Cooking with Quality Products

Recently I received an email from Olio2go, a company whose mission is to seek out the best quality products from all over Italy asking me if I’d like to review some of their artisanal products, after checking out their link of course I said yes!

One of the three products I received was Olio Verde Novello coming from Castelvetrano, Italy on the Island of Sicily, this olive oil was freshly pressed this passed October, and boy can you taste that freshness! It’s rich, fruity and slightly pungent all at the same time with hints of artichoke and lemon, I swear I could drink this stuff, oh and I love the shape of the bottle!
Did you know that high quality extra virgin olive oil is very stable when heated and it has a high smoking point? I didn’t!
The pappardelle comes from Pastificio Vicidomini, in Castel San Giorgio, near Naples, from a family owned business that has been making high quality pasta since 1812, now 6 generations strong this pasta is made with certified organic semolina and mountain water. There must be something to that mountain water because the flavor and the texture was superb!
The pretty jar of crispy asparagus comes from Villa Cappelli in Puglia perfect for an appetizer or placed into a salad.

For the pappardelle I decided to let the pasta shine through by tossing it with roasted shards of butternut squash. I call it shards because that’s what they ended up looking like after I shredded and roasted them up on my baking sheet.

I actually loved how all the jagged pieces looked when tossed among this amazing quality pasta.
I used a basil brown butter sauce and plenty of freshly grated parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper to finish it off.

When I read that Olio Verde had hints of lemon and artichoke, I went out and bought 4 of the prettiest artichokes I could find, I trimmed them, cut them into quarters, scooped out the chokes, cooked them until tender, and then after they were cooled down I placed them into a pool of this liquid gold along with fresh parsley, lemon juice as well as the zest, red pepper and chopped garlic. One word… DIVINE!

I’m sorry but I just couldn’t get enough of this olive oil so I went ahead and made a savory baked ricotta, perfect when smeared on top crostini. Ricotta is such a blank canvas, it takes on flavors so well, so when it was finished baking I poured a generous drizzle of it right over the top which made every bite sublime!

I had 1 1/2 cups of ricotta sitting in my fridge so with that I mixed in 1 egg, 1/2 cup of grated romano cheese, 5 small cherry tomatoes cut lengthwise, a couple of tablespoons of fresh chopped basil, 1 small minced garlic, zest of 1/2 a lemon, salt, pepper and 3 chopped olives.

Oil a shallow gratin dish, or a ramekin if you want to un-mold it, spread the mixture into the dish and bake 375F for around 20 minutes or until nicely golden on top.

Of course if you don’t have these particular products on hand you can make any of these recipes using your own favorite pastas and olive oils, but if your looking for an extra special treat, check out Olio2go!
Buon Appetito!


When I’m asked to bring a dish to a party, and especially when it’s a large group, I often bring this. It’s a mix of Italian sausage, red and green peppers and potatoes. That was the case this past Thursday when I brought this to our Italian American club’s party. Being fairly new members, and the fact that there would be a room full of Italians, I knew I couldn’t get just any sausage!! No, it had to be the best!! So I got in my car and drove out to my favorite source for the best Italian sausage!!(in my opinion!)

I love this place! Just the smell when you walk in the door, it hasn’t changed in years! My kids remember coming here when they were small, and to this day, when they have their own parties and need some good quality food, they come here. Or if they just have a “taste” for something like their marinated artichokes, or their black pepper focaccia, or….the list goes on and on!!

Their sausage is so flavorful, and made fresh daily. They have Sweet with fennel, Medium with fennel and some red pepper flakes(just the right amount) Hot, 3x’s the red pepper!!! It’s so good on the grill, and just recently added a new one, Del Vino with wine. My favorite is medium.

This is only a fraction of what they have! There’s so much more packed into this tiny little store!

I did have to take home some extra little goodies for me and the Hubby to snack on!

Here’s how you make it****

Just take a big pan, cut up any kind of potatoes,( I leave the skin on) cut up your peppers, drizzle them with extra virgin, salt and pepper, a splash of white wine (optional), and smashed garlic. Place sausage on top, and roast in a very hot oven about 425 degree F. till crispy and potatoes cooked tender. Keep turning the sausage over so all sides get cooked through. You’ll know when it’s done by the way it looks.

Buon Appetito!!!