Friday, May 28, 2010

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina

Growing up in Naples I became accustomed to eating gnocchi almost weekly. It was one of my favorite foods. On Sundays, my dad would walk to the ‘Pastificio’ (Pasta shop) where all sorts of pasta was made daily and he would either pick up a bag of fresh ravioli or gnocchi. It was always a pleasant surprise when he’d bring home the gnocchi. Since moving to the U.S. it has been one of my favorite entertaining dishes, I have yet to find someone who does not like them. I have to say that the processed gnocchi commonly found in the U.S. are very similar to the fresh ones I’d have in Italy. Well, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

For 4 People

2 Packages Gnocchi
1 8oz. can of Tomato Sauce
1 6oz. can of Tomato Paste
3 Fresh Basil leaves (or 1 Tbls dry)
Olive Oil
1/4 Diced Onion
1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella

Put about 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil in a medium saucepan along with the onion. Once the onion is of a golden color ad sauce and paste. Cook on low to medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the meantime cook the gnocchi according to package directions, gnocchi are ready once the majority of them are floating, do not overcook! Combine with sauce and basil in a bowl, add mozzarella. Mix well and serve.

Please note that gnocchi are very compacted and can be very filling, only place about a cup to two cups per person per plate.

Buon Appetito!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cotoletta di Carne

Cotoletta di carne essentially is fried steak. Italians use the word for meat (carne) to refer to beef. Although this steak is fried, it’s much healthier than conventional fried steaks as it is not deep fried, olive oil is used versus other more fatty and unhealthy oils and the italian bread crumbs include various herbs, including oregano which are chock full of antioxidants.

This very easy to make meat dish is sure to become everyone’s favorite. My children love this dish and so does anyone else who comes over for that matter, permitting they eat meat in the first place! When you cook this meat, your kitchen will be enveloped by a delightful smell that will have everyone grabbing on to their plates. I like to make it with a side of sauteed green beans with garlic and a side of parmesan risotto. It also goes very well with fries or mashed potatoes, or as a great addition to a hoagie.

For 2-4 People

1 Lb Steak thinly sliced (for rouladen)
2 Cups Breadcrumbs (Italian variety)
Olive Oil

Cut steak slices into smaller pieces, usually cutting the steak in half or thirds works great. Place the bread crumbs inside a locking plastic baggy. Add one piece of meat to the bag, close the bag and shake until meat is completely covered. Repeat until all meat slices are breaded. Put about 1/4 cup of olive oil in a non-stick pan, once oil is hot, place steaks in the pan. You’ll probably have to fry in batches, since all of the meat will not fit in he pan. Serve.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Neapolitan Meat Sauce

Meat sauce is the base for many dishes from pasta with sauce to lasagna. This sauce is very rich in consistency and very flavorful thanks to the beef and vegetables. Give it a try!

 For 6 people

1 Can Tomato Sauce
1 Can Tomato Paste
3 Fresh Basil Leaves
1/2 LB Ground Beef
1 Carrot (finely diced)
1 Celery Stalk (finely diced)
1/2 cup Onion (diced)
2 Garlic cloves (chopped)
2 TBLS Olive Oil
1 TBLS Italian Seasoning
Dash of Salt

Place oil, garlic and onion in a large pot. Caramelize. Add celery and carrot, cook for about 3-5 minutes. Add beef, break up into smaller pieces while mixing with vegetables. Brown meat. Add sauce and paste, cook for about 30 minutes on low-med setting.

This recipe also works well in slow-cookers or cast iron stoves. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

When using to top pasta, always add plenty of Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mediterranean Potato Salad

This salad is a great dish for summer lunches or as a side to your barbecue. It is best served at room temperature or chilled.

For 4-6 People (depending on whether or not the salad is a main dish or side dish)

1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
6 Medium Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 Cup Greek Olives in brine
1 Can of Tuna in oil
1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes
5 Basil Leaves ripped into 1 inch pieces
Salt to taste
1 TBLS Olive Oil
1 TBLS Brine from olives

Peel and chop the potatoes into 2 inch pieces. Place in a saucepan, cover with water and cook until potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork. Strain and add to a large bowl.

