Healthy Italian Cooking at Home

Category Archives: tuna

FVG 8

In Italy’s north eastern corner lies the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. This small region sits on the Adriatic coast with the Alps bordering it and Austria to the north and Slovenia to the east. Friuli Venezia Giulia cuisine is known as a composite of peasant fare and sophisticated Venetian food with influences from the Slavic and Austrian cultures. Despite these vastly different styles of cooking, this region manages to merge them successfully. The region is also the birthplace of grappa and the source of an astounding variety of wines, despite its diminutive size. The town of San Daniele has produced an excellent prosciutto for centuries that rivals Parma’s.

FVG 3

Pasta is eaten in many different forms in the Friuli Venezia Giulia cuisine. Lasagna noodles are layered with poppy seeds. Gnocchi are made with potato, winter squash or plums. The filled pasta called bauletti contains ham and cheese. Like many other northern regions of Italy, polenta is a staple food. Stewed meats, game and cheese dishes are often served with it.

Bread is another staple food in the Friuli Venezia Giulia cuisine. In addition to wheat, rye and barley flour are used to make bread. Pumpkin bread is also commonly enjoyed. Gubana is a bread traditionally served for Easter. This rich bread resembles brioche and is filled with layers of cocoa and grappa flavored dried fruit and nuts. Bread is used to make canederli which are dumplings that are served in broth or as a side dish for meat. Potatoes and ricotta are used to fill a savory strudel called strukli.

Friuli Venezia Giulia recipes for soup are widely varied, including many kinds of vegetables, beans, seafood and meat. Boreto alla graisana, or turbot chowder seasoned with garlic, olive oil and vinegar, is served at the port of Grado. Fasûj e uardi is a herb flavored barley soup, thick with beans, pork, onion and celery. Ham and beans are cooked with potatoes and corn to make bòbici. Jota is a soup made from sauerkraut, beans, sausages and potatoes cooked with sage and garlic. Even turtles are made into soup in Friuli Venezia Giulia.

The southern section of Friuli Venezia Giulia lies along the coast where seafood dishes play an important role in the diet. Granzevola alla triestina is a dish of baked spider crab with bread seasoned with lemon, garlic and parsley. Shrimp, squid and mussels are simmered with rice in fish broth to make risotto di Marano. The most popular fish in Friuli Venezia Giulia is turbot, while sardines, eels and cod are preserved in salt and served in many different ways.

fogolar

The fogolar is an open-hearth oven with a cone-shaped chimney used for cooking. Most often, mushrooms, sausages, lamb, kid, poultry and beef are grilled on a fogolar. Stewed meats are commonly prepared in Friuli Venezia Giulia cooking. Venison and rabbit are cooked in a wine sauce called salmi. Gulasch, a beef and pepper stew flavored with hot peppers, onions, paprika and tomato, is served with polenta. Other meat dishes include rambasici or stuffed cabbage and patties of mixed beef and pork known as cevàpcici. Muset e bruada is a sausage made from pork rind, first boiled and then fried in salt pork, onions and garlic. Bruada (pickled turnips) are served as a condiment with this dish. Sauerkraut and horseradish are served with sausage dishes.

Gubana is a rich yeast-raised cake rolled up jelly roll style before placing in a round pan to bake. Its cinnamon flavored filling contains dried and candied fruit, nuts and chocolate. Presnitz, another dried, candied fruit and nut filled pastry, is coiled like a snake before baking. Apple strudel is prepared with pine nuts and raisins. Chestnuts are used in Castagnoli cookies. Chifeleti, or biscuits made with potato enriched dough, and pumpkin fritters called fritulis are fried treats.

friuli-venezia-giulia 1

The region has an outstanding reputation for its white wines which account for just over 60% of its output. A mixture of local and international grape varieties are grown with great success here. The region’s winemakers are forward-thinking, even pioneering the “Friuli method”, a modern technique for getting juice off the skins quickly.

Friuli holds two DOCGs for its unique dessert wines. Ramandolo, a little known sweet white, whose Verduzzo grapes are grown on the hills to the north of Udine, was the first to be awarded its status. Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit, a delicate amber wine made from the aromatic Picolit grape, became DOCG in 2006. There are ten DOCs wines in Friuli and two of these are considered to be exceptional – Collio Goriziano, which is usually known simply as Collio, and Friuli Colli Orientali. Quality is also excellent in the Friuli Isonzo DOC area, where some dry whites are made from Gewurztraminer, Pinot Grigio and Riesling, as well as some semi-dry and sparkling wines. Tocai Friuliano has been an important variety historically. The grape is now commonly known as Friuliano following a European court ruling to avoid confusion with the Hungarian wine Tokaji. The region has had great success with its single varietal white wines, such as Malvasia Istriana, Ribolla Gialla and Verduzzo, whereas Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Bianco from the region tend to be refined.

Some excellent reds are Cabernet and Pinot Nero, as well as vendemmia tardiva (late harvest) blends. Red wines from Friuli have tended to be single varietal wines made from Italian grapes like Refosco, as well as Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Nero. Historically, they were light and not designed for cellaring. But this is a region where experimentation and forward thinking in the winery is as much part of the routine as following traditional techniques are in other parts of Italy. Consequently, there are some fine blends on the market, often aged in oak barrels. The resultant wines have great depth and complexity and a firm structure that ensures they are capable of ageing.

FVG

Dinner Menu

FVG 2
Canederli in Broth

Ingredients

For the dumplings:

  • 300 g (10 oz) stale bread, diced 
  • 225 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 60 g (½ cup) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 3 tablespoons (minced) flat leaf parsley
  • 200 g (7 oz) Italian Fontina cheese, diced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 12 cups of vegetable or chicken broth (for boiling)

For the broth:

  • 1 cup per serving of extra vegetable or chicken broth
  • Grated Parmigiano cheese
  • Chives, thinly sliced

Directions

Put the stale bread into a large mixing bowl. Add the milk, the eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix well and let it rest for at least two hours, covered with a tea towel, in a cool place or in the refrigerator. Stir occasionally. After the two hours, add the flour, then the parsley and the cheese. Mix gently and set aside.

Heat the oil and butter and cook the onion for ten minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Let the onion cool off, then incorporate it into the flour mixture. Let the mixture rest for another half an hour covered with a tea towel. It should look uniformly moist and slightly sticky.

Using your hands, form the canederli by pressing together enough of the mixture to make balls the size of a small orange. You should be able produce 14-16 balls out of the entire mix.
After making each ball, roll it in flour to seal the outside and prevent the canederli from sticking to each other. When all the canederli are ready, re-roll them into flour and compress them a second time.

Boil the vegetable or chicken broth in a large pot. Place the canederli gently in the pot, wait until the boil is resumed. Boil the canederli for 12-15 minutes (they will be floating the whole time), then drain them gently.

To prepare the canederli in broth:

Heat 1 cup per serving of vegetable or chicken broth (as the one used for boiling will be cloudy because of the flour). Place two to three canederli into each soup bowl, then pour the broth over them. Garnish with grated Parmigiano cheese and chives.

FVG 5

Grilled Tuna with Crushed Fennel Seed

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 fresh tuna steaks, 1 inch thick (about 2 pounds total)
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Lemons for garnish

Directions

Marinate the tuna for 1 hour with the fennel seeds, finely chopped fresh parsley, 2 tablespoons olive oil and the lemon juice before grilling.

Prepare a hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill for 15 minutes on high.

Season tuna with salt and pepper. Place the tuna steaks on the grill and cook, sprinkled with a bit more fennel seeds if desired, until deep black grid marks appear, 6 to 7 minutes on each side. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and serve with lemon slices.

FVG 7

Half-moon Potatoes – Kipfel De Patate

Ingredients

Servings 6

  • 2 lb potatoes
  • 1/2 lb all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ oz butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Olive oil 
  • Salt to taste

Directions

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender. Once cooked, peel the potatoes and mash them. Add salt and let cool. Once cool, add the butter and egg yolk.

Then add the flour and mix well until you have a smooth mixture. Roll spoonfuls of the mixture into pieces as thick as your little finger and 3 to 4 inches long. Then, shape them into half moons.

Saute the moons in hot oil for a couple of minutes until they puff up a little and are golden in color – a sign of a crispy exterior. Serve the half-moon potatoes hot, sprinkled with salt.

FVG 6

Cappuccio in Insalata – Cabbage Salad

4 servings

Ingredients:

  • A medium cabbage, cored and finely shredded
  • A 1/2 inch thick slice of San Daniele prosciutto
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Melt butter over medium heat in a small skillet and add the diced prosciutto. Saute just until the prosciutto begins to brown. Remove from heat.
Combine the cabbage and the crisped prosciutto in a bowl, mix well and season to taste with salt, pepper and a dash of vinegar.

FVG 4

Gubana

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 oz butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons grappa

Filling

  • 4 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 cup Marsala
  • 5 oz walnuts, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons almonds, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 oz candied lemon and orange peel
  • 1 tablespoon plain breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg, separated plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 lemon 
  • 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Butter for greasing pan
  • 1 tablespoon flour

To make the pastry

In a food processor place the flour and 1 1/2 oz. of butter, a whole egg and the grappa. Remove and form into a ball, then flatten it into a rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest while you make the filling.

To make the filling

Let the raisins soften in the Marsala for about 30 minutes and squeeze out the excess liqueur. Put the walnuts, almonds, raisins, pine nuts and candied peel into a bowl.

Saute the bread crumbs in the 2 tablespoons butter and mix it into the nuts with the grated rinds of the orange and lemon. Mix well. Add one egg yolk.

Beat egg white until stiff and fold it into the nut mixture.

To make the pastry

Roll out the pastry into a thin rectangle. Spread the filling on top of it. Roll (jelly roll style) and fold in the filling from the long side of the rectangle. Place the dough rolled up into a spiral and set in a buttered and floured round baking pan or casserole dish. Brush with the remaining egg yolk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake the gubana in the oven at 375°F for about 50 minutes.

 

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BalancedLunch

Eating a healthful lunch can help control blood glucose, hunger and weight. Lunch is a chance to keep you full until dinner and fit in some important food groups. Get more mileage out of your lunch by including fiber from whole grains and protein from low-fat dairy products and other lean protein sources.

Build a Balanced Lunch

Studies show people who tote their meals with them weigh less, eat more healthfully and spend less money.

When compiling your midday meal, remember this simple formula, even at home: whole grain + dairy/protein +vegetables = healthy lunch.

Include whole grains for the starch portion of your meal. You’ll get hearty satisfaction from grains with all their fiber and nutrients intact. This will be your main carbohydrate source.
The dairy/protein digests more slowly than carbohydrates, helping you feel satisfied and adding staying power to your lunch. Vegetables add color, flavor and antioxidants to your meal.

If you love sandwiches, use a variety of whole-grain breads, pitas and wraps. Choose lean fillings like sliced eggs, tuna fish, cheese or lean meats. Then add interest to your sandwiches with assorted greens, fresh basil, sliced cucumbers, onions, pickled peppers and tomatoes.

But sandwiches are far from your only option when you’re brown-bagging it. Last night’s dinner, anything you enjoy at home can, be packed up and eaten for lunch. In fact, you might want to make extra food for dinner, so you’ll have leftovers to bring for lunch. Leftovers are the perfect food to pack and take for lunch because you can control the portions and calories in the meal to ensure it will be nutritious, filling and delicious.

For example, pack the leftovers from last night’s casserole into a reusable container that can be microwaved at the office. Add some carrot, celery and pepper strips for a hearty and satisfying lunch. To take this idea a bit further, try cooking in bulk. On the weekend, make a big pot of chili, chicken noodle soup or rice and beans and freeze into individual portions that are ready to take to work in a flash.

Keep it cold. For safety’s sake, pack lunch with a reusable ice pack.

Pasta Lover’s Lunch Salad. Make the salad with lean meat or fish, some cubed or shredded cheese (for protein), lots of vegetables to boost fiber and nutrition and usevwhole wheat or whole-grain pasta. Toss everything together with a vinaigrette made with extra virgin olive oil or canola oil. Pack into individual lunch containers.

Mediterranean Pita Pocket. Fill a whole wheat pita with homemade or store-bought hummus, tabouleh and sliced cooked chicken. All you need is a piece of fruit to round out the meal.

Fruit and Cheese Plate. Fill a divided plastic container with assorted cubes or slices of cheese and easy-to-eat fruit, such as apple and pear slices, grapes, berries or melon. Add some whole-wheat crackers to your lunch.

Everything Is Better on a Mini Bagel. Whole-wheat bagels are a wonderful foundation for sandwiches that stand up to being in a backpack or desk all morning. Start with two mini bagels. Add tuna, smoked salmon, oven baked turkey or roast beef. Top it off with cheese, fresh tomato, onion and Romaine lettuce. Two mini bagels can supply 6 grams of fiber to the meal.

Enjoy Lunch Salads. A plastic container can hold the makings of a delicious salad lunch. For a Cobb salad, fill it with spinach or chopped dark green lettuce, chopped hard-boiled egg, shredded cheese, lean ham or turkey. Or toss in the ingredients for a chicken salad: dark salad greens, shredded chicken, shredded carrots, sliced green onion and toasted sliced almonds. Pack the dressing separately and add it to the salad just before eating.

Lunches at Home

Include more whole foods and choose lunch items with higher amounts of fiber and nutrients (like calcium, protein and vitamin C). Include fewer processed foods such as cookies, chips and snacks, which have higher sodium, added sugar and saturated fat.

spicypoachedegg

Spicy Poached Eggs

5 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 hot pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 large eggs

Directions
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, onions and peppers. Stirring occasionally, cook until the onion starts to turn translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, paprika, oregano, cayenne and salt. Add the tomato mixture to the skillet with the onions and peppers and stir. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Make 5 hollows in the tomato mixture and carefully crack the eggs into each hole. Cover and cook until the eggs set, 5 to 7 minutes. Serve hot with a small whole wheat roll.

spanakopita-quiche-h-4

Spanakopita Quiche

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained well
  • 1 (9-inch) pie crust (homemade or store-bought) 
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup lowfat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried dill 

Directions
Heat oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 6 minutes.

Add spinach and stir until spinach is dry, about 3 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place pie crust in a 9-inch quiche dish or pie pan. Press into the pan, sealing any cracks. Crimp the edges.

Mix flour with Parmesan cheese and sprinkle over bottom of the crust, followed by the crumbled feta cheese. Top with spinach mixture.

Beat eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg in large bowl to blend. Pour over spinach.

Place pie pan on a baking sheet and bake about 50 minutes or until the top is set and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly. Cut in to wedges and serve.

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Chicken Salad with Apple and Basil

4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 4 scallions (white and light green parts), thinly sliced
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

Directions
Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Pound it to an even thinness between pieces of plastic wrap.

Place the chicken in a large, wide saucepan and add enough water to cover by 1/2 inch. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until no trace of pink remains, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl of ice water for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the lime juice, vinegar and brown sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the scallions and apples and toss.

Drain the chicken and pat it dry. Dice the chicken and add it to the apple mixture along with the peanuts, basil and remaining salt and pepper. Toss and divide among individual plates.

unhealthy lunch

Unhealthy lunch

Lunches For Work

Taking a healthy lunch to work is one of the simplest ways to trim your budget. Most people think nothing of spending $10 or so for a restaurant lunch, but over the course of a month — or a year — the expense can really add up.
Beyond the cost savings, most meals packed at home are healthier than foods from restaurants or fast food counters. When we eat out, we’re often faced with huge portions and fattening extras — like the french fries that routinely come with sandwiches. But when you pack lunch at home, you can control your portions and choose healthier ingredients.

tuna

Tuscan Tuna Wrap

2 servings

Ingredients

  • 4-5 ounces tuna packed in olive oil, drained
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons chopped black olives
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • 2 whole-wheat wraps
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach leaves

Directions

Break up the tuna in a mixing bowl and mix in the parsley, lemon, oil, tomatoes, olives, salt and pepper.  Divide the mixture between the wraps, top with spinach leaves and roll up. Wrap the sandwiches tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

pesto-turkey-club-1994854-x

Pesto Turkey Sandwich

If you would like a little crunch in your sandwich, add a slice of cooked turkey bacon.

1 serving

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons prepared pesto
  • 2 slices pumpernickel bread
  • 2 ounces sliced turkey
  • 2 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 4 slices tomato

Directions
Spread pesto on the bread. Top 1 bread slice with turkey, lettuce, tomato and top with the remaining bread slice. Place in a large plastic sanwich bag.

corn salad

Corn & Black Bean & Mango Salad

Make ahead salad to pack for lunch. Serve with healthy toasted corn tortillas.

4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups frozen corn, defrosted and drained
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (pignoli)
  • Lime wedges for garnish

Directions
Whisk lime juice, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the corn, beans, cabbage, tomato, mango, parsley and onion; toss to coat. Sprinkle nuts on top. Refrigerate in lunch containers with a lime wedge.

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Cliff_at_Tropea,_Italy,_Sep_2005

Calabria is at the toe of the boot, the extreme south of Italy – lapped by the crystal blue Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas and separated from Sicily by the Strait of Messina. The warm climate, the beautiful colors of the sea, rocky coasts that alternate with sandy beaches, the classic flavors of local foods and the vestiges of its ancient origins make Calabria a unique place in both winter and summer. The provinces of Calabria are: Catanzaro (regional capital), Reggio Calabria, Cosenza, Crotone and Vibo Valentia.

With farmland sparse in Calabria, every viable plot is cultivated to its greatest advantage. Tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, artichokes, beans, onions, peppers, asparagus, melons, citrus fruits, grapes, olives, almonds, figs and mountain-loving herbs grow well in the area. Calabrians tend to focus on the high quality of their ingredients, so that virtually everything picked from a garden is useable and worthy of praise.

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Calabrians use the mountainous area covering most of the region to raise pigs, goats and sheep and comb the woods for chestnuts, acorns and wild mushrooms to add rustic flavors to their cooking.

Fishermen have little trouble finding swordfish, cod and sardines and shrimp and lobster are common on their tables. The inland freshwater lakes and streams offer trout in abundance.

Due to the humid climate and the high risk of rapid molding and spoilage, food preservation has become a fine art in Calabria. Oiling, salting, curing, smoking – almost all of the area’s food products can be found preserved in some form or another. Calabria’s many varieties of cured meats and sausages are served alongside fresh produce and the local pancetta pairs perfectly with plump melons in summer.

Calabrians do their best to utilize the entire animal, so the fact that the organ meats are so prized by locals comes as no great surprise. The spicy-hot tang of nduja (also known as ‘ndugghi) is both a complex and singularly unusual flavor. Made from pig’s fat and organ meats mixed with liberal local pepperoncinis, this salami-style delicacy is a testament to the Calabrian patience in waiting until foods have reached their perfection. In this case, waiting for the salami to cure for an entire year. Other salamis such as capicola calabrese and soppressata di calabria also come from the region and are served alongside local breads, cheeses and Calabrian wines.

Spelinga_Nduja

Nduja

Breads, cheeses and pastas are all important to Calabrian cooking. Cheeses lean toward the goat and/or sheep milk varieties, though cow’s milk cheeses are becoming more common. Pane del pescatore (“fisherman’s bread”) is a local specialty rich with eggs and dried fruits. Focaccia and pita breads are popular in the region, due to Greek and Arabic influences. Greek influence still pervades in eggplant, swordfish and sweets by incorporating figs, almonds and honey into the preparations. Similarly, special pastries and desserts take on a Greek flavor with many being fried and dipped in honey.

Calabrian pastas are hearty and varied, with the names of some of the more creative cuts, like ricci di donna (or “curls of the lady”) and capieddi ‘e prieviti (or “hairs of the priest”), belying a whimsical spirit of the region’s people. Fusilli is a common pasta component in Calabrian dishes, as are scilateddri, lagane, cavateddri and maccheroni.

Wine is not produced in huge quantities in the region, though the small batches are excellent in flavor and heavily influenced by Greek varieties. Ciró wines are produced using the same ancient varieties of grapes, as wines produced in antiquity for local heroes of the Olympic games. The grapes are still grown primarily in the Cosenza province of Calabria and Ciró wines often take up to four years to reach maturity. Calabria also turns out sweet whites, such as Greco di Bianco.

hot peppers

Calabrian hot pepper is found in many Calabrian dishes – toasted bread with n’duja sausage or sardines, pork sausages, pasta sauces and fish dishes will have hot pepper added.  A fondness for spicy food shows in the popularity of all types of peppers and, unusual for Italy, the use of ginger (zenzero), which is added to spice up sauces (along with hot pepper). Some Calabrian chicken and fish recipes also include ginger.

Antipasto

stuffedmush1

Ricotta Stuffed Mushrooms

  • One dozen mushroom caps
  • 1 cup well-drained skim milk ricotta
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino cheese
  • 2 teaspoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Fresh parsley or basil, chopped, for garnishing

Directions

Preheat the oven at 400 degrees F.

Remove stems from mushrooms and set the caps side. Use the stems for soup or other recipes.

Thoroughly combine the next five ingredients -ricotta through pepper- in a mixing bowl.

Coat a baking dish just large enough to hold the 12 mushrooms with olive oil cooking spray.

Stuff each cap with ricotta filling. Sprinkle the tops lightly with breadcrumbs.

Place the stuffed mushroom caps in the baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake at 400 degrees F  20 minutes for large caps, 15 minutes for small caps. Garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

First Course

pasta_alla_calabrese

Calabrian Sugo – Tomato Sauce

Makes 2 ½ cups

This is a basic Calabrian sauce that is the foundation of many dishes. It can be served on its own with any pasta shape. It can also be the starting point for the addition of many other ingredients. You can use fresh tomatoes or canned.

Ingredients:

  • 28-ounce can of peeled tomatoes in their juice or 3 ½ cups of peeled, chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 large basil leaves
  • Salt
  • 1 fresh or dried hot red pepper or a large pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound rigatoni

Directions:

If you are using canned tomatoes, break them up by hand. If you prefer a smoother sauce, puree them in a food processor or blender.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until golden, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, basil, salt and hot pepper.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Combine pasta with sauce and serve.

Second Course

tuna

Trance di Tonno alla Calabrese (Tuna Steaks Calabrese Style)

Ingredients

  • 4 tuna steaks (about 2 pounds and 1 inch thick)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Directions

Place the tuna in a large large dish in a single layer, sprinkle with three tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper.

Add bay leaves and garlic cloves and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the tuna to marinate in the refrigerator for at least six hours, occasionally turning the tuna.

Remove the tuna from the marinade.

Heat a large skillet until very hot and cook the tuna together with the lemon wedges, for approximately six minutes depending on thickness of the fillets or until the fish done to your likeness.

Sprinkle with black pepper and extra virgin olive oil before serving.

sauteed-escarole-with-raisins-pine-nuts-and-capers-104912-ss

Sautéed Escarole

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients

  • One head of fresh escarole, washed thoroughly
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Directions

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the escarole and cook until the stem pieces start to soften, about 2 minutes (the water needn’t return to a boil). Drain.

In a 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic browns slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the garlic with tongs and discard.

Add the pine nuts, raisins, capers and crushed red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the pine nuts are golden and the raisins puff, about 1 minute.

Add the escarole, increase the heat to medium high, and cook, tossing often, until heated through and tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and season to taste with salt or more hot pepper.

Dessert

crostata light marmellata

Devil’s Tart (Crostata del Diavolo)

Sweet and hot are popular combinations in southern Italy, as evidenced by this tart. Chile jam is readily available from mail order sources. You can also roll the top crust out and fit it over the filling instead of making a lattice top.

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces soft butter
  • 5 ounces sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 11 ounces flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 5 ounces orange marmalade or apricot jam
  • 4 ounces red chile jam (Marmellata di Peperoncino)
  • 4 ounces almonds, blanched and chopped
  • Confectioner’s (powdered) sugar

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and mix well. Add the egg yolks, egg and lemon peel.

In another bowl, combine the flour and baking powder and slowly add to the butter-sugar-egg-mixture.

Divide the dough in half. Roll one half of the dough on a floured surface to fit a tart or pie pan and fit the dough into the pan.

Spread the fruit jam evenly over the dough in the pie dish and, then, spread the chile jam evenly on top of the orange jam. Sprinkle with the almonds.

Roll the other half of the dough to the size of the top of the tart pan on a floured surface. Cut the dough into one inch strips and lay the strips on top of the filling in a lattice pattern.

Bake the tart for about 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool on a rack and dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving.

marmellata-di-peperoncino

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What goes great with pasta? Fish! Pasta makes an excellent companion for seafood for many reasons. Percatelli, a thick spaghetti, goes especially well with a spicy tomato sauce made with clams, mussels and shrimp. Fettuccine is superb served in the classic Southern Italian-style, topped with little neck clams in a red sauce flavored with hot crushed peppers. Thin spaghettini is delicious with a garlic sauce made with mussels, parsley and white wine. All these are easy supper dishes for chilly winter nights. They are substantial and restorative, yet easy on the digestion, because they are high in carbohydrates.

Today’s healthy pasta meals have roots that stretch back to ancient times. Thousands of years ago, people ground wheat, mixed it with water to make a wheat paste, dried it and then boiled it to go with meat. Today’s diners welcome pasta to their tables for its versatility and convenience, just as nutrition scientists now recognize pasta meals for their place in healthy diets. A healthy pasta meal features two key factors: what you pair with your pasta and how much pasta you put on your plate. Pay attention to serving portions in healthy pasta recipes, as a guideline to how much you should eat.

Pasta is an ideal partner for healthy ingredients such as vegetables, beans, herbs, fish, nuts and extra virgin olive oil and pasta’s versatility allows for almost endless preparations. Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean way of eating reduces the risk of heart disease. It’s generally accepted that in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, people live longer and suffer less than most Americans from cancer and cardiovascular ailments. The not-so-surprising secret is an active lifestyle, weight control and a diet low in red meat, sugar and saturated fat and high in produce, nuts and other healthful foods.

Some of the most delicious seafood dishes in the world—from spaghetti with mussels to tagliolini with shrimp and radicchio—can be found in Italy. Regional recipes for salt-water fish—and sometimes for fresh-water fish from Italy’s many lakes, rivers and streams—are some of the most celebrated dishes in Italian cuisine.

It is well known that eating fresh fish is one of the healthiest ways to make sure you and your family are getting your daily supply of proteins and minerals; so serving fish and fish-based pastas are always a wise choice. Fish is relatively economical—especially when part of a pasta dish. Many fish pasta dishes are delicious, visually appealing and, yet, very easy and quick to prepare.

The secret to a perfect plate of pasta is often in its simplicity and in using a very small number of ingredients. Combine just a few really good—meaning fresh, locally produced ingredients, cook them quickly and you’ll always get great results. The few basic ingredients for some of the best Italian recipes are extra virgin olive oil, garlic, parsley, tomatoes and often dry white wine and chili peppers. When these essentials of Italian cuisine are combined with beautiful fresh fish, you can be sure that a delicious dinner is waiting for you.

fettuccine-with-baby-artichokes-and-shrimp-R082429-ss

Fettuccine with Artichokes and Shrimp

4 servings

Ingredients

Shrimp Broth

  • 3 cups water
  • Shells from 1 pound of shrimp
  • 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 slice lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Pasta

  • 8 ounces whole wheat or whole grain fettuccine
  • 9-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and halved lengthwise
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound shrimp in shells, peeled and deveined (reserve shells for broth)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup Shrimp Broth
  • 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh Italian parsley
  • 4 slices Italian country loaf bread or other hearty bread, toasted
  • Lemon halves, and or wedges

Directions

Shrimp Broth

In a large saucepan, combine water, the reserved shells from the 1 pound of shrimp, parsley, lemon and ground black pepper. Bring to boiling over high heat; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Strain and set aside until serving time.

Pasta

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.

In a large skillet heat oil and cook garlic for 30 seconds. Add artichokes to the skillet and cook for 1 minute. Add shrimp and wine to the skillet. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Stir in tomatoes, red pepper, shrimp broth, lemon peel, salt, nutmeg and cooked pasta; heat through. Mix in the parsley.

To serve, place bread slices in 4 shallow soup bowls. Divide pasta mixture among 4 bowls. Add additional shrimp broth, as desired. Squeeze lemon over pasta mixture.

salmon-with-whole-wheat-pasta-R105149-ss

Salmon with Whole Wheat Spaghetti

4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen (defrosted) skinless salmon fillets, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 medium yellow and/or red sweet bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup snipped fresh basil

Directions

Rinse salmon; pat dry with paper towels. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a 15x10x1-inch baking pan combine pepper pieces and tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with half of the rosemary, the salt and black pepper. Toss to coat. Roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain and keep warm.

Remove baking pan from oven. Combine wine and balsamic vinegar and stir into vegetable mixture. Add salmon pieces to the baking pan and turn to coat in the wine mixture. Return to the oven and bake about 10-15 minutes more or until salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork.

To serve, divide pasta among four plates. Top pasta with vegetable mixture and sprinkle with basil. Place salmon on vegetables and sprinkle with remaining rosemary.

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Tuna Puttanesca

4 servings

Ingredients

  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces whole wheat or whole grain penne
  • 5 to 6 oz. can Italian tuna packed in oil, not drained
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons capers, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced black and/or green olives 
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups homemade or store bought marinara sauce
  • Small bunch fresh basil leaves, torn into large pieces

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.

Pour tuna oil from the can into a saucepan and heat. Flake tuna and set aside.

Add garlic and onion to heated oil; saute until onion is soft. Add tuna, capers, olives, crushed red pepper and marinara sauce. Stir to combine and heat to a simmer; adjust salt to taste.

Drain pasta and return to pot. Add tuna mixture; toss gently. Sprinkle with basil.

linguine-clam-ay-1875389-l

Linguine with Red Clam Sauce

6 servings

Ingredients

  • 12 oz whole wheat linguine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 cups homemade or store bought marinara sauce
  • 4 (6 oz.) cans chopped clams, undrained
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook linguine, stirring often, until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain thoroughly in a colander.

Heat oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in red wine and boil until syrupy, about 4 minutes. Stir in marinara sauce and clams with their juice and heat until simmering, about 10 minutes.

Add cooked pasta and parsley to clam sauce in skillet. Toss to coat pasta thoroughly.

scallops-tomatoes-oh-1896038-l

Scallops and Pasta in Lemon Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 12 large scallops
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup plum tomatoes, diced
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 ounces whole grain thin spaghetti

Directions

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.

Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallops to the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste; cook 3 minutes on each side. Remove scallops from the pan; keep warm.

Add the remaining olive oil, garlic and shallots to the skillet; cook 15 seconds. Add wine and the next 3 ingredients to the pan. Allow to simmer over low heat for about 3 minutes. Add parsley and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Add cooked pasta and toss. Place pasta in serving bowls and top with scallops.

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Military Leadership is a fundamental ingredient of warfare, without which the outcome of a combat operation cannot be assured. The leader is the brain, the motive power of command, upon whom subordinates rely for guidance and wisdom, and depend upon for good judgment. The leader must be determined, unflappable and charismatic; confident in delegation of authority; able to combine the various strands of command into a common thread; seasoned, intelligent, and thoughtful. (Oxford University Press)

Bartolomeo Colleoni by Stefano Bolognini

Napoleon Bonaparte

“The Gauls were not conquered by the Roman legions, but by Caesar. It was not before the Carthaginian soldiers that Rome was made to tremble, but before Hannibal. It was not the Macedonian phalanx which reached India, but Alexander. It was not the French army that reached Weser and the Inn; it was Turenne. Prussia was not defended for seven years against the three most formidable European powers by the Prussian soldiers but by Frederick the Great.”

William Shakespeare

“In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man

As modest stillness and humility;

But when the blast of war blows in our ears,

Then imitate the action of the tiger:

Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood.”

Giuseppe Garibaldi

“I offer neither pay, nor quarters, nor food; I offer only hunger, thirst, forced marches, battles and death. Let him who loves his country with his heart, and not merely his lips, follow me.”

Winston Churchill

“We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.”

File:Luigi P. di Cesnola.jpg

Luigi Palma di Cesnola

The first Italian American to receive the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor was Luigi Palma di Cesnola, a Union general in the Civil War, who later became the first director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Luigi Palma di Cesnola was born the second son of a count and military officer at Rivarolo Canavese in the Kingdom of Sardinia, Italy. In 1848 Luigi joined the Sardinian army at the age of 15 and served in the First Italian War of Independence. During the battle of Novara on 23 March 1849, he was decorated for bravery and promoted to the rank of second lieutenant. He graduated from the Royal Military Academy at Cherasco in 1851. In 1854 he was dismissed for unknown reasons and subsequently served with the British Army in the Crimean War as the aide-de-camp to General Enrico Fardella.

In 1858 he went to New York, where he first taught Italian and French. In February 1861 he married Mary Isabel Reid, the daughter of war hero, Commodore Samuel Chester Reid. He then founded a private military school for officers, where in six months he trained over seven hundred students.

In 1862, he took part in the American Civil War as colonel of a cavalry regiment. At the Battle of Aldie (June 1863), Colonel di Cesnola was wounded and taken prisoner. He received a Medal of Honor for his efforts during the battle. He was released from Libby Prison early in 1864, when the Union Agent for Prisoner Exchange offered a personal friend of Jefferson Davis as barter.

After the war, he was appointed United States Consul at Larnaca in Cyprus (1865–1877). During his stay on Cyprus, he carried out excavations (especially around the archaeological site of Kourion), which resulted in the discovery of a large number of antiquities. The collection was purchased by the newly expanded Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1872 and Cesnola became the first director in 1879. He held this position until his death in 1904.

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Giuseppe Garibaldi

Garibaldi led Italy to unification in 1861 and he was offered a command as Major General in the Union Army by President Lincoln. Garibaldi declined, but to honor him, the 39th New York Infantry was known as the Garibaldi Guard. About 150 of its 850 men were Italian and they fought in the Union Army from Bull Run to Appomattox.

Giuseppe Garibaldi was born and christened Joseph Marie Garibaldi on July 4, 1807 in Nice, which at the time was part of France, to Giovanni Domenico Garibaldi and Maria Rosa Nicoletta Raimondo. Garibaldi’s family’s involvement in coastal trade drew him to a life at sea. He was certified in 1832 as a merchant marine captain.

In April 1833 he travelled to Taganrog, Russia, in the schooner Clorinda and during ten days in port, he met Giovanni Battista Cuneo from Oneglia, a politically active immigrant and member of the secret La Giovine Italia / Young Italy movement of Giuseppe Mazzini. Mazzini was an impassioned proponent of Italian unification through political and social reform. Garibaldi joined the society and took an oath dedicating himself to the struggle to liberate and unify his homeland and free it from Austrian dominance. He joined the Carbonari revolutionary association and in February 1834 participated in a failed Mazzinian insurrection. A Genoese court sentenced him to death in absentia and he fled across the border to Marseille.

Soon after he sailed to Tunisia and eventually found his way to the Empire of Brazil. Once there he joined the rebels, known as the Ragamuffins, in the Ragamuffin War. During this war he met Ana Ribeiro da Silva (known as Anita). When the Ragamuffins tried to claim another republic in the Brazilian province of Santa Catarina in October 1839, she joined Garibaldi aboard his ship, Rio Pardo, and fought alongside him at the battles of Imbituba and Laguna.

In 1841, Garibaldi and Anita moved to Montevideo, Uruguay, where Garibaldi worked as a trader and schoolmaster. The couple married in Montevideo the following year. They had four children – Menotti (born 1840), Rosita (born 1843), Teresita (born 1845) and Ricciotti (born 1847). A skilled horsewoman, Anita is said to have taught Garibaldi about the gaucho culture of southern Brazil and Uruguay. Around this time, he adopted his trademark clothing, which consisted of the red shirt, poncho and sombrero commonly worn by the gauchos.

Garibaldi returned to Italy during the turmoil of the revolutions of 1848. In the unsuccessful First Italian War of Independence, he led his legion to two minor victories at Luino and Morazzone. In 1859, the Second Italian War of Independence (also known as the Austro-Sardinian War) broke out. Garibaldi was appointed major general and formed a volunteer unit, named the Hunters of the Alps. Garibaldi took up arms again in 1866 with support from the Italian government. The Austro-Prussian War had broken out and Italy had allied with Prussia against Austria-Hungary in the hope of taking Venetia from Austrian rule (Third Italian War of Independence). Garibaldi gathered again his Hunters of the Alps, now some 40,000 strong, and defeated the Austrians at Bezzecca.

Garibaldi’s popularity, his skill at rousing the common people and his military exploits are all credited with making the unification of Italy possible. He also served as a global exemplar of mid-19th century revolutionary nationalism and liberalism.

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Charles Camillo DeRudio

Carlo di Rudio was born in Belluno, Italy. He was the son of Count and Countess Aquila di Rudio. As a teenager, he attended an Austrian military academy in Milan and at the age of 15, di Rudio left to join the Italian patriots during the uprising in 1848. He participated in the defense of Rome and, later, of Venice against the Austrians. He was shipwrecked off Spain in an aborted attempt to sail to America. By 1855, he was living in east London (England) and had married Eliza, the 15-year-old daughter of a confectionist. They eventually had three daughters and two sons.

DeRudio immigrated to New York City in 1860. He became a private in the 79th New York Volunteers (“Highlanders”), serving about two months with them at the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia, between August 25 and October 17, 1864. On November 11, 1864, he was commissioned second lieutenant, 2nd U. S. Colored Infantry. DeRudio served with the 2nd U.S.C.T. in Florida until honorably mustered out of service on January 5, 1866.

After his Civil War service, DeRudio received an appointment to the 7th Cavalry on July 14, 1869, as a 37-year-old 2nd lieutenant. On June 25, 1876 DeRudio was with Company A and crossed the Little Bighorn River as part of Major Marcus Reno’s battalion. His company dismounted and fought in a skirmish against the Hunkpapa and Oglala warriors who rushed to defend their village from Reno’s attack. Under pressure from growing numbers of warriors, Reno ordered a retreat back across the river, where DeRudio lost his horse and was left behind in the timber on the western bank. For thirty-six hours, DeRudio and Private Thomas O’Neill remained hidden until the early hours of June 27 when they were finally able to cross the river, joining the Reno and Benteen command on Reno Hill.

DeRudio commanded a reformed Company E during the Nez Perce War of 1877 and continued service with the 7th Cavalry. He was promoted to captain on December 17, 1882, while stationed at Fort Meade, Dakota Territory. He later served at Fort Sam Houston, Texas and at Fort Bayard, New Mexico. He retired on August 26, 1896 with the grade of major to San Diego, California.

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John Basilone

Basilone, an Italian American Marine sergeant from New Jersey, fought at the Battle of Guadalcanal (1942), raised millions of dollars in war bonds and was killed in action during the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. He is the only enlisted Marine in U.S. history to receive both of the nation’s two highest military honors: the Navy Cross for valor and the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor for his service in World War II.

Basilone was born on November 4, 1916, the sixth of 10 children. His father, Salvatore Basilone, emigrated from Naples in 1903 and settled in Raritan, New Jersey. His mother, Dora Bencivenga, was born in 1889 and grew up in Manville, but her parents, Carlo and Catrina, also came from Naples. His parents met at a church gathering and married three years later. Basilone grew up in the nearby Raritan Town (now a borough of Raritan) where he attended St. Bernard Parochial School. After completing middle school at the age of 15, he dropped out prior to attending high school.

Basilone worked as a golf caddy for the local country club before joining the military. He enlisted in the United States Army and completed his three-year enlistment with service in the Philippines, where he was also a champion boxer. Upon returning home, he worked as a truck driver in Reisterstown, Maryland. After driving trucks for a few months, he wanted to go back to Manila and believed he could get there faster as a Marine than in the Army. He enlisted in the Marines in July 1940 from Baltimore, Maryland and went to recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island followed by training at Marine Corps Base Quantico and New River. The Corps sent him to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba for his next assignment and then to Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands as a member of Dog Company 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment 1st Marine Division.

During the Battle for Henderson Field, his unit came under attack by a regiment of approximately 3,000 soldiers from the Japanese Sendai Division. Japanese forces began a frontal attack using machine guns, grenades, and mortars against the American heavy machine guns. Basilone held off the Japanese soldiers attacking his position using only a .45 pistol. By the end of the engagement Japanese forces opposite their section of the line were virtually annihilated. For his actions during the battle, he received the United States military’s highest award for bravery, the Medal of Honor. After receiving the Medal of Honor, he returned to the United States and participated in a war bond tour. Although he appreciated the admiration, he felt out of place and requested a return to the operating forces fighting the war.

After his request to return to the fleet was approved, he was assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division during the invasion of Iwo Jima. On February 19, 1945, he was serving as a machine gun section leader against Japanese forces on Red Beach II. With his unit pinned down, Basilone made his way around the side of the Japanese positions and attacked with grenades and demolitions, single-handedly destroying their entire strongpoint and its defending garrison. He then fought his way toward Airfield Number 1 and aided an American tank that was trapped in an enemy mine field under intense mortar and artillery barrages. He guided the heavy vehicle over the hazardous terrain to safety, despite heavy weapons fire from the Japanese. As he moved along the edge of the airfield, he was killed by Japanese mortar shrapnel. His actions helped Marines penetrate the Japanese defense and get off the landing beach during the critical early stages of the invasion. For his valor during the battle of Iwo Jima, he was posthumously approved for the Marine Corps’ second-highest decoration for bravery, the Navy Cross. He was interred in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia and his grave can be found in Section 12.

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Anthony Zinni

General Zinni, a veteran Marine and the son of Italian immigrants, commanded Operation Desert Fox and the U.S. bombing of Iraq in 1998. It was the largest U.S. offensive since the Gulf War in 1991. A highly decorated officer, he was Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Central Command.

Zinni was born in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, the son of Lilla (Disabatino), a seamstress and homemaker, and Antonio Zinni, a chauffeur. His parents were of Italian descent. In 1965, Zinni graduated from Villanova University with a degree in economics and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. He was assigned to the 2nd Marine Division, where he served as a platoon commander, company executive officer and company commander in the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines. He also served as a company commander in the 1st Infantry Training Regiment during this tour.

In 1967, Zinni was assigned as an infantry battalion advisor to the Vietnamese Marine Corps. Following the Vietnam War, he was ordered to the Basic School where he served as a tactics instructor, platoon commander and company executive officer. In 1970, he returned to Vietnam as a company commander in 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, where he was wounded and subsequently assigned to the 3rd Force Service Support Group on Okinawa.

In 1981, he was assigned as an operations and tactics instructor at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College at Quantico, Virginia. He was next assigned to the Operations Division at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps where he served as the Head of the Special Operations and Terrorism Counteraction Section and as the Head, Marine Air-Ground Task Force Concepts and Capabilities Branch. In 1984, he earned his master’s degree from Central Michigan University. In 1986, he was selected as a fellow on the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group. From 1987 to 1989, Zinni served on Okinawa as the regimental commander of the 9th Marine Regiment and the Commanding Officer of the 35th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which was twice deployed to the Philippines to conduct emergency security operations and disaster relief operations. Upon his return to the U.S., he was assigned as the Chief of Staff of the Marine Air-Ground Training and Education Center at Marine Corps Base Quantico.

His initial general officer assignment was as the Deputy Director of Operations at the U.S. European Command. In 1991, he served as the Chief of Staff and Deputy Commanding General of Combined Task Force Operation Provide Comfort, during the Kurdish relief effort in Turkey and Iraq. He also served as the Military Coordinator for Operation Provide Hope, the relief effort for the former Soviet Union. In 1992-93, he served as the Director for Operations for the Unified Task Force in Somalia for Operation Restore Hope. Also in 1993, he served as the Assistant to the U.S. Special Envoy to Somalia during Operation Continued Hope. Zinni was assigned as the Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Virginia, from 1992 to 1994.

From 1994 to 1996, he served as the Commanding General, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. During early 1995, Zinni served as Commander of the Combined Task Force for Operation United Shield, protecting the withdrawal of U.N. forces from Somalia. From September 1996 until August 1997, Zinni served as the Deputy Commander in Chief, United States Central Command. His final tour was from August 1997 to September 2000 as the Commander in Chief, United States Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, where he organized Operation Desert Fox, a series of airstrikes against Iraq during December 1998. Following this, he retired in autumn 2000 and in 2002, he was selected to be a special envoy for the United States to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Sardinia

Lemony Tuna – Tonno al Limone

Serve 4:

Ingredients

  • A fresh tuna fillet weighing about 1 1/3 pounds (600 g), cut into serving portions
  • A small onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 lemon slices, cut into wedges
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Combine a half cup of water (200 ml) with the lemon juice, parsley and oil and season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Marinate the tuna in the liquid for three hours.

When the marinating time is almost up, preheat your oven to 360 F (180 C).

Put the fish in a pan, sprinkle the onion and some of the marinade over it, season lightly with salt and pepper and roast it for 20-25 minutes. Transfer the fish to a serving dish, decorate it with the lemon wedges, spoon the pan drippings over it, and serve.

Bellumo, Italy

Belluno Veneto Style Meat Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 lb chopped beef
  • 4 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup of beef broth
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 boxes of frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup Grated Piave aged or Asiago aged or Parmigiano cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Polenta, optional

Directions

Heat a 3 quart sauce pot and add the olive oil and stir in the chopped onions. Place the chopped meat over the onions and cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Stir the meat and the onions thoroughly and cook the meat until it is browned, stirring occasionally.

As the meat browns, mix the tomato paste, broth and red wine in a bowl. When the meat has browned add the tomato paste mixture to the meat. Bring to a simmer and cook for about five minutes. Add the peas and cook until the peas are tender. Take the pot off the heat and stir the cheese into the meat sauce. Salt & pepper to taste. Tradionally this sauce is served over cooked polenta.

Naples, Italy

Neapolitan-Style Mussels alla Giancarlo

(Cozze alla Marinara)

Serves 4

For the crostini:

  • 20 slices of bread, from one large Italian baguette
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced in half

For the mussels:

  • 4 pounds mussels
  • 1 cup wine
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice, from fresh lemons
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like this dish)
  • 32 ounce can peeled, diced Italian tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 bunch, flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 lemons, sliced in wedges 

Directions

Preheat an oven to 375ºF

To make the crostini:

Brush both sides of each of the slices of bread with olive oil.Place on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned. Rub each side of the crostini with the sliced garlic. Set aside.

To prepare the mussels:

Clean the mussels under running water, discarding any with broken shells. Trim the “beard” (the stringy portion) from the side. In a large sauté pan big enough to hold all the mussels in one layer, add the mussels, wine and lemon juice. Cover and steam over medium heat until almost all the mussels have opened, about 10 minutes. (Discard any that haven’t opened.) Strain the liquid and set it and the mussels aside, separately.

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil and add the onions and celery and cook until they are transluscent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, the mussel cooking liquid, oregano and 1/3 of the chopped parsley. Turn the heat to high. Keep the heat high until it starts to boil, then turn the heat down to medium and cook another 10 minutes, reducing a bit. The sauce should be quite dense. Add the mussels and reheat. Taste and add more salt if needed, plenty of freshly ground pepper and the remaining parsley.

To serve:

Place a crostini at the bottom of each of 4 individual bowls. Spoon the mussels into the four bowls, distributing them evenly. Pour the sauce over the mussels. Add three crostini to each bowl and lemon wedges if desired.

Neapolitan Style Mussels


I can assure you, public service
is a stimulating, proud and lively
enterprise. It is not just a way of
life, it is a way to live fully. Its
greatest attraction is the sheer
challenge of it – struggling to
find solutions to the great issues
of the day. It can fulfill your
highest aspirations. The call to
service is one of the highest
callings you will hear and your
country can make.
Lee H. Hamilton
Chairman of 9/11 Commission

Filippo Mazzei

The words in the Declaration of Independence, “All men are created equal” were suggested to Thomas Jefferson by Filippo Mazzei, a Tuscan physician, business man, pamphleteer and Jefferson’s friend and neighbor. Mazzei’s original words were “All men are by nature equally free and independent.” Philip Mazzei (December 25, 1730-March 19, 1816) was a promoter of liberty and acted as an agent to purchase arms for Virginia during the American Revolutionary War.

Mazzei was born in Poggio a Caiano in Tuscany. He studied medicine in Florence and practiced in Italy and in the Middle East for several years before moving to London in 1755 to take up a mercantile career as an importer. While in London he met the Americans Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Adams of Virginia. They convinced him to undertake his next venture. In 1773 he led a group of Italians, who came to Virginia to introduce the cultivation of vineyards, olives and other Mediterranean fruits. Mazzei became a neighbor and friend of Thomas Jefferson. Mazzei and Jefferson started what became the first commercial vineyard in the Commonwealth of Virginia. They shared an interest in politics and libertarian values and maintained an active correspondence for the rest of Mazzei’s life.

