Tag Archives: italian food

Meatball Parmigiana



I haven’t done a foodie post in a while! Not that I haven’t been cooking, it’s just that lots of the things I’ve made haven’t really had an Italian flair. But this one, definitely has that Italian taste to it! Looking at the picture, it looks like a pizza, doesn’t it? But really, it’s a plate full of medium sized meatballs covered with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese! Delizioso!


1/2 lb. ground beef

1/2 lb. ground veal

1/2 lb. ground pork

4 minced garlic cloves

1/4 c. chopped parsley

1 c. bread crumbs

1 c. grated parmesan cheese

2 eggs

2 cups marinara sauce

Mozzarella cheese


Mix together the meats, garlic, parsley, bread crumbs, eggs, and parmesan cheese in a bowl. Season with preferred seasonings. Form the meatballs (not too large – about 1 inch in diameter) and set aside.

Heat oven to 395.

Pour some sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish. Position the meatballs all around. Cover the meatballs with the remainder of the sauce. Top with mozzarella cheese.

Cover with foil and cook in the oven until the meatballs are cooked through (about 45-50 minutes). Be careful taking the dish out of the oven as the sauce may have boiled over.

Risotto with Chives



As I’m trying to watch my carb intake, I don’t eat much rice…but every once in a while, a good creamy risotto is such comfort food!


1 cup Arborio rice

1 cup diced yellow onion

1/2 c. white wine

3 to 4 cups chicken broth, warmed

1 c. grated parmesan cheese

2 T. butter

Truffle oil or truffle salt

I package chives, minced

2 T. parsley, minced


Heat some olive oil in a pot. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add the rice and sauté a few minutes. Pour in the wine and stir constantly until the wine evaporates. Add the broth, one scoop at a time, and cook until the broth is incorporated. Continue in this manner until the rice is tender.

Add in the parsley, chives, butter, and parmesan cheese. Stir for a while and add some pepper and either the truffle salt or the truffle oil. Stir and serve.

Top with some more Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Asparagus & Eggs – A Very Seasonal Menu



Italians are really good about eating vegetables when they are in season!  In fact, Italy has recently been voted as the country in Europe that has the freshest menus.  So, it goes to reason, that now that asparagus season is in full swing, recipes featuring fresh asparagus are taking over.  Even though we can usually find asparagus at all times of the year, it’s always nice to eat it when it’s at its peak.  So, last week while I was at the Farmer’s Market, I decided to pick up a bunch and make it my favorite way – with some fried eggs and Parmesan cheese.  There is no simpler, yet more delicious, way to eat it!

You can cook the asparagus any way you like, but I like to just cook them in some olive oil in a pan until they are soft but not mushy.  I then fry up some eggs, trying to keep the yolks intact.  That gooey egg yolk is what makes this dish so delicious!  I then place my fried eggs (with runny yolk) on top of my asparagus and sprinkle it with some Parmesan cheese.  Such a simple meal but oh so good!

Welcome to my Gnocchi Making Party


Last Saturday, when my daughter was visiting from Portland where she’s going to grad school, she asked me if we could make some gnocchi!  “Um, sure”, I replied, a bit hesitantly.  You see, my mom is the gnocchi queen and I’ve always been a bit scared to tackle the job myself without her help and expertise.  Memories of the one other time I made them without her help, and the disaster that ensued, kept haunting me.  That time they had turned into mushy doughy logs that fell apart while boiling.  Yuck! Certainly not how my mom made them!  But how could I resist my lovely daughter’s humble request to make these delicious soft pillows (which, I’m sure, were her memories of Nonna’s delicious gnocchi!)?

Armed with my mom’s verbal instructions, I held my breath (not literally) and began the process.  I boiled 4 large russet potatoes until they were nice and soft.  Working with only 2 at a time, since my mom instructed me that the gnocchi dough needs to be worked while the potato is still calda (hot) and which was stressing me out to work in fretta (swiftly), I left the other two in the hot water for the next go round of gnocchi dough making.  I placed some flour on my counter before peeling the potatoes and putting them through a ricer.


I then made a well in the riced potatoes and added about a cup of flour, an egg, a touch of oil, and some salt.


