Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Here is another delicious, easy, and traditional Italian-American dinner to make. If there are only two of you, you will have another meal from this. You can even double the recipe and freeze the sauce in portions for 2 or 4. This dinner is ready in under 45 minutes from start to finish.

2 T (30 ml) extra-light olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. (500 g) mild or hot Italian sausages (about 5 to 6 links), removed from casings
1 cup (250 ml) dry red or white wine
2 (28 oz/796 ml) cans whole peeled Italian tomatoes
1 t (5 ml) freeze-dried or chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 t (10 ml) chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb (500 g) rigatoni
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven.
Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another minute.
Add sausage and cook about 10 minutes, while breaking up with a wooden spoon.
Add the wine and simmer slowly.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, pour in the tomatoes and hand-crush them, removing the hard center cores. Alternatively, use an immersion blender to chop the tomatoes.

Add the crushed tomatoes to the pot along with the oregano and basil.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer 30 minutes.

Boil the rigatoni in salted water for about 9 to 10 minutes, until al dente.
Drain rigatoni and pour back into the pot.

Add a couple of ladles of the sausage sauce to the pasta and toss.
Spoon into warm pasta bowls, add a little more sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Serves 4

Sunday, November 27, 2016


Thanksgiving by Ourselves 2016


This recipe is a version of my Spaghetti alla Puttanesca but made with cherry tomatoes instead of crushed canned tomatoes. It comes together in less than 30 minutes, making it ideal for a weeknight dinner. 

Lee's Kitchen Tips:
I chop up the shallot or onion, garlic, anchovies, basil, black olives, and cherry tomatoes and place in piles on a pizza pan or individual small bowls. Then you just add to the skillet, when needed.

½ lb (250 g) spaghetti
1 T (15 ml) extra-light olive oil or grape seed oil
1 large shallot or ½ small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 to 4 anchovies, diced
2 T (30 ml) minced basil
½ cup (125 ml) pitted and chopped Italian black olives, such as Cerignola
2 T (30 ml) capers, drained
½ t (2 ml) red pepper flakes 
¼ cup (60 ml) dry white wine
1 cup (250 ml) cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing
2 T (30 ml) minced parsley, for garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the spaghetti and cook 7 to 8 minutes,
until al dente. Drain the spaghetti, but save ½ to ¾ cup (125 to 175 ml) of the pasta water.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and sauté the shallot or onion for a couple of minutes. 
Add the garlic and anchovies and cook another 2 minutes.
Add the basil, olives, capers, red pepper flakes, and wine. Cook another minute.
Add the tomatoes and cook another minute.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the drained spaghetti and pasta water and heat through for another minute or two.
Divide between two heated pasta bowls.

Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with parsley.
Serve with grated Parmigiano cheese.

Serves 2

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


This is quite a decadent dessert and very impressive to serve as dessert at a dinner party. I actually sent my guests home with some of the cheesecake. If you prefer using chopped almonds, substitute amaretto liqueur for the hazelnut liqueur.

¼ cup chopped hazelnuts
¾ of a package chocolate wafer cookies
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 t pure vanilla extract

Toast the hazelnuts in a dry skillet until lightly browned and fragrant.
Remove and place in a clean tea towel or flour sack towel and cover completely.
Using both hands, rub the skins off of the nuts and then chop.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

Place cookies, chopped hazelnuts, and brown sugar in a food processor and pulse to make fine crumbs. Pour into a bowl and add the melted butter and vanilla.
Stir to combine and press into the bottom and sides of the prepared pan.
Use a metal measuring cup to press around the edges and up the sides of the pan
Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool.

6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 T cornstarch
2 T hazelnut liqueur, optional
1 t vanilla extract
2 large eggs

Reduce temperature of oven to 325 F degrees.

Melt chocolate over a pan of barely simmering water. 
Stir until smooth, turn off heat and set aside.

In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl often.
Slowly pour in the sugar and scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Beat in the cornstarch, hazelnut liqueur, vanilla extract, and eggs, one at a time.
Scrape filling into the pan with the cookie crumb crust.

Using a rubber spatula, add mounds of chocolate around the top of the batter.
Using a table knife, swirl in the chocolate a few times.

Bake for 30 minutes and without opening the oven door, turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in oven another hour.

Remove and let cool, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Serves 8 to 10


Ernesto was born 2 Aug 1895 in Montefalcione, Avellino, Campania, Italy
Elisabetta Greco was born 15 Dec 1899 in New York City 
Ernesto changed his name to Ernest Novello and Elisabetta changed her first name to Elizabeth 

Friday, November 4, 2016


You can purchase my cookbook signed and personally inscribed to you from my website for $23.95. You can also purchase it from for $29.95, but I cannot personally inscribe it for you. Either way, it makes a great Christmas or Holiday gift for someone who loves to cook traditional Italian-American food or wants to learn.