Add remaining ingredients. Tomatoes and Olives can either be left whole or chopped into halves. Mix well. Refrigerate for about half an hour. Serve with Italian or French bread.

Buon Appetito!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chicken Stew and Orzo

1 LB Bonelss Chicken Thighs
4 Medium Yellow Potatoes
6 Cherry Tomatoes
1 Cup chopped Carrots
1 Cup chopped Celery
1 Cup chopped Onion
1 TBLS Italian Seasoning
Dash of Salt
Dash of Pepper
1/4 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
Olive Oil
1 Package Orzo Pasta
Parmesan or Romano Shredded Cheese

For 4-6 People

If possible use a dutch oven for this recipe, alternatively a large saucepan with lid can be used.

Warm some Olive Oil in the Dutch Oven or pan and add onion, cook until golden. Set aside. Peel Potatoes and cut into 2 inch pieces, cut the Chicken thighs with kitchen scissors into 1 inch pieces. Add to pot, along with chopped carrots, chopped celery, chopped onion, Italian Seasoning, Salt, Pepper and Nutmeg.

Cook covered over Medium-Low heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for one hour or until potatoes are soft and chicken is thoroughly cooked. Add 3 cups of water, bring to a boil. Add Orzo pasta and cook uncovered for time specified on package. Place in Soup in bowls and add plenty of Parmesan or Romano Cheese.

Buon Appetito!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Name Day

 It's always been tradition for Italians to celebrate their Name Day (Onomastico). This derives from the fact that most Italians are named after Saints, and each Saint's name is celebrated on a particular day. Those who are not named after a Saint celebrate on All Saints Day (November 1st).

This special day is celebrated much like a Birthday celebration. Family and friends usually gather for Cake and Pastries and bring gifts along with them.

Yesterday, St. Patrick's Day, was my Name Day. I didn't have a party because of course I reside in the U.S., however lots of friends and family from Italy congratulated me (Auguri) and that was good enough!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spaghetti with Italian Sausage

 Meat Lovers get ready for a dish that's going to blow your sock off! The Italian Sausage juices marry with the Tomato sauce to create a sweet and tangy taste explosion.

1 LB Spaghetti
1 LB Italian Mild Sausage
2 8oz. Cans of Tomato Sauce
1 6 oz can Tomato Paste
Olive Oil
2 Diced Garlic Cloves
3 Leaves Fresh Basil

For 4 people

This is a great meal for a slow cooker, dutch oven or a plain ol’ saucepan. For slow cookers adjust time to 6 hrs on low heat.

Place olive oil in saucepan, add garlic and caramelize. Add Sauce and tomato paste. Fill one of the empty cans of sauce with water and add to pot. Cook for about 30 minutes on low heat. Add Sausage and Basil. Cook for 20 additional minutes on medium heat.

Cook Spaghetti according to package directions.

Check sausage readiness by poking with a fork, juices should be clear.

Place spaghetti in dishes and top with Tomato sauce and one Sausage per person.

Add Parmesan.

Optional: If possible serve with a slice of Italian or French bread for dipping in the sauce.

Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pasta and Zucchini

This dish is very delicious and healthy. After testing different types of cheeses as toppings, I have come to the conclusion that Vermont Cheddar is the best. I am aware that this cheese is not used in Italy, so if you'd like to stick to the original recipe try Romano cheese. The Vermont offers a sharpness that contrasts the sweet vegetables beautifully, give it a try!

For 4 People

1 LB Rigatoni
2 Zucchini
1/2 Cup Diced Onion
Olive Oil
2 Cups Shredded Vermont for topping

Chop the zucchini into thin slices and halve them. Put some olive oil in a non stick pan over medium heat. Add zucchini and onion to the pan, add salt. Cover with a lid and cook for about twenty minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the zucchini from burning or sticking to the pan. While the zucchini cook, prepare the Rigatoni according to package directions, add about 1/4 cup salt to the boiling water.The zucchini are ready when they can be squished by a fork. Use a potato or meat masher to squish them, they needn't be pureed as they maintain a nice texture. Strain pasta, add zucchini to the pasta and mix well. Serve with plenty of cheese on top.

