Tag Archives: Italian

Cocktail Time: The Aperol Spritz

8 Oct

Here is another post inspired by our recent trip to Italy, the delicious cocktail that is quintessentially Italian, the Aperol spritz. As you look around while sitting at any of the beautiful outdoor cafes the Aperol spritz is everywhere.



The cocktail is made with the aperitif Aperol that is produced in Italy by Compari. It is refreshing and slightly bitter with the perfect dose of sweetness. The most common garnish is an orange slice but while I was doing research I came across recipes that used everything; cucumbers, raspberries, thyme, rosemary and olives among others. I chose to use fresh rosemary from our garden. (Also because I forgot to get an orange and didn’t feel like going back to the grocery store…again!)


You’ll need:

3 parts Prosecco

2 parts Aperol

1 part sparkling water

Ice cubes

Garnish of your choice

Add a good amount of ice cubes to a pretty glass, I like a wine glass. Pour the ingredients into the glass, add garnish and begin sipping! Saluti!


This cocktail is also referred to as the 3-2-1 because of the ratio of ingredients.

And if you look closely at the top right of this photo you can see our goat Pepsi…

*Cocktail napkins: Patio Fashions

One Last Soup before Spring…

20 Mar

So, I sit here writing this on the first day of Spring and it is snowing out. When will it end? Hopefully soon but until it does, let’s eat soup. This recipe is a copy cat recipe of Olive Garden’s famous Pasta e Fagioli, meaning “pasta and beans”, it is traditionally a meatless Italian dish however this recipe adds ground beef but I stuck with tradition and left the meat out, which makes this a great meal for meatless Mondays. This is easy, healthy and makes a great meal, definitely give a whirl!

Pasta e Fagioli with shaved parmesan cheese-buon appetito!

Pasta e Fagioli with shaved parmesan cheese-buon appetito!


1 lb ground beef* (I omitted)

2 tbsp olive oil (if not using meat)

1 small onion

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced

28oz can crushed tomatoes

15oz can tomato sauce

15oz can beef broth (vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian)**you may want more depending on how you like it

15oz can kidney beans (with liquid)

15oz can great northern beans (with liquid)

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp pepper

8oz ditalini pasta

*with the salt, pepper and dried herbs-increase or decrease depending on taste

Heat olive oil large dutch oven or pot, add carrots, celery, onion and sauté for about 10 minutes then add minced garlic. Saute for a few more minutes until garlic becomes fragrant.

Add remaining ingredients, except the pasta and simmer for 1 hour.

You may want to add more broth at this point depending on how you like it.

About 15 minutes before the hour is up, boil water for pasta and cook pasta for 10 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Now, a tip from a friend is: to not add the pasta to the soup…add it as you eat it so that it doesn’t blow up in the soup and absorb all the liquid. This was great advice. I kept mine in storage container and added as we ate it. Serve with shaved parmesan cheese and warm, crusty bread; delicious!

*If you would like to do the meat version the first thing you do is cook the ground beef until browned, drain the grease. Set browned ground beef aside and cook veggies as above in same pot, when veggies are ready, add ground beef back into pot and follow the recipe from there. Enjoy!



No Bologna Bolognese!

1 Jan

Tis the season for dinner parties! Friends and family gathering to eat a great meal, drink some wine and maybe play a game or two. What to serve can be a difficult decision because you want to make something that everyone will love that isn’t too complicated and for me, a bolognese is the perfect choice. The bolognese sauce originated in Bologna, Italy, dates back to at least the 5th century and according to Wikipedia a true bolognese contains the following ingredients: beef, pancetta, carrots, onions, celery, tomato paste, red wine and milk.  Of course through the years it has changed to include different additions of meat but the basic ingredients remain the same.  The recipe that I am about to share with you includes sausage which I think adds lots of flavor. The  greatest compliment that I received about this meal was from my friend Paul. Paul is not a foodie and when I served this to him and his wife not only did he eat all of it but had seconds-success…he said it was delicious and his wife Shelly asked for the recipe!


