Rose cake

For the Rose Festival cook with me the Rose Cake, or Torta delle Rose, as explained Afternoonlive on Katu. The cake was invented in Mantova in 1490 for the wedding of Isabella d’Este and Francesco II di Gonzaga. Since then, it has become a staple of the Mantua culinary tradition. http://katu.com/afternoon-live/cooking-recipes/torta-delle-rose-or-rose-cake    

pasta fish sperm

  This is my Halloween recipe for you, the ultimate… food porn (!), and as I like to joke to my friends, my personal warning to the entire male population  😛 I recently went fishing on the Oregon coast and caught a pretty big Pacific Salmon. Since I like to think that “if you must […]

Mixed salad

This insalatone, literally a large salad, is something that you would find on pretty much every cafe lunch menu on the Italian peninsula. It’s something that Italians adore: an easy, light and healthy way to take care of your midday meal. When summer arrives, I feel the need for a fresh plate, and this is […]

This week, instead of a recipe, I thought about sharing with you some magic moments from last year’s trip to Sicily. I went to the Aeolian Islands, or Isole Eolie, one of the most enchanted places of the Mediterranean. The Eolie (or Lipari) islands are a group of 7 volcanic islands located between Naples and North […]

red sauce cauliflower

There is something inexplicable about food trends. They start somewhere, in the kitchen of a chef, or a notable food trendsetter, and they then become huge – and my concept of huge has drastically changed since I moved to the United States! Fads catch on way more widely than I have ever experienced before, and […]

meatballs fried

This is probably the meatball recipe I prefer in terms of taste, but I don’t cook it very often because of the additional time, calories and mild hassle involved in deep-frying. It’s much easier to simply simmer meatballs in tomato sauce, and you know how I love easy recipes!   But, I made it again […]

asparagus eggs parmigiano

This recipe is a true classic of Northern Italy. It is probably the most iconic recipe made with asparagus. You will be surprised by its simplicity and balanced flavors: the sweet asparagus are enhanced by the savory Parmigiano and nutty, mellow eggs. In Italy, this dish is typically served in spring, when asparagus and eggs […]


When I was a child, this is the pastry my grandma from Apulia (Puglia in Italian) would make me every Easter. It’s traditional to that region but is prepared throughout the South of Italy. In times past, Scarcella was a treat that not only signaled the end of Lent in Apulia, but had deep significance, part […]

classic salad with artichokes

Fresh raw artichoke hearts are a wonderful addition to any salad, and the one with Parmigiano-Reggiano is the most classic Italian combination, one that you would find on many restaurant menus in Italy around this time of the year. The crunchiness of the raw artichokes blend divinely with the mellow, deep taste of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Just try […]

pasta carciofi e vongole

This pasta is incredibly yummy and rewarding, with an interesting sweet, nutty taste. The combination may seem unusual to many, but artichokes are widely used in Italy and are very common in pasta dishes. In pasta, artichokes are often paired with shellfish or bottarga, a salted-cured roe of tuna or mullet, a food specialty original […]

Tagliatelle al ragù

It is impossible, and foolhardy, to declare: “I have the definitive ragù di carne.” A thousand voices will respond that, no, they have the best or the most authentic meat sauce recipe. Every family in Italy has its own concoction, and – to be sure! – it is The Best. My family is no different: […]

deep-fried artichokes

Deep-fried artichokes are a true classic from central and southern Italy. This dish totally brings me back to my grandma’s kitchen. I close my eyes, and I can still see her at the stove, making these delicious treats for large family gatherings. Everyone loved them so much that we would hover in the kitchen and […]


Artichokes are in season and are great tasting vegetables, or, I should say… flowers! In Italy, there are many different varieties that are usually not available in the US, such as the violetto, shown in the photo here. Most of the American artichokes belong to the green globe variety. They are pretty large, usually weighing about 1 pound […]


Today I was a guest at AM Northwest! I prepared Tiramisu: probably the most famous Italian dessert, perfect for your Valentine dinner. The recipe is part of my Iphone app Cook with Grazia: quick Italian recipes, a collection of 20-minutes traditional Italian recipes. In fact, this dish is super easy to make and only takes 20 minutes […]

frittelle di zucchine

When we make these frittelle… Well, one leads to another and you cannot stop eating them! These zucchini fritters, flavorful and aromatic, make a perfect snack or hors d’oeuvre for a party. As with any deep-fried dish, they are best still warm, but with their intriguing mix of mint, basil and garlic, they are fabulous even […]

meatballs in tomato sauce

Meatballs in tomato sauce – or Polpette al sugo –  is a real classic of the Italian cuisine. This recipe is a life saver, since my kids love it so much. That is why I usually try to cook a larger batch and freeze part of it to have a meal ready for another night.

mom's cookies

These are the cookies I grew up with. It’s a family recipe, no one else makes them quite this way. It’s not complicated, not at all. It’s basically a shortbread recipe. Except that — well, being a family recipe, there is a secret ingredient. My mom taught me the recipe; she suspects my grandma (the […]

croquettes with turkey leftovers

My family is so keen on this recipe that I sometimes cook too much meat on purpose, just to have leftovers – and an excuse to make Crocchette. With the bounty of Thanksgiving leftovers just around the corner, this is a perfect, mouthwatering way to use those turkey scraps. But any leftover meat will definitely […]

crostini ai funghi

Dull day? All you need is a fireplace, a glass of medium-bodied red wine such as Chianti, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and… These crostini. Still redolent of the fragrances of woods and fall season, these crispy bites are aromatic, indulgent, with just a touch of tanginess. My friend Cinzia gave me this recipe (grazie Cinzia!), which she […]

Ossa dei morti cookies

November first is a catholic holiday in Italy. We celebrate All Saints’ Day. Schools and businesses are closed, and usually an excuse to spend a long weekend home (not this year – it’s falling on a Sunday). Since the following day, November second, is All Souls’ Day, the weekend usually include a visit to the […]

Hawaiian Pizza is not Italian!