Buon Appetito!

Fried Spaghetti

I hope you all enjoyed my last few recipes. Last week was really busy, first of all I turned 30! Secondly, I've been working on more meals to add to the blog. Many thanks to my family for all the cooking equipment they gave me for my birthday, which included a pizza stone, a dutch oven, bamboo cutting boards and much more. Imagine the possibilities!

This recipe for Fried Spaghetti is widely used in Naples as a quick lunch, a sack lunch or a portable snack. It is best when eaten at room temperature as the spaghetti absorbs all the flavors.

For 4 People

1 LB Spaghetti
4 Eggs
1 TBL Chopped Parsley
Canola oil for frying

Cook spaghetti according to directions on box, be sure to salt the water  when it comes to a boil. When spaghetti is ready, strain and set aside for about 10 minutes so it can cool. The spaghetti needn't be cold, it just needs to be cool-er so it doesn't cook the egg.

Beat the eggs in a bowl and add parsley, salt and pepper. Place spaghetti in a large bowl and add beaten eggs. Mix Well. Depending on the size of your frying pan, you may be able to make 3 or 4 personal frittatas or  one large one, which you will then slice. Place enough oil in the pan so it covers the whole area. Place the pan on medium heat. When the oil is hot, mix the pasta one more time and add to the pan. Fry for about 10 minutes on each side. You will know it's time to flip the spaghetti when the bottom surface has hardened and it's of a golden color.

When the spaghetti is ready place on a dish to cool for about 20 minutes. This dish also stores well in the fridge.

Buon Appetito!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Buon Giorno/ Buonasera

Language in Naples
The official language of Italy and consequentially Naples, is Italian. The region of Campania, which Naples is the capital of, has a secondary language or dialect called Neapolitan. It is normal for people to switch back and forth between languages depending on who they are speaking to. Italian is used during business transactions, when meeting new people, in school and when speaking with someone distinguished. In a way it shows respect for the other person. 
Neapolitan is used amongst people who know each other well. In some instances, especially in smaller towns or amongst older people, Neapolitan is the only language spoken because it is also the only language known. What makes it even more interesting is that every small town has a different version of Neapolitan where the vocabulary and pronunciation is slightly different. Some versions of Neapolitan, such as Puzzulano (Neapolitan spoken in the town of Pozzuoli) or Cappellese (Neapolitan spoken in the small town of Cappella) are so different, they are hard to understand from one town to the next.

Common Phrases
Good Morning: Buon Giorno (before 1PM)
Good Evening: Buonasera (after 1PM)
Good Night: Buona Notte

Come Stai? :How are you?
Bene :Good

Come Ti Chiami? :What's your name
Mi Chiamo... :My name is...

Customs and Courtesies

When speaking to people they don't know well, Italians use the Second Person Plural title and verbs, called 'dare il lei' . This form of speaking is also used when speaking to older or distinguished people. For Example instead of asking "Come stai?" you would use the Second person  plural "Come state?". The opposite is 'dare il tu', using the second person singular for people you are familiar with or peers. In this case you would ask "Come ti chiami?" instead of "Come vi chiamate?"
1st Person Io (I)
2nd Person Tu (You)
3rd Person Egli (Him)

1st Person Noi (Us)
2nd Person Voi (You) 
3rd Person Loro (Them)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gatto' Di Patate

A one dish meal featuring potatoes, salame, provolone and herbs
4 to 6 People
  • 8 Medium Idaho Yellow Potatoes
  • 3 Eggs beaten
  • 1/2 Cup Italian Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Cup diced Mozzarella
  • 1 Cup diced provolone
  • 1 Cup diced cooked Ham
  • 1 Cup dice Hard Salame
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • Dash of Salt
  • Dash of Pepper

Peel the potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces, place in saucepan and cook on medium heat until soft. Place potatoes into a bowl,  mash  and add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Place the mixture in a 13x9 glass pan. Sprinkle a handful of breadcrumbs across the top. Place in oven and cook for 35 minutes at 350 Degrees or until top is golden. Let cool for 15 minutes outside of oven. Serve.

