Category Archives: Italian

Mission: Biscotti

Biscotti are twice-baked Italiany cookies. The double dose of oven time makes them less perishable than their moist relatives, the once-baked cookies. In this case dry and crunchy are desirable traits.

There are lots of variations for biscotti but I wanted to make one that featured almonds since that’s a traditional ingredient. We also just happened to have some crystallized ginger in the cupboard so when I stumbled upon a recipe that utilized both on Epicurious it seemed like a no-brainer.

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Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe & Sausage

So we made orecchiette yesterday. It was an exciting day. We made the dough, shaped the pasta and then put it in the fridge for about 6 hours, because Rocco’s book told us to: “It is best to make the dough and shape it the night before, letting it dry in the fridge overnight.” Then it came time to cook the pasta and eat it in a meal…

Have you ever picked out a recipe to make and you had no idea what one of the main ingredients was?

Well, if you haven’t then shame on you. No, I’m kidding. I do understand the hesitance most people have when encountering new foods; I used to be this way, myself. There once was a day when I wouldn’t touch feta cheese, onions, olives and even, are you ready for this one?, tomatoes. As I’ve gotten older, however, I have found that the foods I hate usually end up becoming my favorites. This is why I am hesitant to say I hate any food. (Who wants to end up loving brains? I don’t.)  When someone says to me, “Oh, I don’t like _____” it is hard for me to not respond by saying, “I used to hate ______ too, then one day I actually tried it.” Turns out, people don’t like being force-fed.

Like I said, the recipe for the orecchiette we made yesterday came from Rocco’s Italian American and, subsequently, so did the recipe we used the orecchiette in. The exciting part was that this recipe had a mystery ingredient in it: broccoli rabe.

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The One Where We Make Orecchiette!

We eat a lot of pasta. Almost everyday. There are a few reasons for this: pasta is cheap, the sauce can be as simple or elaborate as we like and it takes hardly any time, preparation or brain power to make.

Just like most people, we use dry pasta in our dishes. We got to thinking one day: can we make pasta from scratch? With our hands? But we don’t have a fancy pants mixer (we want one), let alone the pasta attachment needed to make the pasta. We made sad faces.

Then while we were reading Rocco’s Italian American we discovered that you don’t need a fancy pants anything to make pasta. Well, that isn’t entirely true. You need a special type of flour called semolina flour because it has a high gluten content. This high gluten content is what makes some doughs, like pizza and bagels, chewy. In the case of making pasta, gluten is what helps keep it from falling apart when in comes into contact with the boiling water.

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We need showers but instead we’re making a blog. Because we like to eat, we’re ignoring the shower.

We’ve been reading a lot about food lately. We’ve been eating a lot of food lately. We’ve been making a lot of food lately. That led to this.

We’re not trying to teach anyone how to cook because we don’t exactly know what we’re doing a lot of the time but maybe we’ll all learn some stuff by accident.

(That picture above is of some shrimp pizza that we made.)

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