December 1, 2012

Italian Kitchen Tools- Taglia Puntarelle

I am a sucker for kitchen toys!

The puntarelle are a kind of chicory. The plant has leaves on the outside which are also edible but the treat are these chubby "fingers". They get cut into tiny threads and then soaked in cold water to curl and crisp up.

In Rome, it is possible to buy the fingers already cut,pre-soaked ready for salad. I finally talked one of the vendors into selling me her "cutter" one day. Then I  gave mine away and the next time all that was available were the plastic ones.

Last trip up to Bologna, I went into one of my favorite kitchen stores, the Antica Aguzzeria del Cavallo. Shoppers beware, it has some really fabulous things! The bronze pasta cutters are lovely!
I had spotted the the "cutter" in the window as I was walking by.

The puntarelle are made into a traditional salad. Once they have been soaked and then drained, dress with a anchovy, garlic, olive oil and salt dressing.

Puntarelle Dressing

Crush the  2 anchovies and 1 garlic clove into a paste.
Add the juice of 1 lemon and whip in about 1/2  olive oil and salt to taste.

It reminds me of a Ceaser Salad dressing, which was invented in Tijuana by two Italians. Maybe they were Roman?

I simply make a nice lemon juice and olive oil vinaigrette with some salt, then add anchovy pieces into the salad. My husband doesn't like raw garlic a lot.

Here is a great blog post with recipe and a fun video from my friend Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome on puntarelle!

When in Rome!!!!  Walk first through the markets to see what is in season, then order it in the restaurant!

We ADORE seasonal specialties!!!

If you are looking for the tagliapuntarelle-- Here is the inventor's site.


  1. What a great gadget and your dressing is just perfect!

  2. What a wonderful tool!

  3. Dressing sounds devine and the gadget.......I also spend far too much money on kitchen gadgets on my travels abroad. Ciao Carina

  4. Thanks for the shout out! I love that you found the tool in Bologna. Until very recently (like 5 years ago) puntarelle was definitely just a Roman thing. Now it's spread all over Italy. In Puglia they eat the spears cooked, and they're delicious. Sweeter than regular chicory.

  5. Can't wait to try it....I am forcing my first Puntarelle pods and hopefully they will be all formed by Christmas for dinner! I will have to cut by hand though...hmmm...maybe my husband can make one of those gadgets!

  6. @amber- congrats!!! enjoy--- am sure hubby can make a cutter for you!

  7. Oh I wish that I had known about this culinary shop in Bologna when I visited my homeland of Emilgia-Romagna this past October! I am so like you in that i love all things regarding Italian and kitchen tools/gadgets! Nothing could be more fun to me than to find shops such as you have recommended! I will try to find these on the Internet! Thank you kindly for your tips and advice and lovely, lovely blog that I've enjoyed following for years!

    Roz from 'la bella vita'

  8. Love the look of this gadget! I wish I could find puntarelle here-I will have to ask my Sicilian vendor at the farmers' market.

  9. looks delicious ;)

  10. One of the vegetables that I most miss from my Roman days! These days I used the hearts of chickory or frisée with the same sauce, just to get a hint of those flavors but, of course, it's not the same. ;=(

  11. yummy! ^__^ like!

  12. There are many artisanal versions of this tool out there. Back in 2011 I featured this handy tool in a blog post, slightly different, clearly homemade and more weather worn!

  13. I love puntarelli and take ages cutting them into those fine strips ... I had no idea that there was a special tool; brilliant and I shall look out for one now:)

  14. I just found your blog while searching for a Taglia Puntarelle. I was in Rome this past June with my family and we took a fabulous cooking class where we used this wonderful tool. We tried to purchase it at a cooking store, but they were sold out. I went to the inventor's site, but since I can't speak or read Italian, I have no idea how to order! I would love to order 3 so I can give one to each of my kids and keep one for myself. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!