Category Archives: Food


By Lora

Bones of the Dead Cookies-Ossa di Morto

The bones of the dead cookies (ossa di morto) are almond cookies that are traditionally eaten on November 2nd (All Soul’s Day, or Day of the Dead) which falls right after All Saint’s Day. In Italy it is called ponte 1-2 Novembre (the bridge of the 1st and 2nd of November) and schools are closed and depending where you are in Italy, probably many businesses.

Bones of the Dead Cookies-Ossa di Morto

Halloween isn’t an Italian holiday, although I know it is becoming more and more popular with kids (and even adults) in Italy. You can even find many Italian food bloggers posting fun and spooky Halloween recipes. But traditionally, this time period was always very solemn in Italy. Today (All Soul’s Day-Giorno dei Morti)is a day when you are supposed to pass by the cemetery and bring flowers to remember your loved ones. While you’re there, you should spiff up the graves of your family members and you may even find some people spending time there in remembrance of their loved ones for hours. But that may happen only in Sicily.

My dear cousin Alessio sent me a photo this weekend of my family’s grave in Sicily. The granite marker has the photo of my dad, my nonno Giuseppe (my grandfather), my nonna Mattia (my grandmother), my zio Giovanni (my uncle Giovanni that I never met that died on his 19th birthday), my great grandparents from my nonno Giuseppe’s side. All 6 of them are buried in this family grave. So much history can be found walking around the cemetery. So much of my own family history can be discovered exploring the different angles of this peaceful resting place overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Sicily.

Bones of the Dead Cookies-Ossa di Morto

 The bones of the dead cookies (ossa di morto) can be found at bakeries only for the All Soul’s Day (Day of the Dead) holiday in Italy. I was talking yesterday with a friend that just moved here from the Abruzzo region of Italy and she said she’s never seen a cookie for All Soul’s Day where she is from. Now I’m not saying it doesn’t exist in Abruzzo, but maybe just in her area she’s never seen it.

The ones that are made in Sicily are made with cloves and the dough is supposed to rest for 1-3 days. I’m not sure I have the patience to wait 3 days to put my cookies in the oven to bake, but perhaps next year. In Tuscany they are called ossi di morto and it’s served with Vin Santo. Ossi da morto from the Veneto region are made with white wine, baking soda and even potato starch (Italians use potato starch in a lot of baking recipes). In some parts of Sicily they are called scardellini and in Little Italy of New Orleans, they have one bakery that is famous for their Skidelina (maybe a different spelling of scardellini?). There are also cookies for All Soul’s Day (Day of the Dead)called Fave da morto,  fave dei morti or fave dolci. There is a a great reference to fava beans and death in Italy. In the Lombardy region where my in-laws live (and this is a typical recipe from that area), they are also called ossa da mordere and in dialect oss de mord. In Naples (Campania region) you can find torrone dei morti. In Sicily in some parts you will find this cookies covered with chocolate. You can also find Pan dei Morti in Lombardia, and le Fave dei Morti in Emilia – Romagna. So many different recipes and names all over Italy for this one occasion’s sweets.

When you really think about the name and the shape of the cookie, it is sort of macabre and even creepy. I couldn’t tell my kids that these were “bones of the dead”, as they probably would run instead of thinking they were cool! The cookies are shaped long and skinny and when you pile them all up together, it does look like a bunch of bones. But they sure are delicious and creepy cookies!!
Bones of the Dead Cookies-Ossa di Morto
Ossi da morto cookies are made in Italy shortly after the season’s first almonds are harvested in September. I wish I could say I was in Sicily trying the season’s just harvested almonds…maybe one day! There are recipes that include almonds and hazelnuts. I made mine with almonds and also the Italian liqueur called Nocino (a liqueur from Emilia Romagna made with unripe walnuts). Don’t get confused in thinking the cookie texture will be like a typical Italian biscotto. Biscotti are crunchy, but not as crunchy as these cookies. The cookies are more hard and crisp than chewy (maybe like the texture of a bone!).
These cookies are so perfect to dip in your hot coffee, espresso or even a glass of wine. The dough is pretty easy to put together and the shaping is also very simple. I portioned out the dough into 4 pieces and rolled it into a long snake. I cut that first long log in half, and then cut it into small sections. The pieces were about 3 inches long. It ended up being 3 trays with 12 cookies. Each cookie will not end up being the same, and I suppose that also makes them look more “bone like”. I offered them to our friends that came over for an impromptu barbecue before trick or treating last night, and everyone loved them. Just warn your loved ones and friends before they take a bite, as I did, that they are very crunchy. I added a little bit of whole wheat flour, but feel free to use only all-purpose flour. I have seen recipes that use yeast and some that use baking powder. This recipe is without any leavening agent.
Yield: 3 Dozen CookiesAuthor: Savoring ItalyPrint Recipe


