The concept of zero waste nowadays is again so relevant.I say again as in Italian culture,like probably in many other cultures, it was at the base of our lifestyle. Families could be poor or rich, but they did not waste anything:no food ,no energy and no object .I still remember my mother saying”Switch off the light,it costs” and “Use this jacket,it’s till in order”.

Talking about Italian cuisine  we can find many dishes which were born with this idea and  now we can rediscover them:fancy food is nice  but we can also cook dishes typical in Italian families and born to use everything.

Years ago, bread was made once per week in the wood oven and at the end of the week it  was stale  but still great.So over week -end families used the stale bread in many different ways.Typical use of stale bread are Panzanella and Ribollita in Tuscany.

Torta Nicolotta:the variation we talk about today -recipe inherited from our grandmother-was born in Venice, but there are many similar all around Italy.

Let us use stale bread for this cake beautiful for morning breakfast or served with gelato or custard.

300g  ( 10 oz.)stale bread                         

500 ml  ( 2 cups)water

250 ml  (1 cup)milk                              

6 spoonfuls sugar                       

2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa  

2 eggs       

6 amaretti                             

1 packet ( 16 gr. or 135 tsp)vanilla  baking powder

1 spoon of brandy / Amaretto/Rum

50g (3.5 tbsp) butter

Place it in a bowl, add the milk and water and leave to soak for 30 minutes. 

When the bread has softened, make it into a pulp, squeezing it or breaking with a fork.

 Melt the butter.

Add the sugar, eggs, vanilla powder. Mix it.

Add melted butter.

Prepare the cake tin (24 cm or 9 inch.)) covered with parchment paper.

Pour the mixture into a cake tin.

.Place in the oven for 45 minutes at 180°C/350°F                                      


Add 1 tbsp pine nuts and/or sultanas

Add amaretti cookies/biscuits broken in small pieces

What was a typical “reuse” ,”zero waste”in your family ?