Little Italy Recipes - from the old country

Ciopa - Venetian

Ciopa pronounced CHYOH-pah (also 'cho-pe') is a hard crusted bread from northern Italy, particularly the Veneto region.  Recipe: Irma Vaccari Belotti, Little Italy Arkansas


  • 3 cups warm water - add 2 pkgs yeast & 3 level teaspoons salt to this.
  • Add enough flour so it will be thick enough to stir with fork.
  • Place mixture in warm area and cover with plastic wrap and cloth until dough is double in size.
  • Add enough flour to dough to knead.  Keep adding flour until no longer sticky & dough is smooth. (knead at least 15 minutes).
  • Form into small loaves
  • Let rise to double.
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  • Bake approximately 15 minutes or until light brown.

Gnocchi - Venetian

Gnocchi pronounced nyoh-kee are small potato dumplings usually served with red sauce and cheese.  Recipe:  Irma Vaccari Belotti, Little Italy Arkansas


  • Boil 2 medium potatoes
  • Mash well
  • Add flour, keep mashing until hard
  • Place on floured table and work with hands.  Keep adding flour until dough gets smooth and firm
  • Roll out (about 1" diameter) long pieces of dough
  • Cut into 1" wide pieces.
  • cook in boiling water about 15 or 20 minutes.

Risotto - Northern Italy

Risotto pronounced REE-so-toh is a rice dish cooked slowly in a broth until creamy.  Recipe:  Irma Vaccari Belotti, Little Italy Arkansas.


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 stick celery
  • Cook all in large stock pot until soft, about 15 minutes
  • Add about 1/4 cabbage.  Let cook for about 1 hour on low heat
  • Add 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Place 8 cans chicken broth in separate pan to heat
  • Add about 3 cups chicken broth to stock pot.  Let cook about 1 to 2 hours
  • Add 2 cups of Rice.
  • Keep adding broth 1 cup at a time as mixture thickens.
  • When cooked, add cheese, add a little salt.

Notes:  Don't cover it or it could get sticky.  Use asiago or parmesan cheese. Mrs. Belotti got her asiago from Chicago.