Top Pick Of The Week

December 9, 2008

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Scarpetta Dips

Spoon me, dip me, spread me on a sandwich, swirl me in a risotto or bowl of pasta. Photography by Daniela Cuevas | THE NIBBLE.

WHAT IT IS: Vegetarian dips and spreads.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Fresh-tasting, great texture and interesting flavors (when was the last time you had an olive and almond spread?).
WHY WE LOVE IT: It’s a fun and delicious dip and spread, and an easy and versatile way to add healthy flavor to almost any savory dish.
WHERE TO BUY IT: and retailers nationwide; there’s a store locator on the company website,

Scarpetta: Versatile, Fun & Healthy Spreads & Dips

CAPSULE REPORT: In Italian, “fare la scarpetta” means to mop up the sauce from a plate of food with a piece of bread. It is the highest compliment one can pay to a home cook.

It won’t be hard to “fare la scarpetta” with this charming line of spreads and dips from Sauces n Love, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week for their superb pasta sauces. Amid all of that not-so-good-for-you holiday food, these vegetable purées are healthy (veggies, extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt), versatile (as a dip, sauce, spread, general condiment or garnish) and easy (open the jar, spoon it out). For those with food restrictions, they’re vegan, gluten free, low sodium and have no added sugar.

The five authentic Italian recipes include Artichoke & Olive, Asparagus, Olive & Almond, Red Pepper & Eggplant and Spicy Red Pepper. Read more about them, and about how we used them to create more flavorful and glamorous food almost instantly, in the full review below.

THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.


Buy Yourself A Great Pasta Pot For The New Year

Cuisinart Stockpot All-Clad LTD Pasta Pentola
Cuisinart Classic 4-Piece Pasta Set. Chef’s Classic Stainless Steel cookware is made of mirror-polished 18/10 stainless-steel with a 3.5-millimeter-thick aluminum disk sandwiched in the base to ensure fast, even heating. Steam vegetables and other foods in the smaller basket. Dishwasher-safe, oven safe to 500°F. List $150, here $79.99. Item #93127.
All-Clad LTD Pasta Pentola. The Rolls Royce of stock pots (pentola is Italian for pot), you’ve got to be in the chips to afford this beauty. It’s the perfect gift for the mom whose old pasta pot is in need of an upgrade and who deserves the very best—even though she’s too modest to agree. Like any good pentola, it is a multitasker. Hand-wash. $394.99. Item #98517.
Find These And Other Great Products
At Chefs Catalog Online

Scarpetta: Versatile, Fun & Healthy Spreads & Dips


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Introduction To The Concept Of

In Italy, “scarpetta” is the traditional way to show appreciation for a homemade meal. When there is still a bit of food left on the plate, one uses a piece of bread to mop up the last bits—wiping the plate clean, as it were. The expression originally referred to the tomato sauce that remained at the bottom of the bowl of pasta, but can be extended to anything. “Fare la scarpetta,” to do scarpetta, compliments the host on the meal. But you just can’t dig in: You must ask your host, “Posso fare la scarpetta?” (May I clean my plate?)

La scarpetta is done at the home dining table—not at a restaurant or even at a formal home event. Scarpetta, by the way, means “little shoe” as in a child’s shoe. There are different hypotheses as to the origin of the phrase. Some say it is because in the process of mopping up the sauce, the hunk of bread forms into (with poetic license) the shape of a small shoe. Another claim is that the word harkens back to “heeltap,” an old term that referred to the last remains of wine in a glass (which was then ported over to the sauce on a plate).

We prefer a third explanation: that as the piece of bread seeks out every last remnant of tasty sauce, it’s like a little shoe walking around the plate. Now that’s poetry!

Roast Potatoes

Add some Spicy Red Pepper Scarpetta to everyday tomato sauce and you have a take-notice topping for roasted potatoes, rice or veggies. And, keep that bread handy to “fare la scarpetta.” Photo by Floortje |IST.

The concept seems to charm: There are restaurants the world over named Scarpetta, and as this review shows, at least one delicious line of food honors the practice. Yes, you can perform scarpetta on your empty container of sauce—and since it’s your kitchen, you don’t have to ask permission of anyone.

Continue To Page 2: Scarpetta Dip & Spread Flavors

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