ES.S41 | Spring 2012 | Undergraduate

Speak Italian With Your Mouth Full

Lesson 10

Lesson 10: Cooking Instruction

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Watch three videos:

Lesson 10, Part 2: Ingredients and Cooking Instruction

Lesson 10, Part 3: Closing Lecture

Lesson 10, Part 4: A Game!

La Torta Sbrisolona

  • La torta sbrisolona is like a huge crumbly cookie. It is typical of the city of Mantova (Mantua, in Lombardia) and surroundings.
  • Torta = any sort of cake, pie, tart
  • Sbrisolona = Mantuan dialect for sbriciolona
  • Briciola= crumb→sbriciolare = to crumble, and as we saw last week, -ona is an augmentative suffix. 
  • Therefore la torta sbrisolona can be translated as the big crumbling tart.
  • Questa è la ricetta di mia nonna Lidia.

Buon appetito … e buona Festa del lavoro!

Ingredienti per 6 Persone

100 g = little less that 1/4 lb

  • 100 g di farina bianca/white flour
  • 100 g di farina gialla (literally “yellow flour”, corn meal)
  • 100 g di burro a temperatura ambiente/butter at room temperature
  • 100 g di zucchero/sugar
  • 100 g di mandorle/almonds, o un misto/a mix di mandorle e nocciole/hazelnuts
  • un uovo/one egg
  • la buccia grattuggiata di un limone (literally “the grated peel of one lemon”)
  • un pizzico di vaniglia (opzionale)/a pinch of vanilla — in powder or liquid
  • un pizzico di sale (opzionale)/a pinch of salt, add it if you like some sweet/salty contrast)


  1. Preheat il forno (the oven) at 180 degrees C, about 350 degrees F.
  2. Chop le mandorle/the almonds. You want some of the almonds to be chopped roughly and some to be finely ground. If you like them, you can keep some almonds whole. In class we used a mixer/un robot da cucina. If you do not have one you can cover the almonds with paper towels and break them by beating them with a meat beater or something else heavy.
  3. Mescola/mix (2nd person sing.) all the dry ingredients/tutti gli ingredienti secchi.
  4. Aggiungi/add the grated lemon zest (grate only la parte gialla, perchè la parte bianca è amara, bitter) and the egg.
  5. Add the butter in clumps. You do not want to over mix or knead, simply try to join the ingredients and keep large (about 1/2 inch in diameter) crumbs
  6. Pour the briciole/crumbs in a baking pan covered with parchment paper (or covered with a thin layer of butter and farina gialla). You want to spread them to a thickness of one cm to 2.5 cm (about half to one inch).
  7. Bake until golden (typically it takes 30 to 60 minutes, based on the thickness).
  8. Let it cool down. When you serve it, break it with your hands…it will form a lot of briciole. It is perfect with a dessert wine, but for the next few years you should have it with milk or ice cream!

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Spring 2012
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