Welcome to my world - a blend of passion, taste, and old-world traditions.

Benvenuti nel mio mondo - un mischio di passione, gusto e vecchie tradizioni.

Monday, January 4, 2021


Tarallucci are also known as "Celli Ripieni" in other parts of Abruzzo. They are made with a very crumbly pasta, oil and wine filled with grape jam enriched with chocolate, toasted almonds and a little rum.

Ingredients for the Filling:

  • 1 lb. black grape jam
  • 1/2 cup of dark cocoa
  • 1/2 cup grated chocolate
  • 1 cup chopped roasted almonds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons rum

Preparing the Filling
In a saucepan put the jam with almonds, chocolate, orange peel and rum. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Cool and store in refrigerator in a covered jar. (This can be done a day or two prior to baking.)

Ingredients for dough:
1.5 lb. unbleached flour
2 cups of olive oil
1 cup white wine
1 tablespoon of sugar

Procedure for the dough:

In a large bowl, pour the oil, wine and sugar.
Sprinkle in the flour and mix.
Work the dough for 10 minutes or so until it is elastic.
Shape into a ball and let it rest for 15 minutes.
After resting, take the dough and spread thinly in the shape of an oval.
Put a spoonful of filling and close on itself. Cut off the excess dough with wheel and bring the ends to the center.
Place them in a baking pan covered with parchment paper and bake in the preheated oven (350 degrees) for 25 to 30 minutes.
When cooked, place them on a tray and dust with powdered sugar.

Monday, December 21, 2020


In our home, it's not Christmas without Caggionetti.  There are few versions depending on taste from ceci to cestnuts.  

 Pastry Dough:

4 cups unbleached flour

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup white wine

2 quarts of vegetable oil for frying.

Ingredients for filling: (I like to prepare the filling the day before)

1 lb. blanched almonds ground

1/2 cup of honey

1 lemon zest

1 tsp. of cinnamon

Warm up the honey then incorporate the almonds, the lemon zest and cinnamon.  Mix well for a minute or so.  Let it get cool.


Make a fountain with the flour, add all the ingredients (for the dough) in the center.  Stir slowly with a fork incorporating the flour until dough forms.  Let the dough rest (covered) for at least 1/2 hour.

At this point, roll out the dough very thinly.  

With a teaspoon, place the filling on the pastry and form a small ravioli.  Press the outer edges.

In the alternate, roll out the dough very thin.  Cut into squares and place a teaspoon of filling in the center.

Fry the ravioli obtained in hot oil. Be careful not to let them brown.  Drain them well and place them on absorbent paper to remove excess oil.  

Sprinkle with powered sugar.

The caggionetti are ready to be enjoyed!

Friday, December 18, 2020


 If you love shrimp, do not miss all my pasta with shrimps recipes, each more delicious than the other. I used pasta shapes that I love, from fettuccine to paccheri.

Although we could eat shrimp alone almost every day, sometimes you need a side or starch to go along with them!  It can be rice or pasta.

Fettuccine with Shrimps

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 lbs. x-large raw shrimp peeled with tails off
  • 28 oz. peeled plum tomatoes (Place in food processor or blender container. Pulse until pureed.
  • Few fresh parsley sprigs
  • Few fresh basil leaves (if available)
  • 16 oz. Fettuccine pasta cooked and drained
  • Salt and black pepper

Fettucine with shrimp

Heat olive oil and garlic in deep skillet.  Add the shrimp, mix and brown over high heat for about 2 minutes. Remove shrimps and set aside. Add tomato puree, parsley and basil and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the cooked shrimp into the sauce.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in abundant salted water, drain it al dente and add it to the pan.

