Insalata Caprese

Recipe n. 42



It’s a classic. Mostly a Summer dish, served as an appetizer or as a salad to accompany another dish.  Even if the ingredients are not in season yet, I decided to publish it now because I was asked by one of my sons’s teachers to visit their classroom to do a ‘cooking’ demonstration about a traditional Italian food.

I picked this dish because it is easy to assemble and it doesn’t require any cooking. It’s also delicious and resembles the colors of the italian flag!

There are many legends around the origins of the Caprese salad. One of the most accreditated stories goes back to after world war II, when a laborer, who was very patriotic liked to include the colors of the italian flag in his ‘panino’ for his lunch break. Legend also has it that this dish appeared during dinner around 1920 in a hotel in Capri (the famous island off the coast of Naples) to please Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the poet and founder of the futuristic cultural movement.

One more story includes the Egyptian Sovereign Farouk.  In 1951, he went to visit the island of Capri with his family. It was a very sunny afternoon and he requested to have a quick meal prepared to satisfy his hunger. On that occasion he had the chance to taste a crunchy sandwich with pomodoro, mozzarella e basilico.  He fell in love when tasting these three fresh local ingredients together!

The dish was improved when the traditional mozzarella  from cows started to be replaced with bufala (buffalo) mozzarella, a dairy product typical to Campania.No matter where and when it was exactly created, this dish has become a signature Italian dish around the world.



caprese 3






This is what I made yesterday for dinner. I love this dish because it’s quick , easy to make and tastes delicious!    Plus you sure are going to get all your proteins and vegetables at the same time. It’s a complete meal. However, I like to serve it with roasted vegetables of your choice on the side, just to add some more colors to your plate  (a very important component when you are eating according to ancient Ayurveda, along with the six tastes) and also to give  your quiche ‘some company’!


© 2016 Iose’ Cocuzza All Rights Reserved


© 2016 Iose’ Cocuzza All Rights Reserved


© 2016 Iose’ Cocuzza All Rights Reserved



(Serves 4 people)

  • 2 bunches of Spinach
  • 1 cup of fresh ricotta
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • Salt
  • Pepper


In a large pot bring 2 inches of water to the boil, add the spinach (previously washed) and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the water and squeeze out the remaining water from the spinach. Put on the side and let it cool. In the meantime beat the eggs in a large bowl and add all the other ingredients except the ground flaxseed. Cut the spinach coarsely and add it to the mixture.

Pour everything in a baking dish. Sprinkle the top with  some parmesan cheese and the ground flax seeds to form a nice crust on top.

Bake at 350 F for about 25 minutes.

Tip: You can also bake it in a mini muffins pan and obtain fancy mini quiches to serve as an appetizer.  Your guests will love them and  for sure there won’t be any left over.



Perfect Appetizer…


Recipe n.25

I find that most of the time when cooking you don’t have to work very hard to make a delicious dish. Sometimes we go to too much trouble to find the most exotic ingredients in order to obtain a unique dish. In the end it doesn’t taste anything like it should, and my palate is not satisfied as it could have been if I had eaten a tasty and simple dish from my mom’s kitchen. I truly believe that the secret to Italian cooking is based on the fact that we use very simple ingredients in wonderful combinations.

I have become more fond of mushrooms in the past few years and I like to use them in many different ways for lots of recipes. This is one of my favorite ways to eat them. My mom taught me this recipe. They really make a perfect appetizer.


  • 15 medium-large white mushrooms, stemmed
  • 1/2 onion minced
  • 1/2 cup Italian-style dried bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup black currants ( Zante currants)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup small chunks of pecorino romano or caciocavallo chesse
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Clean the mushrooms, carefully break off stems and dry them with a paper towel. Stir the bread crumbs, cheese, onion, black currants, pine nuts, parsley, salt and pepper,  and  olive oil in a medium bowl to blend. Drizzle a heavy large baking sheet with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, to coat. Spoon the filling into the mushroom cavities and arrange the mushroom caps on the baking sheet, cavity side up. Drizzle remaining oil over the filling in each mushroom. Bake until lightly browned, about 25 minutes or broil under preheated broiler, with the broiler rack 3 inches below the flame. Allow to brown lightly before serving.