I then began working it all into a dough ball.  I kept adding flour a little at a time and working it all until it formed a nice doughy ball (not too sticky).  I then pinched off a bit and rolled it into a log about 1 inch thick.   Always working quickly (that’s the key, I guess), I quickly cut little pieces that were about 3/4 to an inch thick.


My daughter took a fork and rolled the dough pieces on the tines to create some ridges (this helps to hold the sauce better).  We placed the finished gnocchi on a floured platter and put them in the refrigerator to cook later.  We continued this process until all the dough was used up.  I then proceeded to do the exact same thing with the 2 other potatoes that I had left in the hot water (and they were still hot – luckily!)


Side note:   If you decide to freeze the gnocchi, instead of eating them in a few hours, place the platter in the freezer until the gnocchi have frozen completely and then you can put them into a ziplock bag to use whenever you want.

After cleaning up the big mess (and believe me, it was quite a disaster), we were ready to cook them.  Gnocchi have to be cooked in small quantities otherwise you will end up with a giant potato clump at the bottom of your boiling water.  So, boil some water in a pot, add some salt, and place no more than 10 gnocchi into the boiling water at a time.  Give them a little stir and wait for them to rise to the surface.  Once they have risen, scoop them out with a perforated ladle or spoon.  Place them in a bowl and add your favorite sauce (and grated cheese, if desired).  Cover the bowl with aluminum foil to keep them warm while you proceed with another batch of 10 gnocchi in the boiling water.  Keep doing this until you have cooked all the desired gnocchi.  Once you have finished and your bowl is full, stir the gnocchi gently to coat them all with the sauce and cheese.  Ta da – all done and ready to eat!

This time, my gnocchi were beautiful and fluffy – they looked perfect and they were delicious!  I used 3 different sauces – tomato, pesto and alfredo and called them  “Gnocchi Tre Colori” – red, green, and white – just like the Italian flag!  My daughter’s boyfriend wanted to make sure she took good notes because she will have to make them for him once she gets back to Portland!  And the most rewarding stamp of approval came from my mom, when I brought her some left overs thE day after, and she said they were PERFETTI!!


Pollo alla Cacciatore al Tesoro


There is always so much one can do with chicken – it is one of the most versatile of all meats and I cook with it often!  I always buy the best chicken I can find, and lately that has been the organic chicken they sell at Costco in the refrigerated section.  They carry boneless skinless thighs and breasts, and drumsticks.  They come in 3 packages connected together- with each package containing several pieces of chicken that are just the right size for a meal for my family of 4.


For last night’s dinner, I used the drumsticks, but you can use a cut up whole chicken if you prefer.

Pollo alla Cacciatore

Chicken alla Cacciatore (Hunter’s Chicken)

6 drumsticks, skin removed

Flour for dredging

1/2 onion, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1/2 lb. mushrooms, chopped (you can use any kind, even dried porcinis if you want)

2 tomatoes, chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup white wine

1 cup chicken broth (or mushroom soaking water if you use dry mushrooms)

1/2 cup tomato sauce

Herbs you like such as rosemary, sage, oregano or thyme – chopped fine

Salt & pepper to taste

Olive oil for cooking


Salt and pepper the chicken and dredge it in some flour, shaking off the excess.

Brown the chicken in some olive oil until it is browned on all sides.  Remove and set aside.


Saute the onions, garlic, celery, carrots and mushrooms in some additional olive oil until the vegetables are soft.

Add the tomatoes and herbs and cook for a couple of minutes.

Increase the heat and add the white wine.  Boil it all together for a few minutes until some of the wine has evaporated.

Dissolve a spoonful of flour in about 3 T. of water and add it to the vegetable mixture.  Stir and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the broth (or mushroom water) and tomato sauce and cook for a few minutes. 


Return the chicken to the pan and spoon some of the vegetables on top of it.  Turn the heat down, cover and cook for about 15 minutes, then turn the chicken over and cook until done – around 15 more minutes.  Be careful not to burn the chicken or vegetables. 


Buon appetito!