A typical cookie that is hard and crunchy and full of wonderful spices. This is a cookie that varies from region to region to Italy and is eaten to remember loved ones that have left us on All Soul’s Day.



  • 3 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teasoon of ground cloves
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Nocino (or another Italian liqueur, white wine or even water)
  • confectioner’s sugar for dusting



  1. Line 3 cookie sheets with a parchment paper.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar. Add in the egg white mixed with the vanilla and beat on medium speed for a minute or two until combined.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, ground almonds, grated lemon zest and spices.
  4. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until combined, stopping the mixer to scrape the sides of the bowl and combine all the flour.
  5. Add 1 Tablespoon of the Nocino (or other liqueur or water). Add in more 1 teaspoon at a time if needed until the dough is combined (but not too wet).
  6. Remove the dough and wrap it in plastic wrap. Let chill for about 30-45 minutes. While dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 F.
  7. Lightly flour a clean counter or a pastry board. Cut the dough into 4 parts. Roll the first part of dough into a rope that is about 18 inches long. Cut the rope into two parts. Cut the first section into cookies that are about 3 inches long and about 1/2 inch thick. Line them up with some space between them on a the first baking tray. Press down a little on the cookie. Continue the process with the other parts of the dough.
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges just start to turn golden brown. Dust with confectioner’s sugar.
Created using The Recipes Generator
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St. Ambrose Forever Back to School Bash September 7, 2018

Bring a donation for the St. Ambrose Auction valued at $25 or more and receive a wrist band for free drinks all night. Donations can include gift cards or items that can be used in silent auction baskets.

Raffle tickets for one year’s worth of tuition for one child will be sold at the Back to School Bash as well.

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Food and Wine Tour of Tuscany 2019

Tour of Tuscany 2019

Food and wine lovers, prepare for the ultimate experience in fine wine, exquisite cuisine and rich culture as we travel through and explore all that Tuscany has to offer.St. James WineryMissouri Restaurant Association, and COMO Living Magazine have teamed up to provide the ultimate fantasy excursion. This voyage to Italy will be hosted by John LaRocca with Missouri Restaurant Association.

Your trip will include:

  • Accommodation in hotel in shared double rooms (2 person occupancy) in 4* hotel in center of Florence (single rooms available upon request, pending hotel availability, for an additional cost)
  • Listed lectures, workshops and visits as listed on day by day itinerary (including eventual fees and reservation)
  • Food and wine for classes
  • Group transfer from the airport to hotel upon arrival (Florence airport only)
  • Orientation session and information materials
  • GlobalBlue International Health Insurance
  • Use of school facilities during business hours, including computer & internet access, gym, and library
  • Welcome dinner at Ganzo, the creative learning lab of Apicius International School of Hospitality
  • Apicius recipe packet and apron

Does not include: Airfare, meals not listed in itinerary, airport drop off at the end of the program

We have also built in ample free time for everyone to explore the countryside, enjoy shopping, and additional sight-seeing. See the tentative schedule (subject to change).

Interested? Give us your email so we can keep you posted. Ready to book? Click here to register.

March 15–23, 2019

Program cost:

$2,550 double occupancy (airfare not included)
$2,950 single occupancy (airfare not included)

A portion of the costs will be donated to Missouri ProStart.

Missouri ProStart logo

Sponsors include:

St. James Winery Logo | COMO Living Magazine LogoMissouri Restaurant Association Logo
Food and Wine Tour of Tuscany 2016




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Pizzelle Recipe by Loretta Vitale April


Probably the oldest cookie in the world is a pizzella (singular). The literal translation means “round, small and flat” as in “pizze” (which is also the origin of “pizza”).  These flat waffle-type cookies are made from a batter, similar in consistency to cake batter, using eggs, butter, sugar, flour and flavoring, usually anise or vanilla. The batter is poured in small amounts and pressed between two hot iron plates and then removed to cool to a crisp flat cookie.

