Wednesday, December 24

A Very Cappelletti Christmas - Buon Natale

Christmas is synonymous with 'cappelletti' in Le Marche. The postage stamp sized squares homemade pasta are filled with veal, pork & chicken, nutmeg, lemon zest & grated parmesan then folded into "tiny hats" or cappelletti and added to a rich broth, served on Christmas Day! 

Not only did we make kilos & kilos of cappelletti with friends but to get a little extra festive, we headed into the woods to cut down our own tree! Ok, technically it's a really big branch for juniper, and a total 'Charlie Brown' tree but a string of lights a few ornaments made during our childhood and we're ready to Jingle Bell Rock the night away!  
As local tradition dictates, we dutifully & very happily make our cappelletti like good Marchigianni (wannabees).  Christmas celebrated in Le Marche, Italy is not complete without a heart-warming bowl of cappelletti in brodo or little stuffed hats in broth. I was once told is a dish served for only those you love because it takes so much time & patience to make! 

With our stockings hung, the 'tree' trimmed, the dough made and fire ablaze we invited friends to help in the merriment: we share the work and reward.
With our hens still producing eggs, our dough is rich in color!!


A few crates of cappelletti and our juniper berry Christmas tree!
Take the time and make it from scratch, buy the freshest eggs (it will make the color of the dough nice & golden) and enjoy this homemade pasta the way it was meant to be eaten - surrounded by family. (Plus they freeze well so you can have them on-hand, at the ready all winter long!)
I've posted it in years past - but here you go: Cappelletti in Brodo Recipe

Wednesday, December 17

LIVE! from ITALY Online Cooking Class on YouTube: Sunday, December 21st 2014

 LIVE from ITALY Online Cooking Class Sunday, December 21st 2014
A Christmas Special! This episode/class can help you prep for the Holidays with a beautiful Butternut Squash Soup and the classic, Tiramisu. Both dishes can be made ahead or the morning of your event and can be scaled up easily to feed a full house of hungry guests!

Fall in a bowl - pumpkin or squash soup would make a perfect dish to add to your Holiday dinner or even lunch on a random rainy afternoon. Since you can cook it off a day or 2 before, it makes for one less thing to do on Christmas Day! This soup has become a tradition in our house - it’s so creamy & delicious. If you want to make this simple soup a bit more decadent add a few steamed mussels just before you serve.

One of the most requested recipes to feature, Tiramisu. This is the real deal. Tiramisu can be a boozy, mushy mess and nothing I would never want to eat. However this recipe is lick-your-plate amazing! So what’s the difference in the dish served at restaurants State-side vs. that of Italy? First off the eggs - this recipe calls for fresh egg yolks not whipped cream or imitation eggs making it much richer and secondly it’s all in the lady-fingers! (Buy Pavisini.) They perfectly hold up after being dipped in coffee & layered with cream.

Our classes focus not only the recipes at hand but the technique and theory behind each dish. It’s more than just watching an episode of a cooking show on television because this is not only LIVE but interactive! Students/viewers will have the chance to ask questions along the way since all the cooking is done together LIVE! (Plus the classes are recorded & you will receive a copy of the class - how cool is that?!) Either join in the fun and cook along with us or sit back and watch with a glass of wine.


Watch LIVE! on YouTube:
LIVE from ITALY: Online Cooking Class on Sunday, December 21, 2014

Depending on where you live in the world:
12-noon PST (Seattle)
3pm EST (New York)
8pm GMT (London)
9pm CET (Rome)
To REGISTER for this class email:
You can watch the class for fun or to cook along. We will send you the recipes, ingredients & equipment list plus the all important pre-class prep list! You will receive a recorded copy a day or two after the class.

The Classes will be about 45 min - 1 hour in duration and will be recorded so you can watch it at your convenience on YouTube.
The Cost = FREE! We just ask that you spread the word, share this email, retweet, post photos, etc. If you feel inclined you can help support the show & keep us sponsor free!

For more details click here!
Hope you join us in the kitchen on Sunday!

