Italian Food Tour – This week Calabria

Most of the cuisine of Calabria is heavily influenced by the Mediterranean and is often spicy. Pasta dishes with peppers, onions and sausage sauteed with or without sauce are very common. Frittatas made with pasta and sausage are also prevalent. Eggplant/Aubergine is a favorite dish in the region and is served in a variety of ways, Ciambotta, stewed aubergine, tomatoes and potatoes seasoned with onion and peppers, is eaten either hot or cold. In Calabrian cuisine, pork is the preferred meat. Preserving meat as sausage, ham and salame keeps it fresh through the year. Murseddu is a savory pork and veal liver pie seasoned with tomato and peppers and Capocollo di Calabria is a tender pork marinated with vinegar, massaged and pressed with whole black peppercorns. Anime Beate, a sweet pastry pocket-style dessert is a traditional sweet and another local favourite is Torrone di Bagnara, a sweet nougat.


Polpette di Melanzane – Aubergine medallionsimages

Maccheroncini Salsiccia & Oliva – Fresh handmade pasta with aromatised sausage meat and olives.279855_2212872331664_1543210054_2358045_1647251_o

Maiale all’Aceto – Pork tenderloin cooked in a cherry vinegar sauce.dsc_0279

Anime Beate – Calabrian style doughnuts filled with chocolate.baos

Buon appetito!




Italian Food Tour – This week week Lazio

ravioli-con-piselliAt Il Faro this week’s culinary trip is taking you to Lazio. The Lazio region, located in central Italy, has always been a seat of cultural exchange, especially during the Roman Age. Simple pasta sauces, roast meats and pork products dominate the table. The sauces that adorn the pasta dishes in Lazio, vary from the very simple like cacio e pepe, or salty Roman pecorino and pepper, to much more elaborate recipes that may include butter, egg, pancetta or guanciale. The traditional pasta sauce from Amatrice, called Amatriciana, is made by sautéing onions in pork fat, adding tomatoes and spices and allowing the flavors to come together. The sauces are typically served with long pasta noodles like spaghetti and fettuccine. Short, or broken pasta, often appears in soups, where it is pairs with beans, chickpeas, cabbage, or broccoli and flavored with pounded lard, onions and herbs. Beef is the meat of choice in Lazio, however lamb and kid is also served. Coda alla Vaccinara, or braised oxtail, is a popular Roman dish. Outside of the city, and especially during the spring, you can find abbacchio, or lamb, baked in the oven, roasted on a spit or prepared in a fricassee. Many people eat chicken as well and either roast it or cook it with tomato and peppers, or in a pan with fiery spices. The most popular regional pork recipe is porchetta alla romana.

This week we have chosen 4 dishes that are typical of Lazio:


Prosciutto e Melone – Parma ham a jewel in Italian culinary tradition, a dry-cured ham that is usually thinly sliced and served with cool melon wedges, an explosion of flavours.

Il Primo:

Agnolotti alla Romana con creme di piselli – Fresh egg pasta parcels filled with roast beef and herbs in a delicious cream pea sauce.agnolottidutto

Il Secondo:

Salti in Bocca – veal Cutlets filled with sage and ham and cooked off in a white wine sauce.piatto-pronto-bicchieri-tovagliolo-azzurro_dettaglio_ricette_slider_grande3

Il Dolce:

Macedonia di Cesare –  A salad of fresh mixed marinated fruits.


Come by and try the best dishes from this region. 



September’s Italian Food in Hanoi


A restaurant is a fantasy – A kind of living fantasy in which diners are the most important members of the cast. – Warner LeRoy

Cooking done with care is an act of love – Craig Claiborne


Special Main Course of the week – Petto oli Pollo Fritto Con Asparagi


I love that moment of dipping a spoon into a creamy Panna Cotta, the perfect dessert .


