Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

I was born in New Jersey to first generation Italian parents. Both sets of my grandparents were born in Italy and emigrated to the United States. They brought with them a love of the Italian culture and Italian traditional cooking. My parents instilled those same values in their children and we all enjoy cooking and learning about our heritage. I learned many of my cooking skills from my parents and grandparents, but I also studied Italian cooking  and made many of the  recipes for my children as they were growing up.  They also enjoy cooking for their families.

Now that I am retired from the teaching profession, I have the time to write a blog and share my information about Italian cooking. Through the years, many people have asked me how to prepare certain dishes and because I am a teacher by trade, I feel that I have the skills to share with you the reader, the techniques for preparing authentic and healthy meals for your family.

If you enjoy Italian food and want to learn the techniques for doing so, then follow this blog. The recipes are simple. everyday meals that you can prepare for your family.  Italian cooking does not have to be expensive or fattening.  Home cooks are usually frugal and use leftovers creatively in new dishes. I will also share with you how to make such recipes healthy, while at the same time, creating delicious food.

98 Comment(s)

  1. Terry Alvare

    May 6, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    After 9 days in Paris, so looking forward to Italian food again. Now I can find all these wonderful recipes in one place : – )

  2. jovinacooksitalian

    May 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Have a wonderful time cooking – one of life’s pleasures.

    • Susan DAgostino

      June 23, 2020 at 11:26 am

      Just found your blog today! My husband’s Mother (from Sortino) taught me how to clean a bitter green (I think it was Arugula) and cook it with butter, can you tell me the Italian name of that dish? Might have been Stenaba or something similar. It was my most favorite green dish she made. Thank you for keeping these techniques alive!

      • Jovina Coughlin

        June 24, 2020 at 9:26 am

        Hi, Susan Thank you for your comment. We never cooked arugula – just used it for salads. However, Italians do cook chicory greens or dandelion greens often called CICORIA ALLA ROMANA.

        2 Large Bunches Cultivated Cicoria or Dandelions
        6 Tablespoons Olive Oil
        Salt & Pepper
        Dash Of Red Pepper Flakes
        2 Large Cloves of Garlic, Finely Chopped
        Rinse the greens well, and remove any brown ends, and coarsely chop.
        Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, then drop in the prepared greens.
        Boil for 10 to 15 minutes or until very tender.
        Remove the greens from the water and allow to cool in a colander.
        Squeeze dry to remove excess water.
        In a large, heavy saucepan or frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat.
        Add the garlic clove, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
        When the garlic is fragrant but hasn’t yet begun to brown, add the greens.
        Saute for 5 minutes, tossing the greens in the flavored oil as they cook.
        Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.
        Place on a platter, and serve warm or at room temperature.

  3. themidlifesecondwife

    May 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Thanks very much for visiting my blog, and for sharing my godmother’s recipe for Italian Wedding Soup with your readers. I look forward to trying some of your recipes! Ciao, Marci

  4. jovinacooksitalian

    May 18, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Thanks for your comments and I will enjoy reading your posts. Don’t you love those old family recipes.

  5. dixiesdiary

    August 2, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    I really like your blog.I am new to blogging and love sharing with other bloggers.I love you article about peaches.You must be an amazing cook.

  6. International Eats

    September 18, 2012 at 9:54 am

    This is so lovely, and so familiar sounding 🙂 Really enjoyed my browse

  7. jovinacooksitalian

    September 18, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

  8. Joan Sullivan Reisen

    September 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Hey, Jovina, my sister, Margaret, called me yesterday to tell me about your site. Eerily, I had been thinking about you only last week, along with Magie Ave and School #12! Believe it or not!!!! Must be some sort of cosmic confluence.

    My Irish soul ( and appetite) are Italiophiles; I have made 7 trips to Italy, only limited by lack of euros! Look forward to trying some of your recipes.

    Joan Sullivan Reisen

  9. nickgarrett

    October 5, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Like yr work here…
    Can you email me at

  10. jovinacooksitalian

    October 5, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Thank you for reading and commenting.

  11. heididmedina

    February 24, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Hi there, just wanted to let you know I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award and the Very Inspiring blog award. If you are interested go to this link.

  12. mcsgal

    February 27, 2013 at 7:26 am

    I have nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award. To receive your reward, check out this link

  13. jovinacooksitalian

    February 27, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Thank you very much for thinking about me.

  14. soulofspice

    March 3, 2013 at 12:36 am

    Hi Jovina, I love your blog and have nominated it for the Inspiring Blogger Award. Check details here, cheers, charu

  15. jovinacooksitalian

    March 3, 2013 at 10:34 am

    thank you very much for thinking of me.

  16. Ankit

    March 23, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Congratulations, I have nominated you for the ‘Sunshine Award’
    Claim it here->

    Keep up the blogging,
    Good Luck

  17. jovinacooksitalian

    March 23, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Thank you very much. I appreciate your support.

