Click here to download the Limoncello recipe

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Click here to download the recipe for Nonna's Holiday Cookies


(Tipo Panificio Cuti, PIano Lago (CS)

Ingredients (For a 1kg loaf):

  • 640 gr multi purpose flour (use a strong flour with at least 11% protein)
  • 100 gr type 1 stone ground (Caputo or King Arthur brands are best)
  • 450 grams of water (lukewarm)
  • 0.25 gr dry yeast
  • 20 gr of salt


Combine the flour, sift, and add the salt.
Dissolve the yeast in warm water.

Mix the dry (a) and wet ingredients (b) and mix in a stand mixer and knead for at least 10 minutes at speed 2. Leave the dough in the bowl overnight for up to a maximum of 12 hours to rise. In the morning, pull and fold the dough and make the final shape. Let it rise for another 4 hours. Bake the bead in the oven at 490 Celsius for ten minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 400 degrees, and keep baking for an additional thirty minutes. Let it rest on a grill for at least thirty minutes before serving.



Linguini with cannellini (white Kidney) beans and fresh tomato


  • 1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 med white onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 -15 oz cans cannellini beans, (if want less starch, drain one)
  • 2-3 cut up fresh plum tomatoes 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese (or Pecorino or Locatelli)
  • 1 lb Linguini
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 3-4 cups baby spinach (optional)
  • Salt, pepper, reserved pasta water (remove one cup water before draining linguini)

Fill a 6-quart pot with water. When comes to full boil add salt to taste, drop in linguini (I like taste the salt but not too salty, will be using the water to finish off the dish), stirring occasionally.  Cook until desired doneness.

In large saucepan on medium heat, add olive oil, garlic and onion, cook until soft, not browned. Add beans and cook to-gether 5-6 minutes, add 1/2 cup basil, 1/4 cup parsley, oregano, tomatoes, 1/4 cup cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low another 5-10 minutes or until tomatoes are just soft. Drain the linguini reserving one cup of the water. Add the drained linguini to the bean mixture, add remaining cheese, parsley and basil. Gently mix together while adding the pasta water very slowly little at a time, the sauce should be thick and still flavorful, not watery. (May not need all the water)

If adding spinach, stir in now just to wilt…

Turn onto a platter and drizzle with additional olive oil if desired


Easter Bread


  • 12 Eggs, not cooked but colored
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)
  • 4 ½ cups flour
  • Colored sugar sprinkles


Scald milk. Add sugar, salt, and shortening
(cool to lukewarm). Put yeast in warm water and then add to milk mixture. Add the 2 eggs. Add 2 and ½ cups of the flour and mix.
The slowly add the rest of the flour and mix.

Knead the dough for 5 minutes. Put the dough in a large bowl greased with shortening, cover with waxed paper and let rest for 1 hr. Punch down and let rise for another ½ hour. Make either 2 braids or 2 rounds and let rise again for ½ hour on a greased baking sheet. Gently tuck the colored eggs into the braids or the rounds.

Beat 1 egg with some warm water. Brush on loaves and sprinkle with multicolored sprinkles. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes


Pignoli Cookies


  • 8 ounces pignoli nuts
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • Dash of salt
  • 8 ounce can of almond paste
  • 2 egg whites, slightly beaten
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Extra confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line 2 cookie sheets with non-stick liner
Place pignoli nuts in small bowl
Whisk dry ingredients together in medium bowl
Break up almond paste in an electric mixer
Add egg whites and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until smooth
Add combined dry ingredients until just barely mixed
Use teaspoon to scoop dough and dip tops into bowl of pignoli nuts
Place 2” apart on baking sheet and add extra pignoli nuts in any bare spots
Bake cookies 25 minutes or until they just start to turn a little golden
Note: If you enjoy soft cookies bake less time, if you enjoy chewy cookies bake longer
Cool 1 minute on baking pan and remove to rack to cool completely
Dust with confectioner’s sugar


Mini Baked Eggplant Parmesan


  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese, to taste
  • Fresh basil, minced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 3” ramekins or muffin tins for baking