Beautiful Bolognese

5 Tblsp Butter
7 Tblsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion-finely chopped
2 Stalks Celery-finely chopped
1 Large Carrot-finely chopped
2 Large Cloves Garlic-minced
1 1/2 lbs Chopped Meat
 1 1/2 lbs Sausage-casing removed
1/2 lb Pancetta-chopped
1 1/2 Cup Whole Milk
1 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
3/4 Cup Tomato Paste
Parmesan Cheese
Melt the butter and oil in a large pan add onion, celery, carrot and garlic-cook until soft but not browned.  Add the meats ( I use the package of sausage that has both sweet and hot), increase the heat a bit and cook until all the meat is browned.  Drain most of the fat and stir in milk, wine and tomato paste-reduce heat.  Season with salt and pepper and simmer until thickened, about 1 hour.  Serve with a nice fettucine noodle and parmesan cheese. Buon Appetito!

Now that’s a Spicy Meatball!

1 Apr


Interestingly, when one of my family members found out I was writing a food blog, they said “I didn’t know you cooked?!”  And they are right, sort of.  I didn’t cook until I got married. My mother loves my husband and was terrified he would waste away once we got married because I didn’t cook. So, she took it upon herself to teach me how to “cook”, which in her mind meant making dinners that a man would want to eat.  She actually bought me a few cook books and took me to the supermarket to show me the different cuts of meat and what each one was used for. (I was a vegetarian for about 6 years until I met my husband) She even wrote down several sample dinner menus, I couldn’t beleive this! But is was the start of something beautiful…I love to cook and my husband is far from starving. 

The first recipe she taught me how to make is spagetti and meatballs, with not an ounce of Italian in our family tree I must say she makes great sauce and balls. The recipe is from my great grandmother, Grannie, which you can see below that she wrote out for my Dad many years ago.  Love her comments and the way she wrote it and I have made some changes a long the way which you can see in my version. Unfortunatley, I wasn’t able to make it ledgible but you can get the idea, it’s old and has been passed down through the years.

Grannies Recipe

So, I don’t measure anything, I just guess. I did measure this time but keep in mind to add more or less seasoning to your liking. Here goes…

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put all of the following into a mixing bowl:

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb ground beef ( I use 93% or 95% in order to be somewhat healthy)

1 Egg

1/2 Cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs

4 Tbls Milk

1/4 Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

2 Medium Sized Garlic Gloves-minced through a garlic press

1 tsp Oregano

1 tsp Italian Seasoning

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Pepper

1 tsp Sugar

Now the icky part, using freshly washed hands, with no rings on, to mash it all together.  When it’s all mixed together well, roll into balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. I use olive oil on a piece of tin foil on a baking sheet – easy clean up! I like my balls on the smaller side and not packed too tightly but it’s really a personal thing. When all rolled and on the baking sheet put in the preheated oven for about 15 to 18 minutes.  If you like sausage too, I also cook them on a baking sheet in the oven for about 20 minutes. I love the package of sausage that comes with both the sweet and the hot, it pleases everyone.

The sauce, put all of the following in a large pot:

2 – 28 Ounce Cans of Crushed Tomatoes

 2 Good Size Gloves of Garlic-minced through a garlice press

1 tsp Oregano

2 tsp Italian Seasoning

1 tsp Sugar

Salt – to taste

Pepper – to taste

1 Bay Leaf

I have tried many variations with different types of tomatoes, such as a can of sauce with a can of puree or a can of crushed and added tomato paste but this is my favorite. I add a bit of water to the empty cans, swish it around to “clean” the can and add that water to pot of sauce.  Cook till boiling then turn down to a simmer and meatballs and sausage. Simmer together for at least an hour and serve with your favorite type of spagetti.

%d bloggers like this: