11.09.2013

The Rialto Market

I love the daily market in Venice, at the north end of the Rialto bridge.

Dinner is served on the altana (rooftop terrace).
It isn't quite daily, because it is closed on Sundays, and many of the stalls are closed Monday, as well.
My first tour of the market was given to me by our new friend, Roque, who introduced me to his favorite butcher, cheese merchant, vegetable merchant, and - most important in Venezia - his fishmonger.

Fondi di carciofi with saffron mayonnaise
We didn't buy a thing. This was a reconnaissance tour only.

Mark and I returned an hour later, with euros in hand, and a wheeled cart Roque had loanedus to help us look less like tourists. Sadly, we still reeked of "tourist."

I can't stop myself at markets. My only limit is my dwindling supply of dollars... or euros.

During our two-week stay, we visited the market frequently.

From the vegetable stands we selected plump fresh porcini mushrooms, onions, parsley, dragoncello (tarragon - an herb rarely used in Italian cuisine), pears, salad greens, tomatoes, broad beans, and fondi di carciofi (prepared artichoke bottoms).

From the butcher we bought only one thing: a specialty sausage used in risotto. We went back later to find out its name (because it was so amazing): salsiccia di Treviso. It was almost pure fat inside, melted into the risotto like butter, and I have yet to figure out exactly what it was. If anyone out there knows, please let me know! It made for the creamiest and most flavorful risotto I have ever had.

From the fishmonger we picked up some code di rospo (monkfish), SHRIMP, and half an octopus. I wanted two more weeks to cook my way through all the beautiful fish and seafood I saw.

Roque had recommended a particular cheese to us, so we popped into the cheese shop (not a stall, but an actual store adjacent to the stalls) and ordered a couple of etti (1 etto equals 3.5 ounces) of the Delizio di Capra - a creamy, goat milk Gorgonzola - along with a small carton of fresh Robiola.

Bread was another story. We found several bakeries we liked but always gravitated back to the one in our neighborhood where we bought multigrain bread (pane cereali) almost daily.

We went to the Coop every day or two for our more mundane purchases – pasta secca, butter, milk, honey, jam, mayonnaise, saffron, wine, and the like.

This is the way I like to shop; this is the way we like to eat - fresh, in-season produce and seafood, purchased daily, in a market nestled in the center of a magical place. Venice.

~ David

Spaghetti with Fresh Porcini Mushrooms

8 ounces dried spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion or 1 large shallot, minced
2 large porcini mushrooms (or 8 ounces wild mushrooms), brushed and wiped clean
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter or extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add spaghetti and cook for 10 minutes, or until al dente.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion or shallot and sauté for 3-5 minutes until soft, but not brown.

Meanwhile, separate mushroom stems from the caps and slice both into 1/4-inch slices. When onion/shallot is soft, add mushrooms and sauté over medium-high heat until golden brown. Add tarragon, and season with salt and pepper.

Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid; set aside. Drain spaghetti and immediately add to the skillet with the mushrooms. Add tarragon, and season with salt and pepper; add butte or olive oil. Toss to coat, adding a little of the pasta water of needed to keep moist.

Divide among 4 pasta bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Serves 4 as a first course. 

34 comments:

  1. This is my first visit to your site, and it is an absolute dream. What a wonderful recollection of your visit to the market. Isn't it something! Your pasta dish looks wonderful - and from the last shot I can see that you enjoyed every bit!

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    1. Thanks, Adri! And welcome to Cocoa & Lavender!

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  2. What a gorgeous post. Sadly the markets were closed when we were in Venice, otherwise I'd be all over them as you guys were. Having markets such as these at your disposal is one of the great pleasures when staying overseas.

    The salsiccia de Treviso sounds like an interesting sausage to cook with. I wonder if I could find it in any Italian butchers here in Sydney?

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    1. I think seeing the market closed would have broken my heart, John! But there's a good excuse for going back, right?

      You can be assured I will be checking with every Italian butcher I visit in the U.S.! I actually wondered if it were made of marrow.

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  3. Your photos are lovely. Makes me want to go there tomorrow!

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    1. You should definitely go, Cory! It is fun to plan a trip around what foods are in season!

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  4. Please give us the recipe for fondi di carciofi with saffron mayonnaise. Looks divine! Great post, Mark.

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    1. Thanks, Kirsten - the fondi are very simple to make. (At least once the artichokes are trimmed! Happily - they did this for us at the market.) We simmered the bottoms in a loosely-covered skillet with water, butter, and lemon juice until the water had pretty much evaporated and the artichokes started to turn golden at the edges. Then we drained them and let them cool a bit. Meanwhile we mixed powdered saffron with Italian store-bought mayonnaise (at home, we make our own) and scooped it into the cooled bottoms. Top with parsley and serve!

