cucina di mammina food. family. life. Thu, 11 Aug 2016 18:34:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 53812267 pollo con vino bianco (white wine chicken) Thu, 11 Aug 2016 18:33:54 +0000 Much time has passed since I have posted a new food story. Life has been a mixed bag of good, not great, weird and strange even but I have found myself missing this connection with all my food lovers and followers.

So simply said, I have missed you all and making peace with what I call the lost moments as I share this new food story with all of you.

Summer is always brutally long in South Florida, it’s really no hotter than other areas, but time here seems to somehow stand still.

School begins tomorrow for Isabella, who is entering the world of sophomores, band/dance team and academic courses including creative writing, psychology and art/photography.

Carina is entering her last year at our local state school where she will be completing the year with her Associates Degree while preparing to visit and choose her transfer school to take up her career choice of Hospitality & Tourism that includes the option to choose study abroad programs in the near future.

I have observed the changes that are taking place in these two girls lives, how life choices can leave an indelible mark in our hearts and memories. We work together to communicate and share our hopes, fears and dreams as individuals and as a part of the famiglia. We are never truly afraid of what life decides to share with us and we welcome the changes it can bring.

For us, food is something that triggers a feeling, a memory, the comfort of home or of an incredible travel journey in our past.

This simple recipe that I created based on the very classic French version, Coq Au Vin (chicken with wine) which is a stunning braised stew traditionally made with a bottle of red wine. I love this version as it takes the same braising concept but I use white wine instead to craft a lighter, more subtle sauce that is just perfect for dipping crusty bread or mixing into white rice or quinoa when enjoying the tender flavor-filled chicken.

pollo con vino bianco (white wine chicken)


6 organic, skin on chicken thighs (skinless if preferred)

6 organic, skin on chicken legs (skinless if preferred)

5-6 good size garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half

1 bottle of good quality white wine

olive oil

unsalted butter

sea salt


brown rice flour for dusting (use classic white baking flour, if preferred)

On large sheets of wax paper, clean and dry all the chicken pieces and lay them on the sheets evenly spaced. Season both sides of all the pieces with sea salt and pepper and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes.

Prepare a large deep dutch oven style skillet with a good drizzle of olive oil and add about 1-2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and place on medium-low heat until the butter melts.

Dust all the chicken pieces with the brown rice flour until evenly coated on both sides.

Add the chicken pieces one at time and allow them to crisp up and begin to brown on both sides (increase the heat to medium, medium high as needed.)

Do not overcrowd the pieces, do keep them loose allowing them room to breath. Once browned well on both sides, remove them from the skillet and continue to brown the remaining chicken pieces until all are done, remove all the chicken and set aside.

Lower the heat back to medium low. Now add almost the entire bottle of white wine (about 3/4) to the remaining butter, oil and browned bit mixture at the bottom of the skillet and stir together.

Slowly increase the heat and add all the chicken pieces (thighs and legs) and the garlic pieces into the wine mixture and partially cover with the lid tilted.

Keep the heat at medium, the wine should be bubbling evenly and slowly, not boiling over. Let this cook in this fashion for about 10 to 15 minutes, then turn all the pieces so the other side can be immersed in the wine mixture as the chicken continues to cook through slowly.

Taste the wine mixture and see if it needs additional seasoning. Remember to use your sea salt sparingly as the liquid is still reducing so better to lean towards less salty versus over salted.

After about 25-35 minutes the chicken should be cooked through and the wine mixture should be thickened and greatly reduced. Remove the chicken pieces to a large clean bowl and set aside.

Remove the wine sauce mixture from the heat and using a fine strainer, strain the sauce into a separate bowl to remove any clumps or flour bits.

Add the strained wine sauce back into the skillet and place on medium low heat. Add the remaining 1/4 bottle of white wine and cook down the sauce until thick and creamy, taste and adjust your seasonings at this time for final flavor.

Once reduced lower the heat and all back into the skillet the cooked chicken pieces and allow to come back to heat for about 5 minutes or less. Serve warm with a side of your favorite green vegetables and white rice or quinoa.


Note: Photography by Annette Venditti
Buon Appetito!





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goat cheese & quinoa-stuffed artichoke heart bottoms Sun, 25 Oct 2015 16:48:12 +0000 We love small plates of all different varieties of food at for our evening meal. Whether we are out at our favorite food spot sitting at the bar or at our casa with the famiglia, this lighter way of eating is adventurous and entertaining for the palate, one of favorite ways to share food.

You are free to choose what you wish the focus to be, fish-based or proteins meats and poultry with a few sides of vegetable small plates to compliment. Our favorite way to start is with a vegetable-based dish that opens us up to the plates to come.

