May 19, 2020

Our recipe of the week is Donna Franca's Limoncello Cookies!

These Limoncello Cookies are soft, with chewy centers and crisp edges. Full of lemon flavor and delicious! The icing on top makes them perfect!

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• 3/4 cup salted butter, softened
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup powdered sugar
• 1 large egg
• 2 tbsp lemon zest
• 1/4 cup limoncello liqueur
• 2 cups all purpose flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 2 tbsp (28g) salted butter
• 1/3 cup (69g) sugar
• 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy whipping cream
• 1/4 cup (60ml) limoncello
• 2 tsp corn syrup (or honey)
• 1 cup (115g) powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C and line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugars, egg, lemon zest and limoncello and beat on medium speed until creamy and free of lumps.  In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.  Scoop 1 1/2 tablespoon sized balls of dough onto the cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or golden brown around the edges with no uncooked centers.
Remove cookies from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. To make the icing, combine all the icing ingredients except for the powdered sugar in a small sauce pan. Heat on low until sugar is melted, then turn heat to medium to bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat and immediately pour into a heat-proof glass bowl. Whisk in the powdered sugar and allow to cool and thicken, roughly 10-15 minutes. If you find your icing to be a little thick, just add a touch more water to thin it back out. If it’s too thin, add a little more powdered sugar. Spread the icing onto the cookies and then allow to cool. The icing will thicken as it cools.

Buon Appetito!


May 12, 2020

Our recipe of the week is Donna Franca's Busiati!

It is a first course to taste absolutely in Sicily. The "busiati" are typical maccheroncini similar to bucatini, accompanied by the delicious "pesto alla trapanese" based on garlic, almonds, basil and tomatoes. The Sicilians were inspired by Genoese pesto revisiting it and using fresh local raw ingredients: the result is delicious!

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INGREDIENTS (for 4 people):
• 20 oz of freshly made busiate (or bucatini)
• 1.1 lbs ripe sauce tomatoes
• 8 basil leaves
• 6 cloves of garlic
• 1 and 1/3 oz peeled almonds
• 3 and 1/3 oz grated pecorino
• extra-virgin olive oil
• salt and pepper

Using mortar and pestle, crush together the garlic, basil and almonds, drizzling with extra-virgin olive oil.
Pour into a glass bowl and mix, adding a bit of grated pecorino. Scald the tomatoes in hot water for a few minutes then peel them, remove the seeds, chop them and crush them in the mortar. Add the other ingredients, seasoning with salt, pepper and more extra-virgin olive oil.
Cook the pasta in abundant salted water until al dente, drain and pour into the bowl with the sauce. Mix well and serve.
Buon Appetito!



May 5, 2020

Our Recipe of the week is Donna Franca's Tuna Spaghetti!

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Ingredients for 4 people:
• 14 oz spaghetti
• 14 oz fresh tuna
• 17 oz cherry tomatoes
• 1 cup of black olives
• three cloves of garlic
• salt
• pepper
• parsley
• extra virgin olive oil.

Fry the garlic in a pan, add the diced fresh tuna. Cook for a few minutes. Add the chopped cherry tomatoes, salt, olives and chopped parsley. Let it cook. In the meantime, cook the pasta al dente, drain and add it to the tuna sauce. Sauté everything on high heat for a minute, add more chopped parsley, serve hot.
Buon Appetito!


April 28, 2020

Our Recipe of the week is Donna Franca's Cuculli!
Super easy and quick, but very tasty vegan frittelle.

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• 4 cups Chickpea flour
• 1 nut of yeast
• salt and olive oil.

Dissolve the chickpea flour well in water to obtain a sufficient liquid dough. Once this dough is obtained, add the yeast and then leave it get up for a day.
After rising, add a pinch of salt, mix well and fry spoonful of dough in hot oil. Once the frittelle are golden, use a slotted spoon to take them out and use a paper towel to eliminate the extra oil. Serve hot.
Buon Appetito!


April 21, 2020

Our Recipe Of The Week  is Donna Franca's Truffle Risotto!

White Alba truffle risotto: The luxury of simplicity. The truffle risotto is a typical and traditional recipe of Italian cuisine, not only in Piedmont but all the Italian territories in which collects truffles. From Tuscany to Molise.