The beauty of pizzelle is in the design of the iron plates. My research tells me that pizzelle were first made in the Italian region of Abruzzo as early as the 8th Century. Families would have pizzelle irons specially made with family crests, special dates, or other celebratory designs. Modern pizzelle irons usually show a floral or snowflake design on one side and a basket-weave design on the other.

The delicious taste comes from the flavoring added to the batter, which can be varied to anyone’s taste, including anise (the most common flavor), vanilla, chocolate, lemon, pumpkin and butter pecan. I have seen pizzelle with sprinkles and/or nuts.

The most traditional shape, of course, is the flat round cookie. The pizzelle can also be molded into various shapes, such as a cone, cup or cannoli form, and stuffed with your favorite crème filling or ice cream.  Another way to enjoy pizzelle is by spreading Nutella or ice cream between two pizzelle. For pizzelle lovers like myself, the options are endless.  Try taking a pizzella and dipping it ever so lightly in a glass of red wine, absolutely delicious after a wonderful Italian meal.

Pizzelle are found at almost all Italian celebrations, baptisms and weddings to Christmas and Easter. You can find several brands of ready-made pizzelle at Italian specialty stores and local super markets.  Here is a basic recipe for you to try.


6 eggs

1 ½ cups sugar

3 ½ cups flour

1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons vanilla

1 teaspoon anise extract (or extract of your choice)


Beat eggs, adding sugar gradually.
Beat until smooth.  Add cooled butter,
vanilla and anise extract.  Sift flour and baking
powder and add to egg mixture.  Dough will be
sticky enough to be dropped by spoon (a little bit thicker than cake batter).

The amount of time it takes to cook one cookie varies from one maker to the other. Usually 30-45 seconds is sufficient. Test your batter and pizzelle maker to see what is best.  The finished product should be a light golden color. If you are going to mold the dough once it is cooked, this has to be done immediately upon removing the cookie from the iron. These cookies will cool quite quickly.

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Rosalie Serving Cookbooks Inc Wedding Soup Recipe

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup with Tiny Meatballs & Chicken
NOTE:  The Italian Wedding is one of those classic Italian soups, in which you have both chicken and beef.  So easy to make, and even great for freezng in later use.
3 quarts water
1 carton Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock (4 cups)
1 whole soup chicken
3 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thick pieces
2 medium carrots peeled and quartered
1 medium onion quartered
2 to 3 sprigs fresh parsley
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1-pound ground chuck or sirloin
¼ cup plain bread crumbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic chopped fine
2 tablespoon fresh curly parsley
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 head escarole, chopped, about 4 cups
½ pound acini di pepe pasta,
2 teaspoons salt
Coarse ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Using an 8-quart pot, add 3 quarts water, and the chicken stock. Rinse chicken under cool water, and remove liver, gizzard, and neck; use for later, or discard. Place chicken in pot with liquid. Add the celery, carrots, onion, parsley and salt and pepper. Bring to boil and skim foam as it rises to the top. Cover with lid and cook for 1 hour or longer, until the chicken is tender.

2.  Remove chicken to platter and let cool completely. Keep vegetables in soup, or discard  Bring broth to soft boil and make meatballs by combining ground chuck, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, parsley, eggs, and salt and pepper. Mix together well and make tiny meatballs, about the size of large grapes. Drop the meatballs into the hot broth; skim any foam from meatballs as it rises to top and remove. Skin and debone the cooled chicken; cut into small pieces and return to broth. Let the meatballs and chicken cook together about 10 minutes.


3.  Rinse the escarole and remove bottom core; chop and add to the broth. Keep broth on soft boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Pre-boil the acini di pepe in boiling salted water for about 5 minutes, drain and add to the broth; simmer an additional 10 to 12 minutes. Taste soup and add any additional seasonings as desired.  This soup will have a rich chicken and beef flavor. Ladle soup into soup bowls and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serves 8 to 10.


