martedì 30 dicembre 2008


Second course

1 Bell Pepper
1 Eggplant
2 Medium Zucchini
12 oz Ricotta cheese
6 oz Parma ham, chopped
1 egg
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
nutmeg, salt, broth (optional)

Put a big pot salted water to boil. When it's ready add salt and cook the vegetables (whole) for 5 to 10 minutes.
Drain them, let them cool and then cut in half (lenghtwise) and take out seeds (for pepper) and pulp (for the other vegetables); throw seeds away, keep pulp.
When pulp is room temperature, chop and put it in a big bowl, add ham, parmesan, ricotta, parsley, nutmeg and salt (carefully because you already have ham and parmesan that are "salty").
Mix the ingredients, lightly salt the vegetables inside and fill with the cream.
At this point you have two ways to cook them:
- on the stove, in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil and some vegetable or chicken broth
- in the oven, in a pan with a little bit of olive oil as well and sprinkle with a mixture of bread crumbs and parmesan; cover the pan with aluminium foil an cook at 320 degrees, a couple minutes before ready, uncover it to get a nice crust on top.
Cooking time depends o the initial boiling, if you boil them 10 minutes, vegetables should be ready in 20 more minutes.
You can eat them at room temperature, too.
You can freeze the when cooked and warm them in the microwave or in the oven, when needed.
You can prepare them in advance and cook them when you need them; in this case you have to keep them refrigerated for not more than one day (because of the ricotta, that's very delicate) or freeze them.

lunedì 22 dicembre 2008



1 Pandoro or Panettone
4 oz Mascarpone
5 1/2 oz Sugar
4 Yolks
5 tbsp Brandy (optional)
1/2 tsp Coffee powder (optional)
2 tbsp Almonds, chopped
2 tbsp Chocolate, chopped

Whisk yolks and sugar until they become light yellow; add mascarpone and continue whisking until you obtain a smooth cream.
Add chopped almonds, chocolate, coffee powder and brandy (both optional).
Slice Pandoro or Panettone, spread the cream over the slices or put it by side.

You can use ricotta instead of mascarpone and milk instead of brandy (if there are kids).
This cream can be used to fill any kind of cake, jus be sure that you use it in a short amount of time.
Pandoro is similar to panettone but without fruits.

martedì 16 dicembre 2008


soup - complete meal

This is a typical Tuscan soup; farro is a cereal similar to rice and can substitute it in every recipe, it has more proteins and fibers.
This soup can be considered as a full meal because of the noble proteins and the carbohydrates contained in both beans and farro.
Having no animal food, it's also good for vegetarians.

Cannellini beans, 3 jars (drained and rinsed)
Farro, 8 oz
Potato, 1 big
Strained Tomatoes, 2 tbsp
Extra virgin Olive Oil, 4 tbsp
Rosemary, Sage, Garlic
Vegetable stock, 8-10 cups at least

Let the vegetable stock boils and keep it warm.
Boil the potato, or cook it in the microwave.
Blend the potato and half the beans together with 3 cups of stock, until you obtain a cream.
In a big pot, over high heat, put the cream, the whole beans, the tomatoes, rosemary, sage, 1 clove of garlic and at least 3 more cups of stock.
As soon as the soup boils, add the farro and adjust with salt, turn heat to medium and cook for about 20-25 minutes.
If the soup becomes too thick, add warm stock, little by little.
Serve drizzled with olive oil and, if liked, with a pinch of black pepper.

martedì 9 dicembre 2008


main dish - first course

Carnaroli or Arborio rice, 1 cup
Zucchini, 3 medium, sliced
White wine, 1/4 cup
Onion, 1, finely chopped
Extravirgin olive oil, 2 tbsp
Grated parmesan, 2 tbsp
Mozzarella, 8 oz, sliced
Butter, bread crumbs, nutmeg, salt, pepper (if you like it).

Put a big pot with water to boil, when ready add salt.
Preheat oven at 450.
Boil rice for 10-12 minutes (not more).
Meanwhile, put a big skillet with oil over medium/high heat and cook onions and zucchini until it's time to drain the rice.
Then add rice in the skillet, mix and cook for a couple of minutes, add nutmeg, salt, pepper and finally wine, let it evaporate and remove from heat.
Butter a baking pan and sprinkle with bread crumbs; layer rice, mozzarella, rice, finishing with grated parmesan.
Cook in the oven (covered with foil) for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for another 10 minutes.

