Category Archives: Kitchen Tips and Tools

Nocino: Walnut Liqueur

Nocino (walnut) liqueur making

Recipes that stem from the intertwining of tradition, harvest times, annual festivals and holidays…like this nocino liqueur… are by far my favorites. So often it’s people’s lives, the seasons and history that establish culinary tradition. Nocino isn’t prepared only in Italy but it’s at the very least one of its places of origin. Like many…

Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons

Chicken tagine with preserved lemons, a wonderful Maroccan dish!

My favorite Maroccan dish by far is Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons. It’s wonderful because the tagine cooking technique yields a tender and flavorful chicken, while the preserved lemons add a tangy touch to the dish. To cook with a tagine you place all of the ingredients inside the tagine at the same time, cover and…

Homemade pasta: easy and fun to make!

Making homemde pasta

No dish is more quintessentially Italian than homemade pasta. It can be long, short, filled or cut small to use in soup. There are also pastas that use a variety of whole grain flours, water instead of eggs, or hot water and butter instead of eggs. Despite innumerable variations, this classic homemade pasta recipe is perfect as the…

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Grated Parmesan Cheese and Toasted Walnuts

Brussels Sprouts & Toasted Walnut Salad

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Grated Parmesan Cheese & Toasted Walnuts is a delightful winter salad and a great way to serve this winter vegetable! I’d never thought of using brussels sprouts raw in a salad but it’s one of the easiest and tastiest ways to use them. Brussels sprouts are an odd vegetable. Their…

Roman Style Artichokes

Roman artichokes

  We’re fully in the season of Roman, or globe, artichokes. There are so many delicious ways to prepare them, but the best way is Carciofi alla Romana.   I usually buy artichokes that have already been partially cleaned at the market, in other words all the tough outer leaves removed, plus the outer layer…

Spaghetti with Clam Sauce (alle Vongole)

Spaghetti alle vongole

Italy has such delicious clams that spaghetti with clams is always one of my top choices when we eat out. It’s also something I make at home frequently. It’s easy to prepare and I have a few magic ingredients that make this dish extraordinary. Everyone you serve it to will ask what you do to make…

Caramel Walnut Torte

Caramel Walnut Torte

This gooey and delicious torte recipe explodes with fresh Italian walnuts! Italian walnuts are in their prime right now; tender and delicious. And it just so happens that we have a huge walnut tree growing right on our property. We pick some underripe walnuts in June to make nocino, an Italian liqueur usually served at Christmas. We pick the…

Ricotta and Pear Filled Fagottini

Pear and Ricotta Filled Fagottini

Pears are in season and delicious as we move into fall. I adore baked pears and pear tarts but my favorite by far are these delicious pear and ricotta filled fagottini. I first tasted these fagottini at one of our favorite restaurants, located in the northern Lazio hill town, Civitá Castellana. We’ve not been back to…

Positano

Hand-painted Vietri ceramic flower vases

I’ve been in love with this gorgeous Amalfi coast hill town that spills down to the sea with a blast of Mediterranean colors for decades. It’s all about the winding narrow streets and steps so full of charm, the amazing views that change with every step you take, the outstanding seafood, ceramics and quaint shops. Enjoy…

Herbs & Spices

Marjoram

I use a lot of herbs and spices in my cooking, mostly what is growing on our property, both planted & foraged. Fresh is my preference; the flavor is richer and I love the colors of  fresh herbs. I buy spices from all over the world at Rome’s largest market in Piazza Victoria to make…