Help Support the Show

Tuesday, December 16

Podcast from Italy: Holidays in Italy, A Simple Focaccia & The Search Begins in Cortona....

Jason & our juniper bush Christmas trees!
A new episode of our "Podcast from Italy" is up!! From panetone to cappelletti most days are spent in the kitchen cooking and eating! The season of fatness has begun and to celebrate Jason shares a new favorite focaccia recipe. We discuss a NY Times Article on Italy & the internet, a problem that has plagued us for years. A visit to the famed Cortona in Tuscany for lunch sets the scene to begin the search for our property and what's next.... 

Tuesday, December 9

December 14th LIVE! from ITALY Online Cooking Class: Cooking with Wine

The 2nd Season of LIVE! from ITALY: Online Cooking Classes kicks off on December 14, 2014 on YouTube LIVE! with a menu cooking with wine!!  Starting with our Butcher’s favorite and a staple at our farmhouse,  Bone-In Veal Breast (or meat of your choice) Braised in White Wine with Potatoes & Tomatoes a meal in itself! Thinly sliced roasted veal breast with layers of tomatoes & potatoes makes for a rich delicious meal that is easy to make.  A classic example of cucina povera, peasant cooking using a tough piece of meat & simple ingredients to create rich dish fit for a king. (You can use slices of veal breast or other tough cuts of steaks or leg of lamb - anything tough with a bone it in.)
To accompany this one-pot dish, Poached Pears in Red Wine with Rosemary topped with whipped mascarpone cream. This dessert is perfect for the holidays!! Use any red or rose you like or that bottle of wine that's been collecting dust in the back of your cupboard (you know the one) - it will work great in this classic dish! A gorgeous oven-free dessert. In the summer, we will use beautiful stone fruit instead of the pears. Cooking the wine and herbs down slowly will create a beautiful rich flavorful syrup. 
 Our classes focus not only the recipes at hand but the technique and theory behind each dish. It’s more than just watching an episode of a cooking show on television because this is not only LIVE but interactive! Students/viewers will have the chance to ask questions along the way since all the cooking is done together LIVE! (Plus the classes are recorded & you will receive a copy of the class - how cool is that?!) Either join in the fun and cook along with us or sit back and watch with a glass of wine.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH: Sunday, December 14th
*Link to Watch LIVE! on YouTube
How to Register:
RSVP to to receive the recipes, ingredient & equipment list or just tune in to the YouTube LIVE! link above. The classes will be recorded and available to view at anytime on YouTube.
Depending on where you live in the world:
12-noon PST (Seattle)
3pm EST (New York)
8pm GMT (London)
9pm CET (Rome)

9am + 1 day (New Zealand)
The Classes will be about 45 min - 1 hour in duration and will be recorded so you can watch it at your convenience on YouTube.
The Cost = FREE! We just ask that you spread the word, share this email, retweet, post photos, etc. If you feel inclined you can help support the show & keep us sponsor free! 
Hope to see you in the kitchen!!
Best, Ashley & Jason Bartner
La Tavola Marche (farm, inn & cooking school)
Next Up...

Monday, November 17

Pasta Sauce: Borlotti Bean & Tomato with Sage

Traditionally this is a summer sauce made when the borlotti beans & tomatoes are fresh but it's so heavy we prefer it in the fall and winter using our jarred tomatoes & frozen beans. Locals add pork ribs to the sauce adding extra flavor and resulting in a side dish of stewed meat! This is a stick to your ribs sauce perfect for a cold Sunday! Pairs great with any pasta shape/size but I prefer cavatelli for a full fledged nap inducing lunch!

Le Tagliatelle con i fagioli freschi
Borlotti & Tomato Sauce with Sage

serves 4+

2-3 handfuls of borlotti beans (preferrably fresh) dried
1 large jar or 2lbs/1 kilo of tomatoes, crushed, passed (seeded & skinned) or pureed
1 carrot
1 celery stick
1 onion
5-6 pieces of bone (whatever type you like) I normally use pork ribs that the butcher cuts in half
olive oil
salt & pepper
1 clove of garlic
sprig of rosemary if you like
pasta of your choice
extra virgin olive oil for finishing the dish

This recipe calls for two pots: 1 for the beans, 2 for the tomato sauce. Make sure the pot for the tomato sauce is larger as we will add the beans into the sauce later in the recipe.