- If you like, you can use eggplants or cauliflowers instead of zucchini; you can also use a mix of vegetables.
- You can also use pasta instead of rice (obviously, you have to consider that cooking times should be half 4-5-5 minutes).
- You can also prepare this in advance (not suggested if you use pasta), and bake it just before lunch or dinner.

martedì 2 dicembre 2008



Mascarpone 2/8oz cups
Eggs 6
Sugar 6 tbsp
Ladyfinger 1 pckg (14 oz)
coffee (espresso is better 2-3)
salt, milk, rum or cognac (optional)
Cocoa powder if liked

First of all prepare the espresso (or the coffee) so it will become colder.
Divide the eggs: yolks in one big bowl and Whites in another one.
Put sugar in Yolks and whisk them until they become light yellow (near to white); at this point add Mascarpone and whisk to combine (usually 2 to 3 minutes).
Wash the whisk well and dry it. Add a pinch of salt to the whites (it will help you and you won't taste it). Whisk whites until they become white and firm.
Put whites into the yolks/mascarpone cream and combine CAREFULLY, REALLY CAREFULLY!
At this point put coffee in a bowl and add liquor if it's only for adults or milk if there are kids too.
Quickly dip ladyfingers in the coffee and make a first layer in a deep serving dish, then cover with cream, dust with cocoa and repeat another time.
Put in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Remeber that, due to the presence of raw eggs, it's preferable not to exceed with quantity and finish it quickly; this recipe is for about 10 people.

martedì 25 novembre 2008

RIBOLLITA (Tuscan vegetable soup with bread)

Soup - Complete meal

Cannellini beans (Tuscan white beans), 2 jars
Swiss chard, roughly chopped 8 oz.
Potatoes, thinly sliced 2 medium
Carrots, thinly sliced 2 medium
Onions, thinly sliced 2 medium
Leeks, thinly sliced 1 (only the white part)
Zucchini, thinly sliced 2 medium
Celery sticks, sliced 2
Black Tuscan kale, shredded 10 oz
Savoy (or green) cabbage, shredded 10 oz
Peeled tomatoes, crushed 1 can
Italian bread (preferably ciabatta from the day before), sliced 1 lbs
Grated parmesan, salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil as desired

Being Tuscan kale really hard to find you can use 1 lb of Savoy or green cabbage (or a mix of the two).

Drain and rinse the beans.
In a really big pot put all the vegetables and water at least to cover all of them.
Bring the soup to a boil then lower the heat and let it gently boil for at least 2 hours, adjust with salt and pepper (optional).
At this point add the bread and let it absorb all the liquid.
The day after, warm the soup again (ribollita means boiled twice) and serve it drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and parmesan.
Another way to serve this soup is layering bread, vegetables and olive oil, finishing with parmesan. In this way you can warm the soup in the oven or freeze it, divided into portions.

martedì 18 novembre 2008


Side dish

2 jars of beans (White Tuscan cannellini)
12 oz strained tomatoes
garlic, 2 cloves chopped (whole, if you prefer to remove it)
sage, 3 leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup white wine

Warm oil in a big skillet on medium heat, put garlic, sage and rosemary and sautee a couple of minutes.
Add beans, stir, turn heat to high and add wine, let it evaporate while stirring.
Turn heat on medium again and add tomatoes, salt and pepper (if desired).
Let it gently boil for 20 minutes so that the sauce thickens a bit.
Serve hot with grilled meat or with sausages cooked together with beans in the sauce.

mercoledì 12 novembre 2008



2 eggs
4oz ricotta cheese
1 or 2 tbsp milk
Herbs (basil or parsley), chopped

Beat eggs in a bowl and add a pinch of salt, pepper or nutmeg; with this mixture, make 1 or more THIN omelettes (it depends on the skillet size).
Prepare a cream with ricotta, milk, herbs, salt, pepper (optional); spread it over the omelettes and roll.
Wrap with transparent film and put in the fridge for at least an hour.
When the moment is right, cut into slices 1" thick and serve with lettuce or in a mixed appetizer.

lunedì 3 novembre 2008



Italian for "half cold," semifreddo culinarily refers to any of various chilled or partially frozen desserts including cake, ice cream, fruit and custard or whipped cream.

