Thursday, April 28, 2016


The first time I had Bolognese sauce was my first visit to Italy in 1969. I had it again in a restaurant located near Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. It was only on their "Primi Piatti" (first dishes) menu. I worked on duplicating this recipe for 20 years. A lot of recipes for Bolognese sauce call for a mixture of ground beef, pork and veal but I prefer just beef and pork. Penne translates to "quills" or "pens". You will find penne pasta in two forms, lisce (smooth) or rigate (furrowed). You can add some ground veal to the meatball recipe, if you prefer.

The recipe is in my cookbook. You can order it from in hardcover and in Kindle. Also on KOBO in an ebook. If you live in the USA, you can order from my website - and I will sign the book for you or for someone you give as a gift. If you live near Issaquah, Washington, my cookbook is available at the Issaquah Costco.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


Cacio e pepe is a quick and super easy Roman pasta dish. You can make this dinner in under 30 minutes. Italian-Americans usually add butter to this recipe but Italians in Italy would never do this. The creaminess comes from the Pecorino Romano cheese and some of the pasta cooking water. Cacio e pepe translates to ‘cheese and pepper’. If you want to add butter, add 2 tablespoons to the sauce at the end. I used the traditional bucatini pasta for this dish, which is a hollow version of spaghetti; it’s like a straw with a tiny hole. The name comes from the Italian word buco, meaning hole.

1 cup (250 ml) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 to 2 T (15 to 30 ml) freshly cracked black pepper
1 T (15 ml) sea salt
8 oz (250 g) bucatini or spaghetti

Pour grated cheese and black pepper into a small bowl and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add the salt.
Boil pasta until al dente (bucatini takes about 10 to 11 minutes and spaghetti takes 7 to 8 minutes).

In a large skillet, large enough to hold the pasta, pour in the Pecorino and black pepper.
When pasta is finished cooking to al dente, reserve 2 cups (500 ml) of the pasta cooking water.
Drain pasta in a colander and add 1 cup (250 ml) of the pasta water to the skillet with the cheese and black pepper.
Over medium-low heat, mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon to make a creamy sauce.
Add a little more water if sauce seems to dry.
Add pasta the skillet and toss with tongs to completely combine and heat through.

Divide between two warm pasta bowls and serve with additional cheese, if desired.

Serves 2

Monday, April 18, 2016


Limoncello tiramisù is a dessert popular on the Amalfi Coast where the largest lemons you have ever seen, are grown. Normally this dessert is made to serve 8 to 10 people, but this is a smaller version and serves 4 to 6. Make your whipped egg whites and custard (zabaglione) in the early morning to let them have time to chill. Your finished tiramisù should chill at least 8 hours before serving.

You will need 2 large lemons.
Finely grate the zest from 1 lemon and place in a little bowl and set aside.
Using a lemon zester, remove the zest from another lemon and place in a little bowl, cover and set aside. The lemon zester takes off very thin ribbons of zest from citrus fruit.

Egg Whites
4 large egg whites (save the yolks for the zabaglione), room temperature
¼ cup (60 ml) granulated sugar
¼ t (1 ml) cream of tartar

Using a hand-held mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. While still beating, gradually add the sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Add the cream of tartar and beat until moderately firm peaks form. Cover and refrigerate.

Limoncello Zabaglione (custard)
4 large egg yolks 
¼ cup (125 ml) granulated sugar
1½ cups (375 ml) mascarpone cheese, room temperature
cup (75 ml) limoncello liqueur

21 to 24 Italian ladyfingers (Savoiardi)

Heat water in a saucepan that a stainless steel bowl can be set over without touching the water.
Off the heat and using a hand-held mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl until mixture is creamy. Set the bowl over the saucepan of barely simmering water and beat until the mixture is thick, light in color, and creamy, about 3 minutes.
You just want to kill any bacteria that maybe in the raw egg yolks.
Add the mascarpone and beat until completely combined.
Add the limoncello and beat a couple more minutes. Stir in the lemon zest, cover and refrigerate until cool.

Limoncello Syrup
¼ cup (60 ml) granulated sugar
¼ cup (60 ml) boiling water
¼ cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
½ cup (125 ml) limoncello liqueur

While the egg whites and custard are cooling in the refrigerator, pour the sugar and boiling water into a shallow bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar then add the limoncello and lemon juice.

When cool, take the egg whites and custard out of the refrigerator.
Gently fold the egg whites into the custard until completely combined.

When ready to assemble, use a square or rectangle pan. I used a square 8-inch (20-cm) pan.
Quickly dip the ladyfingers into the bowl with the Limoncello Syrup, on both sides. Do not let them soak in the liquid. Place in the bottom of the pan to make a layer. Mine took 8 lady fingers.

Spread one third of the custard mixture over the ladyfingers.
Repeat two more times.

Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours.

Sprinkle with the coarsely grated lemon zest before serving.

Serves 4 to 6