Mezze Maniche with Shrimp

2 lb. X-large frozen shrimp with tail on
1/3 cup of olive oil
2 or 3 chopped scallions
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup white wine
Salt and black pepper
1 lb. Mezze maniche pasta

Mezze maniche (half sleeves) with shrimp

Heat olive oil, chopped scallions and garlic in skillet.  Add the shrimp, mix and brown over high heat for about 2 minutes. Remove shrimps and set aside. Deglaze with white wine and then let the alcoholic component evaporate. Add the shrimps and simmer few more minutes. Add over already cooked pasta.

Paccheri with Fresh Head-On Shrimp

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 lbs. x-large raw shrimp with heads and shells on
  • 28 oz. peeled plum tomatoes (Place in food processor or blender container. Pulse until pureed.
  • Few fresh parsley sprigs
  • Few fresh basil leaves (if available)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. Paccheri pasta

Rinse the shrimp in cold water and pat dry.

Heat olive oil and garlic in deep skillet.  Add tomato puree, parsley and basil and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the shrimp into the sauce and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente. Pour sauce over shrimps and serve.

Paccheri with shrimp

It may take longer to eat the shrimp but the taste is so much intense that's worth the work.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Rucola, Arugula known as rucola, salad rocket, and Italian cress.

Arugula is an easy to grow salad green, the reason we grow it in our home garden. Its peppery taste adds extra flavor to everything from salads to crostini. 

Arugula from our garden

Arugula salad with hard boiled eggs and red onion

Arugula salad with tuna

Arugula salad with cherry tomatoes

Did you know that arugula is also great with pasta dishes? 

About some crostini with arugula?

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Better than Thanksgiving dinner? Leftover turkey sandwiches, turkey soup and turkey burgers.

 As a frugal cook, I have always found ways to get creative with leftover ingredients instead of discarding them. 

Three delicious and economical way to use up leftover turkey.

This leftover turkey sandwich is an absolute must for lunch or dinner.  

I simply add eggplants which I pickled over the summer.  The oil adds moisture to the turkey meat and the touch of garlic, mint and fresh red chile pepper add flavor to an otherwise boring sandwich. 

Melanzane sott'olio

Another yearly ritual, with leftover turkey is leftover turkey soup.

Soup from Turkey Carcass 

 If turkey soup and turkey sandwiches are boring to you, try these delicious turkey burgers.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Keep it Natural: Decorate outdoor garden containers for the fall and winter holidays

Come November, the landscape appears drab and dead.  Who wants to view the obvious eyesores that remain after the active summer growing season?  It's time to decorate the outside particularly the containers with natural ornaments.  It makes the whole house feel more welcoming.

I use branch and plant cuttings from our yard as opposed to using fake greens and berries from the craft store.

I start with pine and blue spruce cuttings and finish with dried hydrangeas, pinecone picks and holly.

A metal holder on the wall becomes a one-of-a-kind winter container garden when stuffed with evergreens, berried branches and dried hydrangeas.

To add maximum impact to the front porch ledge, I place a glass candle holder and candle within the concrete container.




A wreath is the perfect front door decoration that is steeped in tradition.  Being that our front porch is covered, I choose to hang the wreath on the bare wall so that it can be seen from far way....

....and line candles on the stairs to set a welcoming stage for guests.

To create an inviting walkway, I add a candle lantern over the garden bench.

 Let  your winter containers sparkle from winter all the way to spring.

Simplicity that comes from the heart dedicated to those who feel a green soul.


Monday, October 12, 2020

Roses in Autumn - Rose in Autunno

      This summer high temperatures had induced a brief period of summer dormancy but once the weather started to cool in September, roses in our garden put on a fantastic show....and hopefully into frost.


Without proper care for rose bushes in the fall, especially in colder climates, the roses may not survive. 

 If you continue to feed them, you will risk damage to the plant because the new growth will not have time to harden off before the first frost.


Once we have few good frosts, leaves will start falling.  Apply a dormant spray such as lime sulfur and/or spray oil. This will kill pests and fungal diseases.

Lesson learned:  I have found roses to be heavy feeders.  The only way for them to produce many beautiful blooms from Spring to the frost of Fall.