           ITALAIN WEDDING SOUP      
          by Rosalie Firoino Harpole

Rosalie’s Cannoli Cake
         TIME: 1 ½ HOURS
NOTE: This cake is not only beautiful but just as delicious as an Italian cream-filled cannoli. Topped with a whipped mascarpone frosting, the cake is just rich enough without competing for flavor.
2 (9-inch round) layers, Pillsbury Moist Supreme Yellow Cake Mix
1 (9-inch round) layer, Pillsbury Moist Supreme Devil’s Food Cake Mix
Ricotta/Cream Filling
1 cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 (15-ounce) carton ricotta cheese
Whipped Mascarpone Frosting
2 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ (8-ounce) cartons mascarpone cheese
Candied Pecans/Sliced Almonds
½ cup pecans, chopped coarse
4 teaspoons sugar, divided
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
¼ cup raspberry preserves
Fresh raspberries

1. Butter and flour four 9-inch round cake pans. Prepare cake mixes as directed and pour batters into prepared pans. Bake as directed, careful not to overcook cakes. Remove from oven and place on cake racks for 10 minutes. Remove cakes and continue to cool on racks for about 1 hour. Prepare filling while cakes are cooling.


2. Make the ricotta cream filling by placing the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla in electric mixer.  Beat mixture until thick and smooth, about 5 to 6 minutes. Fold in the ricotta cheese and continue to mix with a fork until completely smooth. Set filling in refrigerator for 15 minutes to set.


3. Make whipped mascarpone frosting by placing cream in electric mixer. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium until stiff peaks form, about 6 to 8 minutes; add the mascarpone cheese and continue to mix on medium speed until smooth and thick. Place frosting in glass bowl and refrigerate until ready to frost cakes.


4. Place pecans in small fry pan with 2 teaspoons sugar over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar disappears and the pecans are candied, careful not to burn. Place pecans in small bowl to cool before garnishing cake. Toast sliced almonds in same fry pan with 2 teaspoons sugar; stirring constantly until lightly toasted. Remove and place in small bowl to cool. When both pecans and almonds are cooled, combine nuts.



5. To Assemble Cake: On large round platter, place one layer yellow cake. Place about 1 cup of the ricotta filling over cake. With large serrated knife, cut the chocolate layer in half. Place one of the halves over the filling. Add another 1 cup ricotta over the chocolate layer. Top the ricotta with the other half chocolate layer, and spread another 1 cup filling. Top the second chocolate layer with the other yellow cake layer. Frost the sides and top of cake with the whipped mascarpone frosting, leaving a 3-inch circle on the top middle of the cake unfrosted for the raspberry preserves. With nuts in hand, press the nuts all around the sides of cake. Spread the raspberry preserves in the middle top of the cake, out about 2-inches. Apply dollops of frosting all around the outer edge of the top of the cake up to the raspberry preserves. Garnish with fresh raspberries and place a dollop of the frosting in the middle of the cake with raspberry in the center.  Serves 16.

Cookbook Specials:
Rosalie Serving Best Loved Italian and Rosalie Serving Country Regular Price:  $24.95 plus S/H
Rosalie’s Special:
Get any 2 cookbooks for $20.00 each, plus S/H equals $45.00 total.
Mail check to Rosalie Harpole
52 Madden Rd.  Troy, MO 63379
They will be sent, author signed.
Cookbooks – $24.95 + S/H

         Mother’s Day Specials

Rosalie Serving Best Loved Italian and/or Rosalie Serving Country.
Don’t wait too long to get them before May13, 2018
Rosalie will mail these books to you.

Make check to: Rosalie Serving Cookbooks, Inc., Address: 58 Madden Road, Troy, MO 63379




Italian Wedding Soup with Tiny Meatballs and Chicken.
Rosalie at Diebergs’s School of Cooking showing off her Rosalie’s Cannoli Cake with Mascarpone Cheese and Raspberries



 Cooking Classes – Dierbergs School of Cooking

June 5, Tuesday – from 6:30PM to 8:30 PM – Southroads Dierberg’s School of Cooking- 12420 Tesson Ferry Rd. – St. Louis, MO. 63128

June 29, Friday- from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM – West Oak Dierberg’s School of Cooking -11481 Olive Boulevard, Creve Coeur, MO. 63141
Menu:  Rosalie’s Italian Salad with Provel Rope Cheese – Bay Scallops & Shrimp Scampi over Linguine – Garlic Bread Sticks – Fried Asparagus in Garlic Butter Sauce – 4-LayerYellow Cake with Strawberry & Cream Cheese Filling
Book Signings:

DeGregorio’s  June 9, 2018 -On The Hill – DiGregorio’a at 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.  5200 Daggett Avenue on The Hill, St. Louis, MO. 63110
Come taste my  

White Yogurt Pudding Cake. .