In 1779 Mazzei returned to Italy as a secret agent for the state of Virginia. He purchased and shipped arms to them until 1783. After briefly visiting the United States again in 1785, Mazzei travelled throughout Europe promoting Republican ideals. He wrote a political history of the American Revolution, “Recherches historiques et politiques sur les Etats-Unis de l’Amerique septentrionale” and published it in Paris in 1788. After its publication Mazzei became an unofficial roving ambassador in Europe for American ideas and institutions.

He later spent more time in France, becoming active in the politics of the French Revolution under the Directorate. When Napoleon overthrew that governmen,t Mazzei returned to Pisa, Italy. He died there in 1816. After his death the remainder of his family returned to the United States at the urging of Thomas Jefferson. They settled in Massachusetts and Virginia. Mazzei’s daughter married the nephew of John Adams.

Gemelli with Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cored and cut into 1” florets
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 oz. dried gemelli pasta or other short pasta
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs, toasted

Directions

Heat the oven to 500° F. Mix together ¼ cup oil, oregano, garlic, cauliflower and salt and pepper in a bowl and spread out evenly on a baking sheet.

Bake until the cauliflower is golden brown and tender, 25–30 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, about 13 minutes. Drain.

Toss cauliflower mixture with remaining oil, pasta, almonds, raisins, parsley, lemon juice and zest. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve topped withthe toasted bread crumbs.

John Orlando Pastore

John Orlando Pastore (March 17, 1907 –July 15, 2000) was an American lawyer and politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as a United States Senator from Rhode Island from 1950 to 1976. He previously served as the 61st Governor of Rhode Island from 1945 to 1950. He was the first Italian American to be elected as a governor or as a senator.

John Pastore was born in the Federal Hill neighborhood of Providence, Rhode Island. The second of five children and the son of Michele and Erminia (née Asprinio) Pastore, who were Italian immigrants. His father, a tailor, had moved from Potenza to the United States in 1899 and he died when John was nine. His mother went to work as a seamstress to support the family. She married her late husband’s brother, Salvatore, who also ran a tailoring business. As a child, Pastore worked delivering coats and suits for his stepfather, as an errand boy in a law office and as a foot-press operator in a jewelry factory. Pastore graduated with honors from Classical High School in 1925 and earned a Bachelor of Law degree in 1931. He was admitted to the bar the following year and established a law office in the basement of his family’s home, but attracted few clients due to the Great Depression.

In over 50 years in public office, Pastore never lost an election. He began his political career as a state assemblyman in 1934. As governor, he was reelected in 1946 and then again in 1948 by a record 73,000 vote margin over his opponents. As a senator, Pastore served as the chairman of United States Senate Subcommittee on Communications. He is probably best remembered for taking part in a hearing involving a $20 million grant for the funding of PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which was proposed by Former President Lyndon Johnson. The hearing took place on May 1, 1969. President Richard Nixon had wanted to cut the proposed funding to $10 million due to Vietnam War expenses and Fred Rogers, host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, appeared before the committee to argue for the full $20 million. In about six minutes of testimony, Rogers spoke of the need for social and emotional education that Public Television provided. Pastore was not previously familiar with Rogers’ work and was sometimes described as a gruff and impatient man. However, he told Rogers that the testimony had given him goosebumps and after Rogers recited the lyrics to “What Do You Do with the Mad that You Feel?”, one of the songs from his show, Pastore finally declared, “I think it’s wonderful. I think it’s wonderful. Looks like you just earned the $20 million.” The following congressional appropriation, for 1971, increased PBS funding from $9 million to $22 million.

Fiorello Enrico La Guardia 

Fiorello Enrico La Guardia (December 11, 1882 – September 20, 1947) was the 99th Mayor of New York City for three terms from 1934 to 1945. Previously he had been elected to Congress in 1916 and 1918 and again from 1922 through 1930. Irascible, energetic and charismatic, he craved publicity and is acclaimed as one of the greatest mayors in American history. Only five feet tall, he was called “the Little Flower” (Fiorello is Italian for “little flower”).

LaGuardia, a Republican, appealed across party lines and was very popular in New York during the 1930s. As a New Dealer, he supported President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, and in turn Roosevelt heavily funded the city and cut off patronage from LaGuardia’s foes. La Guardia revitalized New York City and restored public faith in City Hall. He unified the transit system, directed the building of low-cost public housing, public playgrounds and parks, constructed airports, reorganized the police force, defeated the powerful Tammany Hall political machine and reestablished merit employment in place of patronage jobs. The former lawyer was a champion of labor unions and campaigned in English, Italian, Yiddish, German and Spanish.

LaGuardia was born in Greenwich Village in New York City to two Italian immigrant parents. His father, Achille La Guardia was from Cerignola and his mother, Irene Coen, was from Trieste. His maternal grandmother, Fiorina Luzzatto Coen, was a member of the prestigious Italian-Jewish family of scholars, kabbalists and poets and had among her ancestors, the famous Rabbi Samuel David Luzzatto. It was in Trieste that Achille La Guardia met and married Irene. The family moved to Arizona, where his Achille had a bandmaster position at Fort Whipple in the U.S. Army. LaGuardia attended public schools and high school in Prescott, Arizona.

After his father was discharged from his bandmaster position in 1898, Fiorello went to live in Trieste, where he joined the State Department and served in U.S. consulates in Budapest, Trieste (Austria-Hungary-now Italy) and Fiume (Austria-Hungary-now Rijeka,Croatia), (1901–1906). He returned to the United States to continue his education at New York University. In 1907–10, he worked for the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, as an interpreter for the U.S. Bureau of Immigration at the Ellis Island immigrant station in New Jersey. He graduated from New York University School of Law in 1910. He was admitted to the bar the same year and began a law practice in New York City.

LaGuardia married twice. His first wife was Thea Almerigotti, whom he married in 1919. In November 1920 they had a daughter, Fioretta Thea, who died May 8, 1921 of spinal meningitis. His wife died of tuberculosis six months later at the age of 26. He married Marie Fisher in 1929 and they adopted two children, Eric Henry and Jean Marie.

Valle D’Aosta’s Traditional Beef Stew

Carbonade is one of the classic Valdostan stews.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds lean beef, cubed
  • 2 medium-sized onions
  • A bay leaf
  • A few cloves
  • A pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • A pinch of powdered cinnamon
  • A pinch of sugar
  • All-purpose flour
  • Beef broth
  • 2 cups full bodied dry red wine, ideally from Valle D’Aosta
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Marinate the beef in the wine for 4-6 hours (at the most, overnight), adding the bay leaf and spices to the wine. When it is time to prepare the recipe, remove the meat from the wine with a slotted spoon and pat the pieces dry. Reserve the wine mixture.

Flour the beef and brown the pieces in the butter in a Dutch Oven, taking them out of the pot with a slotted spoon and setting them aside as they brown.

Slice the onions into rounds and brown them in the same pot; add a ladle of broth and simmer until the broth has evaporated. Add the meat, salt to taste and a pinch of sugar.

Then add the reserved wine with the spices, bring it all to a boil, reduce the heat to a slow simmer and cook covered, adding more broth as necessary to keep it from drying out.

After about an hour, grind black pepper over the stew and serve it over polenta or boiled potatoes.

Geraldine Anne Ferraro

Geraldine Anne Ferraro (August 26, 1935 – March 26, 2011) was an American attorney, a Democratic Party politician and a member of the United States House of Representatives. She was the first female vice-presidential candidate, representing a major American political party. She was elected to the House in 1978, where she rose rapidly in the party hierarchy while focusing on legislation to bring equity for women in the areas of wages, pensions and retirement plans. In 1984, former vice-president and presidential candidate, Walter Mondale selected Ferraro to be his running mate in the upcoming election. In doing so, she became the only Italian American to be a major-party national nominee in addition to being the first woman. In the general election, Mondale and Ferraro were defeated in a landslide by incumbent President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H. W. Bush.

Ferraro was born in Newburgh, New York, the daughter of Antonetta L. Ferraro (née Corrieri), a first-generation Italian American seamstress and Dominick Ferraro, an Italian immigrant and owner of two restaurants. She had three brothers born before her, but one died in infancy and another at age three. Her father died of a heart attack in May 1944, when she was eight. Ferraro’s mother soon invested and lost the remainder of the family’s money, forcing the family to move to a low-income area in the South Bronx, while Ferraro’s mother worked in the garment industry to support them.

Ferraro attended Marymount Manhattan College with a scholarship, while sometimes holding two or three jobs at the same time. During her senior year she began dating John Zaccaro, who had graduated from Iona College with a commission in the U.S. Marine Corps. Ferraro received a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1956 and she was the first woman in her family to gain a college degree. She also passed the city exam to become a licensed school teacher. Ferraro began working as an elementary school teacher in the public schools in Astoria, Queens

Dissatisfied with teaching, she decided to attend law school and earned a Juris Doctor degree with honors from Fordham University School of Law in 1960 going to classes at night, while continuing to work as a second-grade teacher during the day. Ferraro was one of only two women in her graduating class of 179 and she was admitted to the New York State Bar in March 1961.

Ferraro’s first full-time political job came in January 1974, when she was appointed Assistant District Attorney for Queens County, New York. At the time, women prosecutors in the city were uncommon. The following year, Ferraro was assigned to the new Special Victims Bureau, which prosecuted cases involving rape, child abuse, spouse abuse and domestic violence. She was named head of the unit in 1977 with two other assistant district attorneys assigned to her. In this role she became a strong advocate for abused children. Ferraro found the nature of the cases she dealt with debilitating, grew frustrated that she was unable to deal with the root causes and talked about running for legislative office. Ferraro ran for election to the U.S. House of Representatives from New York’s 9th Congressional District in Queens in 1978 and captured the election in a contest in which dealing with crime was the major issue.

She became a protégé of House Speaker Tip O’Neill, established a rapport with other House Democratic leaders and rose rapidly in the party hierarchy. She was elected to be the Secretary of the House Democratic Caucus for 1981–1983 and again for 1983–1985. This entitled her to a seat on the influential Steering and Policy Committee and she was named to the powerful House Budget Committee. As Mondale’s vice-presidential candidate, Ferraro was the first woman to run on a major party national ticket in the U.S.and the first Italian American, her nomination at the 1984 Democratic National Convention was one of the most emotional moments of that gathering, with female delegates appearing joyous and proud at the historic occasion. In her acceptance speech, Ferraro said, “The daughter of an immigrant from Italy has been chosen to run for vice-president in the new land my father came to love.” Convention attendees were in tears during the speech, not just for its significance for women, but for all those who had immigrated to America.

Tuna, Pepper and Cannellini Bean Salad

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 5 oz lettuce, shredded
  • 5 oz cooked cannellini beans
  • 3 ½ oz yellow bell peppers, diced
  • 1/2 lb fresh cooked tuna
  • 2 tomatoes, cut in eighths
  • Half a red onion, sliced thin
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Arrange the cannelloni beans on the bed of lettuce. Next, add the tuna broken up into small pieces. Add the tomatoes, peppers and onion.

Mix together the salad ingredients with a dressing made from whisking together the lemon juice, oil, a pinch of salt and a grinding of black pepper.

Anthony Joseph Celebrezze

Anthony Joseph Celebrezze, Sr. (born Antonio Giuseppe Cilibrizzi, September 4, 1910 – October 29, 1998) was an American politician in the Democratic Party, who served as the 49th mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, as a cabinet member in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and as a U.S. appeals court judge. Celebrezze was born to Dorothy (née Marcogiuseppe) and Rocco Cilibrizzi in Anzi, a town in the region of Basilicata, Italy, one of thirteen children. The family moved to the United States when he was two years old and the surname was Americanized to “Celebrezze”. Having been a shepherd in Anzi, Rocco learned of work on the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad as a track laborer in Cleveland.

Like many of his generation, Celebrezze did odd jobs as a youngster, shining shoes and selling newspapers. He attended Cleveland Public Schools, graduating from Central High School and Fenn College (later renamed Cleveland State University). He graduated from John Carroll University in 1934, during which time he worked as a railroad laborer and freight truck driver, as well as a boxer to pay his way. He later attended Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, where he received a Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) in 1936. Celebrezze began working for the Ohio Unemployment Commission and in 1938 he passed the bar and entered the general practice of law. That same year, he married Anne M. Marco, a teacher in the Cleveland Public School system. With the on-set of World War II, Celebrezze enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Upon his discharge at the end of the war, he returned to private practice.

