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Posted 01/21/2015

Beets, Cucumber and Bottarga Salad

In Italy salad is one of those food items that makes it into your stomach just because “Mom has told you so!” You will rarely encounter a list of salads on our restaurant menus and in fact a handful of greens and a few chopped (or grated) carrots are all you can hope for to be served as a side dish to your steak or “rosticciana” ribs. Tuscans favor sautéed greens, roasted potatoes or vegetable stews like “Peperonata” to accompany their proteins.

Then I met Deb, and moved to Los Angeles where “People really eat salad before pasta???” The whole notion of considering salad as a stand alone dish still quite does not resonate with me, but as you can see I am adapting and making progress. However, don’t u dare ask me for salad to start your meal, you will rub me the wrong way! Continue Reading…

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Posted 01/05/2015

Eggplant Bruschetta with Shaved Pecorino

There is nothing better than the Holidays to teach us that being prepared ahead of a party is one of the true secrets of entertainment at home, especially when your menu is demanding or if many people are going to crash your pad!

In our home, regardless of the season, bruschetta is always a safe go-to-item to quench hunger in a simple, healthy and quick way. The simplicity of this traditional food item makes it ideal for any occasion, and combination of flavors are basically endless: cheeses, cold cuts, seared vegetables, and very often leftovers from the fridge.  Continue Reading…

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Posted 07/08/2014

Speck and Mustard Green Pizza

Pizza is the perfect template for being creative with food. You can pretty much put anything you want on the dough, sweet or savory, bake it and at the very least it won’t be bad and it’s always a lot of fun. To make it really good, however, can be a little trickier.

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Posted 06/28/2014

Porcini Carpaccio

Porcini mushrooms are truly a gift of nature, and a blessing for anybody with a passion for food. Leonardo Da Vinci is quoted saying that “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”; nothing could be more true about this wonderful ingredient.

The following recipe for the carpaccio is extremely quick and easy, and in its incredible simplicity will deliver the pure flavor of the Earth to your palate.

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Posted 02/21/2014

Mozzarella in Carrozza

My father taught to cook three things: meat on the fire, beer fritters and Mozzarella in Carrozza. You could say this is the Italian version of the grilled cheese, and it truly is a great recipe to put to work for a kids party or used as an adult appetizer. This past week debi and I were invited on ABC’s The Chew to promote our new season of Extra Virgin, which premiered two weeks ago. Continue Reading…

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Posted 07/30/2013

Olive Tapenade

Unsalted Tuscan bread is unsalted because in Tuscany we love food that has a lot of flavor and the tapenade is the perfect example of a condiment that has a true kick to it. This is something my mom always made for Summer parties. She used to cure barrels of  her own olives and I was in charge of pitting, peeling and chopping piles of them for the tapenade. Continue Reading…

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Posted 06/13/2013

Fried Squash Blossoms

These are the flowers that grow off  the zucchini. Ever since I can remember this was a favorite Summer dish growing up. I clearly remember going to the vegetable store and seeing all  the flowers displayed in brown boxes or bags ready for the picking. If we weren’t going into town, my mother just as easily sent me over to my grandmother’s to pick them fresh from the farm.

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Posted 10/21/2012

Figs Wrapped in Prosciutto with Gorgonzola and Brie

Italian cuisine thrives on appetizers. Whenever you have family events, dine out or on any special occasion the appetizer is essential in gathering the family to the table and starting the meal off properly, so it better be good.  Well nothing gets better or more traditional than this classic finger food. Sweet, salty, chewy and creamy, it has a perfect balance of flavors and textures. This apertivo can be found on any Italian table in September during the Fall harvest when figs are the ripest. Nothings wraps up a long day spent picking grapes in the fields like a sweet bite of figs wrapped in Prosciutto with Gorgonzola and Brie.

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Posted 10/12/2012

Fresh Ricotta Crostini

A shepherd used to live on my family’s farm in Tuscany and herd his sheep in our Pasteur. My father, a man ahead of the times, never charged the shepherd a fee. He practiced bio dynamic farming 30 years before hipsters made it cool and believed having the sheep doing their natural things on the land would be good for the fields and everyone involved. It was especially good for us when the shepherd would reward us for our generosity with a mound of fresh ricotta cheese.  Unless you have tasted ricotta fresh, you have no idea how heavenly and creamy this cheese can be. Continue Reading…

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Posted 06/15/2012

Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad

This is easily the first item you find in any Italian restaurant around the world. A classic Summer appetizer because of it simplicity, delicate flavors and seasonal ingredients, I prepare our version of caprese salad with a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes and Burrata cheese as opposed to mozzarella.  The Burrata is a little creamier and adds a nice contrast to the tang of the balsalmic infused olive oil I like to dress it with. Continue Reading…

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