 – from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Funny Bone
Did you know that bats are not actually blind?  It seems that they have been hitting baseballs for a very long time.

Rosalie Serving Pic


Check out my website…
Rosalie Serving Cookbooks Inc, 58 Madden Road, Troy, MO 63379
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Giada on her new cookbook ‘Giada’s Italy’

Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis is a native of Rome and grew up in Southern California. The granddaughter of famed film producer Dino De Laurentiis, she learned to cook in her family’s kitchens and in her grandfather’s restaurant.

She graduated from UCLA with a degree in social anthropology and later attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris with hopes of becoming a pastry chef. After returning to the United States, she worked in several Los Angeles-area restaurants, including Spago. Work as a food stylist led to shows and other appearances on Food Network, for which she has become most widely known. Her first restaurant, Giada, opened at The Cromwell in 2014; her second spot, the fast-casual Pronto, opened at Caesars Palace early this year. She has published nine cookbooks, including “Giada’s Italy,” released in March (Clarkson Potter; $35).

Las Vegas Review-Journal: In your new cookbook, you talk about “the pleasure that Italian home cooks take in every aspect of preparing meals,” which sounds a lot like a cross between the slow-food and farm-to-table movements in America, although a more pure version of both. Would you agree with that, and what can Americans learn from Italians’ enjoyment of meal prep?

De Laurentiis: Yes, definitely. In “Giada’s Italy,” I talk a lot about “la dolce vita,” which is about embracing life and enjoying each moment. In Italy, no one is in a rush like we are in America and with cooking, it’s more than just preparing a meal — it’s about taking pleasure in cooking for those you love, and slowing down to embrace every moment.

What do you think Americans like so much about your interpretations of classic dishes?

I put a California twist on Italian dishes, so my dishes are usually lighter and fresher, but still very Italian. I also simplify the recipes and include ingredients that are easy to find. It shouldn’t be hard to make a great meal!

Always in your fridge at home?

Dark chocolate, Fuji apples, fennel, arugula, Parmigiano reggiano and usually a leftover pasta dish.

Currently obsessed with?

Shakeratos (espresso shaken with ice) … and Cardi B!

Newest Las Vegas discovery?

I recently took (daughter) Jade on a helicopter ride over the Strip for her birthday and it was SO fun. We’re going to do another ride over the Grand Canyon next month. Definitely my new favorite way to see Las Vegas and other parts of Nevada!

Favorite indulgence?

A sailboat trip to the Sicilian Islands.

I never eat …

Coconut or kombucha

Favorite brunch at home?

Refrigerator frittata if it’s just me and Jade. When friends drop by, the Smoked Scamorza, Spinach and Pancetta Pizza from my new book. It’s topped with a sunny-side-up egg and always a crowd pleaser. My peach, corn and burrata salad is also simple to throw together and so delicious.

Best tip for home cooks?

Always start by reading a recipe all the way through so you make sure you have all the ingredients, equipment and time you need. And taste. Every step of the way, taste. That is the best and only way to make sure everything is seasoned properly.

Have you been working on any other Las Vegas projects?

Not yet. I’m tackling Baltimore first. But things are always changing in the Vegas world.

Smoked Scamorza, Spinach and Pancetta Pizza

1 (16-ounce) ball of store-bought pizza dough

4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped

5 ounces baby spinach, chopped

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, for dusting

1/2 pound smoked scamorza or smoked mozzarella cheese, grated

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 large eggs, at room temperature

Place the pizza dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a towel and allow it to rest in a warm place for one hour.

Position one rack in the highest position of the oven and remove the others. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Place the pancetta in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until crispy, about eight minutes. Drain off half of the fat. Add the spinach to the hot pan, turn off the heat and stir until the spinach is wilted. Set aside.