12 oz. ricotta
6 tbsp confectioners' sugar
3 oz. cocoa powder
3 egg's whites
1 espresso (or 3 tbsp coffee or milk)

In a bowl mix ricotta with sugar, cocoa powder and coffee (or milk).
In another bowl, beat the egg's whites until they become white and firm; gently add them to the ricotta mix and combine mixing from bottom up.
Divide this cream into 4 individual smaller bowls and put in the fridge for a couple hours.
Serve with thin cookies and, if desired, decor with whipped cream.

martedì 28 ottobre 2008


Pasta Sauce

1/2 lb of mixed ground beef (not too lean, not too fat)
1 or 2 Italian sausages, chopped
3 tbsp of a mix of onions, carrots, celery and parsley, finely minced
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 24oz cans/bottles of peeled San Marzano or strained tomatoes
1 cup of white wine, if desired

Put oil in a big saucepan over medium heat; when the oil is hot, put the vegetables and sautee them for 3-4 minutes.
Now add ground beef and sausages and cook them over high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring them frequently to avoid sticking.
At this point you can add wine (always on high heat), in a couple of minutes the alcohol evaporates, leaving just the flavor; turn the heat to medium and add the toamtoes.
Adjust with salt, pepper if desired, and, when it starts boiling, turn heat to minimum and cook the sauce for at least 2 1/2 hours (the longer, the better) stirring occasionally.

Remember that it's better to cook this sauce for a longer time at the lowest heat possible instead of cooking it quickly.
Don't worry about the wine, as said the alcohol evaporates, leaving just its flavor.

martedì 21 ottobre 2008


Soup - First course

1 1/2 lb pumpkin, peeled, seeded, cubed
4 cups milk
5 oz Spaghetti
Parmigiano, grated to drizzle
Olive oil to drizzle

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add salt and pumpkin; cook until tender.
In the mean time, break the spaghetti into 2" pieces.
Drain and puree half of the pumpkin.
Transfer both pureed and cubed pumpkin into a heavy bottomed pot, add milk, stir well and bring to a aboil; add salt and spaghetti, stir often and cook until "al dente" (7-8 minutes).
Remove from heat, serve and drizzle with grated parmesan and olive oil.
To add more flavor you can use nutmeg, rosemary and sage. For a creamy texture (but a less sweet taste), you can use the spices mentioned above, cook and puree a big potato (with the pumpkin) and add salted water to cook spaghetti.

martedì 14 ottobre 2008




7oz. dark chocolate, chopped
7oc butter, diced
5.5oz sugar
1.5oz flour
4 eggs
vanilla or other extract (orange, ruhm, etc)

Butter and flour 8 molds (the ones for muffins are perfect) and put in freezer.
Melt chocolate together with butter (you can do it in the microwave), than add sugar and whisk until smooth; when it comes at room temperature, it shouldn't take too long -whisking helps- add eggs, one at a time, then flour and your favorite extract.
Put in the molds cover with cello film and put them in the freezer at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven at 365'F and, once at the right temperature, put the frozen molds in it, bake for 10-15 minutes. This will allow the mini-cake to be warm and still melted inside.
Unmold and dust with confectioners' sugar or whipped cream or cocoa powder (or as you prefer!)

martedì 7 ottobre 2008



5 1/2oz ham
4oz ricotta
4oz mascarpone
5-6 lettuce leaves, washed and shredded
pepper if desired

In a food processor put ham, ricotta, mascarpone and salt (pepper if you like it) and process until you obtain a smooth thick cream; put it in the fridge for about 2 hours.
Sprinkle lettuce over 4 small plates.
Take the cream out of the fridge, put it in a piping bag (sac-a-poche) and distribute it over the lettuce in 3-4 small "mountains", serve immediately.

