Sunday, May 29, 2016


This delicious cheesecake is light because of the ricotta cheese and creamy because of the cream cheese. There is no need to bake it in a water bath and you can put all of the cake ingredients into a food processor, almost all at once. It comes out perfect every time. This is a wonderful dessert to serve after a Sunday dinner.

2 (15 oz) containers whole milk ricotta cheese
1 T unsalted butter, slightly softened             
1 T sugar
2 T unseasoned dry breadcrumbs or matzo meal
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature, cut into cubes
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour 
3 T fresh lemon juice
Grated zest of one medium lemon
2 t pure vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt or kosher salt

Put ricotta in a large fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl and let drain for 30 minutes.
Every once in a while, gently press the ricotta with a large spoon to help release the liquid.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter an 8 to 9-inch springform cake pan.

Mix the 1 tablespoon of sugar and breadcrumbs in a small bowl; sprinkle over
buttered pan bottom to coat. Tap out excess crumbs.

Spoon ricotta into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade and purée for a few seconds.
Add cream cheese and eggs and purée a few more seconds.
Add the remaining ingredients and purée, scraping down the sides occasionally, until smooth. 

Scrape batter into the prepared pan.
Place on a baking sheet and bake cheesecake until golden brown and just set, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Transfer to a rack and let cool in pan.
Refrigerate uncovered until cool, about 4 hours.

Loosen cake by running a table knife around the edges.
Remove the cake pan sides and place on a serving plate.
You can also use a large thin spatula to remove the entire cake from the bottom of the cake pan and place on a serving plate.

Dust with powdered sugar and cut into wedges.

Serves 8

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Wedding Day 3 Dec 1942 
Mrs. Theodore Robert Casazza

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


This is a quick vegetarian pasta meal. I have been making this for years and we still love it and I haven't changed the recipe. Sometimes I just crave this simple dish. 

½ lb spaghetti or pasta of choice
2 T extra-light olive oil
½ t red pepper flakes
½ onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 
½ pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
½ bottle Italian black olives, pits removed
½ bottle green olives, cut in half
½ bottle capers, drained
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 T chopped fresh basil
½ cup pasta cooking water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Cook spaghetti for about 6 minutes, just before al dente.
Save ½ cup of the pasta water. Drain pasta and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet that will hold the pasta sauce and pasta, sauté red pepper flakes and onion in oil for 5 to 6 minutes. 
Add garlic and sauté a couple more minutes.
Add tomatoes along with olives, capers, and wine and cook 2 more minutes. 
Add pasta and cook another minute.
Add parsley, basil and pasta cooking water, and heat through.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Drizzle on a little extra-virgin olive oil and mix in.

Top with grated Parmigiano cheese and serve.

Serves 2

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


You can cook the mushroom mixture the morning or day before and refrigerate.
When you are ready to serve, heat it up in a skillet and make sure your gorgonzola cheese is room temperature. I love the addition of sun-dried tomatoes for that little bit of sweetness along with the woodsy flavor of the mushrooms, and the robust cheese.

12 thin slices Italian or French bread
2 T extra-light olive oil
2 cups diced wild mushrooms (shitake, oyster, and I also used cremini)
1 shallot, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ t red pepper flakes
6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, diced
2 T chopped Italian parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

⅓ cup gorgonzola cheese, room temperature
8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place slices of bread on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 3 minutes, until golden brown. 
Flip over and bake another 2 or 3 minutes. Don't let them burn, because they are thin.
Remove and set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat oil and add the mushrooms and cook until golden brown, stirring frequently. This can take up to 15 minutes.
Add the shallot and cook another 3 minutes.
Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and sun-dried tomatoes. 
Continue to cook another minute or two.
Add the parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add lemon juice and stir to combine.

Spread about a teaspoon or a little more of the gorgonzola cheese on each crostini.
Top with about 2 teaspoons of the mushroom mixture.
Garnish with a little basil and serve warm.

Makes 12