Recipe n.33

I’m very happy  to share this recipe with you, as it is the result of pure improvisation from an evening a few years ago. I was trying to decide what to make for dinner for my family. I started to put together several ingredients to try to please everybody’s palate and it turned out to be a hit!  Since then I have been making this dish quite often and I always get the same positive feedback.


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Ingredients for 4 people

  • 500g pasta (any short type of your choice – I prefer to use wholewheat pasta)

  • 1 medium yellow onion

  • 1 fennel bulb+stalk thinly sliced

  • 4 to 5 ounces of smoked salmon

  • 12 mushrooms ( I like to use either crimini or shiitake mushrooms)

  • Lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

  • Fresh dill

  • Olive oil

  • 1/4 cup of white wine

  • Salt and Pepper


Bring a medium size pot with water to boil for the pasta.  In a large pan sautee the onions and  fennel in olive oil for  a couple of minutes, then add the mushrooms, lemon zest,  and some dill.  Season with salt and pepper. Add the smoked salmon and the white wine keeping  on a medium-hight heat until the wine has evaporated. Add some lemon juice and the reamining dill. Drain and transfer the pasta to a large bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Adjust with salt and pepper and enjoy!


Recipe n.32

This is a typical sicilian dish (specifically from Palermo) called ‘pasta con i broccoli arriminati  –  stirred broccoli’, but my younger son decided to rename it as ‘Pasta Palermo’, since we always eat it when we travel to Sicily. I learned how to make this dish from my darling mom and while she likes to use the local sicilian green cauliflower, which you will literally find on every corner in Sicily,  where local street vendors are selling them all day long, I prefer to use the regular white cauliflower.

I also added another variation to this dish. The original recipe usually calls for ‘bucatini pasta'( a type of long pasta). I like to use rigatoni pasta (a short pasta) and then bake this dish for about 20 minutes before serving.



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Ingredients for 4 people

500g  bucatini or any short pasta of your choice
1  medium cauliflower
1  yellow onion
1/2 cup  dry black currants
2 Tbsp pine nuts
4  canned anchiovies fillets
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 pinch saffron

2 to 3 tbsp bread crumbs

2 to 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese


Start by making a tea with the saffron threads and set aside. Soften the dry currants in a bowl with warm water.
Wash and cut the cauliflower in medium size florets. Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the cauliflower until slightly tender.
Take the florets out with a strainer and keep the water from the pot to cook the pasta after. In a pan sautee the onion with olive oil until  they become soft and translucent, add the anchovies,  the pine nuts, the currants (drained), the cauliflower and cook for about 10/15 minutes until everything is mixed well. Add some ‘saffron tea’ to keep it moist while all the ingredients are cooking. In the meantime check the pasta and be sure to cook it until it is about two minutes before ‘al dente’. Drain and transfer the pasta to a large baking dish.  Mix the pasta with some grated parmesan cheese. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Add some more saffron tea and then sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and the reamining grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes.

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Buon appetito!



Recipe n. 26

Growing up on an island in the mediterannean I ate quite a lot of fish as you can probably imagine. It’s a totally different experience to buy some fish in Sicily compared to New York City.  In the little town where I come from, which is by the sea, una piccola borgata di mare, there are lots of local ‘pescivendoli’. You can smell the fresh fish from a distance and while I know quite a lot of people are bothered by this smell but it gives me a strong sense of connectedness with the sea. In Sicily they would never sell you a ‘fillet’. You have to buy the whole fish, from head to tail, maybe they will clean it a bit for you but that’s about it. I have also noticed that there is a big difference in terms of flavor. The fish from the Atlantic has a milder flavor while the fish from the mediterranean has a much stronger sea flavor and it’s saltier.  Despite these differences, here in New York I feel very lucky to live close by one of the best fish places in town (even if it’s not by the sea) which happens to be in Chelsea Market. This recipe will be ideal if  you want to cook a tasty and easy meal for dinner for your guests, it makes a perfect ‘spaghettata’.

Serves 4


  • 450g  (1 pound) spaghetti or linguine
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Good pinch of dried hot chilli flakes
  • Small bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1kg ( a bit over 2 pounds)  of small clams, scrubbed and degritted
  • 10 cherry tomatoes ( pomodorini pachino)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil and gently sauté the garlic, chilli and half the parsley for a couple of minutes. Add the clams and wine, turn up the heat, then cover. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the clams have opened.

Remove the clams and the juice and set aside. In the same pan add about 4 spoons of olive oil,  the chopped garlic and hot chilli pepper flakes. After the garlic turns gold,  add the cherry tomatoes. Let them cook  for a few minutes and then crush them with a fork. Add the clams, the rest of the parsley and slowly add the juice which you previously cooked with the clams. Let the juice evaporate for a few minutes and then add a sprinkle of wine and keep the heat high. Season with salt and pepper. Toss in all the spaghetti with the clams and the juices and the remaining parsley.