We visited a local bistro that served a version of this and I was delighted with the combination of flavors. My version has the addition of quinoa and chopped tomato to balance and gives the dish a boost of protein.

goat cheese & quinoa-stuffed artichoke heart bottoms


4- 5 fresh large artichokes, cleaned and stripped of all leaves, heart bottoms cleaned and trimmed (save the raw leaves to steam & eat or use in a vegetable stock recipe)

fresh plain goat cheese (1 package to taste)

1/2 to 1 pkg. plain quinoa (cooked until tender in vegetable stock) cooled to room temperature

fresh italian flat leaf parsley, chopped finely

about a cup or so of chopped frozen, thawed& drained spinach

olive oil

2 fresh rip plum tomatoes finely chopped

homemade vegetable stock

grated parmigiano cheese (for topping)

sea salt and black pepper

(i.e. you can add in other favorite items, like sauteed mushrooms, black olives, etc. all chopped finely and mixed in to the goat cheese base… have fun and enjoy!)

Once your artichoke heart bottoms are prepped and ready, drop them in a bowl of ice water with lemon to keep them from turning color.

In a medium sauce pan bring the vegetable stock to a boil, add the artichoke heart bottoms to the stock and cook on medium heat until cooked through (carefully test with a fork for doneness.) Remove from the stock and set aside to cool.

Using additional vegetable stock, cook your quinoa until tender and done (store leftover quinoa for serving as a side dish for other meals, etc.)

cucinadimammina_stuffed artichoke bottoms_01In a small bowl, add the cooked quinoa and chopped tomato and parsley leaf and chopped spinach and blend well. Add in the small package of goat cheese and begin to blend with your fork until mixed well. Add some cracked black pepper to taste and blend well.

Take the cooled artichoke bottoms, season lightly with sea salt and black pepper. Using a small spoon, add the got cheese filling to the bottoms and form evenly in a rounded shape.

Continue until all the bottoms are filled and set inside a oven baking dish right side up. Sprinkle a healthy amount of grated parmigiano cheese on the top of the filling for each one, this will create a savory crunchy crust.

Place in a preheated 350-375 degree oven on the middle rack. Bake for about 15 minutes or so depending on how fast your oven cooks, etc.

Check them and when you see the tops begin to brown lightly, turn to broil for 2 minutes or so until the tops are golden and crispy.

Remove from oven and serve immediately or allow to come to room temperature and serve, delicious both ways! Serve along with a crisp white wine and other small plates of your desire.

P.S. For extra crunch & flavor, top with a small amount of crumbled oven roasted bacon… wonderful indeed.

cucinadimammina_stuffed artcihoke bottoms_02cucinadimammina_stuffed artichoke bottoms_03cucinadimammina_stuffed artichoke bottoms_04

Note: Photography by Annette Venditti
Buon Appetito!
spanish-style spicy turkey polpette Mon, 31 Aug 2015 14:37:58 +0000 It’s school season here  in Southwest Florida, the girls started school late August and the rushing around has begin already.

From our 4:45 am wake up alarm Monday through Friday for Isabella’s introduction to 9th grade freshman year, to the erratic college class and work schedule Carina now has, we sometimes are not sure yet whether we are coming or going.

This is also hurricane season a time where preparing foods ahead of time is sensible and more than necessary.

This season is when I begin to prepare food and meals in advance, healthy options that we all love that I call “fast food”; food that freezes well and lasts in the fridge for a few days, even options where the flavors improve over time.

We all pack a lunch, so these prepared dishes allow us to customize our lunch options as well as have dinner on the table in 15 minutes flat.

We love to create our own favorite tapas style dinners, small bites filled with flavor that inspire us to create new ideas for the next tapas meal.

This is a healthy ground turkey polpette dish I found in my research but I decided to add a Spanish tapas style feel to this by adding cumin (in small doses!), dried red chili pepper flakes to taste and a delicious grating of Manchego cheese (or you can use grated Romano cheese instead.)

You can serve these in a smaller shape on skewers with my roasted tomato sauce or make them larger and eat them like a traditional polpette or even sandwich style.

We loved the flavor profile and the girls found a variety of ways to enjoy these, even straight out of the fridge as Dan loves to do!

Happy Monday to all and have a fabulous week.cucinadimammina_spanish spicy turkey polpette-13

spanish-style spicy turkey polpette


2 lbs. ground fresh turkey (purchase this freshly ground if possible and ask for white and dark meat blend for best flavor and to keep them moist)

3 medium organic eggs (slightly beaten)

1/2 tsp or so of ground cumin

1 to 2 cloves fresh minced garlic (or you can use dehydrated garlic to taste)

1 tsp or so Spanish smokey sweet paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

dried red chili pepper flakes to taste

3/4 cup or so of fresh parsley, chopped finely

small handful of finely chopped Spanish red onion (sauteed lightly in olive oil until tender, NOT browned)

toasted fresh plain bread crumbs, finely ground (about a handful or two)

2/3 cup grated manchego cheese (OR grated romano cheese)

chicken stock or milk, if needed

finely chopped Spanish olives stuffed with pimento (approx 6-8 olives or to taste)

sea salt & black pepper

glass of white wine

roasted tomato sauce


vine ripe plum tomatoes (about 8 to 10 )

olive oil

fresh garlic cloves (peeled and chunked)

fresh basil leaves

sea salt and pepper

for the roasted tomato sauce

Wash and dry the tomatoes and slice them in half lengthwise. Place them on a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil generously and season with sea salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes on broil in your oven until they start to get toasty and the aroma permeates your casa.

