Fathers Day BBQ

If you are still looking for some ideas for tomorrows Father’s Day BBQ, here are some suggestions.  These dishes are easy to make, full of summer colors, and very tasty.  I like to keep the meat simple with these sides that are packed full of flavor. They marry well with grilled Pork Tenderloins and Hot and Sweet Italian sausages.

For the appetizers the grilled artichokes with a garlic, lemon mayonnaise on at the blogIMG_1210 2

and after, simply grill up some pork tenderloins and  hot and sweet sausages,  serve  with both the Melon Mango and French Onion Potato Salads  also on the blog



Add a great Summer Dessert, with lots of chilled wine and beer, and your all set

Happy Father’s Day

Buon Appetito!!



Memorial Day Picnic “Italian American”Style!!

Coming up with a menu for the biggest summer picnic weekend in America can be daunting.   Well, I have some ideas for a Memorable, Memorial Weekend, ” Italian -American Style”.  Most of the recipes you have already seen and hopefully tried, on my blog.   Now,  let’s create the perfect menu for your Memorial Weekend Picnics.

Starters or Appetizers ideas


Baby Caprese 

Tomatoes Basil Bruschetta

Grilled Artichokes

Crispy Cucumber Salad

Sides, Vegetables and Potatoes ideas


Green beans with Balsamic glazed red onions

Chive and yogurt potato salad

Grilled Eggplant with herbs

Italian Bean Salad



Grilled Entree ideas


Skewered Seasoned Veal Burgers

Tangy Spicy grilled Chicken

Shrimp and Swordfish kebobs

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken and Sun-dried Tomato kebobs

Thyme lemon simply grilled shrimp

I hope some of these ideas inspire your holiday weekend…

Welcome Summer!!!

Buon Appetito!!





Mediterranean Grilled Chicken and Sundried Tomato Kabobs

Sun dried tomatoes, fresh oregano, garlic, lemons, and  virgin olive oil all remind me of the Mediterranean summers.  When I make this grilled chicken dish, I am transported to the  Sicilian Countryside at a outdoor bbq.  These kabobs are fast and easy to make, have lots of flavor and are great for your  summertime grilling.  Let’s cook!

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken and Sun-dried Tomatoes Kabobs

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A flavorful Chicken recipe for summertime grilling



1 1/2 lb skinless chicken breast

1/2-3/4 lb sun dried tomatoes ( in olive oil)

the juice of 1 large lemon or 2 small lemons

1/2 tsp lemon peel

2 tbls fresh oregano

3 tbls extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves

Sea salt course grain and fresh ground pepper to taste


-Cut the chicken into 2′ cubes add to a bowl

-add the olive oil, lemon juice, pressed garlic, oregano leaves, lemon peel, sea salt and pepper mix well and let rest for at least 1/2 hour

-alternate the sun dried tomatoes with the chicken on bbq skewers

-heat the gas grill, direct heat low, cook the chicken until golden brown on all sides

*you will notice I like my chicken well done!!


Buon Appetito!







Italian Bean Salad

This lovely, easy bean salad can be made in minutes, great as a side for your  Summer BBQ’s.   We use Barlotti or Cranberry beans for our version of this salad, but any cooked bean will do.   If you want more “Italian flair”, add a can of high quality imported tuna.  This salad, along with crusty, Italian Bread grilled with garlic and olive oil, a glass of chilled white wine….. now we are talking.  Let’s cook!

Italian Bean Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: super-easy
  • Print

Easy and can be made ahead of time



1 large red onion or 4 spring onions (I used 4 red knobby (tropea) onions) to taste

3.5 cups of Cranberry Beans or your bean of choice

4 Tbls extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbls high quality white wine vinegar

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

1/2 chopped fresh basil leaves


-Drain the beans of their liquid, place in a serving bowl

-Slice the onions as thin as possible, the thinner the better, separate the rings, add to the bowl

-chop fresh basil, add to the beans and onions

-Add sea salt and pepper to taste

-Add olive oil, and vinegar mix well

*if adding tuna mix into the bean, onion mixture


Buon appetito!!






Rigatoni Amatriciana in Bianco

Yesterday while lunching at Harry’s Bar, one of the most famous restaurants in Venice, I opened the menu and saw something that I have wanted to make forever, Amatriciana in Bianco.


This recipe is  similar to a recipe I shared with you  a while ago on the blog, Bucatini Amatriciana.   Today’s version,  apart from using Rigatoni,  is made without any tomato.   I like to think of it as a cross between an Amatriciana and a Cacio e Pepe,  you get the bacon onion fusion, along with the creaminess of the Pecorino Romano….It is yummy and easy, try it and  let me know what you think!!!!

