Category Archives: Kitchen Tips and Tools

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…


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


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…

Pasta, Gnocchi, Risotto: Snaps’n’Snippets

Gorgonzola and sage spaghetti

Every Italian meal begins with a delicious “primo”. Sundays in Rome are family lunch days and call for homemade pasta; Thursdays are gnocchi day in Rome. Every town and region has its own specialty and tradition. What they all have in common is simplicity and delicious flavor! I’m addicted to the easiest pasta dish on…

Tomato Ricotta Tarte Tatin


  It’s that delightful time of the year when our vegetable garden is exploding and yielding scrumptious produce in spades. We always plant lots of varieties of tomatoes; it’s the true staple in Italian cuisine and we won’t settle for anything but the best in the tomato department. Maurizio’s favorite snack is bread, tomato and…

Baked Fresh Anchovies with Capers & Parmesan Cheese


It’s time to toss away all your preconceived notions about anchovies and give them a second chance. The anchovy in your Caesar salad or on top of a pizza..packed in oil and salt…is not the same thing as a fresh anchovy. A fresh anchovy is a tiny, delicately flavored oily white fish. And there’s more….

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

Beyond a doubt eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorite dishes, and one I don’t make often enough. It’s simple enough, but not something you throw together in ten minutes. And it does involve frying…at least the way we like it…so that’s why I try not to make it too often. Let’s face it, frying is…

Preserved Lemons


I first tried preserved lemons last spring in San Francisco and loved them immediately. My sister Carolyn heard about them from her family pastor who loves adding them to tuna fish salad. Carolyn found a recipe for preserved lemons and decided to make a few jars using lemons from her daughter’s tree. What attracted me to preserved lemons…

Roast Butternut Squash & Rosemary Soup

Roasted butternut squash and rosemary soup

Winter calls for warm and hearty comfort foods and there’s nothing better than a big bowl of hot soup to soothe the winter blues. One of my favorites is butternut squash soup. I have quite a few squash on hand, remnants of last summer’s garden. They last the good part of a year and before…