You can also spread it over crackers, crostini or toasted bread.
You can add some walnuts in the food processor, this will give a crunchy taste to your cream.

martedì 30 settembre 2008


First Course - Complete meal

1 1/2 cup carnaroli or arborio rice
12 oz. Peas (fresh and shelled or frozen)
10 oz salmon, diced
1 leek (white part only) or 1 small onion, minced
4 cups vegetable stock
4 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
2 tbsp ricotta
2 tbsp parsley, chopped

Put the vegetable stock to boil, remember that's always better a little more that not enough.
In the mean time put a big, non-stick skillet over medium heat ans warm the oil; when ready, add the leeks (or onion) and sautee until tender.
Add peas and salmon and stir to combine, add rice too and sautee a couple minutes, always stirring: heat must be medium-high and the rice must become translucent, now it's the time to add wine.
As soon as it evaporates, start adding the stock (that must be boiling, otherwise it stops the rice cooking) 1/3 cup at a time; wait until the stock has been absorbed before adding some more.
Stir often to prevent sticking. When rice is "al dente", after 15/18 minutes, add the ricotta melted in a little quantity of milk: this will give a creamy texture to your risotto without covering the salmon and peas flavors, due to it neutral one.
Serve drizzled with chopped parsley.

Remember: do not add parmesan to this plate because it will cover all other flavors.

Don't be afraid of the wine content: the alcohol will evaporate cooking, leaving just the wine flavor.

martedì 23 settembre 2008



1/2 lb. of ham slices
4 oz.mascarpone
4 oz. walnuts, coarsley chopped
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
Chives (to tye the rolls)

Put mascarpone in a bowl and stir it for a couple of minutes with a wooden spoon.
Add the walnuts and the parsley, mix well and adjust of salt if necessary.
Spread the mixture on ham and roll it, tying with chives (previously boiled).
Put them on serving plate decorated with parsley leaves or lettuce.

You can also spread on toasted bread or, also, season pasta with it (lightly diluited with a few spoons of the cooking water).

mercoledì 17 settembre 2008


We are happy to inform you all that our store has extended its operating hours until 6.30pm.
These are the current operating hours:
MON-WED-THU-FRI: 10-6.30
TUE: 2-6.30


MON-FRI: 10-6.30
SAT: 10-1

martedì 16 settembre 2008


Second course - main entree.

For Polenta:
3 qt. water
1 3/4 lb. corn flour for polenta
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

For Mushrooms sauce:
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1 onion, 1 carrot, 1/2 celery rib finely chopped
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/4 lb. ground pork
1 sausage (plain, not flavored)
1 bottle (24 oz.) strained tomatoes
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon grated parmesan

Soak the porcini in warm water for 20 minutes; put a large pot with 3 qt. water to a boil. When the water boils, add salt and slowly add polenta flour in a thin stream, whisking; reduce heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes whisking often, reduce heat to low and cook for 40-45 minutes, whisking occasionally with a wooden spoon.
Take porcini out of the water, filter it carefully because you can cook with it, cut pocini in small pieces.
In a large skillet, warm up the oil, then add porcini, onion, carrot and celery and saute' for 3 minutes; now add all meats and cook for 5 minutes, stirring; add the strained tomatoes (if the suace is too thick, add some of the mushrooms water).
Adjust with salt and simmer gently until the "ragu" is thick and flavorful for about 40 minutes. By that time polenta is ready too (remember: it will never be overcooked).
Take it out of the pot and put it in a big serving plate or in individual ones, sprinkle with sauce and parmesan.

To save some money you can use instant polenta (cooks much quiclky) and a lighter sause with only mushrooms or one with porcini and sausages.

lunedì 15 settembre 2008


A short lesson on cooking perfect spaghetti (and other pasta)