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Partially peel and then slice the eggplant the long way (not into rounds, into long strips) into as thin a slice as possible, no more than ¼ of an inch. Arrange on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and bake until eggplant is tender and just slightly brown, about 15 minutes.
  2. Lay slices of cooked eggplant across the ramekin so that the bottom and sides of the ramekin are completely covered and the ends of the eggplant slices hang over the sides of the ramekin (see photo). Add a spoonful of sauce, ½ oz mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and basil. Add a folded slice of the cooked eggplant to the top and repeat this step for a second layer. Using the ends of the eggplant slices hanging over the edge of the ramekin create a top, covering the cheese and tucking the ends in.
  3. Repeat this process for all the eggplant slices. Top each one with another spoonful of sauce and Parmesan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until firm and browned on top.
  4. To serve, flip the ramekins upside down to remove the miniature eggplant parmesans. Serve with another spoonful of sauce and fresh Parmesan and basil to garnish.

Struffoli (Honey Balls)


  • 2 cups of flour
  • ½ to ¾ lemon, zested
  • ¼ orange, zested
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter cut into
  • ½ inch pieces
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Light cooking oil (no flavor) for frying
  • ¾ cup lightly toasted pine nuts
    (or hazelnut)
  • Candied citrus, sugar sprinkles, or powdered sugar to decorate


Wisk together flour, lemon zest, orange zest, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut in butter. Add eggs one at a time then vanilla stirring vigorously. (You could use a food processor). When the dough forms a ball, cover or wrap and refrigerate
until cool. If it’s too sticky, add a little flour at a time to get to form a ball.

Divide the dough. Roll out each divided piece to approximately ¼ inch thick on a floured surface and then cut into ½ inch strips or roll out into long “logs” the same ½ inch in diameter. Cut or tear these into ½ pieces and roll into small
balls. Flour them lightly.

Heat the oil in a wide pan several inches deep to approximately 350-375 degrees F. Transfer the dough balls to the hot oil using a perforated spoon and brown in batches (about 2 minutes). They will float to the top as they cook. You may
need to turn them gently for an even color. Drain on paper lined pan.

Warm the honey and lemon juice in a large pan gently until it’s mixed and the honey thins. Be careful not to burn it! Remove the pan from the heat and gently pour or spoon in the drained fried dough balls into the honey mix. Fold them
into the honey with a spatula to coat them well without crushing the balls. If you wanted to use candied citrus, you would stir some into the mix now. Add in the toasted nuts.

Line a serving plate with pretty paper and grease the outside of a drinking glass or small jar. Put the jar or glass in the center of the plate and then using a spoon, pile the honey balls around it in a ring. Damp hands/spoon may help with
the sticky honey. You can drizzle a little of the honey mixture over the top if desired. When finished, remove the glass or jar to leave a wreath shape. Top with sugar sprinkles or powdered sugar or both!

Nicolina’s Melanzane Meat-a-balls


  • 1 large shiny purple melanzane, 2lbs.
  • 9 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons each chopped fresh basil and Italian parsley
  • 3 cups homemade or panko
  • breadcrumbs, freshly toasted (no sawdust!)
  • ½ cup pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
  • 2 extra large eggs or three small ones, lightly beaten
  •  ½ teaspoon salt
  • Flour for coating
  • Oil for frying


Load your wood stove full of wood!  Okay, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prick the melanzane all over a few times with a fork, place it on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for about an hour until the skin is crinkled and collapsed and the interior is completely tender.  Check with a fork from top to bottom of melanzane.  Cool until able to handle. 

Slice open the melanzane scooping out the flesh into a bowl or cutting board, discarding the skin (or saving for my husband who always eats it).  Mash the melanzane flesh with a potato masher or chop coarsely with a knife.  Add bread crumbs, egg, salt, the pecorino, minced herbs and chopped garlic. Use a wooden spoon or flexible spatula to gently yet thoroughly incorporate the ingredients.  Do not over-mix. 

Roll out the meatballs into golf ball size.  Coat them lightly with flour and flatten slightly.  Fry in a cast iron skillet with about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil and add meatballs when oil is hot and they start sizzling immediately.  Fry for a few minutes on each side until desired brownness and gently turn over to other side.  Place cooked meatballs on newspaper or paper towels for draining and then use as you would any other meat-a-ball.