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Pasta with Ramp Pesto and Guanciale

Pasta with Ramp Pesto and Guanciale

Is it necessary to blanch, then shock, the ramp greens? If you want a super-green (not khaki) pesto, it is.


  • 1 tablespoon plus ⅔ cup (or more) olive oil
  • 6 ounces guanciale (salt-cured pork jowl), pancetta, or slab bacon, cut into ⅓-inch cubes
  • 2 bunches ramps (about 10 ounces), greens and bulbs separated, bulbs thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped unsalted roasted pistachios, divided
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces paccheri or rigatoni
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces

Recipe Preparation

  • Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-low. Cook guanciale, tossing often, until browned and crisp, 10–15 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl with a slotted spoon. Pour off all but 2 Tbsp. fat from skillet.

  • Add ramp bulbs to skillet; season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and tender, about 4 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, blanch ramp greens in a large pot of boiling salted water until wilted, about 10 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of ice water (save pot of water). Drain, squeeze out excess liquid, and coarsely chop.

  • Purée ramp greens, ramp bulbs, half of pistachios, and remaining ⅔ cup oil in a food processor until very finely chopped. Add ½ cup Parmesan and process until pesto is almost smooth. Pulse in a little more oil if sauce is too thick; season with salt and pepper.

  • Return reserved pot of water to a boil; cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until al dente; drain, reserving ½ cup pasta water.

  • Mix pesto, ¼ cup pasta water, and butter in a large bowl. Using tongs, transfer pasta to bowl and add guanciale; toss vigorously, adding more cooking liquid as needed until pasta is glossy and well coated with sauce. Taste and add more salt if needed.

  • Divide pasta among bowls. Top with more Parmesan and remaining pistachios.

  • Do Ahead: Pesto can be made 2 days ahead. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto surface, and chill.

Nutritional Content

Calories (kcal) 1190Fat (g) 91Saturated Fat (g) 26Cholesterol (mg) 70Carbohydrates (g) 78Dietary Fiber (g) 5Total Sugars (g) 7Protein (g) 20Sodium (mg) 1330Reviews Sectionso delicious!! i substituted walnuts for the pistacchios as i only had those on hand, came out great! excited to make again

Trending Now: Ramps 10 Tempting Ways

When ramps arrive you can be sure it is officially spring. Growing exclusively on the East coast of the United States and Canada, and only in season eight weeks out of the year, this elusive member of the onion family has created quite the reputation for itself.
By Molly Nugent

You may ask, why? What exactly is a ramp? A ramp is a perennial wild onion that similarly resembles a scallion in appearance with broader leaves and a strong garlicky odor and flavor. They are incredibly versatile and are delicious raw, grilled, pickled or pureed.

Once in season, you will see countless North American restaurants with menus covered in ramps as chefs only have a short amount of time to experiment with them. Honest Cooking thinks you should experiment, too! Here are some recipes for you to try at home while there’s still time.

1. Sauteed Ramps with Guanciale
Garlicky ramps with crispy guanciale – no other ingredients are really necessary. This dish is simple, super flavorful and would be great to bring to a Spring pot-luck. Get the recipe.

2. Ramp & Asparagus Soup with Yogurt
This eye-catching, vibrantly colored soup is just what you need to get excited about spring. Fresh green flavors with lemon juice and black pepper, it’s delicious served hot or chilled. Get the recipe.

3. Bacon, Tomato and Ramp Quiche
A hearty breakfast dish that is made extra flavorful with ramps. Get the recipe.

4. Ramp & Mushroom Pizza
This unique pizza is perfectly earthy. Ramps paired with mushrooms – this flavor combination is strong and fresh, not meant for those who like mild food. Get the recipe.

5. Chinese Style Ramp Pancakes
Crunchy and delicious, Chinese style pancakes are an unexpectedly, but fantastic use of ramps. Great with either soy sauce or sour cream for dipping. Get the recipe.

6. Ramp & Morel Pasta
This dish is a take on the classic pasta dish with mushrooms and spinach. This particular recipe substitutes ramps for spinach and regular mushrooms for another precious spring ingredient: morels. A seriously delicious way to start off the season. Get the recipe.

Inside Long Islands’ Farm to Table Life with Loaves and Fishes Farm Series Cookbooks

7. Caramelized Ramp & Asparagus Hand Pies
These adorable little hand pies make ramps into the perfect snack – paired yet again with asparagus, some lemon zest, lots of ricotta, and all tucked inside puff pastry. Get the recipe.

8. Ramp Pesto
Pesto is always great, especially when made with stronger, garlicky ramps. Enjoy with a soft goat cheese as a snack or with shrimp, fish or pasta. Get the recipe.

