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Video: Visit Italy with the Scottos

updated 8/21/2007 10:57:00 AM ET 2007-08-21T14:57:00

Recipe: Risotto with Fontina Cheese Fondue

Villa d’Este Hotel, Lake Como, Italy; Cooking with Chef Luciano Parolari

  • For risotto
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • For cheese fondue
  • 1 cup fontina cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup whole milk

1. To make risotto: Bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat and keep at a bare simmer.

2. Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and wine and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the onions are translucent and the white wine is reduced. Add the rice and cook, stirring for about 3 minutes, until every grain is coated with the liquid.

3. Add 1 cup of the chicken stock until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding stock, about ½ cup at a time, stirring frequently and making sure all the liquid is absorbed before adding more stock. When half the stock has been added, add the saffron. Continue to add stock. Cook until the rice is tender and creamy, about 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.

5. To make cheese fondue: In a medium pot, add the fontina cheese and milk and cook until cheese is melted.

6. To assemble: Place risotto in a serving dish and drizzle the melted cheese fondue on top. Serve immediately.

Serving Size

4-6 servings

Recipe: Crespelle with Berries and Cognac

Villa d’Este Hotel, Lake Como, Italy; Cooking with Chef Luciano Parolari

  • For crespelle
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Melted butter or vegetable oil to coat crêpe pan, as needed
  • For berry sauce
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 cups mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup cognac

1. To make crepes: In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt, milk, eggs, butter and vanilla extract. Whisk batter well to remove any lumps, and then let the batter rest for at least 1 hour to ensure tender crêpes.

2. In a small, flat, round crêpe pan, heat the pan over medium heat and grease lightly with butter or oil to prevent sticking or, in the case of nonstick pans, to add flavor.

3. With a ladle or small measuring cup, quickly pour a small amount of batter into the pan. Immediately tilt and swirl the pan to spread the batter in a thin, even layer that just covers the bottom of the pan. Cook for a few minutes, and then check the doneness of a crepe by carefully lifting one edge and looking underneath it for a golden color with specks of light brown. With a spatula, loosen the edge of the crêpe from the pan, turn, and cook on the other side until golden. Set aside crepes on individual dessert plates.

4. To make berry sauce: Melt butter in a sauté pan large enough to hold all of the ingredients. Add sugar and cook until it begins to caramelize. Add orange juice and reduce by half. Add berries and heat through.


5. To assemble: Once berries are hot, add the cognac, and ignite. Spoon over crepes and serve immediately.

Serving Size

4 servings

Recipe: Potato Gnocchi with Salsa Nera

Trattoria Altanella — Venice
On the Island of Giudecca, Venice, Italy
Over 100 years old
Owned and operated by four generations of the
Stradella family

  • For gnocchi
  • 6 pounds potatoes
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For salsa nera
  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 pound calamari, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh, black squid ink
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. To make gnocchi: Scrub the potatoes and place, unpeeled, in a large pot of boiling water (lightly salted).

2. Cook for 45 minutes until tender but not overcooked. When cool, peel potatoes and mash. Add flour, eggs, salt and pepper.

3. Roll dough into long thin rods, and cut into small pieces about 1-inch in length to form the dumplings.

4. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil (add a touch of olive oil to prevent gnocchi from sticking together). Drop gnocchi in and cook for approximately 1 minute until they float to the top.

5. To make Salsa Nera: In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add olive oil and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add parsley, tomato paste, white wine, black squid ink, salt and pepper; cook for 20 minutes then add the calamari and cook for 3 minutes more.

6. To assemble: Place cooked gnocchi on a large serving platter. Add the salsa nera and gently toss to cover gnocchi with sauce. Top with pats of butter and serve immediately.

Serving Size

6 servings

Recipe: Mediterranean Sea Bass (Branzino)

Trattoria Altanella — Venice

  • 6 sea bass filets (about 8 ounces each)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 jar capers (in salt)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. To cook filets: Heat olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.

2. In a separate dish, combine flour, salt and pepper. Flour the filets and place in the sauté pan. Cook until golden brown on each side. Remove to a serving platter.

3. Using the leftover oil and butter in the sauté pan, add the parsley, capers, white wine, and cook over a low flame for 3 minutes.

4. Spoon the sauce over the filets and serve immediately.

Serving Size

6 servings

Recipe: Venetian Tiramisu

Trattoria Altanella — Venice

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 container mascarpone
  • 1 1/2 cups cream
  • 2 cups espresso
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 1 package ladyfingers
  • Cocoa powder to garnish

1. Whip egg yolks and ¾ cups sugar until pale yellow and tripled in volume. Add mascarpone and whip again until light in texture; set aside.

2. Whip the cream with ¼ cup sugar until stiff peaks form and then fold into egg mixture.

3. Dissolve ¼ cup sugar in the espresso. Dip ladyfingers in espresso and line bottom of a baking dish.

4. Pour half of the cream mixture on top of the first layer of ladyfingers and drizzle with rum. Repeat with remaining ladyfingers, cream and rum. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

5. Just before serving, sprinkle tiramisu with an even layer of cocoa powder.

Serving Size

12 servings

Recipe: Sea Scallops and Shrimp with Asparagus, Endive and Vin Cotto

Villa d’Este Hotel — Lake Como, Italy
Cooking with Chef Luciano Parolari
The most famous people in the world have visited this hotel, from Mark Twain to President Kennedy to the Queen of England ... and, of course, the Scottos!

  • 1/2 pound sea scallops
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, cleaned
  • 1/2 bunch fresh asparagus, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 endive, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vin Cotto per serving to drizzle
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Season sea scallops and shrimp with salt and pepper.

2. In a large sauté pan over medium to high heat add olive oil. When olive oil is hot, add sea scallops and cook until golden brown on one side, flip over and then add shrimp; cook for 1 minute.

3. Add asparagus and cook for 30 seconds more. Add endive and cook for 10 seconds. Remove from heat. Plate immediately and drizzle each portion with Vin Cotto and serve.


(a) Shrimp only need to be cooked until they turn orange, approximately 1 minute.

(b) Asparagus and endive should be cooked very quickly and still kept slightly crisp and not brown.

Serving Size

4-6 servings


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