Thursday, September 24, 2015


Cannellini beans are popular in Central and Southern Italy, especially in Tuscany. They are an excellent source of iron, magnesium, folate, and a good source of protein. You can also serve this over pasta, rice, or polenta.

1 t (5 ml) extra-light olive oil
¼ lb (125 g) pancetta, finely diced
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
¼ cup (60 ml) oil packed sun dried tomatoes, drained and finely diced
½ t (2 ml) red pepper flakes
2 large bunches Swiss chard, stems removed and chopped
½ cup (125 ml) chicken stock or broth
2 (14 oz/398 ml) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil, for finishing
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese

In a large skillet, sauté the pancetta in the oil until crisp. 
Add the onion and sauté another 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, sun dried tomatoes, and red pepper flakes.
Sauté a couple more minutes. 
Add the chard and chicken stock or broth and simmer about 5 minutes.
Add the beans and season with salt and pepper.
Simmer another few minutes, to heat through.

Transfer to a serving platter or 4 warmed plates.
Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil and add a little grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

Serves 4 as an entrée or 6 as a side dish (contorno).

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


I posted a recipe for a Tuna Melt in Izetta's Southern Cooking blog, so I decided to make an Italian Tuna Melt. If you used Kalamata olives and Greek kasseri cheese, it would be a Greek tuna melt. Serve this with a bowl of soup and you have a delicious meal. Did you know that one Italian sandwich is a Panino and two or more are Panini?

2 Italian sandwich rolls or Italian bread, cut into 6 to 8-inch (15 to 20 cm) lengths

Lemon Aioli
½ cup (125 ml) mayonnaise
Zest and juice of ½ medium lemon
1 t (5 ml) Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, pushed through a garlic press
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, lemon zest, juice, mustard, and garlic.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to prepare sandwiches.

Black Olive Tapenade
1 cup (250 ml) black Italian Gaeta olives, pitted and chopped
¼ cup (60 ml) chopped Italian parsley
¼ cup (60 ml) chopped red onion
3 anchovies, smashed (optional)
Zest and juice of ½ medium lemon
¼ cup (60 ml) Extra-virgin olive oil

Mix all together in a medium bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to prepare sandwiches.

Tuna Salad
1 can solid white tuna, in oil or water, drained
¼ cup (60 ml) pickled red peppers
¼ cup (60 ml) drained capers
2 T (30 ml) chopped Italian parsley
Juice of ½ medium lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 T (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Mix all together in a medium bowl and set aside.

4 slices Provolone cheese
Shaved or thinly sliced fennel

Cut bread in half, lengthwise and spread top and bottom of each sandwich with Lemon Aioli.
Add some Tuna Salad to bottom half.
Layer on 2 slices of Provolone cheese and place under the broiler for about 1 minute, to just melt the cheese, but do not brown.
Spread some Black Olive Tapenade on top.
Add a little arugula and shaved fennel on top of tapenade and top with other slice of bread.

Cut in half and serve.

Serves 2 to 4

Monday, September 21, 2015


Ernesto Noviello (Ernest Novello) was born in the little village of Montefalcione on 2 Aug 1895.  He was only fourteen years old when he first arrived in New York on 12 May 1910 as a stowaway, he claimed with a twinkle in his eye. He finally arrived in New York on 28 Feb 1913 at the age of 17, on the ship "Cedric" from Napoli, Italy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


In September, gardeners have an abundance of tomatoes. Here is another delicious way to serve them. I used a combination of orange, yellow, and red tomatoes, but you can use all red tomatoes. Tomatoes are native to South and Central America. In 1519, the Spanish explorer, Hernán Cortés brought seeds back to Europe. Europeans thought the fruits were poisonous because of their bright shiny appearance. It is believed they were yellow in appearance and the Italians called them pomi d'oro, which translates to apples of gold.
Many people believed that Thomas Jefferson brought the seeds to America, but it was more than likely Jewish merchants who were widely involved in trade and were of Spanish and Portuguese descent.

6 slices crusty Italian bread or good white bread, broken into chunks
2 large cloves garlic
½ cup (125 ml) chopped Italian parsley, divided
2 T (30 ml) chopped basil
1 t (5 ml) fresh or dried thyme
1 t (5 ml) chopped fresh or dried rosemary
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
½ t (2 ml) sea salt
1 t (5 ml) freshly ground black pepper
6 oz (185 g) Pecorino Romano cheese, cut into small chunks
8 medium size tomatoes
Extra-light olive oil, for drizzling
Extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C) degrees.

Place bread, garlic, most of the parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and Pecorino cheese in the bowl of a food processor.
Puree until mixture is a fine ground consistency.

Cut the tops off of the tomatoes and discard.
Push out the seeds and pulp with your fingers into each pocket and discard.

Using a spoon, fill the tomatoes with the bread crumb mixture.
Place the tomatoes in a baking dish, drizzle with the extra-light olive oil.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
Turn on broiler and broil for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with the remaining chopped parsley and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

Serves 4 - as a contorno (side dish)