Place the beans (either fresh or dried & then soaked) and sage in a pot with plenty of water, in large pieces add: half the carrot, half the leg of celery & half the onion. Bring everything to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Allow to cook until the beans are tender. (Do NOT add salt during this process.)

Finely dice the other half of the celery, carrot & onion. In the larger pot, heat a few glugs of olive oil and add fine diced vegetables, along with the garlic & a little salt & pepper. Sweat 10-12 minutes on low-low heat or until very soft without browning.

Next, raise the heat, add in your bones and brown on all sides, keep ’em moving in the pot so they don’t burn.

Add in your tomatoes, rosemary and another leaf of sage if your feeling sporty. Bring up to a good simmer and then lower to a low slow simmer. Allow to simmer for 30-35 minutes until it reduces by about a third and becomes nice and thick. Stir it occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.

Now here’s where the magic happens. Remove the chunks of vegetables from the pot with beans. Add the cooked beans to the larger pot SAVING the bean water. Bring the tomatoes & beans up to a simmer, adding a little of the bean water to thin it out. Cook about 10 minutes on a low low simmer, adjusting with a little bean water if it seems too thick.

To serve; fish out the rosemary sprig, garlic clove & sage leaves if you can find them. Remove the meaty bones from the pot. (These can be served alongside the pasta or as another course entirely.) Adjust your seasoning with salt & pepper and toss with hot pasta. We pair it with tagliatelle or cavatelli and finish with a drizzle of good finishing oil - this is when you use the good stuff!

Wednesday, November 12

{Podcast from Italy} The Rough & Tough Truffle Game

The deal going down...
Thanks for your patience to our podcast listeners!! We were flooded with emails, facebook posts and tweets asking us to fire up the mics again....we had no idea so many of you were listening!! After our longest hiatus yet, Podcast from Italy is back with a new episode on iTunes & Stitcher Radio. This week we talk about the rough & tough Truffle Game as well as prepping for Thanksgiving and a recap of summer. 

Above is a photo from a recent 'truffle deal' outside our house. Listen to all the details in this week's podcast!

Subscribe it's FREE! Listen to Podcast from Italy on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

Sunday, November 2

Coming Soon, Sunday's in December - The 2nd Season of LIVE from ITALY Online Cooking Classes

We are excited to announce the dates for the second season of our LIVE from ITALY Online Cooking Classes!! Just in time for the holidays and your Christmas menu planning. Mark your calendars, print out the recipes, shop for ingredients and tune in LIVE to cook with Chef Jason Bartner in our 300 year old stone farmhouse kitchen! Without the 'magic of television' cook along in real-time, asking questions along the way. 

Exact menus will be posted soon. But just to get your mouth watering here are a few dishes we're planning...Farro Salad with Pomegranate & Walnuts, Shaved Cauliflower, Braised Escarole with Pancetta, Homemade Cavatelli (semolina dough pasta), Bone-In Veal Breast in White Wine, Warm Butternut Squash Salad and Poached Pears in Red Wine. More details to come: LIVE from ITALY Online Cooking Class
  (Thanks so much to all of those that sent eager emails to sign up for this years dates!)

Poached Pears in Red Wine and Rosemary

2014-2015 DATES
Sunday, December 14
Sunday, December 21
Sunday, December 28
Sunday, January 4

Depending on where you live in the world:
12-noon PST (Seattle)
3pm EST (New York)
8pm GMT (London)
9pm CET (Rome)
Get on the list & RSVP:

Our classes focus not only the recipes at hand but the technique and theories behind each dish.  It’s more than just watching an episode of a cooking show on television because this is not only LIVE but interactive! Students/viewers will have the chance to ask questions along the way since all the cooking is done together LIVE! Either join in the fun and cook along with us or sit back and watch with a glass of wine.