Pork Belly for a beautiful Friday night.10394621_351842848299764_2640162825828820302_n

Italian Food Tour in Hanoi – This weeks menu

menu3Venetian cuisine is varied with many traditional recipes from the famous lagoons and the countryside close by. This week we have chosen some favourites and some of the lesser known but very highly prized dishes from the Veneto region.

Stracetti Al Radicchio, fine slivers of tender veal cooked with a chicory leaf marinate. Crostini Di Zucca In Saor, marinated pumpkin with sun-dried black olives.

Risotto Al Ragu Di Quaglia E Funghi, a delicious risotto with a quail and white mushroom ragu. Bigolli All’Anatra, fresh egg pasta with a duck ragu.

Agnello In Crema Di Asparagi, Lamb fillet with an asparagus cream. Fegato Alla Veneziana, finely sliced veal liver cooked in the venetian style with lemon and gently stewed onions.

Sorbetto Vino e Frutta, a sorbet of wine and fresh fruits. Crespelle con Fragole e Cioccolato, light crepes with a strawberry and chocolate garnish.

10609531_349188588565190_5960174740529984396_nCelebrating the Veneto region with many delicious dishes from Venice and Treviso.

Italian Food Tour in Hanoi – August – The Veneto Region

cucina_03cucina_07cucina_11Il Faro Italian Restaurant is celebrating the Veneto cuisine with a dedicated menu. Veneto is a rich region under many aspects, above all the gastronomic one. It’s easy to see why, given that Venice for centuries traded with distant lands in the East and the Venetians integrated the use of exotic spices into their recipes. The 4 key points are polenta, rice, cod and beans.

Some favourite Venetian Dishes: Sarde in Saor, sweet and sour sardines. Bigoli in Salsa, thick coarse spaghetti seasoned with a sardine and onion sauce. Risi e Bisi, risotto with beans and Bruscandoli, radicchio from Treviso which has many delicious varieties. Baccalà Mantecato, a creamy soft Cod mousse served with polenta. Fegato alla Veneziana, liver cooked with figs. Trotta in Gradela, delicately flavoured grilled trout, Filette di Coregone alla Gardesana, white fish baked with capers and anchovy fillets. Triglie al Cartoccio, reef mullets wrapped and coated with spices creating a heady burst of aromas. Frittelle, sweet fried dumplings and many more traditional Venetian dishes.

The dishes on offer each day will be subject to the fresh ingredients available locally in Hanoi.

Molise Recipe – Minestra Maritata, Wedding Soup

minestra_maritata-300x225This delicious traditional recipe from Molise is for a wedding soup with meatballs, chicken, endive and escarole.


For the meatballs – 1 lb of ground beef or veal, 1 egg, half cup of bread crumbs, 1 clove of minced garlic, sea salt and black pepper. For the soup – I chicken (cleaned. heart, liver etc removed), 1 escarole head and 1 endive (or use other greens such as cabbage, kale or spinach) 2 medium chopped onions, half a cup of chopped celery, half a cup of chopped carrots, 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese .


In a large soup pot place the chicken, chopped onion, celery, carrot and a pinch of salt then cover with water and simmer for 1 hour. Prepare the meat balls: Mix the ground meat, egg and bread crumbs, garlic, salt and pepper, and shape into little balls, then bake the meat balls in the oven for 25 minutes at 350 F or until browned. Boil the endive and escarole until tender then drain and set aside. Remove the chicken from the pot and bone the chicken and return the meat to the pot. Add the meatballs and endive and escarole and heat, then serve with grated parmesan cheese and fresh ground black pepper with crostini-toasted bread garnished with olive oil.


Italian Food Tour In Hanoi This Week Molise

lrg_31841238134_342646372552745_7324510597210199986_nThe traditional cuisine of this region has been shaped by the natural settings of mountains and sea. A speciality of the mountainous region – the home of shepherds- is Lamb prepared in a variety of ways – roasted, fried or cooked alla cacciatora (the hunter’s way) with red peppers. Pecorino made from sheeps milk is the most common cheese together with the ricotta salata, (a salted semi soft cheese). The Molise cuisine is dominated by flavors linked to the many aromatic herbs found there. Tasty and spicy salamis, elaborate dishes using goat, lamb and beef, and pasta dishes with fresh egg tagliatelle pasta.. The vegetables which grow in abundance in this region are cooked in a variety of different ways especially in fresh salads and soups.

