simple pasta with tomatoes, basil & mozzarella

spring pasta with tomatoes, basil and mozzerella, FOODLETS.com

AS PART OF OUR SEMI-DELUDED PLAN to have friends over this weekend, we served homemade rolls along with two pastas. (Our wonderful guests brought veggies and desserts including a chocolate layer caked called “Tall, Dark and Handsome”. And yes, we’re inviting them back again ASAP.) This was one of the pasta dishes–and by far the best… 

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cheese ravioli with spinach and bacon

ravioli with spinach and bacon,  foodlets.com

SO, THERE WAS AN ICE STORM. One that I’ve never seen the likes of, though I don’t have a lot of experience in the extreme weather department. This one came on quickly and thoroughly. Overnight, every single tree in our part of North Carolina was neatly encased in ice. Then they started splitting, falling, and… 

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spaghetti nests with bocconcini “eggs”, the perfect leftover (and picky eater) solution

spaghetti nests with eggs, and fork

FOR SOMEONE WHO WAS BORN IN ITALY my four-year-old is very anti-spaghetti these days. She suddenly thinks it’s too hard to eat. This didn’t used to bother her, but I guess it does now. Sigh. But before we swear off the stuff, I thought I’d try something…and it worked. 

italian summer casserole: baked zucchini, brown rice and tomato sauce with sausage

Baked zucchini with rice & sausage

PHOEBE WASN’T EXACTLY PLEASED. Suddenly my four-year-old is opposed to everything being combined into a one-pot dinner. “Only one thing?”, she asks as incredulously as only a preschooler can. And to that I say (at least in my head), “When you start doing the dishes my dear, we can use all the pans for every… 

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pan-fried chicken Milanese, a family-friendly recipe from “The Fresh 20″ by Melissa Lanz

Chicken Milanese

THE THING ABOUT COOKING DINNER IS, the whole process can get complicated. Even daunting. What to make, when to get to the store, what to do with the rest of that huge bag of kale… One of the things that I’m enjoying about Melissa Lanz’s book, “The Fresh 20″ (which you have an opportunity to… 

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zucchini lasagna, a new favorite recipe from Florida

zucchini lasagna

THIS IS THE STORY of the time Estelle ate a whole pan of zucchini. She’s two years old, and very petite. Neither fact slowed her down. We were in Florida visiting Paul’s family over Easter when his mom whipped up this amazing side dish for dinner. Plate after plate, scoop after scoop. She just kept… 

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ravioli with peas and pancetta

ravioli with peas and pancetta

A BOWL OF PASTA DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN TOMATO SAUCE. One of the easiest ideas I’ve learned from the Italians is to substitute traditional red sauce with something much simpler: extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs and a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Dinner’s on the table in 20 minutes, and it’s a really good… 

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Frittata with spinach, pancetta & ricotta (a Barefoot Contessa makeover)

spinach, peppers and pancetta fritatta

MY BIG INDULGENCE IN ITALY, other than one trip to the Gucci outlet and one million bowls of gelato (which was probably more expensive in the long run!), has been an international subscription to the Food Network magazine. I’ve definitely learned a lot from Italians when it comes to food, family and the combination of… 

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Sausage & spinach with raisins, pine nuts & rice

sausage, spinach and rice

THIS ONE STARTED WITH BUDDY. Do you know the Cake Boss? I’m sure you do but I didn’t. In Rome, we have a bit of American TV but it’s a small selection and always a bit behind. Anyway, it appears that in the time I’ve been away from the States, one Buddy Valastro has become… 

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no-cook dinner: antipasto with ham, cheese, breadsticks, melon and more…

proscutto e melone

IT’S BEEN OVER 90 DEGREES EVERY DAY in Rome for weeks. This is a normal summer in Italy but that doesn’t mean we’re not melting! Particularly those of us from the Pacific Northwest where it simply doesn’t do this. Ever. My Floridian husband, however, is soaking up the sun, humidity and all the heat for… 

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Deep dish pizza with pepperoni

Deepdish pizza with pepperoni

THERE ARE TWO IMPORTANT THINGS to say about this pizza: First, it’s (pretty) good for you. Second, it’s only moderately popular at our place. {Wah, wah.} Estelle and I seem to like it best…which makes Paul and Phoebe something of pizza purists. This is after all, Italy…

Baked risotto with sausage, barley & fresh green beans

Sausage & green bean risotto

AS THREATENED PROMISED, baked risotto has made its way into our weekly repertoire and here’s why: the kids love it! Plus, a baked version of this traditional Italian dish is easy to make before they even get home from nursery school. Sitting on the stove, it’s ready to be warmed again at dinner time. No… 

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Baked risotto with bacon and peas

IMG_0854

SPIN-OFFS ARE A VERY BIG PART OF MY master plan (rubs palms together yet controls the urge to laugh maniacally. Probably because that would be weird. Anyway…). Estelle LOVES rice these days so without driving everyone crazy, I’m going to try as many variations as I can, as often as I can. Also, Phoebe thinks… 

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Turkey sausage meatballs and easy pasta with peas

Turkey sausage meatballs with easy pasta and peas

WE’VE JUST RETURNED FROM A THREE-WEEK TRIP to the US where we plan to relocate at the end of 2012. North Carolina looks like our future destination but first all things related to jobs, houses, schools and the other million details that make a life must align. (Wish us luck!) In the meantime, I’ve stocked… 

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Pizza with asparagus, ricotta and lemon

fresh asparagus

NOTHING SAYS SPRING IS HERE LIKE the arrival of asparagus. And it’s delicious, so I’m in. Actually the little guys did pretty well with the asparagus pizza. They each ate a piece or so, and in this house, that’s a win. (Plus Phoebe loved helping make this simple dish.) Mixed with creamy ricotta full of… 

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