Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells

Happy Christmas Eve eve! Before I scoot off for some holiday R +R, I have to share my recipe for spinach and artichoke stuffed shells with you. In Italy, stuffed pastas are smaller and more delicate than their Italian-American counterparts. Stuffed pasta in Italy is also exclusively made with fresh pasta dough. The more popular stuffed pastas of Italy are cannelloni, cappellacci, tortelli, ravioli, tortelloni, agnolotti, and tortellini, to name a few, but there are many more varieties depending on the region of Italy where they are made. The general term for any type of stuffed pasta is known as pasta ripiena. I […]

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Basics: How to Make Classic Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce

The last of my Christmas cookies have been baked, my gift tins have been shipped off, and Christmas cards are in the mail. I had hoped to stay on my blogging schedule this month, but instead, I’ve been feeling like I have to beat the clock each day with all of my Christmas “to do’s”. After this week, I’ll be taking a break to regroup and re-charge. There’s going to be a lot of cookbook and food magazine reading going on with my feet propped up on the coffee table and I can’t wait. Despite the holiday rush, the one thing I’ve […]

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Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

cranberry pistachio biscotti

This past weekend, Peter and I bought our Christmas tree and finished decorating our house for the holiday season. I also started my Christmas cookie baking. Every year, I send homemade cookies to a few family members and friends. I started this tradition several years ago and it’s my favorite activity during the Christmas season. I start planning and preparing in November–I print out my list of cookie recipients, buy cookie tins and shipping boxes, stock up on ingredients, and make my (ambitious) list of cookie recipes I want to bake. I like to bake different cookies every year to keep […]

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Basics: How to Make Cream Cheese Pastry Dough

cream cheese pastry dough

I’m back with one more “basics” post before the Thanksgiving festivities begin. Today, I’m showing you how to make cream cheese pastry dough. This is a great dough to start with if you are new to making dough from scratch because it comes together easily and is a dream to roll out. Cream cheese pastry dough was the first dough I learned how to make and it took me no time to master it. Like all butter pie dough, I like to make cream cheese pastry dough in the food processor because it comes together quickly, with just a few pulses and a […]

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Basics: How to Make Pumpkin Purée

pumpkin purée

We have arrived at this week’s last “basics” post. Today, I’m showing you how to make homemade pumpkin purée. I know this is not an Italian recipe, and I’m breaking my all-Italian-recipes “rule”, but around Thanksgiving, I start making many of my favorite, traditional American recipes.  Italians do eat many varieties of winter zucca (squash) which they use in velvety zuppe (soups) and fillings for ravioli, tortelli, and other stuffed pasta. I’m making a pumpkin pie for our Thanksgiving dessert table this year, and I wanted to make my filling with fresh pumpkin. Homemade pumpkin purée couldn’t be easier to make. Sure, opening […]

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Basics: How to Make All Butter Pie Dough

basic pie dough

Welcome to this week’s second “basics” post! Not long ago, I decided to stop being intimidated by the idea of making all-butter pie dough and taught myself through (a lot of) trial and (even more) error. Pie dough is one of those recipes that strikes fear in the hearts of many home cooks and bakers. I can empathize; I’ve been there, too. I used store-bought pie dough for years and avoided making it from scratch like it was my job. But…I finally learned and that’s what’s important! I got help with technique from my mother-in-law, Eleanor, who has been making pie dough […]

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