Dust a rimmed baking sheet that has been flipped upside down with the flour. Gently stretch the pizza dough into a round and place it on the flour-dusted baking sheet. Continue to stretch out to a 1/4-inch thickness, leaving it a little thicker around the edges. Sprinkle the dough with half of the cheese. Spoon the spinach mixture over the cheese layer and top with the remaining cheese. Place the baking sheet directly on the floor of the oven and bake for five minutes, then move the sheet to the top shelf and finish cooking for an additional five minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

When you move the pizza to the top rack, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Crack the four eggs into the skillet and cook them until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, about three minutes. Slide the eggs onto the pizza and serve.

Italian Chicken and Rice

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

1 pound chicken tenders

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 large red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

1 cup basmati rice

1/2 teaspoon Calabrian chile paste

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 fresh sage sprigs

3 fresh thyme sprigs

1 (2-inch) piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano rind

3/4 cup frozen peas

Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving

Extra-virgin olive oil, to finish

Heat a medium straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter until the bubbles subside. Season the chicken tenders evenly on both sides with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Add the chicken tenders to the pan in one layer. Cook the chicken for about four minutes per side, or until golden brown. (They don’t need to be cooked through at this stage; they will cook further with the rice.) Transfer the chicken to a plate and set it aside.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and garlic to the pan, along with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are softened and beginning to caramelize, about four minutes. Add the rice and chile paste and cook, stirring frequently, for an additional two minutes to toast the rice. Add the milk, chicken broth, sage, thyme and cheese rind, and stir to combine.

Return the chicken tenders and their juices to the pan, nestling the chicken down into the rice. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and sprinkle the peas on top. Replace the cover and allow the mixture to steam for an additional 12 minutes off the heat. Remove the herbs and rind from the pan and discard. Fluff the rice with a fork. Serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

Italian Carrot Salad

1/3 cup limoncello

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 1/2 pounds large carrots, peeled

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 ounces soft goat cheese

In a small saucepan, gently warm the limoncello over medium heat until steam begins to come off the top. It should be hot to the touch but not simmering. Remove from the heat, add the dried cranberries and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the cranberries to soak for at least 30 minutes or up to an hour. Drain and set aside.

Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the carrots into a medium bowl. Season the carrots with the salt and toss well. Add the soaked cranberries, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil and toss again to combine. Crumble the goat cheese over the top and serve.

Recipes from “Giada’s Italy”

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at or 702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

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Panelle siciliane: la ricetta





Panelle is another traditional food eaten in Sicily

Panelle (ie pancake chickpea flour ) is one of the most popular dishes of the cuisine of Sicily , or rather, of Palermo.

Very easy to make, requiring the use of very few ingredients chickpea flour and vegetable oil for frying. If you wish, you can add a little ‘pepper.

Ingredients for 4 people:

– 200 grams of chickpea flour

– 1/2 liter of water

– Sunflower oil for frying

– Parsley or fennel seeds

– Salt and Pepper To Taste


In a saucepan, melt cold 200 grams of chickpeas in a pint of flour salt water , making sure that no lumps are formed. Add some ‘of pepper and put on the fire to low heat stirring constantly.

Keep on the stove for about 15 minutes, or until the dough will begin to break away from the walls of the pot.
At this point, quickly pour the mixture of chickpeas on a smooth and wet surface (such as a marble table or wood) and flatten with a knife so as to make it as thin as possible.

Let cool the dough for a few minutes, then cut into rectangles; done this, heated in an abundant seed oil frying pan and fry the fritters until they are lightly browned.

So you can eat them, or put them inside a soft bun. However, the result will be great!

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Easter egg tradition in Italy.

Chocolate Easter eggs are
a popular part of Italian culture, but …

Easter egg tradition

…did you know that
how to color eggs is also
a part of Easter egg tradition?

Easter, and egg tradition in ancient Rome

Easter in Italy
The Leghorn chicken
comes from Livorno.

Chickens, eggs and Italy go back a long way.

Recipe books from ancient Roman daily life use ‘peafowl’ eggs and ancient writings show that chickens were regularly used in sacrifices.

Ever heard of the ‘Leghorn’ chicken?

It takes its name from Livorno, the part of Italy it originated from long before Christopher Columbus took it to America.

And long before Christianity adopted the egg as a part of Easter traditions, the ancient Romans believed that “omne vivum ex ovo” – all life comes from the egg – and it was commonly a symbol of new birth after the winter when everything has lain dormant.

There is some evidence that, even in ancient Roman culture eggs decorated with vegetable dyes using onion skins, beets and carrots were given as gifts during the spring festivals.