At the last few minutes of cooking sprinkle the chunked garlic over the tomatoes and allow to cook until softened. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and once cooled, pulse in a food processor to blend and achieve a delicious chunky sauce.

for the polpette

Add the first eleven (11 ingredients) into a large wide bowl and blend gently until the egg has incorporated well. Let this rest for about a minute or two and if the mixture is too wet, add a bit more plain breadcrumb, if the mixture is too dry add a splash of stock or milk. Add the chopped olives and season with sea salt and pepper ( use a light hand with the sea salt as the cheese and the olives are very well salted!)

The final mixture must come together easily, be soft but hold it’s shape fairly well. In large skillet or dutch oven-style pan, drizzle a small amount of olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.

Place on medium heat and shape the mixture into smaller or more traditional style polpette (meatballs.) Allow these to brown well; resist the urge to move them or turn them too soon as they will fall apart easily.

Turn them until they are golden brown all around and then add in the glass of white wine and saute on medium low heat until done (the wine will reduce and leave a delicious coating of flavor on the polpette; break one in half to be sure these are completely cooked through with NO pink at all.)

Remove the polpette from the pan and serve immediately with the roasted tomato sauce or allow them to cool and store in the fridge or freezer for later enjoyment.

Note: Photography by Annette Venditti
Buon Appetito!

cucinadimammina_spanish spicy turkey polpette-24


roman zucchini fritters with parmigiano cheese Fri, 03 Jul 2015 18:33:49 +0000 An abundance of gorgeous summer harvest zucchini would always challenge us to create tasty new dishes that include this healthy and delicious ingredient.

One of our favorite classic recipes was this simple and ultra delicious way to create a dish that can be an appetizer, a side dish and the most amazing late night snack and sandwich topper.

Even the family members who found zucchini boring, could not resist this preparation and would ask for it over and over again.

roman zucchini fritters with parmigiano cheese


3-6 medium thin zucchini, washed and sliced into medium thin slices

1 cup or so of semolina flour

3/4 cup or so of fresh italian parmigiano; grated (and extra grated cheese for topping at the finish)

2 large fresh organic eggs

10-12 fresh basil leaves chopped finely

sea salt and black pepper, to taste

1/2 tsp garlic powder

approx. 3/4 to 1 cup water or so

olive oil for frying

In a large bowl, deep bowl combine the flour, grated cheese, garlic powder, eggs and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix this well with a fork until well blended then add the slices of zucchini and gently mix by hand to coat each and every slice.

Let this mixture rest for a moment or two, in the meantime prepare a large platter with paper towels and set aside.cucinadimammina_roman zuchhinfritters-10

In a large non-stick deep skillet, add about an inch or so of olive oil in the bottom of the pan and place on medium-high heat.

Test the oil by dropping a bit a batter, it should slowly start to cook and begin browning.

Begin adding your zucchini slices and allow to cook and brown until the zucchini begins to soften and the batter is a golden color.cucinadimammina_roman zuchhinfritters-16

NOTE: Adjust the oil temperature according to the thickness of the zucchini slices.

Thicker slices need more time to cook so don’t over brown these keep the heat a bit lower while thin slices will cook very, very quickly.

Turn them over to cook completely on the other side and then remove them to the large platter and place gently on the paper towel to drain (sprinkle with additional sea salt at this point., if desired.)

Once all the zucchini slices are cooked and drained, remove the oil from the heat and discard properly once cooled.

Serve these at room temperature with a healthy dose of additional grated parmigiano cheese to taste. Enjoy with wine and toasted breads as an appetizer or as a side dish to chicken and meat dishes.

cucinadimammina_roman zuchhinfritters-29

Note: Photography by Annette Venditti
Buon Appetito!





summer garden harvest salad: {estate insalata raccolto giardino} Mon, 15 Jun 2015 15:42:35 +0000 I found this recipe in one of my hundreds of cookbooks from Bar Tartine. I love this cookbook for their homemade philosophies and natural approach to locally cultivated seasonal ingredients. I have added my own personal modifications here that I feel made this dish even richer and heartier, still keeping with the light fresh finish.

Summer is the best season for no-cook meals, many of which we are all too familiar with and I often get food bored easily. This fulfilling salad has all the best parts of a salad but is really full of flavor and combination possibilities.

I have added this one to our famigila’s summer collection, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

summer garden harvest salad: {estate insalata raccolto giardino}


1 16 oz. container small curd 4% milk fat cottage cheese

shaved fresh italian parmigiano or italian hard cheese (if desired)

farmer’s market-style fresh spring greens mix

mini red, yellow and orange sweet baby peppers(de-seeded and sliced into bite size pieces)

small white button mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed, sliced thinly

small fresh baby cukes or use English cucumbers (least amount of seeds here, trim and sliced into angled chunks)

4 large organic eggs (hard boiled to your liking) at room temperature, peeled and sliced into quarters

very ripe vine tomatoes, washed and sliced into small wedges (farmer’s market-style preferred–I love a combination of varieties like ugly tomatoes, yellow, red and watermelon striped)

fresh garlic cloves

olive oil

red wine vinegar

sea salt


dry mustard (1 tsp. or more to taste)

Additions and other combinations: spring onions or scallions, sweet pea pods, sweet baby fresh peas, heart of palms (sliced), small baby potatoes (skin on) boiled, cooled and sliced thinly

cucinadimammina_summer harvest salad_06Using a large, deep bowl take your peeled garlic clove and cut it in half and rub the entire inside of the bowl with the garlic to add intense flavor and aroma. Discard the sliced cloves when done.

In this same large deep bowl, combine the mixed sweet peppers, sliced fresh mushrooms and cukes (add any other of your fresh additions at this point in time.)

Season with salt and pepper to taste, add a teaspoon or more of dry mustard powder (to taste) and drizzle well with olive oil and bold dashes of red wine vinegar.

Gently mix all well here to combine the flavors.

In a large flat serving platter, spoon the cottage cheese to from a base for the salad along the entire bottom of the platter.

Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

In a different bowl, add the mixed salad greens and dress with the olive oil red wine vinegar and some additional dry mustard powder to taste (you can season this bowl with more fresh garlic to add more flavor as well!)

Slowly place the dressed cut up vegetables in a balanced fashion onto the top of the cottage cheese layer until all are placed.

Add the sliced eggs and season them well with salt and pepper. Lastly, add the mixed dressed salad greens in the center in a large pile.

Drizzle the whole plate with additional olive oil and one last healthy dose of red wine vinegar and serve immediately. You can scatter shaved paper-thin slices of hard italian cheese if desired.

cucinadimammina_summer harvest salad_13NOTE: I love this as it is for a late summer meal; you can also serve this with grilled fish or chicken and rustic toasted breads like ciabatta and three cheese semolina pane.

Note: Photography by Annette Venditti
Buon Appetito!






magozino di limone italiano: {italian lemon crostada} Fri, 15 May 2015 16:31:15 +0000 It was my first trip to the Amalfi coast in Italia. The train ride from the north was wonderful.

There really is nothing like a European train ride with stunning views along the way.

The southern coast if Italia was shockingly different from the northern regions, from the coastal villages with brightly painted structures to ancient villages built into the rocks and mountains that during the day were invisible, but by night would light up the coastline like a scene from a Fellini movie.

I immediately fell under the spell of these areas Sorrento and Positano to name a few, with their southern influenced local dishes filled with fresh seafood and fish, wine, lemons (and limoncello) as well as the people i met along the way.

My last stop was the hidden gem island of Capri, just a few moments off the main coast near Sorrento.

I took a ferry boat to this famous island and did not want to leave. it had a very typical island feel with gorgeous trees and flowers mixed with the strong aromas and feel of the real Italia. It was a the perfect combination of relaxing escape and stunning resort island in this country I adore.

One this trip, I enjoyed a dolce crostata (tarte) that was made with the very famous limone (lemons) of the region.

These lemon trees fill the coastline and when the wind blows the aroma of the lemon fruit and leaves wafts down upon you like a warm summer wind filled with the perfume of lemon oil showcasing the essence of southern Italia.

I am not a dessert person, but I do love a bite of something slightly sweet with espresso or cordials after dark. This is the best combination of tangy, sweet lemons mixed with the crisp bite of a buttery rich crust.

The addition of the dark cioccolata drizzled on top of this crostata or tarte was masterful, a flavor filled evening I will never forget.

Here is my best attempt at recreating this dolce, I hope you find it filled with the same taste and texture pleasures that I enjoy. This recipe transports me to a place and time that I will forever keep safe in my heart and memories.

magozino di limone italiano {italian lemon crostada}


for the crust:

8 tbsps. unsalted organic butter, softened (room temperature)

2 cups unbleached organic flour (you can replace this with rice or coconut flour for unique change in taste)

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 whole organic egg, slightly beaten to brush onto crust for golden color

freshly grated zest of one lemon

milk or cream, if needed

Using a food processor, add all the ingredients except for the egg into the processor bowl. Begin to pulse this mixture until a soft dough begins to form.

If the dough is too stiff, add a touch of cream or milk, too soft add a bit more flour until it come together in a clump.

Remove the dough from the bowl and work the dough for a minute or two until well combined; wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for about 5 minutes or so.

Using a round pie plate or tin, roll the dough (dust with four lightly when rolling) and place into the pie plate and crimp the edges all around by hand for a rustic feel to the crust.

Using a fork poke the bottom of the crust and sides a bit for better baking.

Place in a preheated oven set to 350 degrees on the middle rack, bake until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool at room temperature.cucinadmammina_limone crostada-03Add


for the limone (lemon) filling:

4  whole organic eggs (beaten well)

3/4 cup or so of fine granulated sugar

2 fresh lemons, juiced and zested

4 tbsps. melted unsalted organic butter

Using a double boiler, bring the water to a soft boil and add the beaten eggs and sugar to the top portion of the double boiler and begin to whisk together until well blended and smooth.

Add the melted butter, lemon juice and zest and continue beating with a whisk over the heat until all is well combined and smooth and begins to thicken.

Continue whisking and remove from heat when the consistency is of a thick pudding.

Let rest and cool for a minute or two.cucinadmammina_limone crostada-11

NOTE: If your lemon filling is a bit lumpy or not as smooth as you would like, you can use a hand mixer to break it up and smooth it out OR use a strainer to remove the lumps etc.


Add the filling to the cooled crust keep the filling as smooth and even as possible. Set aside.

to make the dark ciocolatta ganache:

1 to 2 high quality dark ciccolatta (chocolate) bars broken into pieces

3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream

1/2 tbsp unsalted organic butter

Using the double boiler, add the chocolate pieces and butter and begin to whisk as it melts over the boiling water.

Add the cream and mix over the heat until well blended and allow to reduce a bit until thickened.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool; cover with plastic wrap letting it touch the surface of the chocolate so a skin does not form.

Prior to serving, chill the lemon crostata in the refrigerator until slightly cooled (or you can enjoy at room temperature, it a matter only of personal taste. In Italy this was served room temperature and I found it stays true to the flavors of the lemons this way.)

Drizzle a very healthy dose of the chocolate ganache over the surface of the crostata and slice into serving size pieces and enjoy!cucinadmammina_limone crostada-16

Note: Photography by Annette Venditti
Buon Appetito!




braised rabbit pappardelle with mixed spring vegetables Sat, 11 Apr 2015 15:43:35 +0000 During my childhood years, the spring season was always a refreshing reminder of a cold, hard NY winter finally coming to an end. The chance to finally wear less than three layers of clothing and run outside without a jacket.

We would celebrate spring’s offering on Easter with our famiglia, time spent in many kitchens creating dishes I had seen spring after spring, year after year. The main courses consisted of baby lamb and goat roasted on the first grille of the new season… a sweet reminder of the upcoming summer barbeques to come.

The delicious new spring vegetable courses were, fresh peas, asparagus, baby artichokes in a wide variety of preparations (sauteed, stuffed and marinated in vinegar, olive oil, herbs and spices.)

Dan took me to an incredible food spot in New York City during our second-time around courting days called Cafe Luxembourg where we proceeded to order the chef’s pasta special that evening, a braised rabbit and vegetable combo over homemade papardelle egg pasta.

We were both speechless sharing this dish, the flavors of the tender braised rabbit combined with new spring vegetables and the lightness of the paper thin pasta noodles made for a divine meal that left us supremely satisfied and not overwhelmingly stuffed or sleepy full.

That weekend was wonderful, and as I flew home, I noted the ingredients and reached out to the restaurant months later via email asking the chef to please share his recipe. The response was bittersweet as they would have been more than happy to share the recipe but the Chef had moved on as it happens in the city and they did not know where he landed.

I took it upon myself this holiday season to recreate this dish, one that touched our hearts as much as our stomaches during that reaquainting time in our lives.

This is what I have created, a dish we all enjoyed on Easter Sunday. It was lovely, light, delicious and very beautiful to see and eat, savoring all the flavors as we went. Carina and Isabella made the pappardelle egg noodles for this dish by hand (hand rolled and hand-cut), something that Dan and I will hold in our memories and heart as it made this dish all the better for both of us.

The braised rabbit recipe is one I adapted and revised a bit from a recipe I found by Lidia’s Italy.

braised rabbit with herbs & onions


3 ounces pancetta, thickly sliced, or prosciutto ends chopped thinly

4 plump garlic cloves, peeled

2-3 celery ribs and leaves

2 tablespoons loosely packed fresh sage leaves, (6 to 8 large leaves)

1 small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley

6 tablespoons or so of extra-virgin olive oil

two whole rabbits (fresh or previously frozen & thawed completely), about 3 lbs. or so, cut into serving pieces

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons all-purpose unbleached flour

½ cup to 3/4 cup white wine

1 tablespoon or so of red-wine vinegar

½ cup veal broth (or a combination of veal and vegetable broth) homemade preferred


cucinadimammina_braised rabbit & veg pasta_07

for the braised rabbit:

With a food processor, mince the pancetta or prosciutto, garlic, sage, parsley and approximately 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a fine-textured pestata (like a pesto.)