1 - When shopping for pasta, look for one with a buttery yellow color and no white or black spots (indicating improper milling, drying or storing).
2 - The average portion is 2 1/2 to 4oz; depending on the sauce, on the course for which pasta is being served and..... on how much hungry people are.
3 - Pasta must be cooked in abundant water, that allows even and quick submersion and quick return to boil. For 1lb of pasta, you should use 4qt of rapidly boiling water; a tall saucepan (deeper than wider) reduces evaporation, and is perfect for spaghetti.
4 - Salt the water; when it comes to a boil, add 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp of salt for 4qt of water.
5 - Gather spaghetti together in your hands, gently twist the ends in opposite directions, then drop them in the water, this will help you prevent pasta sticking.
6 - As the water returns to boil, during the first couple of minutes, stir pasta well and frequently, this also will help you prevent sticking.
7 - Cooking time is essential. Begin checking doneness a 3 minutes before the time suggested on the box; for "al dente", pasta should be translucent, with a tiny opaque dot in the center. Pasta goes from al dente to overcook easily, don't be afraid to drain your pasta too early because it continues cooking also after being drained.
8 - Before draining reserve a little of the cooking water to add to the sauce. The water contains starch which gives the sauce extra body and flavor and helps the pasta and the sauce bond. Put your pasta in the sauce skillet and stir well, toss with Prmesan (when suggested).
9 - When your pasta is ready, call your family and friends, serve it quickly while it's hot.


lunedì 8 settembre 2008


Main Entree

6 medium zucchini
8 oz mozzarella
1 28-oz can of peeled San Marzano tomatoes (pureed) or 1 24-oz bottle of strained tomatoes
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
2 slices white bread, crumbled
salt, olive oil, pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 400'. Cut the zucchini lengthwise into thin slices; cut the mozzarella into thin slices and set aside.
Put on medium heat a pot with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the toamatoes, let it boil for 15 minutes to thicken the sauce.
Meanwhile, brush an ovensafe casserole with olive oil, spread the bottom with tomatoes, arrange zucchini in a layer and put a layer of mozzarella on them, salt and pepper (if desired).
Repeat layering until you finish all ingredients finishing with tomatoes, crumbled bread and parmesan; drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes (the top must be golden).
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly before serve (at least 10 minutes).

If you want to reduce the baking time, you can brush the zucchini slices with olive oil and grill them in a pan; with this system baking time will be about 10 minutes (just the time for mozzarella to melt and top to become golden).
If you have some parmigiana left, you can freeze it and out it in the microwave when you need it.
It can be done with eggplants, too; in this case the grilling is highly suggested!

mercoledì 3 settembre 2008


I always fight against calories and fats (mainly cholesterol) so I always try to cut them but, being Italian and good food lover, I try to get the best from my recipes.
  • When I prepare a white pasta sauce, I never use cream: try using ricotta or fat-free cream cheese melted witha little of low-fat milk: you'll have the same creany texture (and almost the same taste) but with a bunch of fat less than the original. I use the same system when I make risotto: you should add butter at the end, out of heat, I add the above mentioned mixture.

  • If you make a recipe that calls for an initial "sautee" of onions, celery, parsley and/or carrot (it happens in a lot of recipes form pasta sauces to stews, soups and more) use half of the oil and half of water or vegetable/chicken/beef broth; you'll get almost the same result but with less fat and, most important, they're not fried fats.

  • You're recipe calls for chopped leeks or shallots and you have troubles finding them, try with a mix of onions and garlic (2 parts of onions and 1 of garlic).

  • Remember that unless it is for a risotto, for pasta recipes you can use almost every kind of pasta you prefer; the only thing you have to remember is that if you use a cheese that melts (mozzarella, provolone and so on) it's better to use a short cut pasta.
I hope that these tips help you, enjoy your dishes!!!

martedì 2 settembre 2008


First course

2 4/oz. mozzarella (or 1/8oz)
1lb fusilli
5 fresh tomatoes (about 1lb)
6 basil leaves
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
1 clove garlic
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
Pepper to taste (optional)

Peel the tomatoes, take away seeds, dice them and put in a bowl; dice half of the mozzarella and add it to the tomatoes, together with parmesan, 3 basil leaves, garlic and 2 tbsp of olive oil; stir well and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
Put a large pot of water on heat till it boils.
In the meantime, dice the remaining mozzarella and put it in a bowl with 2 tbsp of olive oil, the remaining basil, oregano and a pinch of salt.
When the water boils, add salt and fusilli. As soon as they are almost “al dente” (4-5 minutes usually), drain them. Put a big pan over heat, put pasta and the marinade in it, warm and remove from heat (if you don’t like garlic, take it away).
Serve pasta hot, sprinkled with the seasoned mozzarella.

