Italian recipes

Spaghettone al Pomodoro

Spaghetti with tomato sauce

Photograph by Elizabeth Minchilli

After a lifetime of living and eating in Rome, Elizabeth Minchilli is an expert on the city’s cuisine. While she’s proud to share everything she knows about Rome, she now wants to show her devoted readers that the rest of Italy is a culinary treasure trove just waiting to be explored.

(more…)

Cookbook Review: Tuscany

Tuscany by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi

At the heart of every Tuscan, there is a pride for their region and an incredible sense of responsibility and love for their surroundings. From the minute they look out of their windows in the morning to the last nightcap at the bar, Tuscans, like most Italians, are immersed in food.

In Tuscany, Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi take readers on a culinary journey through a Tuscan day. The rhythm of life pace that Tuscans cook is slow and calm. Breakfasts are considered, lunch often eaten at home with family, and weekend dinners a feast.

(more…)

Cookbook Review: Dinner’s in the Oven

Dinner's in the Oven

The concept is simple. Fresh ingredients, a few minutes prep, pop the pan in the oven, and dinner is ready. (more…)

Cookbook Review: Todd English’s Rustic Pizza

Todd English's Rustic Pizza

Todd English is a world-renowned, celebrated chef with a long history of great pizza making. The free-form, thin-crusted pies at his Figs restaurants in Boston arguably changed pizza-making in the city, and now he brings his pizza-making secrets to home cooks!

With more than 150 easy recipes to make pizza from scratch—from making your own dough, to stirring up spectacular sauces for your pizza base, to arranging the best combination for fresh toppings—you can make the perfect pizza crisp up in your very own oven. (more…)

Cookbook Review: Rao’s Classics

Rao’s is the legendary, tiny corner restaurant in East Harlem where it’s impossible to book a table: each of the red-checked, cloth-covered four-, six-, and two-tops is reserved for a titan of New York industry, a celebrity, or a major politician. Permanently. Now Frank Pellegrino, the third generation of his family to operate the impossible-to-get-into Rao’s restaurant in East Harlem and founder of Rao’s food products line, goes deep into the history of his family, the restaurant, and America’s love affair with Southern Italian cooking to create Rao’s Classics cookbook.
(more…)

Cookbook Review: Sicily: Recipes from an Italian Island

Italy’s most seductive island, Sicily, is located in the heart of the Mediterranean. Thanks to its rich history, Sicilian food has Italian as well as Greek, Spanish, French, and Arab influences. Now Italian aficionados, Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi, head to the island to immerse themselves in its diverse food scene. (more…)

Cookbook Review: Small Victories

Becoming a confident cook means mastering one delicious thing at a time, taking pleasure in each small victory. That’s the gift Julia Turshen shares here, and it’s one she has learned from her rich life in food. After preparing thousands of meals for bestselling cookbooks and as a private chef all over the world, she knows that celebrating the small achievements is the sure way to become a comfortable, intuitive, and inventive cook. Small Victories puts all of those years of learning into your hands, no matter how new to cooking or how practiced you are.

(more…)

Book Review: Pasta by Hand

It never occurred to me that I could make pasta the old-fashioned way—by hand. I mean, who does that? I always thought that task was relegated to old-world Nonna’s. And let’s be honest, Italian cooking is intimidating. For me, it’s fraught with peril. My fear of bungling a centuries-old cuisine is very real.

Along comes Pasta by Hand: A collection of Italy’s regional and hand shaped pasta. The fact that no special equipment or ingredients are needed to form pasta shapes chips away at my list of excuses. The book contains more than 65 recipes for homemade pasta dough and easy instructions on how to shape it into small orbs, cups, twists, shells, noodles, and dumplings.

Ms. Louis has spent what seems like infinite hours of research and travel schooling herself on the humble dumpling, or what Italians call gnocchi. The book begins with a section on ‘The Basics.’ Exactly what I need. The pages outline the specific ingredients, tools, and techniques that will help craft dumplings, as well as a list of 12 tips for making great gnocchi. For example, ‘Tip #4’ instructs us to pay special attention to the mixing and cooking directions for each recipe. The mixing method for each dumpling dough will be different, to achieve the correct texture. Not all dumplings are meant to be tender and light.

(more…)

The best thing I ate this month – May 2015

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” – Julia Child

Behold the feast placed before me. Sticky-sweet finger-licking ribs. Perfectly grilled smokey eggplant and zucchini. Home-made capicola with the just right balance of fat, salt, fresh seasonings and meaty texture. Flavourful roasted eggplant and peppers itching to be topped on fresh bread. Chicken kebabs, juicy and tender. Freshly steamed lobster, oh so succulent and sweet. And enough wine and alcohol to subsist us for days.

These friends o’ mine are kind, cool and definitely ‘the best people.’ The spread was scrumptious and exquisite, mouth-watering and heavenly. It was fun and it was satisfying. And it was definitely the best thing I ate this month.

Boobs, Whipped Cream and Sage Business Advice: Steve DiFillippo’s new book "It’s All About the Guest"


“Boobs slathered in whipped cream are great, but money is better. If you want to do well in your business, you should think the same way.” –Steve DiFillippo, It’s All About the Guest.

I love this guy. I’ve yet to meet him, but I am already quite fond of him. How could that be? It’s All About the Guest: Exceeding Expectations in Business and in Life, the Davio’s Way is no less all about the reader than it is about the guest, and I came away from the book feeling confident that he and I could be bona fide old chums.

DiFillippo is a great raconteur. In the book, his “character” leaps off the page, and you can’t help but cheer for his obsession with food and admiration for people. You are left with the sense of a man who has given himself totally to this world and who has an insatiable appetite for life.

He’s an all-in type of guy, one who shows reverence and a profound commitment to his family, friends, guests and his people. He’s inextricably bound to his upbringing. “Warm and comforting memories,” he calls them. In the book, he recounts how he grew up in the kitchens of his mother and his aunts—both Portuguese and Italian. From his Nana (grandmother) he learned that food mattered, and how it was prepared mattered. “I’m not sure where I’d be today if it wasn’t for Nana.” From his dad, he learned that it was all about having good people in your life. “You can’t get anywhere without them. And you have to treat them right. Then watch, they treat you right.” It’s clear that both his dad and Nana have had a profound effect on how he runs his business and conducts his life.

DiFillippo’s instincts and deepest beliefs are on full display in his book. His narrative shifts as he recounts the highs and the lows from childhood fat-camp, to coffee clerk, to head chef, to a multimillion dollar brand. Part The Art of the Deal, part Kitchen Confidential, with cherished recipes and practical wisdom thrown in for good measure, It’s All About the Guest is a story-driven, passionate chronicle of what it takes to triumph in the restaurant business.

But, this isn’t just a story about how to make it in business. It’s All About the Guest is a tale of DiFillippo’s personal, passionate pursuit to own and operate a successful restaurant, a quest that began when he was a young boy growing up in Lynnfield, Massachusetts. It’s a story of lessons learned along the way, and it provides a recipe for success for young entrepreneurs.

DiFillippo is a model of what it means to be focused and doggedly determined. “If you want to thrive for decades, you can never let up. Not even when a topless server flings whipped cream in your face.” Well put Steve, well put.

It’s All About the Guest: Exceeding Expectations in Business and in Life, the Davio’s Way” by Steve Fillippo is available at Amazon.com and Chapters.Indigo.ca.

Davio's on Urbanspoon