Spaghetti Meatballs

4 to 6 People 

1 LB Spaghetti
Parmesan to top spaghetti

For the Meatballs:
  • 1 LB Ground Beef
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 Cup Italian Breadcrumbs
  • 3 Eggs beaten
For the Sauce
  • 2 Cans of Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 Tsp Dry Basil
  • 1 Tbls Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Dry Onion
  • 1/2 Tsp Garlic Salt
Put olive oil and onion in a large pan, set on medium heat. Add the two cans of tomato sauce, garlic salt, basil and onion.

While the sauce cooks, prepare meatballs by mixing the ground beef, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, and eggs. Mix with hands and knead until everything becomes a large elastic ball. Separate a two inch section at a time and mold into the shape of a ball (about the size of an egg). Place meatballs into the sauce (wait until it's boiling) and simmer for 30-40 minutes stirring occasionally . Before removing from heat cut one meatball in half to check for readiness. The meatballs are ready when no pink is visible.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.

Strain spaghetti, place into a large  bowl, mix in sauce. Place in individual plates and top with one or two meatballs and Parmesan.

The Basics

Neapolitan Cuisine, you will soon discover, is one of the most basic and easy type of cooking. With time, I hope that you too will learn that with just a handful of ingredients you can create tasty healthy meals.

Pantry Essentials

Fresh Onion
Fresh Garlic
Olive Oil
Canned Tomato Sauce 
Canned Tomato Paste
Italian Seasoning

Cooking Utensils

  Large Pot with lid (for boiling pasta)
Small Saucepan with lid
Frying Pan
Mixing Spoons
Mixing Bowls
13 x 9 Glass Casserole pan

 Eating Like Neapolitans

Neapolitans usually have small breakfasts consisting of either coffee or cappuccino and maybe a breakfast pastry.

Lunch is  usually the largest meal of the day. A complete lunch consists of:

Appetizer: Usually a small salad or food bites
First Course: Always some sort of pasta
Second Course: A protein food (meat, fish or chicken) accompanied by vegetables

Appetizers, Fruit and Dessert are optional.

Dinners consist of: 
Second Course: A protein food (meat, fish or chicken) accompanied by vegetables
Fruit and Dessert are optional.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Il Menu' (The List of Dishes featured on this Blog)

Note: This list is not in order of appearance.



Tomato Sauce
Base sauce for many Neapolitan Dishes
Great on pasta or for dipping bread
Genovese Sauce
A sauce of beef and caramelized sweet onions
A Puree’ of fresh Basil leaves, pine nuts and garlic


Spaghetti with meat sauce and juicy meatballs
Rigatoni with sauteed zucchini and onion
Maccheroni au Gratin
Oven baked macaroni in a velvety cream sauce
Pasta con la Panna
 The original Pasta Alfredo with cream and ham
 A versatile dish that’s great for packed lunches or as a side dish
Spaghetti al Pomodoro
 Spaghetti with Fresh Cherry Tomatoes
Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
Spaghetti with a tangy tomato sauce and pancetta
Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Spaghetti with egg sauce and ham
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
Spaghetti in olive oil, caramelized pine nuts and garlic
Oven baked Manicotti filled with ricotta cheese and covered in tomato sauce and mozzarella
New: Pasta e Patate
New: Pasta e Fagioli 
New: Spaghetti with Italian Sausage


Pizza Margherita
The real Neapolitan Pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil
Pizza Quattro Formaggi
 A delectable four cheese pizza
Fried Calzone
A petite snack calzone with ricotta filling

One Dish Meals

A one dish meal featuring potatoes, salame, provolone and herbs
Pasta al Forno
Oven baked pasta with petite meatballs
Ovenbaked Rice
A tasty rice dish with meat sauce and peas