  18. tinywhitecottage

    May 28, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Hi Jovina. I can tell I am going to really enjoy your blog! Very…very good post on grilling burgers!

  19. Mary Frances

    July 27, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Hi Jovina, from reading this, I thought you were still in New Jersey, not Alabama!

    • jovinacooksitalian

      July 27, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      Moved here a few years ago to be on the Gulf Coast after living in a number of different states since I moved from NJ. Where I grew up is elevant to how I learned to cook but the rest of my life’s experiences have contributed to the information I share in the blog.

  20. ambradambra

    August 24, 2013 at 4:15 am

    Great blog. I was looking for an Italian rice cake recipe and yours is pretty good. I also post about Italian food as well as folklore, filmic moments and family. I blog at The Good the Bad and the Italian. cheers

  21. ninoalmendra

    September 5, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Looks like a really informative and interesting blog, count me in as one of your student.

  22. Our Growing Paynes

    November 9, 2013 at 9:03 am

    I have nominated you for the I’m Part of the WordPress Family Award. If you are interested here is the information

  23. Tuscan olive grove girl

    November 15, 2013 at 5:28 am

    A really lovely blog – I like the background and regional information your give about the ingredients and recipes.

  24. Our Growing Paynes

    November 26, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Hello. I have nominated you for the Blogger of the Year 2013 3 stars award. If you are interested in passing it along please go to this post for the information.

  25. Erin Hedrick

    January 21, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Congratulations! I’ve nominated you for the Shine On Award – read more about it here:

    Thanks for sharing your delicious food!! I absolute adore your blog.

  26. Erin Hedrick

    February 20, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    I love your blog! We already knew this though… And as a thank you for being such a wonderful read, I’ve nominated you for the Sunshine Award! You can read the details on my blog here:
    Congrats, and please keep writing!!

  27. Donna Davis

    March 20, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Where can I buy Flotta tomato paste. I can no longer purchase it in CT.

  28. Jovina Coughlin

    March 21, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Go in the summer when New England is beautiful. What makes Flotta tomato paste better than say Cento?

  29. Susan Murphy

    March 25, 2014 at 8:39 am

    I just join your blog! I just love what I see! thank you!!!

    • Jovina Coughlin

      March 25, 2014 at 8:50 am

      Thank you so much Susan. I really appreciate your following this blog and taking time to make a comment. Look forward to hearing from you and how you like the recipes you try.

  30. Angie Mc

    March 28, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Hi, Jovina, glad to meet you via a Zemanta recommendation that popped up while writing at my blog today. I grew up in Scranton PA where we LOVE pizza! I’m off Irish decent but my tastebuds are Italian 🙂 My step-grandfather was 1st generation Italian and oh could he cook, YUM! I look forward to reading more from you…and have a great weekend! #NF

  31. apsara

    March 31, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Yes! I want to learn to cook healthy, creative Italian dishes. I’m glad I found your blog, looking forward to your posts…

  32. Angie Mc

    April 23, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Hi, Jovina 🙂 I nominate you for a fab four award … Thanks for sharing your yumminess with me ❤

  33. Micaela Cremonesi

    June 19, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Hi – I would like to invite you to share your favorite Italian recipe on my blog as Hosted Chef – Please have a look here and let me know if you wish to join this adventure! I love your recipes that I feel as truly Italian, so I really hope you may participate!

  34. Maya Bria

    July 9, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Just discovered your blog! Love 🙂

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  36. Ivanka Di Felice

    March 12, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Dear Jovina,
    Thanks so much for those wonderful recipes. I live in Italy (in the countryside near Florence) thus I will have to try them out for my Italian friends. I was surprised when I first arrived and made what I considered to be Italian food – penne a la vodka, chicken parmigiana, caesar salad etc. meanwhile, no one here had ever heard of this food – regardless they enjoyed it though I believe they ate it with suspicion! I have written a book about our life here entitled A Zany Slice of Italy – I mention this because in the back of the book are some wonderful recipes – a few of them are my mother in laws, who is from Abruzzo and are truly wonderful. Grazie mille for all your great recipes!

    • Jovina Coughlin

      March 12, 2015 at 9:11 pm

      Thank you so much for your account of cooking and living in Italy. Sounds like you are enjoying this time. Italian American cuisine is not usually the cuisine of Italy, as you have found out. When the Italian immigrants came to America, they found different products than what they were used to and created new dishes. Thank you also for sharing information about your book.

  37. Freda @ Aromatic essence

    July 29, 2015 at 12:34 am

    Hi Jovina! you have a lovely blog:) I definitely hope to learn authentic Italian cuisine from you 🙂

  38. Linda Anselmi

    October 20, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Hey Jovina, Wonderful blog. I’ve made several of your recipes and keep finding more to try. I didn’t see a contact form, so I thought to try here. I’m editor and publisher of Below The Salt News ( and one of the things I am try to do is promote healthy eating – with a strong emphasis on fresh produce (vs processed foods). I would love to feature an occasional recipe or discussion of food by you. Either as an on-going (frequency up to you) contributor basis or in the occasional featured guest post. You can reach me at lindaanselmi at gmail dot com.

