Giovanna Rivetti Recipes

Cucinare Piemontese con Giovanna Rivetti...

Giovanna Rivetti was born in 1947. She is our "vineyard manager" and our "in-house chef". She learned the work in the vineyard from her father and the work in the kitchen from her mother. Both parents taught Giovanna skills which until today are great assets to La Spinetta.

Being a true Piemontese woman, Giovanna loves and respects the traditional recipes of the area. On this page and in every of our One Liter Club Newsletter she is sharing one of those recipes with us. Having made each single dish more than one hundred times, naturally Giovanna claims that each recipe is very easy to make. If you plan to prepare one of her dishes and have questions, don't hesitate to ask us...

Frittata with Onions

Giovanna's Frittatas are delicious, easy to make and with the most simple ingredients. This recipe is for Frittata made with onions, and is a great recipe, especially in the winter months.

You will need the following ingredients (portion to serve 6 people):

6 relatively mild white onions (Giovanna of course takes the ones out of her garden), 3 eggs (from Giovanna's chicken) 50 gr of Parmigiano cheese, 50cl water, 50cl dry white wine, 7 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

The easiest thing on earth to make, says Giovanna, who loves to spend every minute that she is not in the vineyard, in the kitchen. Start by peeling and cutting the onions into thin slices. Then use a pan and warm up 2 tablespoons of olive oil adding the onions, water and the wine. It is very important to cook everything on low heat, stirring the onions now and then. After 20 minutes, take off the lid and continue cooking so that the liquid evaporates. After, beat the two eggs in a bowl and add the Parmigiano cheese, nutmeg, pepper, onions and at the very end, the salt, while continuing to stir everything. Take a second pan and warm up the remaining olive oil, then fry the mixture by taking tablespoon portions of it and form little round 5-8 cm Frittate (see photo). Fry until golden. Then take the Frittate out of the pan and remove some of the oil by letting them rest on paper kitchen towel for a minute. Serve warm.

Vitello Tonnato

Piemonte's famous Vitello Tonnato is a cold veal roast with tuna sauce. This classic antipasti is a bit tricky to prepare, but following Giovanna's recipe, very rewarding.

You will need the following ingredients to make Vitello Tonnato for 10 people (minimum portion and size of meat in order to roast meat to a perfect rose color):

1,2 kg topside of veal, 50 gr butter, 50 gr anchovies in oil, 30 gr salted capers, some rosemary, 35 gr of canned tuna, 0,75 l Lidia Chardonnay, 150 gr mayonnaise, 20 gr lemon juice.

Thoroughly tie meat together with a thread. Then slowly roast it with butter in a frying pan on low temperature. Add the capers and rosemary to the meat, as well as the oil of the anchovies. As soon as the meat has taken some color, add a glass of Lidia and continue to cook for 30 minutes. Keep turning the meat so that the inner part will remain pink. Let the meat cool down with the lid on the pan. For the magic sauce:Use the remaining liquids from the meat and add it together with the tuna and the anchovies into a blender. Blend everything to a fine sauce. Add mayonnaise, lemon juice. Whatever is left of Lidia Chardonnay perfectly pairs with this dish.

Tajarin con Sugo di Carne

You will need the following ingredients (portion to serve 6 people):
For the pasta:

400gr flour, one table spoon of olive oil, 10 eggs (3 entire and 7 yolks)

For the meat sauce:

500gr ground veal, 500 gr ground pork, a bit of fresh rosemary, 1 onion, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 3 cloves, 250gr of purred tomatoes and sea salt "To make fresh pasta is very easy", says Giovanna. "The only mistake one can make is to add water to the dough. You simply take the flour and make a little volcano. In the center you put the eggs and the oil, and then you mix everything until you have nice solid dough". Traditionally the Tajarin are knife cut, the dough is pressed into one big flat, thin piece, folded and cut into tiny stripes. Giovanna however prefers to use the machine. She presses the dough flat and then lets it run through the pasta machine.

"To make the pasta sauce is also very simple, one just needs time", says Giovanna. "Fry the chopped onions with olive oil, rosemary and meat in a pan on low temperature. When the meat is still a little rosé add the cloves and the pureed tomatoes. Cook everything on very low temperature for 4 hours". You heard right, 4 hours as in 240 minutes. "At the end add salt to your personal taste".

P.s. Who likes to enjoy wine, while cooking, might end up drunk before dinner with this recipe!

Insalata Russa

This "Russian Salad" – which, despite the misleading name, has a very long tradition in Piedmont. You will need the following ingredients (portion to serve 6):

200gr potatoes (2-3 ), 100 gr carrots, 100 gr peas, 200 gr tuna fish canned, 2 hard boiled eggs, juice of half a lemon, 100 gr mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper

This is another very simple recipe. "I love Insalata Russa, because it is easily made, very inexpensive and absolutely stunningly delicious and refreshing", says Giovanna. All vegetables need to be cut in little cubes (0,5 cm) then boiled separately in water according to cooking time of each vegetable. Please don't overcook the vegetables. One can also steam them, even better for maintaining the vitamins. After cooking, dry vegetables on a clean kitchen towel. The eggs need to be cooked for 7 minutes. Giovanna uses the eggs from her very own chicken, but if you are reading this recipe, while sitting in your NYC penthouse apartment, this option might be obsolete.

Mix the vegetables, the tuna fish and the boiled eggs, that you also need to cut into cubes and add the lemon juice as well as 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

Traditionally Piedmont never had any fresh fish. The Piemontese traded wine and hazelnuts for olive oil, canned tuna, anchovies, and stock fish. The traditional Insalata Russa is therefore made with tuna from the can. Giovanna suggest though, that if you love fresh tuna, you can also grill the fresh fish, cut it in smaller pieces and exchange it for his brother in the can. Finally add the mayonnaise and leave everything in the refrigerator for a minimum of 6 hours before serving. Another recipe, where Giovanna makes us wait a long time for our food.

Pollo - marinated chicken

This is a delicious summer dish: pollo - marinated chicken. This classic antipasti is a bit tricky to prepare, but following Giovanna's recipe, very rewarding. You will need the following ingredients to make pollo for 6 people:

1 kg of chicken breast - sliced, 250 ml white wine (Giovanna uses Chardonnay Lidia), 125 ml white wine vinegar, 125 ml water, 2 cloves of garlic, 15 sage leaves, 150ml olive oil, 2 eggs and 200 gr bread crumbs

First one bathes the chicken breast slices in the raw eggs and then in the bread crumbs. Then you fry the slices in a pan, using ample olive oil until the chicken is cooked. Don't use too much heat. Remove the chicken and let it cool down on paper towel to remove some of the oil. Cut the sage and the garlic into small pieces and heat them up in a pan, using olive oil. Again, watch the temperature.

Cook sage and garlic for 10 minutes and stir frequently, then add white wine, water, vinegar and a tea spoon of bread crumbs. Continue to cook on low temperature for 40 minutes. Cut the chicken in small pieces (Giovanna uses round cookie forms to cut out the chicken into round pieces) and pour the sauce over the chicken.

Let the chicken marinate for at least 12 hours in the refrigerator.

Bunnet - Piedmont Chocolate Pudding

This is a very simple and tarditional chocolate pudding as well as a delicious treat that makes any chocolate mouse or cake look like diet food.

You will need: 2x50g of sugar, 100g of Amaretti cookies, 3 eggs, 30g of dark cocoa powder, 10ml of good rum, 400ml whole milk, 100ml cream. Baking dishes rectangular or round (be careful not to use a springform, because the pudding is cooked in a water bath), larger roasting pan.

First you need to caramelize 50g of sugar in a Teflon pan. While the sugar is liquid, fill the sugar into the baking dish so that it generously covers the bottom of the dish.

Then crush the Amaretti cookies into little crumbles. Beat the eggs with the other 50g of sugar. Add the cocoa powder, the Amaretti crumbles and the rum. After thorough mixing add milk and cream and stir once more. Fill the mass into the baking dish with the caramel and heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius (320 Fahrenheit).

Cook the pudding dish in a hot water bath until the pudding turns solid. A good way to prepare a water bath is to put your baking dish with the pudding into a bigger roasting pan, place the pan into the oven, and add enough hot water to reach halfway up the dish. Do not overheat the oven, the pudding should at no time rise and make bubbles. After removing from the oven, let the Bunet cool off and afterwards refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours before turning the dish over on a large plate and serving.

A Bunet goes very well with a chilled glass of Moscato.

Carne Cruda- Steak Tartar alla Piemontese

A typical, yet very simple Piemontese antipasto that is all about the ingredients and does not require any actual "cooking" is the carne cruda (raw meat salad, also referred to as steak tartar).

You will need: 1kg of good quality raw beef/veal tartar, either knife-chopped or ground (in Piedmont we use veal from the Fassone race), 250ml extra virgin olive oil, 1 clove of garlic, salt, pepper and the juice of one lemon. >br>
A day before preparing the carne cruda, peel the clove of garlic and marinate it whole in 250ml of extra virgin olive oil. It takes 5 – 10 minutes only to make carne cruda. Take the raw meat and place it in a large bowl. Using your hands or a spoon, mix the meat with the garlic-infused olive oil, pepper and salt. Blend well and work the flavors evenly through the meat. Add lemon juice and continue to mix, for about 5-10 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary (each batch of fresh meat may need different amounts of salt and pepper). In general, Carne Cruda alla Piemontese does not involve much seasoning as you do not want to cover the delicious taste of the Fassone meat. However, if you prefer some more spice and flavor, feel free to add chili, capers, egg yolk or onions.

Serve the carne cruda garnished with some salad leaves or shaved Parmiggiano cheese. Carne Cruda goes very well with Barbera.

Peperoni ripieni arrostiti al tonno

A typical Piemontese antipasto with fish. Since Piedmont historically was trading wine against olive oil and fish from Liguria and traveling to and from Liguria took a long time, the typical local fish used in Piemontese recipes are: canned tuna and anchovies as well as stock fish. This antipasto is made with the first two.

You will need (recipe for 6 people): 3 nice and big bell peppers (ca. 500 gr each), 2 eggs, 250gr top quality canned tuna fish in oil, 2 anchovy filets , 1 table spoon of fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, 10 gr of parsley and 10 capers.

Roast the bell peppers for 40 minutes at 180 degrees in the oven. Remove from the oven, let the vegetable cool off. Remove skin and all seeds inside. Dry peppers a bit and cut each in 4 equal pieces. Place all 12 pieces on a serving platter.

For the filling (ripieno): cook 2 eggs and use the yolk only to mix with the tuna, capers and a bit of parsley. Use olive oil to smoothen the paste. Fill the pepper with the "ripieno" and garnish with more parsley. Add olive oil, if desired.

"Peperoni ripieno" works very well with our Vermentino.

Torta di Ricotta

This is the recipe of a very typical and easy to make winter antipasti: torta di riccotta (ricotta cheese cake). By the way, Giovanna claims that all her recipes are simple and when you ask her about the preparation of one of her dishes, she always starts her explanation with the words: "facile- easy".

You will need (recipe for 8 people): 3 whole eggs, 250 gr of Ricotta, 70 gr of cream, 100gr of graded Parmigiano cheese, salt, pepper, herbs (sage, marjoram, thyme, etc.) and for the crust:

1000 gr white flower, 400 gr butter, 250 gr water and 15gr of salt.

First prepare the crust. Make a "volcano" out of the flower and add butter, water and salt in the middle. Work the dough with your hands and eventually form a ball. Let the ball sit in a cool place for a minimum of two hours. After flatten and roll out the dough, as if you were preparing a pizza.

Fill out a round oven pan with the dough, covering also the sides of the baking pan. For the filling: Take a bowl and mix eggs and cream well together, add the graded Parmigiano and then slowly mix the Ricotta under. Cut herbs real fine and add together salt and pepper. Pour the Ricotta filling over the spread out dough and bake everything at 160 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes. Before serving let cool off a bit and decorate with some rosemary and thyme.

"Torta di Ricotta" goes very well with Lidia Chardonnay or Barbera Ca di Pian.


Though we are sure that each of you have enjoyed this famous Italian dessert and know where to get your favorite version, you might not know what Tiramisu actually means. "Tira" comes from "tirare" and means "pull." "Mi" means "me" and "su" means "up." So on a cold and bitter winter day, nothing can "pull you up" better than a Tiramisu, especially when made by Giovanna with Moscato or De Miranda Asti!

You will need (recipe for 4 people):

3 egg yolks
135 gr. (4-3/4 oz.) of Moscato/De Miranda Asti plus 80gr (3 oz.) to dip the lady finger cookies
45 gr. (1-1/2 oz.) sugar, 150 gr. (5-1/4 oz.) Mascarpone cheese, 100 gr. (3-1/2 oz.) Lady Finger cookies, 40 gr. (1-1/2 oz.) cherry liquor or brandy or grappa

To make the cream, also called Zabaglione, you will need to whip up the yolks with the sugar. Heat up the 135 gr. (4-3/4 oz.) of Moscato (or De Miranda Asti) and add it hot to the egg and sugar; continue mixing these ingredients together in a bowl that is cooking in hot water (Bain-Marie*). When creamy, remove it from the stove and let it cool down.

*The French call this cooking technique "bain marie ." It consists of placing a container (pan, bowl, soufflé dish, etc.) of food in a large, shallow pan of warm water, which surrounds the food with gentle heat. The food may be cooked in this manner either in an oven or on top of a range. This technique is designed to cook delicate dishes such as custards, sauces and savory mousses without breaking or curdling them.

When the Zabaglione cream has cooled completely, add the mascarpone cheese.

Separately, mix the 80 gr./3 oz. of Moscato with the cherry liquor (brandy or grappa) and quickly soak the lady finger cookies into the Moscato liquor mixture. Take a large square bowl (10 cm./4 inch height): first place a layer of soaked cookies on the bottom of the bowl, add Zabaglione and Mascarpone cream on top and then start with a second layer. Continue until the bowl is filled with layers of cookies and cream.

Let the Tiramisu cool/rest for 8-10 hours in the refrigerator.

Before serving, decorate by dusting with dark chocolate powder. Tiramisu pairs beautifully with La Spinetta Moscato or Contratto De Miranda Asti.

Aperitivo with Friciule

This is a recipe of something so simple and so delicious, that anyone can make it: Friciule (Free Chew Le), an ideal Piedmontese aperitif snack, that goes hand in hand with a chilled glass of Contratto bubbles…

Following you will find the preparation for 6 people:

Ingredients needed:

1 kg of white flour
25 g of conventional yeast, that is also used for making bread
0.25 liter of cold milk
0.25 liter of cold sparkling water
Good quality sunflower oil (to fry)

The preparation is simple and does not take more than 15 minutes (if one does not count the time the dough has to rise).

In a bowl melt the yeast and the cold milk, then add the flour and the cold sparkling water little by little. Mix everything and knead to a good dough. When the dough is ready cover it with a cloth and leave it for a minimum of 6 hours to rise in a warm environment.

When the dough is ready, raised and fluffy, divide the dough in little round pieces (around 5 cm long and 0.5 cm tall)

Heat sunflower oil in pan to hot temperatures and then add the pieces of Friciule dough. Fry for one minute, turn around on other side and fry for another minute until both sides are gold brown. Lift pieces out of the oil and let them dry on paper towel to absorb excessive oil. Add salt to taste and serve warm.

Buon aperitivo!

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