Category Archives: italian

cioppino; italian seafood stew

For years I have ripped out recipes from every magazine, marked endless cookbook pages, and printed numerous websites, searching for the best tips on how to make Cioppino, a classic Italian seafood stew dish. This weekend I finally got around to making it…and it was so worth the wait! Three different fishes make it light enough for seconds while hearty vegetables and tomato broth makes it a filling dish. This recipe is mainly adapted from Ellie Krieger’s So Easy cookbook with a few Foodetarian twists. Check out this quick weeknight recipe for Cioppino.

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Feeling Italian tonight?

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toasted artichoke garlic bread

We are all garlic lovers in my house, including my 19 month old son who was probably bombarded with it while I was still pregnant with him! He’s a great eater and this recipe happened to be the first time he tried artichokes (which he loved!). It combines salty parmesan and sweet and tangy artichokes with sharp garlic flavor all on warm toasted bread. It’s like all your favorite things about artichoke dip served on easy to eat bread! I was inspired by a friend who says she makes a similar recipe for her family who loves it as well. Here’s my Toasted Artichoke Garlic Bread.

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Toasted Artichoke Garlic Bread

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heritage holiday cookies

Happy Holidays! I can’t believe Christmas is already here. It will be an exciting day in our house as my boys find out if they’ve been naughty or nice (they’re on the nice list I’ve heard 🙂 ). Luca is starting to enjoy spending his time helping me in the kitchen so baking Santa’s cookies was a lot of fun this year! I wanted to tie in a bit of the boys’ heritage so we made two different kinds celebrating their Norwegian and Italian roots. John still refuses to take up counter space and buy my a stand mixer so these both can be done by hand!

The first is a classic butter cookie (which I’ve come to realize butter is a favor ingredient of the Norwegians!) that remembers their Bestemor (Grandma) Eleanor, the Serinakaker.

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Traditional Norwegian Butter Cookies

The second is a simplified version of a traditionally complex Italian cookie recipe. We honor the boys’ GP and Great Great Gramps with our fun twist on Rainbow Cookies.

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Italian Rainbow Cookies in Christmas Colors

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spicy sausage and spinach deep dish pizza with italian parmesan crema

Ok, so here’s the thing about living with a New Yorker. There are very specific rules about pizza. The dough has to be just right, a balanced ratio of sauce to cheese as to produce the just right amount of grease, and never, under any circumstances, mention the “D” word. You guessed it; Deep-dish. Eek! I said it! And because I love getting a rise outta my hubby, I made it too 🙂 While deep-dish pizza can be so heavy and filling, this recipe has a surprising twist adding a light and airy element. So c’mon New Yorkers, give deep-dish a chance and try my Spicy Sausage and Spinach Deep-Dish with Italian Parmesan Crema.

Pizza Lovers of the world, unite!

Pizza Lovers of the world, unite!

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my grandmother’s favorite dish

Tradition is the foundation of my kitchen. So many dishes come from ones cooked by my grandmothers while I watched with starry eyes. Over the years I have added to my recipe collection but I have always held dear our family favorites. They may not be the fanciest (think egg noodles with cottage cheese or chopped meat and scrambled eggs!) but we love them none the less. Today would have marked my Great Grandma Zam’s 108th birthday. She’ll be celebrating in heaven  but she’s still in our hearts and in my kitchen.

Grandma Zam's favorite dish

Grandma Zam’s favorite dish

They say that dishes get “flavored” through use and this is one of my favorite ones. I can’t count the number of casseroles, meatballs, lasagnas, and so on that have been baked in this dish but I do know that everything I make in it always seems a bit more magical. It was a staple in Grandma’s kitchen and now in mine. I’ll cook in it for my children as she did for hers. With trusted Elsie and Elmer by its side, anything I make, can’t go wrong. So remembering my Grandmother and wishing her the happiest of birthday’s, it may not be exact, but here’s the Conti households’ Grandma Zam’s Macaroni and Beef.

Classic and heartwarming :)

Classic and heartwarming 🙂

I can see these two dancing around like something out of Beauty and the Beast when the kitchen lights go out!

I can see these two dancing around like something out of Beauty and the Beast when the kitchen lights go out!

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sweet and salty orecchiette with olives, almonds, and ricotta

I’m always looking for new pasta dishes since they are usually inexpensive and filling for a family of four! This recipe from October’s Real Simple uses one of my favorite tricks/techniques for white sauce; using some of the starchy cooking water to bind ingredients. I love this tip and it’s one you will get a ton of use out of! Green olives mixed with nutty almonds give this dish its title of Sweet and Salty Orecchiette with Olives, Almonds, and Ricotta.

Orcheitte with olives, almonds, and ricotta

Orecchiette with olives, almonds, and ricotta

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asparagus ricotta tart with fried tomato skins

As summer comes to an end I’m vowing not to mourn the loss of another season gone too quickly but rather embrace the change of pace of autumn dishes. That being said, here’s a recipe with one last nod to bikini weather. While asparagus’ season is short lived (lasting only a month or so in March to April), it’s bright green stalks and leafy tips always remind me of summer. Crisp tomato skins give the feeling of bacon while still remaining figure friendly. Here’s my end of summer Asparagus Ricotta Tart with Fried Tomato Skins.

A figure friendly toast to the end

A figure friendly toast to the end

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