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• 320 grams of rice (I used Carnaroli, Vialone Nano but also a fine )
• 40 grams of white truffle of Alba
• 60 grams of butter
• medium scallions
• 60 grams of shredded PDO Parmigiano Reggiano
• 1,2 litres of vegetable stock or veal or chicken Fund Fund
• 80 milliliters of dry white wine and non-aromatic
• salt and pepper, to taste

For the risotto with white truffle, Finely chop the shallots. Put into a pan 20 grams of butter, melt, gradually add broth and scallions and sauté over low heat for 15 minutes, so the shallot becomes translucent but not browned.
In another pan, preferably copper, dry toasted rice, then add the shallots withered and mix well. Deglaze with white wine over a very low heat, evaporate the alcohol and start adding the hot broth, little by little. Season with salt.
Bring cooking risotto with white truffle, so it's the wave (and so creamy) and al dente, Adjust if necessary with salt and pepper, then stir in the remaining butter and parmigiano Reggiano.
Serve the risotto with white truffles from Alba in individual dishes, completing each portion with white truffle cut into thin slices with the appropriate mandolina. Serve immediately.
Buon Appetito!


April 7, 2020

Our Recipe Of The Week  is Donna Franca's Scialatielli di Amalfi!
Scialatelli is a recent innovation, compared to many other pasta shapes from Italy. The Italian chef Enrico Cosentino first devised it in the late 1960s in his native Amalfi, while working in a local restaurant, and it gained him recognition for it in 1978, when he won the Entremetier prize in an international culinary contest
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For the pasta:
• 300 g flour
• 120 ml milk
• 20 g Pecorino Romano
• 3 basil leaves
• 1 egg
• 15 g salt

For the Sauce:
• 2 cloved garlic
• 2 birds-eye chillies (finely chopped)
• handful chopped parsley
• 250 g cherry tomatoes
• 200 g Springbay mussels
• 200 g clams
• 8 Crystal Bay prawns
• 150 ml fish stock

Pasta: combine all ingredients together, knead for 3 minutes. Allow to rest for a minimum of 2 hours. Roll out onto a board or floured surface at 1 cm thickness. At this stage you may need to add a little flour as you go, then cut into thin strips.
While you are rolling out the pasta, bring a pot of salted water to boil.
In a large saucepan, add chopped garlic, chilli, cherry tomatoes and sauté on medium heat until tomatoes are cooked. Add seafood and fish stock and turn down heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

While sauce is simmering, add pasta to the boiling water and cook on high heat for 4 minutes.
Drain pasta and add to the sauce. Add chopped parsley and extra virgin olive oil, and season to your liking. Gently mix the pasta and sauce together, allowing the gluten from the pasta to make the pasta creamy.
Buon Appetito!


March 31, 2020

Our Recipe Of The Week is Donna Franca's Cantucci!

Cantucci or Biscotti di Prato are crunchy almond cookies from Tuscany.
These almond cookies are very easy to make: you shape the dough into a log and bake it. Then slice the log with a sharp, serrated knife and bake the cookies again. It’s during this step that cantucci dry out and become crispy.

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  • flour
  • 165 grams (3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest or lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon amaretto or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 125 grams (4.4 ounces) raw unpeeled almonds

Heat the oven to 356°F.
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
Add the eggs, honey, orange zest, amaretto and mix all the ingredients.
Once you have a crumbly, soft mixture, add the almonds.
Transfer the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it into 2 logs that are approximately 12 inch long, and 2 inch wide.
Wet your hands, it will be easier to shape the dough.
Place the logs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or with a silicone mat.
Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove the logs from the oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes before slicing.
Place a log on a cutting board and using a sharp, serrated knife, cut it diagonally into 1/2 inch slices.
Put the cookies back on the baking sheet and bake them for 10-15 minutes.
Remove the cantucci from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack.
Store them in a sealed container for several weeks.
Buon Appetito!


March 22, 2020

Our Recipe of the week is the Saltimbocca alla romana!
Traditional Saltimbocca alla romana consists of slices of veal cooked with slices of Culatello di Zibello PDO and sage.  Whilst there are those traditional Italian recipes that can be time-consuming and also difficult to conquer without the help of some experienced hands, saltimbocca alla romana is luckily not one of them, and is quick and easy to prepare. Serve this meat dish with a mixed salad or, as a second course, following a first of pasta from the Lazio region such as spaghetti alla Gricia or a delicious carbonara.
This recipe is so quick to prepare that it comes in handy as an emergency solution to a family dinner, but moreover it is great as a snack when you are feeling hungry in between mealtimes. This is also an easy meal to prepare on weeknights when you don’t feel particularly keen to cook, as it’s ready in just 15 minutes.

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• 4 slices of veal
• 4 slices of Culatello di Zibello PDO
• 4 sage leaves
• 2 tbs butter
• 1/2 glass white wine
• salt and pepper

Pound the veal slices with a meat tenderizer until soft and thin, which also helps to reduce cooking times. Remove any gristle, if present. Gently rinse and dry the sage. Arrange a slice of Culatello di Zibello PDO on top of each slice of veal followed by the sage. Pin the three layers together using a toothpick. 
Melt a knob of butter in a non-stick pan over medium high heat and as soon as it starts to bubble, add the meat carefully and let it sear gently on each side for a couple of minutes to brown the veal and crisp the Culatello di Zibello PDO. Pour some white wine over the meat and let it continue cooking on a medium low heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat. 
Serve immediately with some fresh bread.
Buon Appetito!


