Braised Lentils with Sausage

lentils with sausage

Buon anno! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Years. It was lovely being home for Christmas this year after traveling overseas the last two years. Although being in Italy for Christmas and New Years is at the top of my “favorites” list, I did miss putting up our Christmas tree, baking cookies, and sending out Christmas cards. We will no doubt go to Italy for the holidays again, but it was nice to take a break and stay home this year. Like the past few years, I am taking January “off” from non-essential commitments and focusing on […]

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Baked Rigatoni with Zucchini and Ham

baked rigatoni

How have we already arrived to the end of the year?! I’m always surprised once the holiday season arrives despite knowing that it is approaching. I’ve never been one to begin preparing for Christmas mid-year, but I’m starting to think that isn’t such a bad idea. I started this month feeling under the weather for two weeks straight which put me behind on everything I have wanted to do for Christmas, including publishing more blog posts. As much as I love the holidays, it is also the time of year that I feel the most overwhelmed. The pressure is completely self-imposed […]

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A Cooking Class with Domenica Marchetti

At the end of last month, my fellow food blogging friend and cookbook author, Domenica Marchetti came to Houston to teach a cooking class at the Italian Cultural and Community Center where I volunteer. Ever since starting as a volunteer cooking instructor at the ICCC last year, I have enjoyed working with Erika, the center’s programs and events director, to brainstorm ideas for new cooking classes. Last month, I suggested reaching out to Domenica to see if she would be willing to come teach a class at the ICCC, and to our delight, she accepted our invitation! If you follow […]

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Fusilli alla Sorrentina

fusilli alla sorrentina

Every Tuesday, after preparing my breakfast, I sit down to read Rachel Roddy’s weekly online column in The Guardian. This has been my weekly ritual since her first article appeared in October 2015. In addition to being a gifted writer and an engaging cooking teacher, Rachel is an avid learner. Her Instagram feed regularly showcases books she is reading–many of them cookbooks and books on food writing. Thanks to Rachel, I have discovered many new-to-me cookbook authors and food writers who have expanded my knowledge of not just Italian cooking, but also food writing and Italian food history. Despite my decent cooking abilities, […]

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Olive all’Ascolana

olive all'ascolana

Welcome to the July edition of Cucina Conversations! Our group recently decided to publish quarterly instead of monthly due to our busy schedules, but the quality and creativity of our posts will stay the same, and we have some exciting topics for upcoming editions. This month, our topic is “stuffed”, a cooking preparation Italians are especially adept at, and includes a wide range of foods: stuffed pastas such as tortellini, ravioli, and agnolotti; seasonal vegetables hollowed out and filled with a savory meat mixture; involtini, cutlets of beef, pork, or veal rolled around a filling of prosciutto and cheese; and pastries such as krapfen, airy doughnuts […]

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Spring Orzo Salad

spring orzo salad

Welcome to the April edition of Cucina Conversations! To welcome the arrival of spring, the longer days, and the warmer temperatures (finally!), we are featuring insalate (salads) as our topic. For the past couple of weeks, many of my friends and favorite food bloggers in Italy have been posting photos and stories on Instagram of their trips to the mercati (markets), where every stall is overflowing with an abundance of spring vegetables: fave, asparagus, radishes, agretti, peas, and the first zucchine. Shopping at my grocery store is decidedly less charming than shopping in one of Italy’s open air markets, but here, state-side too, spring […]

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