Place the rabbit pieces in a large deep bowl, season all over with the sea salt and black pepper to taste, then sprinkle the flour over all the pieces and toss to coat evenly.cucinadimammina_braised rabbit & veg pasta_02

Pour the remaining olive oil into a deep stock pot and set it over medium-high heat and begin to saute the pestata.

Cook and stir until the pestata has dried a bit and just begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Lay the legs or pieces in the pan in one layer, reduce the heat, and cover the pan.

Cook gently for about 10 minutes, allowing the meat to give up its juices and brown very slowly, until all the pieces are lightly golden colored on one side.

Flip them over, cover the stock pot and slowly brown the second side, about another 10 minutes or so. (If the pot is not large enough for all the pieces, work in batches, remove the first batch and repeat with the second until done).cucinadimammina_braised rabbit & veg pasta_17

Add all the cooked pieces back into the stockpot, add in the celery ribs and leaves and the white wine; saute this slowly until the wine reduces a bit. Now add the veal or veal & vegetable combo stock and the red wine vinegar to the mixture using a wooden spoon coat the pieces with the stock evenly and adjust the heat until it is cooking at a slow, simmering bubble.

Leave this to cook, for about 30 minutes or more until the pan juices turn to a thick brown glaze, always turning and tumbling the rabbit pieces as it cooks to ensure even flavor and balance (remove from the heat and set aside to cool.) Once cooled a bit, remove the cooked meat from all the bones, careful as rabbit does have very small bones, etc. Place the rabbit meat back into the stock pot with the pan juices, etc. and set aside for adding to the dish later.

NOTE: If the pan juices are too thin or watery at the finish, before adding in the de-boned rabbit meat; place the stock pot with the pan juices on medium heat and simmer to reduce for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or so, stir and check this often as it can stick and burn and ruin the final sauce (this final sauce will be used for the pasta dish.)

fresh pappardelle egg pasta and spring vegetable mixture


3 to 4 large sweet carrots, peeled and cut into small slices

1/2 cup or so of fresh baby brussel sprouts (trimmed and sliced in half)

fresh frozen baby sweet peas (thawed and drained)

2-3 fresh very ripe roma tomatoes, chopped into medium size pieces

1 box of baby frozen artichokes (thawed and drained)

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

sea salt and black pepper

olive oil

vegetable stock (homemade preferred)

homemade fresh cut pappardelle egg noodles (see recipe link) for the pappardelle, roll the pasta dough into thin sheets and then cut the wide strips by hand and lay out to dry.cucinadimammina_braised rabbit & veg pasta_28

In a large deep skillet, drizzle some olive oil and add a few pieces of the chopped garlic, saute lightly until aromatic. Remove the garlic and discard. Add in the cut carrots and saute for a moment or two until beginning to brown lightly; add a dose of the stock and stir gently and continue to cook on medium heat until the carrots soften a bit and the liquid reduces. Remove the carrots from the skillet and reserve the stock in a small bowl.

Repeat this process with the olive oil and garlic pieces for the baby brussel sprouts and remove when tender and then repeat the process for the baby artichokes; use the reserved stock from the carrots and add more for each vegetable you are sauteing. Set all the cooked vegetables aside in their seperate bowls.

In a large stock pot of boiling well salted water, cook the pappardelle noodles until soft (they cook very quickly as they are freshly made.) Drain out the noodles and palce in a large flat platter and drizzle lightly with olive oil so they do not stick.

In a large medium deep skillet add your desired amount of the rabbit meat and braised meat sauce from the stock pot. Place on medium low heat until it starts to simmer lightly, add in your cooked brussels, carrots and artichokes blend gently into the sauce and let simmer very slowly and lightly.

Add in the fresh peas and chopped tomatoes at the very end, these only need to warm up in the dish for 1 to 2 minutes and they are ready.

Now add the cooked pappardelle to the slowly simmering sauce and add more sauce (or a good splash of additional veal stock if the sauce is too thick.) let this simmer slowly, stirring gently until the noodles are well coated. Remove from the heat and season with additional sea salt and pepper to taste before serving; serve immediately with some fresh chopped parsley for flavor and garnish.

NOTE: Store the remaining rabbit meat in the refrigerator or freezer to add to risotto or future pasta dishes. Reserve and freeze any remaining braising sauce for future dishes as well in a separate container.cucinadimammina_braised rabbit & veg pasta_39

Note: Photography by Annette Venditti

Buon Appetito!

spring {primavera}: artichoke & potato tarte Tue, 24 Mar 2015 00:14:36 +0000 cucinadimammina_artichoke & potato tarte_22

The spring season brings warmer temperatures that feed our souls, especially for those of us who have endured the frozen climes for what seems like a winter season with no end in sight.