March 10, 2020

Our Recipe of the week is the Mimosa Cake!

An Italian Mimosa Cake is not only pretty to look at but really delicious to eat. This Cake isn’t just any cake it was made to honour women on March 8th for International Women’s Day.
The first International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8, 1946. The Mimosa was chosen by the “Italian Women Association” probably because of the beautiful yellow flowers and the fact that the flower blooms in the beginning of March in Central Italy.
Most believe it was a Roman Female Pastry Chef that invented the Mimosa Cake, she cut up pieces of the cake and sprinkled them on the cake’s surface in an attempt to produce the Mimosa flower.


For the Cake
• 5 eggs
• 1 cup sugar 200 grams
• 1 tablespoon baking powder 15 grams
• 2 1/2 cups of flour 300 grams
For the Cream Filling
• 3/4 cup milk 172 1/2 grams
• 3/4 cup cream whipping or whole cream, 172 1/2 grams
• 4 egg yolks
• 1/2 cup sugar 112 1/2 grams
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 2 1/2 grams
• 2 1/2 tablespoons flour 11.7 grams
• 3/4 cup cream whipping or whole cream, 172 1/2 grams
• 1 1/2 tablespoons icing/powdered sugar 22 1/2 grams

Pre-heat oven to 350° (180° celsius), lightly grease and flour a 7 x 3 inch (18 x 7 1/2 centimeter) round springform cake pan and an 8 inch (20 centimeter) round cake pan.
Beat on medium-low speed eggs and sugar until well mixed (1-2 minutes) add flour and baking powder and continue to beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Pour into greased cake pans and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean and dry. Let cake cool completely. Remove the top from the 7 inch cake to make a flat surface (do not toss the cut cake**) then slice cake in 3 layers (set aside),remove the golden crust parts from the top and sides of the 8 inch cake (again do not toss**), then cut into 2 layers and cut each layer into long narrow strips and cut the strips into small square pieces (see photos) set aside.
In a medium pot, heat over low the milk and cream, do not boil. Remove from heat and let cool to warm. In a medium pot add yolks and sugar, whisk together until combined, then add flour and vanilla, place pot over low heat, add warm milk/cream, whisking continuously until thickened. Remove to a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap (make sure wrap touches the cream mixture) and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
In a medium bowl beat until stiff whipping cream (or whole cream) and powdered/icing sugar.
To make it easier to assemble place the first layer of cake back into the spring form pan, spread half the Whipped Cream Filling and approximately 1/4 of the Italian Cream Filling on top, place the 2nd layer on top and repeat with fillings, top with third layer and cover the cake with the remaining Italian Cream Filling.
Cover the frosted cake with the small pieces of cake, refrigerate for at least 4-5 hours, overnight is even better. Dust with powdered/icing sugar before serving if desired.
Buon Appetito!

DONNA FRANCA'S HOMEMADE RECIPES: Schiacciata alla Fiorentina

March 3, 2020

Schiacciata alla Fiorentina*
Our Recipe Of The Week is the Schiacciata alla Fiorentina, a sweet flatbread for Carnival!

During Carnival, or Mardi Gras, the schiacciata it appears in every bakery, pastry shop and bar in Florence. There is even a real competition aiming to nominate the best Florentine schiacciata!

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For the dough
• 2-½ cups flour sifted
• ¾ cup of sugar
• ⅓ cup whole milk , at room temperature
• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 3 eggs at room temperature
• 1 large organic orange + zest at room temperature
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1 vanilla bean cut lengthwise and seeds scraped

For the decoration
• 3 tablespoons icing sugar
• 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
• For the bottom of the mold
• 2 tablespoons soft butter
• 1 tablespoon flour

Preheat convection oven to 350° F.
Whisk eggs, icing sugar and vanilla seeds for 5 minutes using your mixer. Add orange zest and olive oil, and continue beating, at low speed. Add the orange juice and beat for one minute.
Add the milk, and beat for another minute. Mix the baking powder and flour, and gradually incorporate them with a spatula, adding one spoon at a time and making sure they are entirely absorbed before adding the next spoon. Dust butter and flour the bottom and all the sides of a 10x8 inch pan. Pour the batter. Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes. After 30 minutes, check if the cake is baked by inserting a toothpick. Unmold and let the cake cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle icing sugar over the entire surface. Create a fleur-de-lis stencil, put it on the cake and sprinkle cocoa powder.
Gently lift the stencil so that no cocoa powder spills onto the icing sugar.
Buon Appetito!



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