Zuppa Sante’ A traditional soup prepared for festivities and special occasions. Though the recipe can vary slightly from village to village, it’s a rich broth made with a stewing hen, cooked for about 4 hours, after with added egg bread croutons, fried cheese balls (cacciocavallo and parmesan)  and tiny veal balls and fresh parsley making a wonderfully tasty soup.

Maltagliate al ragù di seppia is a rich and refined dish of fresh egg pasta, cut randomly in different shapes (mal tagliata), and seppia ragù prepared with tiny cuttle fish, olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, onion and chillies.

Involtini di Manzo, Beef wraps or rolls – Thinly sliced steak wrapped around a delicious filling, usually made with breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic and minced bacon or salami, there are many different fillings and variations, though it’s usual to braise and coat the steak with bread crumbs before cooking.

Le zeppole, a deep fried cream doughnut, a popular sweet especially to celebrate San Giuseppe day/ father’s day in Italy. The Zeppole are golden and light as air, filled with a rich cream and ever so delicious.

Cannelloni Alla Sorrentina – Stuffed Pasta, Sorrentine Style

Delicious cannelloni with a rich tomato sauce, topped with melting cheese.To celebrate this week’s food tour to Campania, we are posting a classic recipe from Sorrentina. The southern Italian region of Campania has much to offer food lovers:
Pepperonico and buffalo mozzarella reign as kings, fresh seafood is abundant and the pizza is the best in the world. Campania is home to the gorgeous Sorrento Peninsula and below is one of the most popular recipes for Cannelloni Alla Sorrentina.

You’ll need:

1/2 cup olive oil

*1 clove garlic, chopped

*4 anchovy fillets, chopped

3/4 lb cubed lean beef or pork *400g minced beef and pork

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 2/3 cups tomato paste

1/4 cup shredded basil

2 cups ricotta

6oz fior di latte cheese, cubed *170g

*50g baby spinach, chopped

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

12 squares fresh pasta 5-6 inches to a side.(* I used the fresh lasagne sheets)


Preheat the oven to 400F (*200C). Heat the oil in a large pan and add the garlic, onion and anchovies.  Then add the meat. Cook until the meat is browned and the onion is golden.  Pour in the wine and let it evaporate, then add the tomato paste, a pinch of salt and basil.  Add 1 cup of water and cook until the meat has broken down nearly to a paste (if you use mince, it will take less time then cubed meat).  Remove from heat and add the ricotta, fior di latte, baby spinach and a little parmigiano-reggiano. Cook the pasta squares a few at a time in lightly salted boiling water, removing them from the water when they rise to the surface and aligning them on a counter top (preferably marble) dampened with cold water (*You don’t need to pre cook if you use the fresh lasagne sheets that are ready to go).  Put a tablespoon of the meat and ricotta filling across the centre of each square and roll them up to form cannelloni.  Spoon some of the meat sauce in the bottom of a rectangular baking dish, then align the cannelloni in the dish in a single layer.  Cover the cannelloni with more sauce, sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano, and bake for 15-20 mins until the sauce is boiling.

Remove from the oven and garnish with parsley.

Makes 12.

Italian food tour in Hanoi – This week Campania


FOOD TOUR- from the 7th of July to the 3rd of August, this week we are in Campania from the 21st to 27th of July.


PARMIGIANA DI MELANZANE – Traditional starter with Aubergines baked in Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, basil and buffalo mozzarella.

FUNGHI IN CARROZZA – A tasty dish of sauté mushrooms baked in a delicious carriage of bread.

10492227_337132886437427_859082690080492579_nFreshly made Macheroni


RISOTTO FAVE E VONGOLE – A delicate classic risotto cooked with broad beans and clams.

