the end of fermentation. Sugars, left unfermented, account for Port’s sweetness.

Prosciutto (pro-SHOO-toh)
No, its not a cheese. Prosciutto is a salt cured ham. Prosciutto has been made for more than two thousand years in the region around Langhirano, near Parma. By law the the ham must come from a cross of five different breeds of pig, born and raised in the region and be fed on corn, barley, cereals, and the whey from Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese production. The pig must reach a minimum weight of 340 pounds and be a year old. In the traditional method, a minimum of salt is used in the curing process and the use of nitrates, sugar, smoke, water or additives is forbidden. The hams must be cured for at least 300 days. Unfortunately at $18. a pound we don’t use the imported hams, we use a domestic prosciutto from a much smaller pig.

Sant’Antonio Abate (Saint Anthony the Abbot)
Sant’Antonio since 1799 has been the patron saint of Naples. He has also been regarded as patron saint of pizza makers, the protector of farm animals and the protector from fire. In 1804 his powers as the protector from fire were tested, when Mount Vesuvius erupted and the lava flow threatened Naples as it had rarely done before. The lava got as far as the city’s outskirts when it came to a statue the saint. Legend has it that the saint’s arm raised imperiously and the lava stopped at its marble feet. Sant’Antonio Abate’s feast day, January 17, continues to be celebrated in Naples. The traditions include burning useless furniture and setting bonfires in the streets. Horses are still blessed as well as their modern day equivalent, the taxi cab. Our portrait of Saint Anthony in the hall, which was created by Dale Gottlieb, pictures him holding a pizza and as all statues and portraits of the saint include a pig with a bell by his side.

Risotto (ree-SOH-toh)
A dish of creamy cooked rice that has absorbed a good quantity of broth to make it flavorful and tender. The best variety is made from Arborio rice.

Rosemary (ROSE-mary)
The name comes from the Latin rosmarinus (dew of the sea).

Zuppa (ZOO-pah)