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  5. awesome post...nothing beats a tour to the seasonal markets...just to look at all colorful,fresh produce is so refreshing...those red chilies and zucchini flowers are tempting us to visit it right now...awesome clicks :-)

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    1. Thanks, Rakesh and Swikruti! Everything was so colorful!

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  6. Great post and gorgeous photos, I haven't been to Italy but I would love to go. I can think of nothing better than finding a great place to stay with markets like these and just relaxing and cooking to my hearts content. Love the pasta dish - Yum!

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    1. Karen - you really must go! I thought of you when there at a bakery that had beautifully decorated cakes and cupcakes - not something you see often in Italy!

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  7. Fantastico!! Alas, I discovered that market the morning we were leaving Venice for Rome, but WILL be back and cook from it! I did take about a baZILLION picture of it (many of which show up on the header of my blog!), and I love that we both posted recipes for pasta with porcinis after visiting Italy (great minds my friend, and great mushrooms!) XXX, Karin

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    1. Funny, when I travel, the market is the first place I go. It is my home away from home. So far, I haven't missed one yet! Looking forward to seeing your porcini post! xox

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  8. I can 't believe you guys didn't get jobs and just stay there!

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    1. hah! Colette - we actually considered it once, but being an expat is just too much work! :)

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  9. Amazing! Those artichokes with saffron mayo. WOW! A

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    1. Thanks, Ahu! Glad to see a new post from you when I got back from New Orleans last night - looking forward to reading it!

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  10. Looks delicious! I would so love to be on that sweet patio in Venice with my coffee this morning!

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    1. Valentina - The rooftop terrace is what sold us on the apartment!

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  11. David, I love the photos of the market and the food and Italy! All so gorgeous. That's how I want to live and eat ***sigh**
    The pasta looks amazing, simple and perfect.

    Nazneen

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    1. From what I can tell, Nazneen, you do a pretty good job of living that way now! :) Thanks fro your kind comment!

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  12. Dear David, living in Euripe ceratainly has a few advantages here and there, the markets (when they are really good) count as one of them. The market in Venice looks a million times better than what we have here...sigh, oh, sigh. Pure bliss and I am extremly jealous!
    Liebe Grüße aus dem sehr herbstlichen Bonn!

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    1. Andrea - I find each market has its charms and specialties. My first European market was in Heidelberg when I was in college (I wasn't aware of it when I was 14). I was entranced by the freshness of everything - and how only things in season were sold. I distinctly remember buying a special dried herb mixture fro my mother to use with green beans - if memory serves me correctly, it was called Bohnenkraut.

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  13. I think I just drooled in my keyboard! What a fantastic feast! Artichokes are an absolute favorite of mine - probably from growing up in Italy. I would love to shop and cook like this. As it is, I visit the Farmers Market only weekly.

    Thanks so much for the fabulous photographic journey!

    NOLA tomorrow, Baby!

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    1. Yes, we only have a once a week farmers market, too. Actually, they are almost daily, but work keeps getting in the way of my social/cooking life!

      Have a great time in NOLA, Susan! Laissez les bons temps roulez!!!

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  14. Oh! I remember seeing this market years and years ago when visiting Venice...
    The artichokes look fabulous...yum! And the pasta looks delicious...
    Have a wonderful week :D

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    1. Thanks, Juliana! Glad you stopped by for a visit! Loved perusing Color Your Recipes this afternoon!

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  15. I also remember this market but we were staying in a hotel and couldn't make use of the bounty of fresh foods (even in March). Your post makes me want to plan a trip entirely around the market! The pasta looks delicious and I am glad Kirsten asked for the fondi di carciofi recipe!

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    1. Thanks, Susan - yes, it is frustrating to be near such a great market with no way to cook! I never let that happen anymore... xox

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  16. Oh David, those markets... I am so, so jealous!!! What gorgeous fresh produce. Love what you made with your wares.. the saffron mayonnaise and that wonderful spaghetti. It's so rare to see fresh porcini mushrooms here in Australia. I think that's reason enough to move, don't you? ;) x

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    1. I have heard rumors, Laura, that some folks in Oregon have figured out how to grow porcini. I am waiting to find out how I can get some! The taste of fresh is nothing like the dried ones. I love them! xo

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  17. It is so nice to be able to shop in the wonderful food markets of Europe. You purchases were definitely turned into a delicious sounding meal.

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    1. As I relived my days in Germany through your recent posts, I was reminded that my very first European market - and understanding how important they were to the community - was in Heidelberg. I am very lucky to have a really great market here in Tucson, too - with a very European flavor.

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