Visit our YouTube Channel to check out a few videos from our kitchen like this short on How to Cut Fresh Pasta by Hand from La Tavola Marche, Taste of Italy

Sunday, October 26

{Video} Garden Update, End of Summer, Early Autumn in Italy

a few homegrown heirloom pumpkins picked from the garden
Due to a rainy summer, blight has set in on our 400 tomato plants in the garden but some things like the rain! Jason explains what's coming out of the garden from August to early October! From the peppers to heirloom pumpkins (12 plants created hundreds of kilos of squash), onions and chard the garden still has plenty its producing even if the tomatoes were a bust.

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel!
Garden photos from my instagram feed!

Sunday, October 12

Happy Apple Season! Recipes & Photos from our Apple Harvest

This years apple harvest has been our best yet! With a dozen or so apple trees (green, red & pink) we've got a great mix of varieties for both eating fresh & cooking/preserving. In a few short minutes kilos of apples are picked, there are baskets at the doors filled with apples, a crate in the kitchen and each guest room has a bowl of fresh picked apples to welcome them! The fallen fruit is left for our hens to peck at, they don't last long as the boar and porcupines hoover up the leftovers late each night.

Thanks to the Indian summer we are having the trees that usually don't mature past tart green apples have all become heavy with ruby colored fruit.

It's no surprise I love apples, a girl homegrown in Washington State they make me nostalgic. My favorite holiday memories as a child include rainy days with hot apple cider, dinners with fried pork chops and baked apples,  a fancy fizzling glass of Martinelli's sparkling cider and of course apple pie for breakfast lunch and dinner!  I'd kill for a homemade apple fritter.

  I now live in a country that does not have the same affinity to this beloved fruit. Sure wild apple trees line our country road and locals arrive to fill their Fiat Pandas, but mainly to eat as hand fruit.  Apple juice is almost nonexistent. So, I have been scouring the web for an apple mill - the only problem is the ones I like are HUGE and too big to ship...I'd love to make our own cider and happily make myself sick from too much unpasteurized apple juice! But for now we'll bake cakes, make jam and apple sauces, add paper thin slices to salads for a nice crunch...or just eat'em with a spoonful of peanut butter!

A photo I took while picking one afternoon & posted on instagram ended up being featured on Food & Wine and Coastal Living #thisisfall!

Our #Appleharvest this year makes me think we should revive #countrybaby #applesauce!Yes that's an 80s classic-Baby Boom reference, I've related to Diane Keaton's character on many occasions since leaving NYC for the deep Italian countryside...#homegrown

If you think there's just Granny Smith & Red Delicious you are missing out. Here are two great articles on how diverse apple varieties can be:
A Few Favorite Apple Recipes:
photo: the meaning of pie
A friend/guest/photographer/writer, Kelly Yandell has a gorgeous blog The Meaning of Pie, she delved deep into apples with an extensive post on "The quentessial apple pie" that is worth the read & recipe!  

Pear (Apple) & Pine Nut Salad with Honey Vinegarette
Rosy cheeked angelica pears, native to the Metauro Valley are found in the markets throughout autumn in our area of Le Marche. One of my favorite ways to use these sweet small pears is pairing them with our wild apples and tossing with homegrown lettuce, toasted pine nuts, ribbons of parmesan and a sweet honey lemon vinaigrette - creating an irresistible salad!

If you like to cook/bake with wine, olive oil & sambuca - this is the dessert for you! An autumn dessert served at our farmhouse is la rocciata - a rustic apple roll stuffed with pine nuts, walnuts, cinnamon & golden raisins.

And finally, our go-to, super simple, moist & delicious Grandma's Apple Cinnamon Cake - and yes, it's actually Jason's grandmother's recipe! Serve it for breakfast, dessert or alongside an afternoon tea. Not only is it a no-fail recipe, but it is guaranteed to make your kitchen smell warm & cozy like grandma's house...I guess that's what makes apples so great - the childhood memories that come with each slice.

