Recipes and Ramblings in Italy

Food Blog

Recipe of the Week (May26th, 2015)

Posted by William Abruzzo on May 21, 2015 at 4:20 PM

Sbrisalona (Crunchy Polenta Cookies)


        This week's recipe takes us to the region of LOMBARDIA. Sbrisolona is a unique traditional cookie from the beautiful medieval city of Mantova. In the dialect of southern Lombardia, “sbrisolona” means crunchy, which certainly describes this unique and tasty treat that dates back to the 16th Century. A simple crumble of cornmeal, flour and sugar, sbrisolona is similar to the streusel topping on a crumb cake. In my verion of this recipe, slivered almonds add even more texture and lemon zest adds depth of flavor. This is one unique treat that your family and friends are sure to love. But be forewarned, snacking on sbrisolona is addictive. Once you start, it’s hard to stop! So make a big batch for your next gathering of family and friends. Enjoy!



All Purpose Pre-sifted Flour (3 cups)

Polenta (2 cups -fine ground)

Slivered Almonds (2 cups)

Sugar (2 cups)

Butter (1 cup)

Eggs (2)

Milk (¼ cup)

Lemon (1)

Baking Powder (5 tsp)

Salt (1 tsp)

Vanilla (1½ tsp)



Zest the lemon. Place the flour, polenta, sugar and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and thoroughly combine them. Melt the butter, allow it to cool, and then whisk it together with the milk, vanilla, salt, lemon zest, and eggs. Next, add the liquid ingredients to the bowl and mix everything together to achieve a loose crumble. Do not knead the dough or work into a ball.



Sprinkle the crumbles of dough loosely onto a 12 by 16 inch baking pan that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Do not press the dough into the pan as there should be lots of nooks and crannies between the crumbles. Sprinkle the almonds over top, allowing them to fall into all the nooks. Place the sbrisolona in an oven that has been preheated to 375 degrees. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden on top and bottom. Cut the sbrisolona into 1 1/2 inch squares as soon as it comes out of the oven. Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Categories: Desserts + Liqueurs

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I offer private cooking classes for up to six people. Cooking classes are held in my home on Saturday evenings. I specialize in all aspects of Italian regional cuisine, including soups, vegetables, pasta, risotto, meat, seafood and desserts. I will design a cooking class around whatever interests you –whether it is a specific recipe you wish to learn or a skill such as pasta-making. For more details, please take a minute to become a member of my website and contact me via internal email at . 

Bill's Cooking Tip of the Month

Roll Out Pie Dough with Ease Using Plastic Wrap

This is an old trick I learned years ago from my mother. The next time you bake a pie, roll out the dough between sheets of plastic wrap. This will prevent the dough from sticking to your rolling pin and will make it easier to transport the dough from your work surface to the pie dish or baking sheet.

Cover your entire work surface with plastic wrap and sprinkle it lightly with flour. Turn the dough onto the wrap, pat it down to 1 inch thickness, sprinkle it lightly with flour, and then cover it with a second layer of wrap. Roll out the dough to just less than ¼ inch thickness and remove the top layer of wrap. Lift the dough using the bottom layer of wrap, turn it on to a lightly greased pie dish or baking sheet, and then remove the wrap. Its quick and easy! 

Tips on Italian Ingredients

 Frying Tomato Paste Enhances the Flavor and Adds Depth to Your Dish

Many recipes direct you to stir tomato paste into a sauce, soup or stew. However, frying the tomato paste first fully develops its flavor and eliminates any raw or metallic taste. It is a quick and easy way to enhance the flavor of your dish. Tomato paste should always be added at the beginning of a recipe, rather than at the end. This allows its flavor to marry with the dish. Add it immediately after sautéing your aromatics in olive oil or rendered fat. When the aromatics are soft, push them to one side of your pot or frying pan. Place a dollop of tomato paste on the other side, tilt the pot or frying pan to pool the oil around the tomato paste, and let it gently sizzle for about 2 minutes.  After the tomato paste has fried, incorporate it into the aromatics and then add the liquid and other ingredients to complete your sauce, soup or stew. 

Just Picked From My Italian Vegetable Garden!

 Zucchini Blossoms 

My Italian Heritage

 My Great Grandparents, Vita and Onofrio Abruzzo, from the town of Santa Margherita di Belice, Sicily pictured here with my grandfather Vito "Bill" in the center.

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