Meat, Poultry and Fish

Meat Pizzaiola
Meat cooked in tomato sauce
Octopus Salad
 A fresh zesty dish consisting of Octopus in a lemon vinaigrette
Mullet alla Pescatora
Mullet in a fresh lemon vinagrette
Mullet al Cartoccio
Tasty Mullet baked in Foil
Thin steak wrapped around garlic, pine nuts and bacon, cooked in meat sauce 
Salsiccia e Friarelli
 Sausage with sauteed turnip tops
Thin steak cutlets covered in lemon paste
New: Chicken Stew and Orzo

Side Dishes and Salads

A refreshing dish featuring potatoes, olives, tuna-fish, cherry tomatoes and onion
Sauteed Spinach
Spinach sauteed in garlic and olive oil
Sauteed Cauliflower
Spinach sauteed in garlic, olive oil and red pepper
Sauteed Bell Peppers
Tri color bell peppers sauteed in onion and olive oil
Crocche’ di Patate
Fried potato croquettes filled with herbs and mozzarella cheese
Insalata Caprese
 A cool salad dish with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes
Melanzane alla Parmigiana
Oven-baked layered dish of fried eggplant, tomato sauce, Parmesan and mozzarella
Zucchini Scapece
Fried Zucchini with a variety of herbs and spices
Mozzarella in Carrozza
Fried Mozzarella
Insalata al Limone
Romaine Lettuce in a Lemon Vinaigrette
Insalata all’Aceto
Romaine in Vinegar Vinaigrette
Tomato Salad
Cherry Tomatoes with garlic, olive oil and oregano
Fried Eggplant
Mozzarella and ham wrapped in eggplant and fried
Stuffed Eggplant
Eggplant stuffed with garlic, olives and tomatoes
Cooked Carrots
Carrots steamed with olive oil, garlic and oregano
Peas and Ham
Peas sauteed with cooked ham and onion


Bean Soup
Beans cooked with vegetables
Lentil Soup
Lentils cooked with onion and olive oil


Traditional Neapolitan sponge cake
Cheese and grains cake, usually cooked for Easter
Sweet Honey dumpling
 Mock blood pudding made of chocolate
Salame di Cioccolata
Chocolate dessert made to resemble salame
Chiacchere di Carnevale
Fried Pastry usually made during Carnevale (Mardi Gras)
Egg desert mixed with rum and sugar
Coffee and cream dessert cake

Everything Else

Rustico Napoletano
 A sweet and salty baked pie, great for entertaining
Gnocchi alla Sorrentina
Potato dumplings in tomato sauce and melted mozzarella
An amazing bread with salame and cheese pieces throughout
Pizza di Scarole
A Vegetable pie with intense flavors
A traditional Easter Bread with whole eggs, cheese and salame
Prosciutto Appetizer
Cantaloupe pieces wrapped in prosciutto for a sweet and salty taste
Ham Appetizer
Cream cheese squares wrapped in cooked ham
Oven baked bread slices with tomatoes and garlic

Open to special requests.

Buon Appetito!

Ahhh La Bella Napoli!

Ciao a tutti! As the Neapolitans might say, "Hello Everybody!"

Allow me to introduce myself, I am Patricia and I am a genuine Italian-American. My mother is a Sicilian woman from the town of Catania and my father is an all-American man from South Carolina. I spent the first nineteen years of my life in Naples, Italy. During that time I was able to live, breath and eat Naples at it's best. I've been able to taste all facets of Neapolitan dishes, now it's my turn to cook them!

As my resources I have what I have learned from my mother,a lifeline of locals and of course La Internet.

During this journey of I plan to cook numerous dishes found in Neapolitan Cuisine. My goal is to expose people in the U.S. to the simplicity and wondrous flavors of these dishes. I will keep the recipes easy and will use ingredients found in the U.S. yet keeping the flavors as true as possible.

I hope that you will enjoy these dishes as much as me and my Family will. Good Luck and Buon Appetito!