Italian pinzimonio recipe turns vegetables and olive oil into a magnetic meal

Pinzimonio with white bean dip

Total time:20 minutes

Servings:2 to 4

Total time:20 minutes

Servings:2 to 4

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When I first came across Pinzimonio I thought it was a mistake. A friend of a friend placed a platter of vegetables on the table with a bowl of olive oil, pale golden green, in the center. I thought maybe she forgot the roasted garlic or the anchovies? Or did she want to add vinegar and grated cheese? No, I found out, she had served us a plate of Pinzimonio.

Jim Dixon, founder of Wellspent Market in Portland, Oregon, first learned about the dish in the early 2000s after a trip to Italy in 1996 sparked a long-standing obsession with regional Italian cuisine.

“I see it more as a starting point than a dish,” says Dixon, noting that there are many variations. Sometimes vinegar is added, sometimes garlic or pepper or lemon juice. Some cooks find these additives controversial, but each cook has their own.

I was doubly wrong thinking that pinzimonio was served in early autumn to highlight the recent olive oil pressing. Instead, Dixon says, it’s more about the veggies than the oil. Beatrice Ughi from the Italian import company Gustiamo agrees. (To celebrate olio nuovo, or the first olive oil pressing, Italians serve fettunta, bread soaked in oil. The dish’s name comes from the Tuscan dialect: fetta for “slice” and unta for “oily” or “greased. .”)

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While spring veggies are beautiful and tender, fall veggies deserve their own kind of celebration. Then let’s have pinzimonio tonight. For this variation, I added a garlic white bean dip to round out the meal. It’s not traditional, but it’s a nice pairing and a great way to sneak more protein into that dinner.

There are seemingly endless ways to approach the court. I like that at its core, the dish forces the eater to pay attention, taste the individual vegetables and oil, appreciate flavors that are often cooked and combined and blended into a different whole. Try a leaf of baby cabbage, a purple carrot, a fresh broccoli flower – really taste it. The oil and a pinch of salt only slightly enhance the flavor of each vegetable, as if you’re putting them under a magnifying glass.

That’s the idea behind a dish that sometimes appears on the menu at San Francisco’s Flour+Water restaurant. It’s called Pinzimonio, but instead of serving the veggies with a small bowl of oil and salt for dipping and sprinkling, co-chef Thomas McNaughton spritzes each baby carrot and lettuce leaf with a mixture of olive oil, some kind of acid — a vinegar or lemon juice — and shio Koji, a fermented grain marinade that adds a touch of umami. “Our job as a kitchen is to give people the perfect bite,” says McNaughton. With this type of Pinzimonio, no bite is served with too little seasoning.

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Practically speaking, you might not want to dwell on this level of fine dining at home. But consider giving each person their own plate of pinzimonio. “I’ve found that the key is to give each guest a small bowl of olive oil so that the table doesn’t get covered in oil as it inevitably drips off the bowl and into their mouths,” says Dixon.

Pinzimonio with white bean dip

  • Use whatever vegetables you have available. Feel free to add bread or crackers if you like.
  • Cannellini beans make a particularly creamy dip >> but any white bean will do.
  • Instead of garlic >> try a teaspoon of chopped rosemary.

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  • 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans, drained)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ice water, as needed
  • fine salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 small carrots (10 ounces total), scrubbed
  • 2 small fennel bulbs (8 ounces total), sliced
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap peas
  • 1 red bell pepper (8 ounces), sliced
  • 8 small radishes (6 ounces) (can substitute cauliflower)
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In a food processor, combine beans, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Process until smooth and thick. With the mixer running, spoon in a little ice water until the dip has a thick but creamy consistency. Taste and add lemon juice to taste, then season with salt and pepper.

To serve, spread the dip in a shallow bowl. Top with a few dashes of olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Serve with carrots, fennel, peas, peppers and radishes or cauliflower for dipping.

Per serving (1/4 cup dip, 1 1/2 cups veggies), based on 4

Calories: 243; total fat: 11 g; Saturated fat: 2 g; cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 373 mg; carbohydrates: 32 g; dietary fiber: 9 g; sugar: 9 g; Protein: 6 g.

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a nutritionist or nutritionist.

By staff author G. Daniela Galarza.

Tested by Ann Maloney; email questions [email protected].

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Check out this week’s Eat Voraciously Recipes:

Monday: Vegetable broth with matzo balls scented with lemon and thyme

Wednesday: Wholemeal pasta salad with crispy broccoli

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