Another Way with Risotto


I seem to be posting lots of recipes lately, but it seems like all of a sudden, I’m discovering all these new ways of cooking up old Italian favorites (and I feel the need to share them!).  This one is for Risotto with Kale and Pancetta!  Now, who can honestly resist anything with pancetta?  Not I, that’s for sure!  And this recipe was no exception to the deliciousness (sp?) that pancetta gives to anything it’s added to.


Risotto with Kale & Pancetta

1 cup Arborio rice

Olive oil

White wine

1/2 cup diced pancetta

1 bunch kale, chiffonaded

4 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 T. mascarpone

Red pepper flakes


1.  Warm some olive oil in a pot.

2.  Add the rice and stir it around a bit.

3.  Add a splash of white wine and stir the rice while the wine reduces.

4.  Once the wine has reduced, add one ladle-full of chicken broth, and stir the risotto until the broth reduces.

5.  Continue in this method, adding one ladle full of broth at a time, until the risotto is cooked.

6.  While the risotto is cooking, take another pan and warm some olive oil in it.

7.  Add the pancetta, kale, and a dash of red pepper flakes (to taste)  to the pan and fry it up until the pancetta is crispy and the kale has softened.  Set aside.

8.  When the risotto is cooked (al dente), add the parmesan cheese and mascarpone to it and stir until the cheeses have melted.

9. Add the kale/pancetta mixture and stir until it’s all combined.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Serve HOT and enjoy with a good bottle of hearty red wine! 

You will love it!

Heaven Found in a Bowl of Gelato


Thanks to my Italian friend, Marco, who has been so resourceful in finding so many Italian products here in Northern California, I found the best authentic Italian gelato I’ve ever tasted in the most unlikely place possible!  Stuffed into the corner of the freezer section in a Mexican produce market sat these perfect little gems.  Creamy and with the most exquisite flavors, these imported Italian gelatos are as good as those found all over Italy.  Of course, the variety of flavors is so small compared to the multitude in Italy, but that doesn’t matter as they have brought over my favorites!  Bacio – a chocolate hazelnut flavor that tastes exactly like the Perugina Baci chocolates – was my favorite!  The pistachio, with pieces of real pistachios, was pretty darn good!  And finally the capuccino…what can I say?  Heavenly!!  All in all, I must have eaten 1000 calories of gelato in one sitting!  Someone had to have the hard job of making sure they were all up to par!  Luckily, I didn’t buy the other flavors available!  I have to leave something for next time!


Siviero Maria gelato is made in Italy and can be found at Felipe’s Market in Sunnyvale, California.

Fettuccine alla Papalina


Affectionately known as the “Pope’s Fettuccine”, this delicious pasta recipe was the favorite of Pope Pius XII back in 1939.  It’s nice to know that we can still use the same fresh ingredients as they did back then.  Even though it’s probably not the most heart-healthy of pasta sauces, it’s genuine ingredients are the hallmark of true Italian dishes.  As long as we keep our portions small and don’t eat rich dishes like this every day, it’s OK to indulge every so often….especially when it’s SO good.


Fettucine alla Papalina

1 white onion

3 1/2 oz. sliced prosciutto

5 1/2 T. butter

3 eggs

3 heaping T. grated parmesan cheese

2 T. heavy cream

14 oz. fresh egg fettucine or pappardelle

Salt and pepper

Finely chop the onion and cut the prosciutto into narrow strips.  Brown the onion and prosciutto in the butter until the prosciutto is golden brown and crispy.

Meanwhile, mix the eggs in a food processor.  Add 2 T. of the parmesan, the cream, and some salt and pulse until smooth.

Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water until al dente.  While the pasta is cooking, melt the rest of the butter in a small pan and pour it into a bowl.  When it is a little cool, add the egg mixture – mixing all the while so that the egg does not cook.  Add this into the prosciutto mixture and mix all together.

When the pasta has cooked, drain it well.  Add it to the pan with the prosciutto mixture and turn the heat to low – mixing all the time to incorporate the sauce well without cooking the egg.

Remove from the heat and toss the pasta with the remaining Parmesan and some pepper.  Enjoy!

This recipe serves 4 people.