In 1950, Celebrezze ran for a seat in the Ohio State Senate and won. He served as an Ohio state senator from 1951 to 1953. In 1952, when Celebrezze sought re-election to the state senate, he ran into trouble when he crossed the Democratic party chairman Ray T. Miller, by supporting fellow Italian American Michael DiSalle for the U.S. Senate instead of James M. Carney. Celebrezze was, nevertheless, renominated by his party and won the general election. Ironically, he would face off against DiSalle six years later in his bid for the statehouse. In 1952, after continuing battles with the Democratic leadership in the Senate, Celebrezze resigned to run for Mayor of Cleveland. Celebrezze was the first foreign-born mayor and was elected an unprecedented five two-year terms as mayor, from 1953 to 1962. Celebrezze drove efforts to upgrade the city’s infrastructure, a massive $140 million urban-renewal program. Major portions of the rapid-transit system were constructed during this time, most notably the Red Line, which connected much of the city to the existing Blue and Green Lines. There was also extensive work done on the city’s freeway system, the Port of Cleveland and Burke Lakefront Airport. In 1961, President John Kennedy offered Celebrezze a lifetime appointment to a federal judgeship. Celebrezze turned it down to run for a record breaking fifth consecutive term as mayor, which he won by an unprecedented 73.8 percent, sweeping every one of the city’s thirty-three wards. During this period, Kennedy appointed him to the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity and the Commission on the Status of Women. In 1962, he also was named the president of the U.S. Conferences of Mayors. In 1962, President Kennedy returned with an offer of a cabinet appointment and Celebrezze resigned as mayor On July 31, 1962, Celebrezze took the oath as the U.S. Secretary for Health, Education, and Welfare, which is now known as the Department of Health and Human Services. He would continue his service in the cabinet of President Lyndon Johnson following Kennedy’s death.

Living in Washington on a $25,000 salary apart from his family, Celebrezze asked Johnson to return to Cleveland. “We are going to lose the house in Cleveland if I continue to live here, Mr. President,” Celebrezze told Johnson. The President replied that Celebrezze was too honest for Washington because he was the first cabinet secretary “to go broke while working for the White House.” Celebrezze resigned as HEW Secretary on August 17, 1965. Two days later on August 19, Johnson appointed him to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit where he authored numerous distinguished opinions. He served as a federal appeals court judge until 1980, when he retired from active service on the bench and assumed senior status.

Mario Matthew Cuomo

Mario Matthew Cuomo, born June 15, 1932, is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party. He served as the Secretary of State of New York from 1975 to 1978, as the Lieutenant Governor of New York from 1979 to 1982 and as the 52nd Governor of New York for three terms, from 1983 to 1994. He was known for his liberal views and public speeches, particularly his keynote speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. He was born in the Briarwood section of the New York City borough of Queens to a family of Italian origin. His father, Andrea Cuomo, was from Nocera Inferiore, Italy and his mother, Immacolata (née Giordano), was from Tramonti. The family owned a store in South Jamaica, Queens, in New York City. Cuomo attended public school and later earned his bachelor’s degree in 1953 and a law degree in 1956 from St. John’s University, graduating first in his class. He was sent to clerk for the Honorable Judge Adrian P. Burke of the New York Court of Appeals. Additionally, he was signed and played baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system until he was injured by a ball. Subsequently, he became a scout for the team.

He first became known in New York City in the late 1960s when he represented “The Corona Fighting 69″, a group of 69 homeowners from the Queens neighborhood of Corona, who were threatened with displacement by the city’s plan to build a new high school. He later represented another Queens residents group, the Kew Gardens-Forest Hills Committee. Cuomo became more well-known across and beyond New York City, when Mayor John Lindsay appointed him to conduct an inquiry and mediate a dispute over low-income public housing slated for the upper-middle-class neighborhood of Forest Hills.

In 1978 Cuomo easily won the primary for Lieutenant Governor and was elected in the general election. In 1982, Governor Carey declined to run for re-election and Cuomo declared his candidacy. Cuomo won the primary by ten points and faced Republican nominee businessman, Lewis Lehrman in the general election. With the recession aiding Democratic candidates, Cuomo beat Lehrman by 50.91% to 47.48%. Cuomo was re-elected in a landslide in 1986 against Republican nominee Andrew P. O’Rourke by 64.3% to 31.77%. During his 12 years in office, Gov. Cuomo pushed through landmark programs in criminal justice, education, the environment, health care, human rights, housing and health care that were national firsts.

Cuomo has been outspoken on what he perceives to be the unfair stereotyping of Italian Americans. He also opposed the move of the National Football League’s New York Giants and New York Jets to the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, choosing instead to attend the home games of the Buffalo Bills while serving as governor, referring to the Bills as “New York State’s only team.” Since 1996, Cuomo has served on the board of Medallion Financial Corp., a lender to purchasers of taxi medallions in leading cities across the U.S. Cuomo was the first guest on the long-running CNN talk show Larry King Live in 1985 and Neal Conan described Cuomo as both the most intelligent and wittiest politician he has ever interviewed.

Mozzarella in Carrozza

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • 8 slices soft white bread, crusts removed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Olive oil

Directions

Slice the mozzarella and divide among 4 slices of bread. Top with the remaining 4 slices of bread.

Whisk the eggs with the milk in a shallow dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place the flour in another shallow dish. Dust the sandwiches in the flour and then dip into the egg mixture.

Heat about 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add the sandwiches to the pan and fry on both sides until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. The mozzarella should be completely melted. Slice the sandwiches in half to make 2 triangles.


With the US economy in the doldrums, many Americans are struggling to stretch every dollar as far as possible and that includes their food dollars. It is in times like these that imagination and creativity in the kitchen become especially important. With the right amount of thought and planning, it is possible to create delicious low-cost meals. And if the need to spend money more carefully leads to more nutritious, home-cooked meals in American households, that is a “good thing”.

Of course, many cooks, past and present, have had to economize at certain points in their lives. They’ve done it by comparison shopping, buying produce in season and adding more vegetables and less meat to the pot. Frugal cooks also bypass convenience items such as fruits and vegetables that are pre-washed and pre-cut and some buy extra produce, when the price is right for canning and freezing.

Hectic schedules and the readily available convenience foods have paved the way to less-healthful eating habits. In much of the United States, it is just as easy — or easier — to order out or pick something up for the evening meal, as it is to prepare the meal at home.

One way for Americans to spend less money on food is to choose unprocessed (or less-processed) foods, with a few fresh ingredients added, as the basis of a meal. Packaged and prepared meals cost you considerably more than cooking with raw ingredients at home. Focus on the products stocked along the perimeter of the store. This is where healthy foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs, yogurt, cheese, meat and fish are usually located. Preparing meals at home allows you to control the amount of salt and fats you use in your recipes.

Another suggestion is to buy produce that is in season to keep costs down. In American supermarkets, it is not uncommon to find certain items, such as broccoli, cucumbers and apples, on produce shelves year-round. But unless these items are in season in your area, they are being shipped from somewhere else or are being pulled from cold storage. When fresh produce is shipped long distances, it tends to lose some nutrients along the way and flavor often suffers. It also tends to be more expensive. Frozen fruits and vegetables can also taste fresh and provide high amounts of nutrients, if they were processed immediately after picking. In the winter, especially, frozen fruits and vegetables may be a nutritious and economical option.

Taking the time to plan your weekly menu not only helps to save time and money, but also provides a way to create meals with a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat, plus all the essential vitamins and minerals needed by adults and children. When eating balanced meals your body feels satisfied, has fewer cravings and, this in turn, prevents late-night snacking. Make a shopping list before you go to the supermarket and stick to it.

Tougher cuts of beef and pork are a lot cheaper than steaks and chops ($2 to $6 per pound for many cuts compared with $10 or more per pound for steaks and don’t forget to watch for sales), but no one wants to eat a piece of leather for dinner. The best way to cook tough cuts of meat is low and slow, usually for 3 or more hours, often in liquid, to make them melt-in-your-mouth tender.

When you’re making dinner, think about what you’re going to eat for lunch tomorrow. If you’re making a salad for dinner, make a little extra and put it in a container, undressed, for lunch the next day. And what about your leftovers from dinner? Is there a little extra chicken or maybe part of a can of beans? Toss that in with your lunch salad. Packing lunch is a great way to make sure you’re not wasting any leftovers—and to help you eat healthy, save money and save time throughout the day.

Italian Beef Stew

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

Ingredients:

  • 7 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 pounds boneless chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into cubes
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 26-28 oz. containers Italian chopped tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups lower-sodium beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (8-ounce) package mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3/4 cup (1/4-inch-thick) slices carrot
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Directions

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to the pan. Add onion and chopped carrot; sauté 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté for 45 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from pan to a bowl and set aside.

Add 3 teaspoons oil to pan. Place 1/4 cup flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle beef with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper; dredge in flour. Add half the beef to pan and sauté about 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure.

Add water to pan and bring to a boil, scraping pan. Return meat and the onion mixture to pan. Add tomato and next 4 ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and stir in sliced carrot, mushrooms and potato. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour or until meat is very tender, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaf. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, basil and parsley.

Slow Cooker Chicken Osso Buco

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 pounds chicken thighs, skinned
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • Snipped fresh parsley

Directions

Place flour, salt and pepper in a resealable plastic bag. Add chicken, a few pieces at time, shaking to coat.

In a large skillet brown chicken, half at a time, in hot oil over medium heat about 10 minutes or until golden, turning once. Remove to a plate.

In a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker combine carrots, onion, celery and garlic. Sprinkle with tapioca. Place chicken on top of vegetables.

In a medium bowl stir together tomato sauce, broth, lemon peel, lemon juice and thyme; pour over chicken.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Serve chicken and sauce over hot cooked pasta or rice and garnish with snipped parsley.

Baked Spinach Casserole

Serve this vegetable pasta dish as an entree or as a side to perk up baked chicken or meatloaf.

Ingredients

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 4 lasagna sheets, traditional or no-boil
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 bunches fresh spinach (about 12 ounces total), washed, thoroughly drained and coarsely chopped;
  • or 1 package (9-10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, thoroughly squeezed and drained to remove all water
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 9” x 13” baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Cook the lasagna sheets according to package instructions, drain, and layer in the bottom of the baking pan. (If using no-boil lasagna sheets, soak for 5 minutes in hot water to soften before layering.)

Heat the olive oil over low heat in a large frying pan or Dutch oven. Add the spinach and onion. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Add the ricotta, milk, salt, nutmeg and the spinach and onion mixture. Mix well.

Pour the mixture over the lasagna sheets. Spread evenly. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top. Bake for 40 minutes or until a golden crust forms on the top. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Yield: 4 servings

Tomato Lentil Chili

Some good bread, homemade corn bread or biscuits would be a nice addition to this meal. Make extra to take for lunch.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup dry lentils (red or brown)
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking bulgur, whole wheat couscous or quick-cooking (pearled) barley
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans reduced sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Yogurt, chopped red onion, hot sauce (optional)

Directions

Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic; cook 7 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except the toppings. Simmer 30 minutes. Serve with optional toppings: yogurt, red onion and hot sauce.

Pasta with Tuna Tomato Sauce

Salad and some homemade garlic bread is all that is needed to complete this quick meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 can (26-28 ounces) peeled plum tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 large whole cloves garlic, peeled 
  • 2 anchovy fillets (optional)
  • 2 cans (6 ounces each) tuna in oil, drained, retaining oil separately
  • 8 ounces penne or spaghetti, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • Chopped parsley or other herbs for garnish

Directions

Empty the tomatoes and their juice into a large skillet. Add the whole garlic cloves. Cook over low heat for 25 minutes, stirring frequently, breaking the tomatoes into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon or fork. Remove from heat. Remove and discard the garlic. Add the anchovies, if desired; use a fork to break them up and mix them into the tomato sauce.

Break up the tuna chunks in a small bowl using a fork, then add to the tomato sauce, stirring in gently.

Cook the pasta according to package instructions. When the pasta is ready, drain thoroughly. Return it briefly to the pot, add a little of the tuna olive oil and mix well. Add the pasta to the sauce in the skillet. Using tongs to lift the long strands, fold it gently into the sauce. Stir in the breadcrumbs and garnish with parsley.

Yield: 4 servings

Better For You Brownies

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons canola or other neutral tasting oil
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 1 tablespoon cold leftover brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

Position rack in the lower third of the oven and heat oven to 325 degrees F.

Use an 8 by 8 silicon baking pan or line a similar sized metal or glass baking dish with foil or parchment paper so it hangs over the edges by about 1 inch. Spray the prepared pan completely with cooking spray.