Serves 5/6 people

martedì 26 agosto 2008




10oz. Ricotta
4.5oz. Sugar
3.6oz. dark chocolate chips
1 shot glass of rum
1 lemon's grated peel

In a bowl put the Ricotta, the sugar and the rum and mix well; add the chocolate chips and the grated lemon peel; stir well to combine.
With this mixture you can fill around 12 cannoli (depending on the size).
Put in the fridge but not for too long otherwise the filling will wet the shell.
If you're afraid that the filling is too much, start with half quantities.
To fill the cannoli the perfect item is sac-a-poche (Cone-shaped canvas bag used in pastry to achieve dense or semi-dense fillings); if you don't have one, you create a single-use one cutting an angle of a freezer bag, fill it with the filling and squeeze it in the shells.
If this dessert goes to kids too, you can use milk instead of rum.

lunedì 25 agosto 2008


Luciano's: our favorite Italian Restaurant here in Reno.

You can enjoy a wide selection of Italian dishes such as:

Melanzane alla parmigiana (pamesan eggplant)
Antipasto misto (mixed appetizes)
Insalata di alici (anchovies caprese salad)
Zuppa di pesce (fresh seafood soup)
Penne all'arrabbiata (Pasta with HOT tomato sauce)Gnocchi al pomodoro e basilico (potato dumplings with tomato and basil sauce)
Petto di pollo alla Toscana (chicken breast and mushrooms in a white wine sauce)
Scottadito alla montanara (grilled lamb chop in Sangiovese wine with porcini mushrooms and artichoke heart sauce)
Filetto al balsamico (filet of beef grilled and topped with melted gorgonzola cheese with aged balsamic reduction)

And many more!!!!!

Not all dishes are available for both meals; they also have special dishes every day!!!

venerdì 22 agosto 2008

Mozzarella etc.....

After a long search, trying to satisfy our Valued Customers, we finally got some fresh cheeses:

Mozzarella (2/4oz or 1/8oz packs) - perfect for Caprese salad, pizza, salted pies and many more plates

Mascarpone (8oz cups) - obviously great for Tiramisu and plates that need to be creamier

Ricotta (12oz cups) - great as light cheese, spread on bread, light sweet mousses, can be used to make plates creamier (avoiding mascarpone calories)

I'll soon put recipes here to make plates with these cheeses (even some you never thought of)

See you soon!

martedì 19 agosto 2008


First course - Main entree

1 jar (12.3oz) of cannellini white beans
1 jar (12.3oz) of butter beans
1 jar (12.3oz) of pea beans
1 can (14oz) of lentils
1 can (14oz) of chickpeas
2 potatoes
1 onion and 1 carrot finely chopped
1 clove of garlic
2 peeled tomatoes or 2 tablespoons of strained tomatoes
Sage, rosemary, olive oil
In a 5-qt saucepan put 2 tablespoons of olive oil and gently sauté onion and carrot for 5 minutes; dice the potatoes in small cubes and add them in the saucepan together with the tomatoes, sage, rosemary and garlic, stir and add at least 3 qt of water, when it boils, add salt. After 25-30 minutes (the potatoes will be almost done) add all the legumes drained from their water and rinsed to take away the excess of salt, stir and cook for 5-10 minutes. Take the soup out of heat and remove garlic, sage and rosemary.
If you like a creamier soup, blend a part of the legumes/potatoes with an immersion blender.
You can cook rice or pasta in the soup or you can also toast some Italian bread, dice it, put it in individual bowls and pour soup over it; drizzle with olive oil and enjoy your soup.
With these quantities you can make about 8 portions of soup, depending if you use it with pasta/rice or not; you can put it in small containers and freeze it, you’ll always have a ready to eat soup and, for sure, you’ll know what’s in it because you made it.
It’s a good idea for summer too because you can eat it cold with toasted bread; it’s a complete meal, if with pasta/rice or bread.
I avoid the use of parmesan because of garlic (they shouldn’t go together).
Remember that, being a thick soup, when you cook rice or pasta in it, they tend to stick to the bottom so it’s better to stir frequently. If the soup thickens too much, it's useful to have some salted boiling water to eventually add to it.