~ Happy Apple Season! ~

Thursday, October 9

No Rolling Pin Needed: Homemade Cavatelli Pasta

This is one of the easiest pasta dough's to make and it doesn't need a machine or any fancy equipment - just your thumb or a pairing knife. Cavatelli pasta (or little caves) is traditionally from Molise & parts of Puglia.  It is very similar to orecchietti (little ears), another pasta made with semolina (ground durum wheat or grano duro). In southern Italy is where you will find most of these types of pasta made with semolina and no egg in the dough. 

The recipe for cavatelli varies greatly from region to region, village to village. Below is the recipe that has yielded the most consistent results for us - a soft delicate pasta that's not gummy.  After all your work in making fresh pasta you'll be happy to know that it freezes wonderfully! Now on a random Wednesday night just pull out your homemade fresh cavatelli, make a quick sauce and dinner is ready!

This pasta pairs perfectly in the Spring with peas, borlotti, sage & tomatoes in the Fall and norcina (sausage & cream) in the Winter!

You can find videos on youtube all day on the technique for cutting & forming the pasta. Below is a simple explanation. Stay tuned as we'll film our own demo soon!!

Cavatelli Pasta Dough
serves 4

200 grams/ 1.5 cups of semolina or ground durum wheat/ grano duro
25 grams / 1/4 cup of regular flour or soft wheat flour
pinch of salt
125 grams or 3/4 cup warm water

In a bowl mix the salt & both flours together, add in warm water and mix with a fork. Dump onto a board and begin kneading. Adjust the consistency as needed. The dough should have a firmness to it, not mushy, however not as hard as a ball. Continue kneading, until you have a nice smooth springy dough (8-10 minutes by hand). Wrap it in plastic and allow to rest at least an hour.

Make a snake about the width of a pencil.
Cut into segments as long as your thumb is wide. …..
Now you can either use your thumb or a knife for this next step.

To begin shaping cavatelli, stick your right thumb up and then turn hand so thumb is pointing left. Maintaining even pressure, use thumb to push a piece of dough forward and up, like an airplane taking off. The dough should spring up and form around the curve of your thumb.

Use a bench scraper or knife to transfer cavatelli to a baking sheet covered in parchment paper and sprinkled with semolina, making sure no pieces of pasta touch. Continue until all dough is used. Let pasta dry slightly, 30-45 minutes. (You can then freeze in a single layer. Once frozen place in plastic freezer bag and will keep about a month.)

In a large pot, bring lightly salted water to a rolling boil and drop in cavatelli. Boil the pasta. It should take about 4-6 min depending on the size of your cavatelli. Just keep taking one out and testing!  Serve with the sauce of your choice.

Monday, September 29

A Vegetarian Dish for the Meat Eaters: Garden Vegetable Stew Topped with A Poached Egg

This is one vegetarian dish that even the die-hard meat eaters will enjoy! The quality of your veggies will turn this from ordinary to amazing and full of flavor. Its filling and incredible versatile based on the vegetables and herbs you use. This veg stew is perfect over a boiled potato or polenta. With the eggs from our hens, we love poaching an egg and placing it atop this gorgeous garden stew, adding a little protein and making it into more of a meal. Plus, eggs are hot right now!! Which just cracks us up (who comes up with these things?! By the way kale is out and cauliflower is in!) 

Remember with simple dishes like this its important to use the best quality ingredients. This is just the base for the veggies - use what you've got /like/grow. Add in potatoes if you want, etc.

Garden Vegetable Stew
serves about 6

This is just the base for the veggies - use what you've got/like/grow. Add in potatoes if you want, etc.

1 long eggplant
1 onion
1 pepper
1 zucchini
1 bulb of fennel
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
salt & pepper
a couple of large tomatoes, diced or 1 jar of whole crushed tomatoes
herbs of your choice (rosemary, thyme, bay leaf etc)
optional: capers, olives

Dice all your vegetables in a large dice, keeping them separate. Since its a stew the sizing isn’t exact. But don’t mix all the veggies together in a bowl.