The best part is the leftover…


Recipe n. 18

I haven’t made this dish in a while as I inevitably got bored with it because my husband keeps asking me to cook it way too often, as he likes it so much.  I have decided to start making it again after kept it in ‘quarantine‘ for quite some time. What I really love about this dish is what you can make with it from the leftovers the next day.… I learnt this trick in Italy from a lovely ‘mamma Napoletana’ who told me that in Naples it’s a very common thing to do with leftover pasta. I am not the kind of person who would ever eat cooked pasta from the day before as it usually tastes like ‘glue’, but with this recipe it’s a totally different story…


  • 1 lb Linguine or Spaghetti
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 1 lb Frozen peas
  • ¼ lb Ham cut in strips
  • ¼ cup Parsley chopped
  • 1/2  cup of vegetable broth or plain water
  • ¼ cup Fresh grounded Parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of Red chili pepper flakes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 to 4 Eggs
  • ¼ cup Milk (or rice milk)

In a tall pot bring the water to a boil and cook pasta until ‘al dente’. In the meantime in a large skillet or pot heat the olive oil and add the onion, salt and pepper and red chili pepper flakes. When the onion is about translucent add the peas and cook for about 2 more minutes. Add the broth or just plain water and cook the peas for about 10 minutes. Add the ham and cook 5 minutes longer. Turn the heat off and add some fresh chopped parsley and mix this dressing with spaghetti. If the dressing looks a bit dry you can add some of the cooking water you used for pasta. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on each plate.

Now here comes the best part. Keep the left over pasta already mixed with the dressing refrigerated. The day after you can enjoy this great ’frittata di pasta’ at lunch or dinnertime:  whisk 3 or 4 eggs in a bowl, salt and pepper and some milk (I like to use rice milk). In a skillet heat a couple of table spoons of olive oil and stir the pasta ‘to bring it to life’ again, now add the eggs and lower the heat, cover with a lid and cook until the eggs look brown on the surface. I actually finish the cooking part of this dish in the oven and broil for 2 or 3 minutes to obtain a crunchy brown frittata.  Set aside, let it cool and cut the frittata in slices to serve.

Deep Dark Green Creamy Sauce…


Recipe n. 15

When my son was still learning colors, among his big collection of trains from ‘Thomas the tank engine and his friends‘, there was one train in particular which was green. It is a very dark green and for this reason every time we refer to this train we emphasize it calling it the ‘deep dark green train’, exactly the same color as this delicious creamy sauce for pasta, which reminds me of that train. I have been making this sauce for pasta for years. By now it has became part of our recurring family menu. It’s an easy and quick recipe and a light dish to enjoy for lunch or dinner. Sometimes I make this sauce in big batches and freeze it to have it handy on days when you don’t have much time to cook but you don’t want to end up eating take out food.


  • 1 lb fresh spinach washed
  • ¼ cup rice milk (I like to use rice milk instead of regular milk because it’s lighter and gives a sweeter taste to the sauce with no need to add any butter or cream)
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup fresh ricotta, optional (I usually make this sauce without ricotta, unless I ‘m having a guest for lunch and want to obtain a richer taste and consistency)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ¾ lb your favorite short pasta

In a medium sized pot bring the water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Take the spinach from the pot and drain excess water. Put to the side and let it cool. In a food processor add the spinach, rice milk, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Mix to obtain a creamy consistency.  Bring again to a boil the same pot with water you have used to cook the spinach and add pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain the water and in a large bowl mix pasta with the spinach sauce. Add some extra Parmesan cheese to garnish.

Recipe n.10


Being Italian you would guess that I eat pasta everyday. I used to, especially when I was living in Italy, but now that I have also embraced other ways of cooking I eat pasta dishes less often. Since we also eat less meat, I’m always trying to add protein to our dishes from other sources such as nuts. I remember the day I came up with this recipe, it wasn’t that long ago: the evening I made this for the first time I was happily surprised looking at my son finally eating broccoli and enjoying it!


  • 1 lb pasta (I use short whole wheat pasta)
  • 1 large broccoli head
  • 2 garlic cloves thinly chopped
  • ½ cup  raisins ( I like to use dried Zante currants)
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • olive oil
  • fresh  chopped parsley for garnish
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper

Wash and chop  the broccoli into florets.  In a large pot with water, where you are also going to cook pasta, place a steamer on top with the broccoli florets. Bring to boil and after the florets are steamed put to the side. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. In the meantime in a large skillet with olive oil add the garlic, florets, raisins, walnuts , red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Cook for about 10 minutes and remove from the heat. Drain pasta when it is cooked, and in a large bowl mix the pasta  with the broccoli dressing and sprinkle with  fresh chopped parsley.

Recipe n. 7


I get a feeling of comfort when I eat this dish especially when it’s rainy and  stormy outside. I cook this dish during those days or when I forgot to go to the grocery store the day before  and my refrigerator is half empty. It’s also a dish that cooks almost by itself without requiring my full attention while I’m preparing it. It’s easy  to make and delicious to eat. It’s a typical dish of southern Italian cooking, born originally in Naples. It is considered  ‘un piatto povero’ and yet it’s a very popular dish with a rich taste, made with simple ingredients, potatoes and mixed pasta. There are many ways of making it out there. This is my version:



  • ½ lb short mixed pasta
  • 3  large potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove thinly chopped
  • vegetable broth (or just water)
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • Parmesan cheese (1 Crust plus grated)
  • parsley
  • olive oil
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper

Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil in a large pot and add the potatoes. Cook for a few  more minutes and  add enough broth to cover the potatoes. Add the bay leaf, salt and pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a crust of Parmesan cheese. Cook until the potatoes are soft and add the pasta, with more water if necessary, and cook until ‘al dente’. Remove from the heat and let pasta cook while it’s sitting in the pot. Add fresh chopped parsley and adjust with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Tip: You can use any kind of short pasta that you have already opened in your cupboard and mix them together, as long as they hold the same cooking time. I like to mix some broken spaghetti with short pasta.