Rigatoni Amatriciana in Bianco...Rigatoni with Spicy Bacon Sauce

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A little spicy, creamy and yummy….Fast and easy to make


3/4 lb of Rigatoni

3/4 cup pancetta, guanciale, or center cut bacon chopped into 1/4 inch pieces

3/4 cup of finely chopped sweet yellow onion

3/4 cup of Imported Pecorino Romano Cheese

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Hot Pepper flakes or fresh red hot pepper to taste

Sea Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste



-Put your pasta pot on to boil

-In a wok style pan, add the olive oil, the hot pepper, pancetta, and the chopped onion.  On a medium low, heat render the pancetta and saute the onions until they are both golden…. being very careful not to burn the onions.  My personal preference, I like my bacon or pancetta slightly crunchy, others  like it lightly cooked, you decide by taste.IMG_1013.JPG



-When water boils, add the sea salt, then the rigatoni, stir.  Time the pasta for 1 minute less than the  package indicates see Pasta 101… reserve the pasta water

-With a slotted spoon, add the rigatoni to the cooked pancetta onion mixture and on a medium heat stir the mixture,  add the cheese and if necessary for creaminess, add a little of the pasta water. Stir over the heat to incorporate all the ingredients.IMG_1018

-When finished stirring, the sauce should be smooth and creamy.IMG_1020

-Serve hot, if desired add more Pecorino Cheese and ground black pepper

Buon Appetito!!



Meatless Monday

Happy Monday,  today we are going to make two vegetable dishes  for  Meatless Monday.  The first is  an easy, light version of Eggplant Parmesan (Parmigiana).  The second recipe is  Fennel Au Gratin. These versatile vegetables are easy to find in any market and used  in Italy for many dishes.  Lets start off  with these two basic dishes first!!IMG_0751IMG_0750


Pasta 101

Before we go any further,  I think it is time to get down to some basics and one of them is Pasta.  Pasta….is a basic here in Italy.  Sometimes the easiest dishes are the hardest to get perfect.  Pasta seems easy, but when not cooked properly it  can end up a soggy, starchy mess.   The following recipe Pasta 101, will walk you through a step by step method for cooking dried pasta and ensuring it is al dente (firm to the bite) every time !

I will accompany the Pasta 101 recipe with a nice,  Springtime  fresh chunky tomato sauce with thyme.  

Lets get started!!


Pasta 101

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Print

This is one of my Basic recipes and can be used  for all types and sizes of pastas.


-1/2 pound or 250 grams of pasta


-sea salt

-sauce to accompany pasta


-In a large pot fill 3/4 with cold water and place on high heat burner, bring to rolling boil, add between 1 and 2 tablespoons of gross grain sea salt (note- salt is our friend in Italian cooking, and we aren’t afraid of it!! )

-Add the pasta, stirring.   Please respect the time indicated on the pasta package.  (note- pasta companies are not misleading you, they are pretty accurate with their cooking times so use your timer)

-Set time for 1 minute less than  time indicated, you will finish  cooking your pasta in the  hot skillet with it’s accompanying sauce. (note- keep the pasta water until you have finished the dish, we will use the water to elongate the sauce if needed)…..Cold sauces and  sauces mixed with drained pasta we will discuss later!!


-depending on the type,  use one of these tools to take the pasta out of it’s boiling water and into the sauce of choice.FullSizeRender 7

The fork for all your long pastas, spaghetti, fettucini, bucatini etc… and the draining spoons for penne, rigatoni, and those types.

-When the timer sounds, pick the pasta out of the water,  give it a few seconds to drain over the pot…. you don’t want to carry lots of excess water  into the sauce.


-with a lively flame or on a medium setting ,stir the pasta with it’s sauce for another minute, if you need more liquid use the hot pasta  water, taste for doneness, it should be al dente.  (note- the cheese can be added while the pasta is cooking to combine all of your flavors)IMG_0717

Buon Appetito!!


Springtime fresh chunky tomato sauce with thyme

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This recipe can be easily adjusted just add more tomatoes and thyme!!


1-2 large ripe tomatoes chopped

-1 clove of garlic

-1 tbls extra virgin olive oil

-sea salt and pepper

-2 sprigs of fresh thyme


-In a wok style skillet, large enough to hold your quantity of pasta add the olive oil and garlic clove. On a low heat lightly brown the garlic.IMG_0710

-Add the chopped tomatoes,   sea salt, pepper and thyme.   Stir and let simmer while your pasta is boiling.FullSizeRender copy 2

-When the pasta is ready (see above) add to the skillet and stir cooking for 1 minute with a lively heat…adding pasta water if the sauce seems to be dry…. taste for salt.  Either add cheese on or off flame.

Buon Appetito !!