In a large heavy pot, with a little bit of olive oil on medium high heat, sauté the onion for a few minutes. Season with salt & pepper. Then remove from the pot. We are just looking to start the onions cooking.

Repeat the same process, a little bit of olive oil, salt & pepper, sauté for 2 minutes or so and then remove, with each of the remaining vegetable except the tomatoes.

Keep an eye on your pan heat - you don’t want it too hot or too cool: too hot and they will burn your vegetables, too cool and you’ll sweat instead of sauté the vegetables.

Then return all the vegetables to the pot, together, along with the tomatoes and your herbs (and capers/olives if you like). Bring the pot up to a simmer and let slowly simmer until all the vegetables are tender. OR I like to pop it in a 375 F/190 C degrees oven, uncovered for about 45 minutes to an hour or until the vegetables are soft and the liquid has reduced some.

Check your seasoning, remove the herb stems and finish with good extra virgin olive oil on top.

If you like, poach an egg and place atop or serve with boiled potatoes or grilled polenta. Makes a great hearty vegetarian dish. It will get better as it sits in the fridge. Change up the vegetables as you like or play with the spices.

Monday, September 22

Quick Pickled Peppers, Carrots & Onions

A favorite way to keep veggies a bit longer into the season is a quick pickle - that great briny flavor with a crunch without the wait of a month or more for a proper pickle. A dish of these puckery peppers makes a perfect antipasti/appetizer through the fall, I love adding heaping spoonful to my plate with grilled sausages (or dunked into a Bloody Mary) while watching football!

A Quick Pickle for Peppers, Carrots, Onions, etc.

Use any vegetables of your choice, sliced thin - carrots, green beans, peppers, onions, etc. Most often we use a mix of peppers, carrots and onions
strong vinegar like white wine, red wine or apple cider (don’t use a soft vinegar such as balsamic)
fresh herbs/aromatics of your choice - thyme, rosemary, dill, peppercorn, cardamon, etc.
chili of your desired strength
honey or sugar
whole head of chopped garlic

This is a ratio recipe. In a pot on medium heat, combine 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Add a couple tablespoons of honey/sugar, a couple tablespoons of salt, aromatics, chili, etc. - everything BUT the vegetables.

Once the sugar and salt are dissolved give it a taste. Make sure its not too puckery or too bland - just nice and briny, slightly acidic with a nice taste. Adjust as necessary with more salt, water vinegar or sugar.

Bring to boil.

Begin adding your vegetables based on hardness - for example:  carrots first, after 20-30 seconds add onions, after  about 20-30 seconds add peppers.

Bring to a rolling boil.

Once soft but still with a crunch, shut off the heat and strain out the vegetables and herbs (Do NOT throw out the liquid!!).  Place on a baking sheet in one flat layer and place in the fridge to cool.

Keep the pickling liquid/brine in the pot to cool as well.
Once both the veggies and liquid are cool, place the veggies along with all the garlic and herbs into a jar and cover with the liquid. Keep in the fridge and it will be good for up to 2 weeks, getting better as it sits.

Tuesday, September 16

London Times: The 30 Best Autumn Escapes...Includes a Gastro Holiday at La Tavola Marche!

It's not too late to plan that last minute autumn getaway! The Times has compiled a well rounded list of 30 of the best from leaf peeping to mushroom hunting, grape picking and beach-bumming there is something for everyone. And to toot our horn, #8 of 30 includes a stay with yours truly -

"La Tavola Marche is a traditional agriturismo, tucked away in the hills between the Apennine Mountains and the sea, specialising in gourmet weekends and cookery courses. Their Flavors of Fall break runs throughout October and includes a "wild edibles" walk and mushroom hunt, half-day cooking course and five course dinner with wine..."

September is fully booked but we do have a few spaces/classes available in October!  
 For more details email: or visit our website

You can read the article by Annabell Thorpe in its entirety: The London Times
Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin