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Authentic Italian Comfort Food

Nothing compares to a warm plate of pasta.
So much of what we, as Americans, think of as Italian food is just the tip of this surprisingly varied and versatile cuisine. Take a look at the recipe selection in this month's featured cookbook to get a sample of the breath of delicious possibilities.

On your culinary journey to these regions of Italy, let us suggest a few staff favorites to ensure the authenticity of your experience.

Starting with tomatoes, take advantage of our amazing, summer tomatoes still in the store for the next few week--you will miss them this winter! San Nicola Dei Miri has an actual Italian grandmother overseeing the hand-crafting of these fruits and vegetables. Their tomato conserve is a must.

And for sauces, we always stock up on boxed Pomi Tomatoes, a pantry staple that simply makes dishes taste more Italian.

Our favorite traditional pesto is by Monte Pollino. It is lovely, and rich, and can be stored on the shelf ready to use. The pesto is thick, perfect for pasta or Risotto, makes an excellent pizza topping, and flavors seafood and chicken beautifully.

If you are looking for farro, Bartolini is our favorite. It is really fantastic--the best we have found. And our staff pick for Risotto is Beretta Arborio Rice.

There are so many oils available. For real Italian flavor, we recommend Badia a Coltibuono Extra Virgin Olive OIl. They have been producing Tuscan wine and olive oil since 1058! It has a distinctively light flavor with low acidity, and intense fruity bouquet.

Tatso Balsamic Pearls are caviar-like pearls of bronze seal, balsamic vinegar that give wonderful bursts of complex, tangy-sweet flavor in a unique blend of molecular gastronomy and time-honored Italian tradition.
Fun, delicious, and a great surprise, Balsamic Pearls are am elegant addition when scattered over salads, cheeses, fish and meat, fresh fruit, ice cream and desserts.

And for the sweet side of things, Casa Giulia Fruit Spreads and Preserves are a delicious spread on a buttered slice of crusty bread or over ice cream. We carry quite the variety, try their black cherry, apricot, quince...


An authentic red to go beautifully with your Italian dinner.

Bolla Torr'Alta Veronese Rosso is a staff favorite. This velvety rosso is deep ruby-red with aromas of raspberry and currant, and a hint of vanilla. It pairs well with pasta, grilled and roasted meats, game and cheeses.

Torr'Alta means "highest tower" in Italian. It is a tribute to the tall towers that dotted the Veronese skyline in the Middle Ages. The wine's distinct flavor can be attributed to the unique climate, soil and temperature of the Italian region in which the grapes are grown.

Read More... 
By Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali

Re-Awaken Your Love of Italian Cooking.

Lidia penetrates the heart of Italy: starting at the north, working down to the tip, and ending in Sardinia. She unearths a wealth of recipes.

In this inspiring book, Lidia Bastianich commands a new respect for food, and for the people who produce it, in these little-known parts of Italy. All of the recipes reflect the regions from which they spring, and in translating them to our home kitchens, Lidia passes on time-honored techniques and wonderful, uncomplicated dishes bursting with regional flavors-the kind of elemental, good family cooking that is particularly appreciated today.

All the recipes she shares represent the work of the local people, and friends with whom she made intimate contact: the farmers, shepherds, foragers, and artisans who produce local cheeses, meats, olive oils, and wines. They are simple enough for novice cooks, yet loved by foodies for their brilliance.

A Pasta Party on Your Plate!

We can't decide which is more spectacular-Italian Harvest Pasta by Marella come in a rainbow array of colors and creative shapes. Their artful color combinations change with every pack, and are derived from sources such as beets, carrots, spinach, turmeric, tomatoes and red peppers. Each piece is either handmade or bronze die extruded, then air dried for 3-4 days. Both processes lend to their rich flavor and rough texture that holds onto sauce.

Piedmont Grocery currently has a wide array of shapes and colors on our shelves.


From the Cocktail Post
We've got one more warm weather sipper to serve up before the leaves start to change. Say goodbye to summer with the leg­endary Pisco Punch! This drink's legacy is exceeded only by its refreshing taste!

Rud­yard Kipling, after drinking a Pisco Punch, declared the cock­tail to be "com­pounded of the shaving's of cherubs wings, the glory of a trop­ical dawn, the red clouds of sunset and the frag­ments of lost epics by dead masters."

Pisco Punch, the one cock­tail so deli­cious, souls across the globe sang of its glory, pon­tif­i­cating that a visit to the City of the Golden Gate wasn't com­plete without drinking a Pisco Punch. The house drink of the Bank Exchange Saloon was adored, embracing exotic Pisco from Peru and the mixologist's fresh prepa­ra­tion... (from the side of the Campo de Encanto bottle)

The longest continually-operating cheese company in America is right here, in West Marin County.

