Spaghetti all’ Amatriciana

spaghetti amatriciana This past weekend the Italian town of Amatrice would have held it’s 50th annual food festival celebrating it’s famous pasta dish, spaghetti all’ amatriciana. Food lovers from around the world are serving up this pasta dish to raise funds and bring awareness for all the victims of the devastating earthquake in Italy.

amatriciana sauce ingredientsThere are many different variations to this simple rustic dish but traditionally you will always find these four ingredients, tomatoes, ( preferably San Marzano) guanciale, pecorino cheese, peperoncino for some heat and a hearty pasta shape that can hold up to the sauce.

spaghetti amatriciana There are quite a few ways we can donate and help in the recovery, my friend Domenica Marchetti took the time and posted an extensive list on her website, Domenica Cooks. Here’s the link. As we all know, every little bit can help!

spaghetti amatriciana

Why not gather your friends and family together, make a donation and feed them this symbolic dish of spaghetti all’ amatriciana, it’s hearty, comforting and so delicious!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Spaghetti all' Amatriciana
  • 4 oz. guanciale, ( pork jowl) cut into small strips. (if you can't find guanciale you can sub with pancetta)
  • 2 cups of crushed San marzano tomatoes
  • 1 or 2 peperoncino
  • grated Pecorino cheese
  • 8 oz. of bucatini type pasta, I used DeCecco #12
  1. Get a large pot of salted water to boiling.
  2. In the meantime make your sauce.
  3. In a rimmed heavy bottom skillet add the guanciale and cook till it renders it's fat and becomes golden, be careful not to crisp it like bacon, it should be soft and golden.
  4. Remove excess fat then drizzle in some olive oil and add your crushed tomatoes and peperoncino.
  5. Put heat on medium high and let all flavors blend and cook down together.
  6. When pasta is done cooking take tongs and lift it directly from the pot of boiling water into the skillet with the sauce, you want a little water to cling.
  7. Toss the pasta several times in the sauce with the tongs.
  8. Turn off the heat and throw in a handful of pecorino, letting the cheese melt into the sauce, becoming nice and creamy.
  9. Plate it into your individual serving bowls and add more cheese on top.
  10. Enjoy!


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Savory Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake

zucchini ricotta cheesecake This savory zucchini cheesecake is perfect for this time of year when summer is winding down and zucchini is in abundance. This dish can be served for lunch, brunch or even a vegetarian option for dinner.

It’s made with three different kinds of cheese which you can vary according to your liking, plus it’s baked without a crust which gives it such a light and creamy result.

zucchini ricotta cheesecake

Along with the cheese you’ll taste a hint of garlic as well as the fresh taste of lemon throughout the filling, all of which compliments the zucchini so very well.

zucchini ricotta cheesecake ingredients I’ve made zucchini pies and tarts in the past usually dicing the vegetables, but for a little something different I sliced the zucchini lengthwise, I love how it looks when it’s finished baking!

zucchini ricotta cheesecake It’s very easy, just stick your slices in any which way you please.

zucchini ricotta cheesecake

You can’t go go wrong, it always comes out nice and pretty.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Savory Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake
  • 9 inch pan, either a tart pan, pie plate or even a springform pan, it doesn't matter as long as you brush it well with olive oil so nothing sticks
  • 3 zucchini, sliced lengthwise with a knife, not too thin or it will disapear in the ricotta, thick enough so it still can bend a bit, leaving the skin on so you can see the green sticking up from the ricotta, don't bury it.
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup, Pecorino Romano
  • ½ cup of grated mozzarella plus a little more for sprinkling on top
  • 1 garlic clove minced finely
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 1 teaspoon each of chopped parsley and basil
  • olive oil for brushing and drizzling
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Oil your pan well on the bottom and sides so nothing will stick.
  3. In a bowl add all ingredients and mix well until all is combined.
  4. Place mixture into your prepared pan.
  5. Take your zucchini slices and arrange them into the ricotta, you might have some leftover slices depending on how big your zucchini is.
  6. Place pan onto a rimmed baking sheet for easy in and out of the oven.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes then take it out and sprinkle more shredded mozzarella on top, it will give it a nice golden brown color.
  8. Place bake into the oven and bake for 15 to 30 more minutes, ovens and moisture in the ricotta will vary, just continue baking until golden on top and the ricotta is set, check it with the tip of a knife in the center to see if it comes out clean.
  9. Let it cool down to room temperature before cutting into it.
  10. Drizzle a little olive oil on top before serving.


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Garlic Grilled Tomatoes

garlic grilled tomatoes It’s late August when tomatoes are in abundance, and here’s yet another favorite way I like to serve them. It’s an old recipe adapted from BBQ King, Steven Raichlen’s, Garlic Grilled Tomatoes.

I think in his original recipe he stuck a sage leaf on top of each tomato half, which is wonderful as well but with that being said I must admit I prefer this other version better which uses fresh thyme and a little bit of parmesan. I just love the flavor combination and it’s a little more versatile to sit beside most anything you might be grilling, sage to me is a more heavier flavored herb.

This is the perfect side dish for any occasion, it truly is. The tomatoes become nice and juicy, you can taste the smokiness of the grill, they become slightly caramelized and the garlic and thyme flavors take it over the top!

garlic grilled tomatoes They’re so simple to make and when you stick them on the grill you can make a whole bunch at the same time. Keep these in your memory bank for your next party, possibly Labor Day weekend, you can make a huge platter full in no time.

garlic grilled tomatoes I suggest not eating them hot off the grill, they taste much better at room temperature when all the flavors have settled in.

garlic grilled tomatoes

I promise you’ll love them, especially now when tomatoes actually taste so fresh and ripe.

(Come follow me on Instagram where you can see what I cook up daily)

5.0 from 1 reviews
Garlic Grilled Tomatoes
  • Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • garlic, crushed
  • thyme
  • olive oil
  • parmesan cheese
  • No exact amounts because it depends on how many tomatoes you use, just figure about 1 teaspoon of the garlic, herb and cheese mixture on top.
  1. Cut your tomatoes in half crosswise, season with salt and pepper and brush the cut side with olive oil.
  2. In a small frying pan add crushed garlic, olive oil and fresh thyme, cook til golden, take off the heat and add in grated parmesan cheese.
  3. Place your tomato halves cut side down on and oiled grill until you get grill marks,it won't take long. Turn them over gently with tongs or a small spatula then spoon the garlic cheese mixture on top and continue cooking.
  4. Place on a platter, drizzle with olive oil and eat at room temperature.


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