Italian

Tramezzini - Italian Snack Sandwiches

First made at the Caffè Mulassano in Turin in 1925, tramezzini were and still are an Italianized version of British tea sandwiches. Made on white Pullman bread called pan carré, or square bread, in a very Turin combination of Italian and French, they were named by Italian poet Gabriele d’Annunzio. Because the word sandwich was difficult to pronounce in Italian, d’Annunzio invented the word tramezzino (the singular) which has overtones of both “between” (tra in Italian) and “half” (mezzo).

Peperoni Imbottiti - Ann Nurse’s Baked Stuffed Peppers

Not like typical stuffed peppers with a meat or rice filling, these are baked with a sprinkling of pine nuts and capers, topped with seasoned breadcrumbs, and sprinkled with olive oil. They make a fine first course alongside other simple antipasti, or a great side dish with plain grilled or roasted meat or fish.

Peperoni Imbottiti - Ann Nurse’s Baked Stuffed Peppers

Pane Sciocco - Salt-Free Tuscan Bread

This week, Florentines celebrate the feast day of San Lorenzo, the patron saint of cooks. The tradition of preparing salt-free bread in Tuscany doubtless developed at a time when there was an acute shortage of salt, after which people became accustomed to the bland flavor of pane sciocco (SHOW-ko). It’s amusing that sciocco also means foolish or “good for nothing” in Italian.