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Cooking at Home

Summer Elegant Italian Parmigiana

In the US, ‘parm’ comes in four generic flavors: chicken, veal, meatball, or eggplant. Usually heavy, goppy and greasy, it’s an overweight distant relative of the sleekly elegant Italian parmigiana. Think Jersey Shore versus the Amalfi Coast.
In Italy, a parmigiana is made from vegetables like eggplant or zucchini, or even combined with some potato. It can be a light main course, or a contorni (vegetable side dish). In the summer, a parmigiana served at room temperature, along with a chilled white wine, is pretty much the perfect hot weather meal.

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Rustic Sausage & Peppers

Some flavor combinations are classic; and sausage and peppers fall into that category.

Remember the old cartoons where the vapor would rise from the dish, and then beckon you to eat? That’s what happens when you saute peppers and sausage.
This dish is perfect just as the weather turns cool, and the last of the tomatoes are still on the vine.
Keep this dish simple, ok? Just be sure to use some good, fresh Italian sausage.

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Kitchen Confidence at an all time high!

The results of our Kitchen Confidence survey are in! There are some surprising food and cooking trends: 23% of you use your microwave as a butter melting device, and no one buys bottled salad dressing. Oh, really now…. ?

Here are the delicious details:

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Recipe for Sunday Lunch: Slow Roasted Suckling Pig Leg With Friends, Fava Beans and a nice Chianti.

Carpe Diem! Sometimes you have to seize the moment, and when the local EuroSpin had a suckling pig leg on sale, it just had to come home with me. And you can’t eat pig leg all by yourself, because wouldn’t that just make you a little piggy? Which meant we had to invite some friends over, which suits us just fine on a Sunday afternoon. See how one little impulse buy has so many pleasant consequences!

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Carbonara Recipe

Making Carbonara

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Introducing the Anchovy

I know. You say you already know anchovies. You say you don’t like anchovies. What if I said, maybe not and maybe you should reconsider? Allow me to introduce you to Chef Maurizio, of Il Maestrale Pizzeria, in the tiny village of Le Forna, on the small island of Ponza.

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Border Crossing: Summer Shrimp Soup

Who cares if it’s a soup or a salad? Or if it’s a salad with soup on top? It’s summertime, so why not cross the border between the unexpected and the delicious.
A clean, hot seafood broth, with small shrimp, poured over fresh tomatoes, peppers, cucumber and a lot of herbs, served with a side of fresh hot chili sauce. Sounds like summer to me.

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Everyday is a Holiday Fennel Gratin

What’s gorgeous enough to serve at a holiday gathering, but easy enough to indulge in whenever you feel like it?
It’s that time of year again, lots of parties, potlucks and bring-a-dish moments, when you have very little time to be messing around in the kitchen.

Fennel gratin to the rescue! It can be easily transported, made ahead of time, and did I mention delicious??

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Cooking with Mangoes: Crispy Chicken & Mango Salsa

Rich, sweet, silky mango paired with chile spiked, crispy skinned chicken. It’s a perfect study in contrasts: sweet v. salty, crispy v. silky, sweet v. sour. It’s not a knock down, it’s a love fest.

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In a Pickle

Short days and cold nights mean it’s time to shut the orto down for the season.
No more happy wanderings over to the garden to see what I can scrounge up for dinner. No more sun warmed tomatoes; instead there are soggy plants with green tomatoes that need to be picked.
I could be sad, but I’m not; I love the changing of the seasons.

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Cannelloni Crudo

Get your mind out of the gutter. Crudo means raw.
And no, the cannelloni wasn’t raw, the sauce was. Actually the fresh tomato sauce was almost raw or “quasi crudo” as they would say in Italy.
The story goes like this: it’s summer, no one wants to spend extra time in the kitchen, and we have tomatoes coming out of our ears.
And thus, I’ve learned inspiration and abundance make excellent cohorts.

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12 Cookbooks Good Enough to Give

‘Tis that gift giving season again, and nothing warms a cooking person’s heart like a new cookbook. Here is my completely subjective list, in no particular order, but arranged by delicately nuanced categories, of favorite books to give to deserving friends.

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