At our casa, spring is when the trees are in full floral bloom and the animals are preparing their homes for their new family members soon to come and the tropical flower buds are visible for miles.

It is a renewal, a time to revive the mind, sit outdoors and feel the warmth of the sun while you enjoy food and wine al fresco after many long weeks of grey skies and a chill in your bones.

This recipe for me celebrates spring and the new season’s gifts in a most fabulous way.

It is a breakfast for kings and queens (and for even the loyal subjects), a late afternoon meal with a bottle of wine, cheese and fruit or even a late dinner with a wonderful spring salad of fresh peas and fresh buttery greens.

Warm, cold or room temperature this tarte will please the soul, the stomach and remind you that the world is renewed once again.cucinadimammina_artichoke & potato tarte_39


artichoke & potato tarte


2 boxes frozen artichoke hearts; thawed and drained well

1 small vidalia sweet onion, sliced thinly

2-3 garlic cloves peeled and cut into chunks

homemade chicken stock or vegetable stock (good quality store bought works well but use the unsalted variety)

fresh flat leaf parsley

grated parmigiano cheese

sea salt

black pepper

3 to 4 eggs

approx. 2 to 2 1/2 cups or more hash brown cut raw potatoes (i prefer to shred my own, but you can also purchase the already shredded variety at your grocer)

1-2 oven cooked bacon slices; drained well

Using a colander over a large deep bowl, drain and squeeze the excess water from the shredded potatoes and place them in a clean dishrag to dry them well. Once most of the water is removed; add the potatoes to the bowl and season lightly with sea salt and pepper. Add a healthy amount of grated parmigiano cheese to taste (approx. 1 to 1 1/2 cups to your taste); blend well.

Add a good handful or more of fresh chopped parsley leaves and stalks; crumble the bacon slices and blend everything until well mixed. Using a fork, add one egg to the mixture and very gently mix into the potato mixture until all is soft and the potatoes start to stick together a bit.

Using a pie or quiche plate or metal tin; grease the bottom and sides throughly. Take the potato mixture and add to the pie plate and being to press the mixture into the bottom and sides of the plate to form a crust like base. Try to make the sides as even as possible when pressing, do not leave any gaps in the sides or bottom of the pie plate.cucinadimammina_artichoke & potato tarte_31

In a preheated oven set to 375 to 400 degrees; set the potato crust mixture in the middle rack of the oven and let bake until very lightly golden brown; approx. 18-20 minutes or so depending on your oven.

While the potato crust is baking; in a medium deep pan, drizzle a healthy amount of olive oil and add the chucks of garlic and slices of onion. Saute on medium high heat until soft and fragrant (do NOT fry); stirring often and watch to not allow the onion and garlic to brown (adjust the heat as needed.)

Once softened; add the drained artichokes to the mixture and mix well; let cook slightly until the artichokes begin to soften. Add a healthy amount of stock about 2 cups or so and set the heat to medium high and let the artichokes cook until the liquids start to reduce a bit and the artichokes are very soft to the bite.

Season the cooked artichokes lightly  with sea salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

Drain the artichokes through a sieve and retain the left over stock for future use (i love to cook risotto in this left over stock, delicious!)

Once the liquids are well drained add about 2/3 of the artichoke mixture to a large bowl and add a good handful of chopped fresh parsley and a small handful of the grated parmigiano.

Blend this well and once they are completely cooled add in the 2 eggs and mix well until evenly blended.

Now add the artichoke mixture as a filling to the semi-cooked potato crust. Spread the mixture evenly to the edges of the crust; leaving bout 1/2 inch to 1 inch of crust showing. take the remaining artichokes and add a few pieces to the top of the mixture and place inside a preheated 375 degree oven on the middle rack  to finish baking.cucinadimammina_artichoke & potato tarte_35

Bake the tarte until the center begins to firm up and the edges of the potato crust begin to crisp and get very brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to come to room temperature and serve immediately with plenty of wine to share and your choice of side dishes.


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Note: Photography by Annette Venditti

Buon Appetito!

kulcha: north indian flatbread Sun, 15 Feb 2015 16:24:47 +0000 Dan and I love to explore and eat foods from all over the world. We make it a personal goal to try something new as often as possible to keep our home meals with the girls different and refreshing for our foodie souls and our taste buds.

This is a recipe I came across in Food & Wine by Andrew Zimmern and I immediately knew we would fall in love with this flatbread.

Delicious on its own, even better when served with a meal of your choice, I highly suggest you try this one soon and make this a new staple on your famiglia’s tavola.

kulcha {north indian flatbread}


3 cups of all purpose (unbleached) flour

1 tbsp. organic sugar

1 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

1/2 cup of water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup minced fresh shallots

2 scallions, minced

2 tbsps. minced serrano or thai bird chili (use the seeds for additional heat*)

1 tsp. minced fresh ginger

1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds

1/4 tsp. ground fennel

1/4 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. dried oregano

ghee (an indian clarified butter)

*note: you can adjust the heat level here to your personal taste; use less more more of the chili and seeds as you desire.