Marin French crafts their distinctive cheeses in small batches, uses traditional cultures, and coaxes the distinctly coastal terrior and flavor into every cheese.

They have been in the same location for nearly 150 years. (That's even longer than Piedmont Grocery!) They began with delicious, European-style cheeses like Traditional Brie, Triple Crème Brie, Camembert, plus their simple Breakfast Cheese, and have expanded to include flavored cheese and American originals.

Marin French Cheese Co. is an internationally-respected cheesemaker. Their national and international awards are too numerous to mention. They operate with respect for the land and dedication to creating cheeses of distinctive quality and character.

 Read More... 

From Amy and our "What's For Dinner Wednesday" recipe blog 

Winds of Change
It was windy this morning with a tiny hint of chill in the air. This got me excited-it felt like fall had actually arrived (although warmer temperatures will stick around for a while). Right about this time of year my cooking habits change. My grill is used less and less, and my giant Dutch ovens start to see the light of day, on the stove or the heat of the oven. It's all about the braising and the slow cooking, now.

My cooking technique is not the only thing that changes; my tastes change as well. I veer toward comfort food and fall-off-the-bone meats with mashed potatoes. Rice dishes become the norm. Apples, sage, sausage, and squash become my go to ingredients-as well as plenty of pork. And then, there is the Italian food...

Italian cuisine is a no-brainer in my house because it is approved of by my entire family. The recipes I choose are usually hearty, relatively simple, and definitely satisfying. A slow-simmered Sunday gravy (a.k.a meaty tomato sauce) can be the perfect end to a weekend of football and other sports. Throw in a nice bottle of wine and some fresh crusty bread, and I am a happy girl.

This week's recipe is a typical Italian fall dish: one you will see often grace my autumn table. It's easy to make, and oh so satisfying. Rizzo e Zucca comes from Lidia Bastianich cookbook titled, Lidia Cooks From The Heart of Italy. This is not your typical Italian cookbook. The recipes are mostly from the lesser known areas of Italy, and are the food that would be eaten everyday, by locals.

Rizzo e Zucca (Rice and Butternut Squash)
Adapted from Lidia Cooks From the Heart of Italy, by Lidia Bastianich
Get the recipe...
In This Issue
A Favorite Wine
This Month's Cookbook Pick
Featured Product
The Cocktail Post
Vendor of the Month
Rizzo e Zucca (Rice and Butternut Squash)
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Visit our recipe blog to learn what Amy, our VP and resident foodie, is cooking up in her home kitchen.

Baked Farro, Bacon and Butternut Squash

Baked Apple Dumplings

Granola Bar Cookies 

Curried Chicken and Apple Wraps 

Streamlined Baked Manicotti

Chicken Tamale Pie

Easy Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream (No-Churn)

In Memory of Desmond Ritchie

Chiles Anchos Rellenos de Queso (Cheese-Filled Ancho Chiles)

Tian de Courgettes au Riz (Zucchini Tian)

Clam Chowder with Root Vegetables and Thyme

Lemon Meringue Pie

Jelly, Marmalade & Jam

Never-Fail Biscuits and Strawberry Freezer Jam

Black and Tan Sundae

Spinach Cobb Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese, Avocado & Derby Dressing

Singapore Sling

Summer Pannini

Peach Cobbler
Canal House's Chicken Thighs with Lemon

Spicy Beer Marinated Flank Steak

Grilled Pork Chops with Sweet Lemongrass Marinade

Mexican Bulldog Margarita

Classic Ensenada Fish Tacos

Amy's Roast Chicken

Old Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake
Crispy, Crackly Apple-Almond Tart

Cashel Blue, Spinach and Smoked Salmon Tartlets

Easy Self-Rising Biscuits

Classic Chicken Chow Mein

Julie & Julia's Bruschetta

Spicy Mushroom Tamales

Mush­room and Shallot Quiche

Amy's Gua­camole

Roasted Cauli­flower & Hazelnut Salad

Bach­elor Beef Stew

Crock Pot Oats & Amish Style Baked Oat­meal

Champagne Cocktail

Irish Coffee

Holiday Cookie Basket

Anise Cakes

Roasted Fresh Ham with Citrus and Rye

Christmas Butter Cookies

Gam's Apple Chutney

Pie Month

Autumn Salad with Apples, Comté, and Hazelnuts

Deconstructed Holiday Turkey with Sage Gravy

Cornmeal-Crusted Crayfish Pies

Old-Fashioned Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

Three Soups!
Bonus Recipes

Apple, Onion and Cheddar Soup

Traditional French Cassoulet

Endive & Fuyu Persimmon Salad with Pecans

Double Cut pork Chops with Garlic Butter

Inside Out Pumpkin Muffins

Cock-A-Leekie Soup

Crab and Corn Pies with Corn Crab Sauce

Amy's Hummus