Put the butter, oil and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat at 75 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir and microwave again until completely melted, about 2 minutes more. (Alternatively put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, not touching, the water, and stir occasionally until melted and smooth.)

Stir the brown and white sugars, vanilla and salt into the chocolate mixture with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs and coffee and beat vigorously by hand until fully incorporated and the batter is thick and glossy. Add the cocoa, flour and baking soda and stir just until it disappears.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with a few crumbs, about 30 minutes (40 minutes if not using a silicon pan).

Cool the brownies in the pan on the counter. Lift brownies out of the pan by the foil, if needed. Peel off the foil and cut into 16-2-inch squares.

Store extra brownies in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for up to 3 days.


Fennel seeds are the dried “fruit” of the fennel plant. The plant has feathery leaves, which are used as an herb and it also produces yellow flowers. When the flowers die, seeds form in clumps and are collected once they have ripened and hardened.

The seeds are oval in shape and green or greenish brown in color. They are often mistaken for anise. However, fennel seeds are slightly larger and less pungent. The seeds and leaves of the fennel plant both have a licorice flavor, although the flavor of fennel is milder and somewhat sweeter than anise.

Fennel seeds are actually a spice, although the leaves, stalks and roots of the plant are known as a herb. The bulb-like vegetable called fennel or finocchio in Italian is related to the herb fennel and is similar in taste, however, they are not the same plant. The fennel plant is native to the southern European and Mediterranean regions, although, it is now cultivated and produced in other parts of the world such as India, China and Egypt.

Fennel has been around for thousands of years and food historians say that the name has Greek origins. In 490 BC the Ancient Greeks fought with the Persians in the city of Marathon. According to the story, the battleground was actually a field of fennel and the word for fennel is derived from the Greek word for “marathon”. The Romans introduced the spice to the UK and other European countries and over time it was also transported East to Asia and China. The Puritans took the spice to the US, where they called fennel seeds “meeting seeds”, due to the fact that during long church sermons or Puritan meetings, they chewed on the seeds to fend off hunger and tiredness. Today fennel and fennel seeds are popular in Northern and Southern European cuisines, as well as in Chinese and Indian cooking, where they are often included in spice blends.

Medicinally, fennel seeds have traditionally been used to settle the stomach and digestive system. This is due to components in the seeds that are known to prevent muscle spasms and cramps. In the Indian culture, fennel seeds are often chewed after a meal in order to prevent gas or indigestion. The seeds can also be made into an after dinner digestive drink to relieve the same symptoms.

Whole Fennel Seeds

Ground Fennel Seed

Fennel seeds can be bought from your local supermarket or spice shop. The freshest and best quality seeds will be a bright green color and these are the best seeds for cooking. As the seeds age, their color changes to a darker green and then a brownish green to grey. You can buy the seeds whole or in ground form. The whole seeds will keep longer and you can easily grind them yourself at home with a pestle and mortar or a spice mill. Store the seeds in a dark cupboard away from the sunlight in an airtight glass container. Try to use the seeds within 6 months.

The seeds can be used without any special preparation, if you are using them in a sweet dish or to flavor bread. However, if the seeds are being used for a savory recipe, they may be toasted or heated in a dry frying pan for two or three minutes before grinding or crushing, as this will accentuate their flavor and aroma. Toasting the seeds in this way actually changes the flavor of the seeds slightly, giving them a stronger and spicier flavor rather than a sweeter and milder one.

Fennel seeds have different uses in different parts of the world. In Scandinavia and central Europe, the seeds are used in baking, particularly in rye breads and sweet pastries. Fennel is extremely popular in Italy where they are added to sausage mixtures. In India fennel seeds are one of the ingredients in the common spice blend, panch phoran, which also contains mustard, fenugreek seeds and cumin that is used to flavor curry. Fennel is very versatile but is especially flavorful in rubs for meat, poultry, fish and seafood.

Below are a number of ideas on how you can use fennel seeds in your cooking:

  • Use fennel seeds to make fish soup and fish stock.
  • Add fennel seeds to salads, particularly cucumber salad.
  • Add to soft cheese and spread on bread.
  • Use the seeds when making bread or biscuits.
  • Use in sausage mixtures.
  • Use in any pork dishes, stews or casseroles.
  • Sprinkle ground fennel seeds over fish or meat.
  • Use in Italian-style pasta sauces.
  • Use in pickling solutions.
  • Use in a marinade for meat, fish or vegetables.
  • Add to poaching or steaming liquid for fish and shellfish.
  • Add to couscous, lentil, bean or bulgur wheat dishes.
  • Add to homemade coleslaw or potato salad.
  • Use in homemade salad dressings.

Homemade Italian Fennel Pork Sausage

Fennel seed is one of the main ingredients in Italian sausage and this recipe includes Asiago cheese for added flavor. Try making your own at home. You can use a food processor to chop up the pork and most electric mixers come with a sausage stuffer attachment. This sausage is just as good in patties as in casings.

Ingredients

  • 2 large boneless pork shoulder roasts, cut into small chunks (remove large pieces of fat) weighing 6 pounds after trimming
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 5 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
  • 4 tablespoons crushed fennel seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

Directions

Toast fennel seeds in a pan in a preheated 325-degree F. oven for 10 minutes. Cool before using in the recipe.

In a large bowl, combine pork, salt, pepper red pepper, parsley, Asiago cheese, fennel seeds and garlic. Thoroughly blend with your hands. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight for flavors to blend.

Put seasoned pork chunks through the medium plate of a food chopper. Place in a large bowl and mix thoroughly to evenly distribute seasonings.

All sausages can be prepared as patties (the easiest) or run through a sausage-stuffer into hog casings by following the instructions of the appliance. Sausages freeze well.

Patties can be sauteed in a little olive oil and served with tomato sauce.

Yield: about 6 pounds.

Braided Fennel Seed Twists

Taralli are the famous hard country biscuits from Molise and Campania. They look like bagels and can be made large or small. They appear at every meal and are addictive. They are flavored with fennel seeds, black pepper and peperoncino (crushed red pepper). Try using all these flavorings in the dough or just one, depending on your taste. When taralli are braided they are called treccine (little braids).

Makes 18

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water (110-115F)
  • 2 teaspoons active dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups unbleached All-Purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper

Directions

Pour the water into a food processor fitted with a dough hook. Add the yeast and pulse to dissolve it. Pour the olive oil into the feed tube.

In a large measuring cup mix the flour with the salt and pour through the feed tube with the motor running. Stop the machine.

Grind the fennel seeds in a spice grinder until coarse. Add them through the feed tube along with the black pepper. Pulse the machine to blend the ingredients. The dough should be soft,

but not sticky.

When the dough forms a ball, stop the machine and transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Punch down the dough and transfer it to a work surface. Only use flour on the surface if the dough is sticky, but it should be fine without it.

Roll the dough out into a 36-inch log. Cut 36 1-inch pieces.

Roll two pieces into an 8 inch rope, then twist the pieces together to form a braid. Pinch the ends together to form a circle.

Allow the biscuits to rise on lightly greased baking sheets for about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake the biscuits about 25-30 minutes or until nicely browned. Turn off the oven and allow the them to really dry out in the oven. They should be the consistency of a hard cracker. Cool.

Serve at room temperature with cheese and olives and a glass of wine.

To freeze, wrap the biscuits individually in plastic wrap and then in a large zip lock bag. They will keep for about 3 months

Chicken and Escarole Soup with Fennel

6 main-course servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 14-to 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 8 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 head of escarole, cut into wide strips
  • Grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Directions

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken; sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano. Mix in onions, celery, garlic and fennel seeds. Sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes. Add broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until vegetables and chicken are tender, about 15 minutes. Add escarole; simmer until wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls. Serve, passing cheese separately.

Fennel Crusted Tuna Steaks

2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon crushed black pepper
  • 2 tuna steaks (5 to 6 ounces, 2 to 3 inches thick)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Place a medium-sized skillet on medium-high heat and add oil to the pan.

Using a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle, crush fennel seeds into a powder. Place in a shallow bowl, add crushed pepper and mix until well incorporated.

Pat tuna steaks dry with paper towel. Season steaks liberally on both sides with salt.

Press fennel-pepper mix onto tuna steaks on both sides.

Carefully place tuna steak into the heated pan.

Cook on each side for 3-4 minutes until pink in the middle or until done to your liking.

Grilled Spareribs with Fennel Seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons ground fennel seeds
  • 2 racks (2 1/2 lbs. each) pork spare ribs trimmed St. Louis-style, membrane removed, cut into 8- portions
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Combine all ingredients except the ribs and olive oil in a bowl. Rub ribs all over with the oil and spread with seasoning mixture, putting most on the meaty side of the ribs. Wrap tightly in foil and refrigerate for at least 4 and up to 24 hours; let stand at room temperature for one hour before cooking hour.

Meanwhile, scrunch 5 (1 1/2 ft.) sheets of foil each into a log about 9 in. long; set aside.

Prepare a grill for low (250° to 300°) indirect heat and put a 9-by 13-in. drip pan in place ( check note below).

Set ribs with bone tips upright over the drip pan area, arranging foil logs between ribs to hold them up. Grill, covered, until meat is very tender when pierced and shrinks back 1/2 inch from the tips of the bones, 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours.

Transfer ribs to a rimmed baking sheet and cover with foil. Let rest about 10 minutes before serving.

Note: If using gas, put a drip pan in place under one area of the cooking grate (the indirect-heat area), then light only the burner or burners on the rest of the grill (the direct-heat area).

If using charcoal, ignite 50 briquets in a chimney, then bank coals on opposite sides of the grill, leaving a cleared area in the middle. Set a drip pan in the cleared area. Let coals burn down to the temperature specified in the recipe. To maintain the temperature during cooking, add 5 briquets to each mound of coals about every 30 minutes, starting when ribs go on the grill; if the fire gets too hot, partially close vents under grill and on the lid.


Tuna has been fished from the warm, temperate parts of the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans since ancient times. As a member of the mackerel family, tuna naturally has a stronger, more robust flavor than whitefish. In 1903, when sardines were the canned fish of choice, canner Albert P. Halfhill managed a shortage by packing tuna in cans and persuading local grocers to stock them. More than a century later, tuna is a household staple as a protein-packed, quick-yet-wholesome meal.

Tuna is one of the most popular types of fish used for canned seafood products. It is high in protein and vitamins, a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and has an appetizing taste and texture. The are many different types of tuna but there are only a few that are highly desired by the canned tuna industry. The most popular types of canned tuna are:

  • Skipjack Tuna is one of the smaller species of tuna and is commonly found at the surface of tropical oceans. It is fast, sleek and can grow up to three feet in length. The Skipjack tuna is a healthy tuna stock and is currently quite stable. It has a faster breeding cycle than other tuna and is a popular choice for many fisheries.
  • Albacore Tuna is one of the most plentiful species of tuna found in the ocean and, as such, is one of the most common types of canned tuna found in stores. A full sized Albacore tuna can weigh close to one hundred pounds and be close to five feet in length. It has a darker blue color and is silver on the underneath side. At present many Albacore tuna stocks are fairly healthy and are not at current risk of being overfished.
  • Yellowfin Tuna, when canned, is typically called Chunk Light Tuna and is usually very easy to find in grocery stores and supermarkets. Yellowfin tuna is a large predator fish that can weigh close to 500 pounds when full sized and reach lengths of over 7 feet. It’s name comes from a stripe of yellow that runs along its side and its yellow fins.Yellowfin tuna is usually canned in salt water, oil or natural spring water. This type of tuna will have a stronger flavor than Albacore Tuna and may be similar in taste to swordfish. Unfortunately the Yellowfin Tuna is in decline because of excessive human consumption and unsustainable fishing practices.

These three species of tuna fish are the most commonly consumed and most commonly used for canning. They each have unique characteristics, flavor and ocean habitation patterns. Knowing more about what species of tuna you are eating and it’s relative strength as a species is a good start for choosing a sustainable tuna brand. Of course when buying canned tuna always ensure that the tuna species is listed prominently on the can and try to choose canned tuna that is caught by pole and line fishing. As connoisseurs of canned tuna we want to help promote sustainable canned tuna, to ensure the world can enjoy eating tuna for many years to come.

tuna packed in olive oil

tuna packed in water

Turns out tuna is not just for sandwiches! In fact, it’s perfect for appetizers, soups, main dishes, casseroles, pasta dishes and all kinds of salads.Tuna consistently makes the top-choices list for “best canned items” to keep on hand. You’ll find canned tuna packed in water, oil or brine; it can be salted or unsalted and you can choose the variety of tuna you want. Below are some of my favorite ways to use canned tuna.