Easter egg tradition

Easter egg tradition in modern Italy :  why color Easter eggs?

Easter in Italy is above all a religious celebration, and Easter egg tradition reflects that.

During Lent, the weeks before Easter, neither meat nor dairy produce can be eaten and the tradition of hard-boiling eggs so as not to waste food, and painting them to be given as gifts and eaten on Easter Sunday is likely to have originated there.

Easter traditions in Italy originally coloured eggs red. The story goes that following the death of Christ on Good Friday Mary Magdalen travelled to Italy to spread the word of the resurrection.

In an audience with a sceptical Emperor Tiberius Caesar, an egg she had taken as a gift miraculously turned red, symbolising the blood of Christ.

These days eggs are hard-boiled and coloured using food dyes.  You won’t find the Easter bunny leaving hidden coloured eggs though – they are more likely to be decorating the table for dinner on Easter Sunday.

Easter egg tradition

Easter egg tradition in Italy : chocolate Easter eggs

Chocolate Easter eggs
Chocolate Easter eggs in Rome.

As chocolate became increasingly popular in the early 20th Century, the skills of knowing how to color Easter eggs started to fade, and chocolate eggs began to take the place of painted hens’ eggs.

Chocolate Easter eggs have now overtaken decorated eggs in Italy as the most popular gift at Easter.

Chocolate Easter eggs

Italians take everything chocolate very seriously – and Easter eggs are no exception.

Chocolate eggs have become increasingly elaborate as manufacturers tempt people to buy their eggs. In every tiny village in Italy, every supermarket, shop window and market stall will have a huge variety of chocolate eggs in the days leading up to Easter Sunday.

They range from the tiny, solid milk chocolate to the massive, showy hollowed out eggs containing sometimes quite elaborate gifts. All of them will be wrapped in foil or, more commonly, cellophane; most will have at least decorative ribbon, often massive bows.

And, despite Italian engagement ring tradition being to give and receive a ring on Valentine’s Day, modern customs are beginning to use Easter eggs as a way of surprising a partner, the ring being hidden in the hollow egg.

Easter egg tradition and Italian culture : which is the most popular of chocolate Easter eggs?

Most people assume that the company making the very popular Kinder Eggs is German – in fact they are made by Ferrero, a hugely successful Italian family company based in the Piemonte region in Italy’s north-west.

Chocolate Easter eggs

‘Kinder Surprise’ eggs have for some years now been the most popular of chocolate Easter eggs in Italy.

They range from tiny ‘mini-eggs’ to the giant special eggs produced as a limited edition at Easter. Each contains a ‘surprise’ toy, sometimes themed, sometimes not.

As far as Italian children are concerned, these are the best of all chocolate eggs – not necessarily for the chocolate, but for the surprise toy each egg contains.

If you’re visiting Italy at Easter and looking for things to do in Rome keep an eye out for the exhibition of eggs at the ‘Palazzo delle Esposizioni‘ – it takes place each year in the two weeks leading up to Easter, and all proceeds go to charity.

And if you want things to do in Rome for kids at Easter, look out for the amazing variety of chocolate Easter eggs in shop windows, especially in the Trastevere district. Some of the displays have to be seen to be believed and kids love them – though you may find you have to buy an egg or two as a result!

If you want to incorporate some Italian culture and traditions into your own Easter – no matter where you are in the world – make sure you use hens’ eggs as part of your Easter meal.

No Easter in Italy would be complete without chocolate in one form or another. Try making chocolate biscotti  – they’re delicious with coffee at any time of day.


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Three of the best Easter cakes and pies

by: Carla Passino 

Italy has yummy tradition of Easter treats, with a particularly rich range of regional offerings. We select three of the very best cakes and pies which you really shouldn’t miss and recommend three savoury ones also worth trying