Have you ever glimpsed a perplexed expression on your waiter’s face after you tried to order Fettuccine Alfredo in a restaurant in Italy? Or have you ever ordered pasta marinara, expecting a tomato sauce, and instead received a shellfish pasta? And how about trying to get an… Hawaiian Pizza??? The food served in many Italian restaurants in the United […]

Pasta with Sweet Peas and Ham

Pasta piselli e prosciutto – A kid’s favorite Play dates, sleepovers and such my friends? Need to get food into a group of hungry, rambunctious kids when you have no idea what they will and will not eat? Being a mom of 3, I have been there — multiple times! For this worst case-scenario situation […]

Asparagus Risotto

Risotto con gli Asparagi I have tasted hundreds of risottos in the US, and far too many of them are not authentic. So here is the recipe for the real, delicious Italian risotto. This is a great seasonal recipe, one of my favorites, and a terrific Mother’s Day brunch idea. This is – hands down […]

Pasta with Walnut Pesto

Pasta al Sugo di Noci This recipe is unusual, sophisticated and soul satisfying. The sauce originates from the Liguria region, where is often used on pansoti, a local fresh pasta similar to ravioli with a herby, vegetarian filling – but works great on any semolina pasta. Pasta with Walnut Pesto is ready in minutes and […]

Pasqualina savory Pie

  Easter Savory Pie When I used to live in Italy il lunedì dell’Angelo, or Easter Monday, a group of us would gather and decide on a daytrip somewhere. This is actually how many Italians spend that day: out on a picnic or sightseeing. Where I grew up, in humid Pianura Padana, we would head […]

asparagus frittata

  Frittata con asparagi This is the best asparagus frittata recipe ever! It’s a killer dish, one I was craving this week. This frittata captures in a bite the subtle changes in the air, the essence of the season. Its taste is delicate and smooth — but vibrant, and vital at the same time: exactly […]

Sausages with Rapini

  Salsicce con le cime di rapa I love this sausages recipe, with its unusual and assertive flavors. My grandma was from the Apulia region, and she introduced me really early to the unique taste of rapini. I find that their strong, almost bitter taste wonderfully balances the buttery, rich sausages to create a hearty, […]

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

What is extra-virgin olive oil? Very simply: mechanically squeezed olive juice. Choosing a great product should be, at least in theory, a no-brainer: as in any other fruit juice, we would go for the freshest juice, made with the perfectly ripened – in this case, mostly still green – great quality olives…. But many aspects […]


Castagnole di Carnevale   Ahhh… Carnevale! It breaks winter grays into an explosion of color and amusement. Who doesn’t love wearing costumes, going to parades with festooned floats and… eating special treats? These traditional deep-fried sweets are usually not available during the rest of the year so they must be enjoyed while they last. Here […]

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I have to confess: Sunday morning I chocked on my morning espresso while looking at my fresh copy of the New York Times. Are Italians a nation of impostors? This is what at least I got from reading the page from Nicholas Blechman and Tom Mueller. The information the New York Times provided really didn’t […]

balsamic viniger

Have you ever tried to choose balsamic vinegar and being overwhelmed by the variety of choices and lack of information? Well, it happened to me far too many times. I have been looking at reasonable priced products versus very expensive ones without knowing if the cost was worth it or not; fancy bottles and more […]

Fetichini Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo – the Recipe on-the-ground research – here it is for you – the real, authentic fettuccine with Alfredo sauce recipe! Grazia’s recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo Total Time: 20 minutes Yields 4

bowl of fresh chestnuts

Fall means chestnuts to me – and all the great memories that come with it. In Italy, as Christmas approaches, chestnuts can be bought on the street, grilled over hot coals, wrapped in paper to eat right away. Nothing is more enjoyable than a bunch of hot roasted chestnuts to cheer up your cold hands […]

cheese head

Coppa di testa Happy Thanksgiving everyone! While you are enjoying your turkey, this time of year Italians traditionally would celebrate… pork! I come from a farming area in the North, where every family used to raise its own pig to slaughter in winter. This tradition, although still alive in few families today, used to happen […]

I just finished reading – and watching – Mark Bittman’s tribute to the late Italian cookbook writer Marcella Hazan, and something popped out from the article: Julia Child’s comment on Italian cooking. “I don’t get the whole thing with Italian cooking,” Child told Bittman. “They put some herbs on things, they put them in the […]

  I just love receiving my weekly box with fresh, organic, gorgeous goodies… I feel like a child unwrapping presents at Christmas! Wow — this time around I got so many pears!!!  Not a difficult dilemma: I will just make… Classic pear jam. There is nothing like homemade jam – with its fragrant, intense,

Since I moved to the U.S. in 2001, I have been mystified about this strange, nearly ubiquitous phenomenon known as the Alfredo sauce. I mean: how could I, a food journalist and recent transplant from Italy, not know about it? Yet it was everywhere I turned in the U.S. — on Italian menus, on supermarket […]