In a deep large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, sea salt, baking powder and baking soda. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the greek yogurt, water and oil until a dough begins to form.

Remove from the bowl and using your hands, knead the dough until smooth and soft. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 2 hours.

In a deep medium bowl, mix together the shallots, scallions, serrano or thai bird chili, ginger, sesame seeds, fennel, cumin and oregano.cucinadimammina_indian flatbread_kulcha_04

Unwrap the rested dough and roll it into an approximately 8″ inch log; cut into 8 separate pieces.

Preheat a cast iron skillet or a large griddle or non-stick skillet.

Working with one piece of dough at a time; roll out the dough to about an 8″ round.

Spoon a heaping teaspoon of the shallot mixture in the center of the round.

Fold the edges of the dough into the center, covering the filling.cucinadimammina_indian flatbread_kulcha_08

Using your palm, press down to flatten the dough carefully. Slowly roll out the dough with a rolling pin to a 7″ round.

Brush the kulcha’s surface with ghee and add to the preheated hot skillet.

Cover over moderate high heat (turning once) until slightly puffed and charred in some spots. This process takes approximately 4 minutes or so.

Repeat this with all the remaining pieces of dough until done.cucinadimammina_indian flatbread_kulcha_09

Serve immediately or store for later use with a meal or snack.

Note: Photography by Annette Venditti

Buon Appetito!

zuppa di funghi del cacciatore Sun, 18 Jan 2015 17:12:30 +0000 Winter soups are one of my favorite comfort foods, my Mammina Loreta’s classic chicken soup to a warm, spicy vegetable minestrone.

This recipe is a my creation based on Italian hunter style cooking and many versions of classic mushroom soup. I do not include any heavy cream or milk fats, allowing the mushrooms and base vegetable flavor ingredients to come through in a clean delicious finish.

I do, however love to add a small dollop of tangy, plain greek yogurt for a fresh burst of flavor.  My recipe uses a mix of mushroom varieties for a full flavor mix. I also roast the mushrooms in the oven to bring out their natural, earthy essence and to retain texture and and a velvety balance.

I hope you fall in love my personal adaptation of this classic recipe as we did and add it to your own personal winter soup collection.DSC_0008

zuppa di funghi del cacciatore {hunter-style mushroom soup}


1 container of whole baby bella mushrooms, trimmed and cut into chunks

1 container of whole white button mushrooms, trimmed and cut into chunks

1 bunch of oyster mushrooms

1 bunch of trumpet royale mushrooms

1 bunch of enokitake (enoki) mushrooms

cooking sherry

white wine

2 to 3 leeks, cleaned and chopped

2 to 3 celery stalks and leaves, cleaned and roughly chopped

2 to 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks

2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

day-old stale rustic bread slices (crumbled)

olive oil

plain greek yogurt

2 containers of organic vegetable stock (unsalted)

sea salt and pepper to taste

fresh parsley, choppedDSC_0016

Place the chopped mushrooms (all varieties) on a large baking sheet.

Drizzle with olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper and add the chopped garlic, mix well.

Roast in a 400 degree oven until aromatic and starting to turn golden brown on edges. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

In a large stock pot, drizzle a healthy dose of olive oil and add the chopped carrots, celery and leeks; season with salt and pepper.

Saute this flavor mix until softened and aromatic; add in the roasted mushroom blend (reserve about a 1/2 cup or more of the roasted mushrooms to add to the finished soup when serving.)

Add in about a 1/3 to 1/2 cup white wine and about 1/3 cup cooking sherry; saute until the liquid is mostly evaporated. Add in one container of the unsalted vegetable stock and allow this to simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes on medium heat.

Once the liquid has evaporated some add about 2-3 slices day old crumbled bread and allow this to breakdown for about 5 to 10 minutes or so.

Remove the soup pot from the heat and set aside for a few minutes. Set up your food processor or blender (you can also use an immersion blender if you have one here and keep everything in the pot.)

Ladle the soup mixture into the food processor container and blend until very smooth; pour the blended mixture in a large bowl and continue to blend the soup mixture until complete.

Return the blended soup mixture to the stock pot and add some additional vegetable stock here to taste and thickness desired (taste for seasoning here and add salt and pepper if needed.)

Place on medium low heat to cook for an additional 10 minutes or so until all is uniform and blended well.

We prefer this soup a bit thicker, you can create the thickness or thinness you desire at this point by adding or not adding additional vegetable stock.

Remove the finished soup from the heat and set aside. Serve immediately in small deep bowls, add a dollop of greek yogurt, some chopped parsley and a small handful of the roasted reserved mushrooms.DSC_0042

NOTE: This soup freezes very well for future meals; I added this soup mixture to leftover mashed potatoes as a topping and it was simply amazing!


Note: Photography by Annette Venditti

Buon Appetito!