  39. ohiocook

    December 15, 2015 at 9:34 am

    Thank you for following my blog! Love your site, the recipes and pictures are fantastic.

  40. thatssojacob

    January 29, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    Hey there Jovina! Just browsing around the blogosphere, finding some fun and interesting blogs to follow to make some new friends in 2016. If you like, hop on over to my world at, and if you see anything you like, comment or follow! Have a great day and happy new year! PS: I just posted a fun bookish game, check it out!

  41. carmen mazzola

    March 7, 2016 at 9:56 am

    hi dear i’m a chef and cooking instructor in sorrento so let me know if you need any idea or help

  42. Nancy McGarry

    May 17, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Hi Jovina! Love all your ideas and recipes! Where in New Jersey did you grow up in? My husband was from New Jersey, we lived in Ridgewood, Bergen County. My love for Italian food began there with my neighbors the D’Ambrosio family.

  43. Gloria

    May 20, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Hello Jovina,
    I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award as a token of my appreciation.
    Here is the link Congratulations!

  44. Anuj

    April 13, 2017 at 3:24 am

    Hi Jovina,

    My name is Anuj Agarwal. I’m Founder of Feedspot.

    I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog jovina cooks | Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 50 Italian Food Blogs on the web.

    I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 50 Italian Food Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

    Also, you have the honor of displaying the badge on your blog.


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  47. Sharon Siettas

    July 14, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    I was adopted, recently through Ancestry DNA test, I discovered I was Italian (Scilian). I decided it was time for me to learn how to make a great sauce. Delighted to find your site with all the great pictures and references to “good old days”. Thank You

  48. Chris

    November 1, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    Hello! I found your site and very excited! I noticed that you had cooked with the Gailla Nostrale Zucchini. I would love to cook with it, or buy it, but can’t find it anywhere. Please help! My Dad wanted seeds for his garden. Thank you.

  49. June Maselli

    February 20, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    Dear Jovina, Hello. My great grand father was Ralph Amendola, of Amendola Brother’s music store in New Haven, CT. Some time ago, I saw a blip that you wrote related to events at the music store. I would like to know how you learned about the store being open to singing, etc. I am trying to learn more about my family’s history. I very much look forward to hearing from you.

    • Jovina Coughlin

      February 20, 2018 at 2:28 pm

      I wrote that so long ago during the time I was writing about where Italian Americans settled in the US. My research was usually through state and city records, oral histories, Italian magazines and OSIA lodges in the state I was researching. I also used the archives in the local newspapers, so that would have been one of the New Haven papers.

  50. June Maselli

    February 20, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Thank you for the info! Your response is helpful, as it tells me of the tools you use to do your research.
    My Uncle Frank Ame (Amendola) is 102 years old and he is Ralph’s son (my grandmother’s brother). He is in a nursing home now. I am going to get a voice recorder and begin asking him questions. Frank Ame used to have his own shampoo buisiness (Natrol I believe it was); it was number 1 in the country. He had it at 157 Olive Street in New Haven and then moved to State Street in New Haven.

  51. Dr John W Rossini Jr

    January 14, 2019 at 9:23 am

    You recently posted a recipe for Cauliflower Risotto. In the directions it says to “pour in the broth” however, there is nothing in the ingredients list that includes a broth. Is there something missing here? Thank you.

  52. Italian Food Boss

    January 8, 2020 at 11:56 pm

    Hello Jovina! I just found your blog and I’m absolutely impressed by the quality of the recipes you have here! Well done! I’m an Italian dad who has been living outside of Italy for almost 15 years now and I’ve recently decided to share all I know around Italian cuisine – especially from the South of Italy – on my website and my YouTube channel .
    I’d be grateful if you’d wish to have a look!
    Ciao ciao and congratulations again on what you have managed to build in a few short years!

  53. Loris Montagnoli

    January 9, 2021 at 2:08 pm

    Hello Jovina,
    I’m so happy to see how many people from America love Italian food.
    I’m Italian and I live in Italy.
    I like your blog.
    Bye Bye!
    Loris Montagnoli
    (this is my blog , it’s a blog of Religion, I’m teacher of Religion in a School near Verona – North of Italy)

  54. stephen roach

    March 6, 2021 at 7:47 pm

    Hi Jovina – I am collecting recipes from the regions that ancestors from my family tree came from. One set of my great-grandparents (who I never met) were born in the Potenza region of Italy. I was thrilled to find your recipes from that region. I just found them today and I will be making them tomorrow! Thank you so much!

  55. Tessa Floreano

    August 15, 2022 at 11:52 pm

    Hello Jovina–I’m writing a book about Italians in the Pacific Northwest that will be published in October 2023, and I’m interested in using a couple of the photos in your Pacific Northwest article. Would you mind getting in touch to discuss? Thanks in advance! ~Tessa

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