About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Orange and Cucumber Salad | Main | Panzanella - Bread Salad »

Pinzimonio-Olive Oil, Salt, and Black Pepper Dip for Raw Vegetables

This recipe again demonstrates the strength of Marcella’s cookbooks. The recipe is very simple. It is just fresh vegetables that are arranged pleasingly and then served with a saucer of good olive oil with some freshly ground salt and black pepper sprinkled on top. If I was writing the recipe down, that is about what I would have written. However, Marcella is never content to leave it at that. She brought in the history of the dish, as well as the name. Did you know that pinzimonio is a combination of the Italian words for pinching (pinzare) and marrying (matrimonio)? The reason that these two words are used is because you pinch the vegetable as you hold it and then it is married to the olive oil when it is dipped in. I love knowing that. If I ever make it to Jeopardy! I hope that there is a “little known facts of Italian cooking” category because after spending this time with the cookbook I think I could win that one! Of course if any of the other pomodori were up against me then it would be a toss up because we have all learned so much this year.


This had a beautiful presentation. It is another example of the power of simplicity. I really enjoyed all of the vegetables served this way, but I especially loved the fennel with the olive oil mixture.

Comments (3)

You're right, Beth. One of the gifts of Marcella's writing is the back-story she offers for almost every dish.
I hope the people who have been following along with us all these weeks took our advice and read Essentials like a book before they started using it like a cookbook.

Very pretty Sandi and informative as well!

Marcella Hazan:

That is a light-hearted post, Beth! You must be feeling the release of approaching the end of this marathon. Another little-known fact. Did you know that finocchio served as above (or even without any condiment) has the power to make young red wines taste more complex? A tactic that Tuscan wine brokers used to employ liberally, giving rise to a Tuscan verb, infinocchiare, which means to deceive? I find it particularly appropriate that the verb should be Tuscan.

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