Easter is the sweetest holiday of the year. No other festivity can beat the crop of chocolate eggs, marzipan lambs, and Bundt cakes that make their appearance between mid March and mid April. In Italy, in particular, regional traditions make the Easter table even richer and sweeter than elsewhere.
Eggs are ubiquitous of course, as are the colombe, dove-shaped cakes made with flour, eggs, sugar, candied peels and butter, and covered with pearl sugar and almonds. But eggs are just as popular in other countries while colombe, though loosely linked to Lombardy’s history and gastronomy, are a clever and relatively recent commercial initiative from panettone producers, who thought they could adapt the traditional Christmas recipe to another holiday.
Far more interesting are the many regional offerings, which are often artisanal and steeped in religious symbolism—Le Marche’s ciambelle pastries, for example, are shaped like Christ’s crown of thorns. And, like the festivity itself, some of the Easter cakes and sweets are rooted in pre-Christian rites, such as the pastiera, a pie from Naples whose origins are linked to the Roman Spring festival and the cult of Ceres, goddess of agriculture.
You could almost hop from place to place in an endless gastronomic tour of Easter delicacies, but if you want to show some restraint, here are three of the very best regional sweets you really shouldn’t miss.

Pastiera napoletana

The first thing that strikes you about pastiera is its scent. It’s like smelling a bouquet of orange flowers. Indeed orange flower water and orange peel go into this pie, which has a crisp golden crust and a soft, creamy filling of ricotta, sugar, eggs and cooked wheat, flavoured with cinnamon and vanilla. It is so heavenly that legend wants it to be the creation of a siren, Partenope, protectress of Naples, who concocted it from the food offerings the populace brought her every spring. The cake, Neapolitans say, was the only thing that was sweeter than the siren’s voice.
Another story gives pastiera equally sacred but more modern origins—it is said that a nun of a Neapolitan convent first made it to celebrate Easter, and tried to capture in the recipe the scents of Spring blooming in the cloister garden. Indeed, pastiera was long the preserve of nunneries, which excelled at making the cake.
Today, it is made at home, usually on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday, so that the flavours have time to blend and steep before the Easter banquet.
There are huge debates in Naples over which is the yummiest pastiera recipe—the traditional version, which uses beaten eggs and ricotta, or the more modern one, which replaces the eggs with custard. The best way to settle the controversy is to eat a slice of each type—purely for research’s sake, of course!
Picture by Mattia Luigi Nappi.

Cassata siciliana

The queen of Sicilian desserts, cassata is one of the richest, most Baroque cakes you’ll ever taste. It is originally an Easter tradition, even though you can now find it at other times of the year too. Its origins, however, are far from Christian.
It was the Arabs who first brought to Sicily the ingredients and, probably, the recipe that later evoved into the cassata. Even the name, cassata, likely comes from the Arabic quas’at, which means bowl, although some people think it may derive from the Latin word for cheese, caseus—cassata being, after all, a luxurious form of cheesecake.
But each of Sicily’s many rulers added something to the cassata recipe. In Norman times, the shortcrust with which the cake had originally been made was replaced with green-tinted marzipan. During the Spanish domination, chocolate and a Spanish style sponge cake (called Pan di Spagna, or Spanish bread) were introduced. And the Baroque era brought the rich candied fruit with which the cake is now topped.
Throughout this time, nuns were widely recognised as Sicily’s best patissiers. They made cassata at Easter, and the cake became a synonym for the festivities—to the point that, according to a Sicilian saying, “those who don’t eat cassata on Easter morning lead a miserable life.”
Today, cassata is a sponge cake filled with ricotta, chocolate and candied peel, topped with marzipan and intricately decorated with icing and candied fruit. It is a feast for eyes and palate—and a serious threat to the waistline.

Pardula sarda

Unlike cassata and pastiera, pardulas are tiny. They are pretty star-shaped pies of thin, crisp pastry filled with a perfect, soft, golden mound of cheese, sugar and, unexpectedly, saffron, subtly flavoured with lemon or orange zest and occasionally peppered with raisins.
The local tourist board insists that Sardinia is “almost a continent” and, at least for what concerns food, this is true. So it is hardly surprising to discover that both recipe and name of these miniature cheese tarts—which are somewhat reminiscent of medieval darioles—change significantly from North to South of the island.
They are called pardulas in the southern Campidano plains where they are made with ewe’s milk ricotta; and casadinas in the North, where they are made with fresh pecorino cheese. The former are delicate and light, the latter stronger and more flavoursome.
Both variants, however, are quintessential Easter treats, although they are now available at other times of the year too. Their origins are lost in the mist of time and their association with the Spring festivities is unclear. But it is evident that the pardulas are deeply rooted in Sardinia’s shepherding tradition, which turns simple, every day ingredients into a mouthwatering feast.

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