MACCHERONI DONNA CRISTINA – A traditional recipe from Naples of freshly made Macheroni with a broccoli emulsion and sauté bacon making an explosion of flavours.


COSCIOTTO D’AGNELLO ALLA SALERNITANA – A dish cooked for special occasions, a leg of lamb marinated and roasted following a unique Salernitana recipe.

BRANZINO AGRUMI E VERDURE – From Positano, this fish recipe of fresh sea bass, aromatic vegetables and a citrus drizzle is a delicious main course.


BABA – A typical home made sweet: Il Babà in Naples is a religion, an act of love, a compliment – sii nu babà, you are a babà -In folk tales it was originally invented to lighten the sadness of King who lost his throne. Sweet and light to taste, similar to a doughnut yet so much more.

FRAGOLE IN CREMA DELIZIA – A fabulous buffalo curd whipped with fresh strawberry sauce.


We look forward to seeing you and will be posting some Campania recipes soon. Arrivederci  

Sardegna – Traditional Desert Sweets – Caschettas & Aranzada


To celebrate our Culinary tour, this week in Sardinia, we have posted two desert recipes: The traditional Sardinian sweets are an important part of meals, and in many homes a large platter of ‘Dolci Sardi’ will appear at the end of lunches and dinners accompanied by a local liquor normally Mirto ( made from Myrtle Berries). There are a huge variety of cakes and sweets, and every region in Sardinia has its own recipes, ingredients and traditions for baking, but in general the main ingredients are almonds and honey.


CASCHETTAS   Given to the bride on her wedding day, pastry as thin as the veil of a bride that contain within them honey, saffron, almonds and hazelnuts, this cake is especially prevalent in the Barbagia region, and the local villages vie for supremacy.

Ingredients: 300 gr of Almonds, 100 gr hazelnuts, 4 oranges, ½ cup of honey, 200 gr flour, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of saffron, 50 gr. of lard


Begin by preparing the filling. Boil, peel and dry the Almonds, then finely chop them. Peel the oranges and lightly bake the peel in the oven and then chop finely. Add the orange peel and the Almonds to the honey in a sauce pan, cooking on a low heat, stirring until you obtain a creamy paste. Then Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Now it’s time to prepare the pastry leaves: Mix the flour, egg, a pinch of salt and the lard and knead into a ball and then leave it to rest in a cool place. After take the filling paste and roll it into little snakes, about 1 cm thick and 10 cm long.


Then take the pastry ball and pull away small lumps of pastry, stretching them into strips which are wafer thin and almost transparent. For those of you who find this difficult, a cold bottle can be use to roll the pastry into thin strips. The strips should be 3 cm wide and about 10 cm long. Then fold the strips around the ‘little snakes’ and then form into different shapes such as spirals or flowers. Then place the Caschettas on a baking tray and put in a warm oven for about half an hour, until the pastry leaves turn golden.caschettas appena fatte_145




There are even Italian cakes that use oranges as the main ingredient like the famous Aranzada from Nuoro. Aranzada dates from the late 1800’s and was patented by Battista Guiso. Aranzada is thin threads of orange peel that is candied in honey with addition of almonds. The original maker of these cakes Battista Guiso served many important customers, even the Royal Family.


500 gr. Orange Peel

500 gr. Toasted Slivered Almonds

500 gr. Honey

The secret to making this delicious authentic cookie is the attention to peeling the oranges. All the white pith must be removed full a richer taste of the orange zest. The orange peel wants to be sliced into stripes as thin as possible as this will make the overall cookie sweeter.


Once the orange strips are prepared they need to soak in a bowl of water for two days. Change the water at least once a day and preferably twice. After the peel has soaked drain off as much as possible. Place the honey in a heavy saucepan and heat gently without boiling, add the orange peel and leave it to cook for about half an hour. Finally add the toasted almonds and give it all a good stir. Then place little drops of the mixture into baking cases, leave to cool and serve.