Tuna Florentine Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 pouch (6.4 oz.) or can white tuna in water
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can (15 oz.) white beans (cannellini)
  • 1/2 cup dry orzo (or other small pasta)
  • 6 cups low sodium Chicken Broth
  • 3 oz. fresh spinach (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons prepared pesto
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish

Directions

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery and cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.

Mix in white beans, orzo and chicken broth and cook for 7 -8 minutes or until pasta is tender.

Stir in pesto and tuna. Add spinach and stir until just wilted.

Serve with parmesan cheese.

Tuna Sliders

For 10 mini burgers

Tuna Patties

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small celery stalk, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno pepper (or any hot pepper)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 3 cans tuna in olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 3 minced scallions
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 2 tablespoons flour (+ extra flour for dusting the patties)
  • 10 slider rolls

Coleslaw

  • 1 cup finely shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup finely shredded white cabbage
  • 1 cup finely shredded carrots
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

For the coleslaw:

In a large bowl, mix the cabbages with the sugar and the salt, cover and refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Then add the carrots and parsley. Mix the rest of the slaw ingredients together and add them to the cabbage. Adjust salt if necessary.

For the patties:

In a small pan add the olive oil, jalapeno, celery, garlic, cayenne pepper, celery seeds, salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes and set aside.

In a large bowl, shred the tuna; add the panko, parsley, mayonnaise, mustard, flour, egg and scallions. Mix well and add the cooked celery and garlic mixture.

Flour your hands and make small balls (size of a golf ball) and gently flatten them to the desired size (just a little bit bigger than the bun you will use, as they will shrink while cooking.

Lightly flour each patty and refrigerate them for 10-15 minutes on wax paper. This will make them firmer and easier to saute.

Saute the patties in a large skillet with 1-2 tablespoons of hot oil. Cook until golden brown.

Warm the buns without toasting them. Put a patty in each bun and top with the slaw to serve.

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and diced
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tuna, packed in water, drained
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup pitted kalamata or black olives, sliced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 cups mixed greens

Directions

Combine eggs, tuna, onion, olives and feta cheese. Combine olive oil and vinegar in a small bowl; whisk until well blended. Add to tuna mixture. Season with pepper. Serve over mixed greens.

Zucchini Fettuccine

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 onion finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2/3 cups half & half or cream
  • 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • 2 zucchini cut lengthwise, into thin ribbons
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • 2 cans or pouches tuna in olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of minced scallion
  • 3 teaspoon of lemon juice

Directions

Boil water with salt and cook the pasta “al dente”.

Place the zucchini ribbons in the pasta water during the last 2 minutes.

Drain the pasta and the ribbons and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt the butter; add the onion, salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown. Approximately 5 minutes.

Add the white wine, boil for 1 minute and add the broth. Boil again for a couple of minutes, add the peas and the half & half; cook for 1 minute and add the tuna at the just to warm it. Do not over mix or shred the tuna. Add the fettuccine and ribbons to the sauce, the lemon juice, parmesan cheese and scallions. Gently mix and serve with a little Parmesan cheese on top.

Tuna Stuffed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 8 red skin medium-large size potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cans or pouches tuna in olive oil
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato (small cubes without seeds)
  • 1/4 cup julienned roasted peppers
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large pot of cold water put the unpeeled potatoes. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and boil. After the water returns to boiling, cook for 20 minutes or until tender.

In a bowl mix the ricotta cheese, tomatoes, roasted pepper, salt and pepper to taste.

When the potatoes are done, drain and set aside to cool. Cut off the top of the potato and with the help of a spoon remove about a third of the potato and add it to the ricotta mixture. Repeat with remaining potatoes.

Then add the mozzarella and tuna to the ricotta mixture. Carefully combine; don’t flake the tuna.

Stuff the potatoes with the filling, top each with parmesan cheese and place in a baking dish.

Bake for 8-10 minutes and the parmesan is golden brown.

Tuna Stuffed Shells

Ingredients

24 jumbo shells, cooked “al dente”

Stuffing:

  • 1/2 cup fat free half and half
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cans or pouches tuna in olive oil
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 baby zucchinis, sliced thin and each slice cut in half
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Sauce:

  • 4 cups canned diced Italian tomatoes 
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1 finely chopped bell pepper
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

For the stuffing:

In a skillet sauté the mushrooms in the butter. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook for 10 minutes. Add the white wine, reduce to half and add the half & half. Cook for 5 more minutes and set aside to cool.

In a bowl: mix the ricotta and mozzarella cheese, add the tuna with the olive oil, the cooked mushroom mixture, parsley, zucchini, half the parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Mix gently.

For the sauce:

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan; add the garlic, onion and bell pepper. Cook for 5-8 minutes on medium heat, then add the tomatoes. Cook for 20 more minutes until flavors are blended and the sauce has reduced about 20%. Add salt and pepper to taste followed by the parsley and oregano. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Stuff the shells with the tuna and ricotta stuffing. Place about 1″ of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Place the stuffed shells over the sauce, stuffing face up. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 350° F. Uncover, add the remaining Parmesan and cook for 5 more minutes.


Achieving widespread US popularity, the ‘panino’ or Italian sandwich is known, more commonly, in English by its plural form ‘panini’. The difference between a panini and a regular sandwich is that it’s grilled, has ridges and the sandwich ingredients melt or fuse together, giving delicious flavor and texture to the filling. Panini sandwiches do not need additional butter or oil for grilling and a panini does not need to be turned over, the press does the work.

Panini are easy to make and can be made with any variety of food desired. Served with a salad or soup, a panini can make a complete, fast and healthy meal, eaten any time of the day.

The Panini Grill

A panini grill is very much like a waffle iron, where heat is applied from the top and bottom to cook both sides evenly. Unlike a waffle iron, the panini grill has a larger hinge to accommodate thick bread or flat buns. A panini grill usually has ridges on the top and bottom grilling surface and this creates the signature grilling lines.

If you do not have a panini maker, a George Foreman Grill will make a great panini, but make sure the grill is heated prior to using.

On the stove: Preheat a skillet with butter or oil to medium low. Add your sandwich, then press a heavy pan on top to weigh it down. Cook until golden and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Here is how to make your own panini:

There is no one traditional type of bread used for panini, but generally the most popular are ciabatta, focaccia and sourdough. The most important requirement is that your bread be sliced thick enough so that the sandwich can be grilled.

You can use whatever filling you’d like, but here are some suggestions:

  • Italian cold cuts, peppers, mozzarella cheese, anchovies
  • Chicken, cheese, spinach
  • Cooked bacon, scrambled eggs, cheese
  • Leftover turkey or chicken, mayonnaise, cranberry sauce, Monterey-jack cheese
  • Sliced ham, provolone cheese, tomatoes, Dijon mustard
  • Sliced tomatoes, basil, mozzarella cheese
  • Grilled vegetables (red pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, onions) cheese
  • Brush one side of the bread with fig jam or jam of choice. Fill with sliced apple and manchego cheese.
  • Dijon mustard, shredded gruyere cheese, sliced roast beef, caramelized onions

Basic Directions:

Slice or use pre-sliced cheese.

Spread bread with condiments, if using.

Lay cheese on one bread slice.

Slice any other ingredients and place on top of the cheese.

Cover with another slice of bread spread with coniment of choice.

Place onto a preheated panini grill. Grill for 2 to 4 minutes.

Open the panini maker and check to see if the ridges are well-formed, the cheese is melted properly and the bread is toasted.

Remove the sandwich from the panini machine and cut in half.

Here are some panini for you to make. After that – use your ceativity.

Turkey Breast with Roasted Peppers and Mozzarella 

Makes 4 sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless turkey breast
  • 8 slices sourdough bread
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup jarred roasted peppers
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella or buffalo mozzarella, sliced

Directions

In a large saucepan, bring 8 cups water to a gentle simmer. Generously salt water. Add thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and black pepper. Add turkey and simmer until breast registers 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from heat and let turkey cool in liquid. Store turkey in liquid, covered and refrigerated, until ready to use.

Preheat a panini press according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Remove turkey breast from poaching liquid and thinly slice; divide evenly among 4 slices of bread. Top with peppers, basil leaves and mozzarella.

Sandwich with remaining 4 slices of bread and place on the panini press. Close the lid and apply slight pressure; cook until bread is golden and cheese is melted, 5 to 8 minutes. If bread is sticking to the press, continue to cook and bread will unstick itself. If press is generating more heat from the bottom, flip the sandwich halfway through cooking.

Remove sandwich from press and cut in half before serving.

Steak and Cheese Panini

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb flank steak
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large vidalia onions, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 6 focaccia rolls or bread
  • 12 slices white cheddar cheese

Directions:

Sprinkle steak with salt and pepper on both sides. Place in a sealable plastic bag. Add garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Seal bag. Shake until ingredients are evenly distributed. Place in the refrigerator for a 1/2 hour.

Preheat a panini grill.

In a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the marinade from the bag with the steak. Add steak to the pan and saute until medium rare, 5-7 minutes per side. Remove steak from pan and let rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes.

Add onions to the pan with any remaining marinade. Saute until onions are soft and translucent, 8-10 minutes.

Cut the steak into thin slices across the grain. Put 5 to 7 thin slices of steak on each roll. Top each sandwich with onions and cheddar cheese.

Place the sandwich in the panini press and cook until the cheese melts.

Serves 6

Everything or Anything Panini

4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced deli ham
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 8 garlic-flavored sandwich pickle slices
  • 8 slices Italian bread (1/2 inch thick)

Directions:

In a large skillet, saute onions in oil until softened. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until deep golden brown.

Layer the cheese, ham, tomato, pickles and caramelized onions on four bread slices; top with remaining bread.

Cook on a panini maker for 3-4 minutes or until bread is browned and cheese is melted. Yield: 4 servings.

Chicken Pesto Panini

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 focaccia bread, quartered
  • 1/2 cup prepared basil pesto
  • 1 cup sliced cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup sliced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Directions::

Preheat a panini grill.

Slice each quarter of focaccia bread in half horizontally. Spread each half with pesto. Layer bottom halves with equal amounts chicken, bell pepper, onion and cheese. Top with remaining focaccia halves, forming four sandwiches.

Grill paninis 5 minues in the preheated grill,or until focaccia bread is golden brown and cheese is melted.

Tuna Melt Panini

4 Servings

 Ingredients:

  • Two 6-ounce cans albacore tuna
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 ciabatta rolls, split
  • Dijon mustard for spreading
  • Eight 1/4-inch-thick slices of Swiss or cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
  • Sixteen 1/8-inch-thick lengthwise slices of kosher dill pickles

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix the tuna with the onion, olive oil, vinegar, basil and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a panini press.

Spread the cut sides of the rolls with mustard and top each roll half with two slices of cheese. Spread the tuna mixture on top of the cheese and cover with the pickles. Close the sandwiches.

Add the sandwiches to the press and grill until the cheese is melted, about 6 minutes. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve.

Red Pepper, Egg and Provolone Panini

2 servings

In the south of Italy, egg and bell pepper sandwiches are a classic. For variety, add some sautéed or grilled red onion slices.

Ingredients:

  • 4 (1/2-inch thick) Sicilian-style sesame semolina bread or Italian bread of choice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
  • 2 ounces sharp Provolone cheese, sliced
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, sliced

Directions:

Preheat panini grill or stovetop griddle pan.

In a small bowl, beat eggs, oregano, salt and pepper with a fork. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add a little olive oil. Add egg mixture. Cook, lifting the edges with a fork, 2 to 3 minutes or until set.

Divide eggs, peppers and cheeses between 2 slices of bread. Top with remaining bread slices

Place on panini grill and cover. Grill 5 minutes until golden and cheese starts to melt.

And For Dessert

Chocolate Panini

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices challah or whole wheat bread or bread of choice
  • 2 ounces Nutella

Directions:

Form 2 sandwiches with the bread and Nutella

Transfer to a hot panini press and cook until the bread is golden and the chocolate has melted, 2 to 3 minutes.

(Alternatively, cook the sandwiches in a hot grill pan, turning once and pressing down frequently.)



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