9. Ramp & Sausage Risotto
If pasta and ramps are a great combination, there’s no reason to not try ramps with risotto. This recipe is a creamy, cheesy, sausage filled dish made especially great with the addition of ramps. Get the recipe.

10. Pickled Ramps & Asaparagus
What better way to extend ramp season than to pickle them and save for later? This recipe will leave you with yummy pickled and herbed treats well into summer and fall. Get the recipe.

Food, travel and art are three of Molly's biggest passions and she loves to combine them whenever she can. Whether it's coming up with a new and exciting recipe to try out in the kitchen or taking photographs, Molly is most happy being creative and eating well.

Mediterranean Orzo Salad & 8 More Pasta Recipes That Won’t Put You in a Food Coma

We don’t know about you, but we are feeling the need to strip down — and we’re not just talking about our wardrobe. Spring has sprung and summer is nearly here, so why shouldn’t you switch up your pasta game? Think: lots of greens, lemon, herbs, lean protein, and in-season vegetables. Need some inspiration? Here are 9 bright and tasty pasta recipes that won’t put you in a food coma.

Pasta with Shaved Asparagus + Ramp Pesto

Published: Apr 19, 2016 · Modified: Feb 23, 2021 by Coley · This post may contain affiliate links.

This recipe for Pasta with Shaved Asparagus and Ramp Pesto is easy to make and perfect for spring! The ramps are pungent and perfect for pesto, while the sweet asparagus balances everything out.

Summer is unequivocally my favorite season. I think you guys know that by now. But I have to say, spring comes in at a pretty close second. While I certainly appreciate all the beautiful things about fall, there’s always that underlying feeling the best part of the year is over. No more garden, no more beach days, no more sun past 4pm.

Spring, on the other hand, feels like things are just beginning. People wake up from their long winter naps. Flowers bloom. Days get longer. And the first veggies of the season start to find their way into the markets. Spring is full of hope and excitement for what the summer season has in store. In my experience, it seems more often than not that the anticipation of an event is more thrilling and satisfying than the event itself. Sometimes the dream of going on vacation is better than the actual trip. And sometimes the hopeful suspense of spring brings even more joy than the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.

Of the first vegetables to hit the markets each spring, ramps are perhaps the most coveted amongst food fans. They’re also the most elusive. Ramps, if you’ve never had them, are alliums considered wild leeks, and only show up for a few short weeks in early spring. They look a bit like scallions, only with tender, leafy tops, and have an intense garlicky flavor.

Ramps grow wild on hillsides, and are not easy to cultivate outside of their natural habitat. This is something I learned the hard way when I tried to plant them in my garden a few years ago and not a single one sprouted. Because ramps typically require elevation to grow, you won’t find them anywhere around the flat farmlands of southern New Jersey.

Last week, I was minding my own business when the UPS man knocked on the door and handed me a package. I didn’t order anything, I thought? But then, I opened up the box to find a big mesh bag full of filthy, stinky, absolutely drop dead gorgeous ramps, and I immediately knew just who sent them.

When my dad remarried a few years ago, I was lucky enough he picked someone who loves food and cooking as much as I do. Mary Marie grew up in West Virginia, where ramps grow wild everywhere, like weeds. Literally. One night we were chatting over dinner and somehow my love for ramps came up in the conversation. Mary Marie looked at me, puzzled. “Ramps?? Are you kidding me??” To her, ramps had never been anything more than a pesky, invasive nuisance, no different than dandelions and lambs quarters. She was utterly shocked to hear how they’d become such a trendy ingredient in the food world.

Ever since that conversation, Mary Marie has been shipping me a box of ramps from a farm near her hometown every spring. And it’s the best. thing. ever. As soon as I opened that box, my heart started to flutter and I was filled with excitement. I couldn’t wait to clean them off and start cooking.

I pureed the ramps into a creamy sauce with walnuts and parmesan cheese to make a pesto that’s bright green, pungent and delicious. It’s great smeared onto a piece of grilled bread with a little goat cheese, spooned over grilled vegetables or served alongside meats and fish. But I’m really partial to it tossed with pasta. I shave in some fresh asparagus, using the same technique as this salad for great texture, sweetness and overall springiness.

If you’re lucky enough to find ramps where you live – run! don’t walk – to go buy them up and make this pasta. They’ll only be available for a limited time. If you can’t find ramps at your local market, order some here, or try making this pesto with spicy arugula and a few cloves of garlic instead. It will still be completely delicious and bring you all the same feels of springtime excitement.

How to Toss Food in a Pan like a Chef

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© 2008&ndash2021 TDT Media Inc. doing business as Tasting Table.

All 𠆌hoked Up

Tasting Table serves genuine editorial. There is no pay for play: We only recommend products and services we love. If you read about a product or service on our site and make a purchase through the links we provide, we may receive a small commission or "affiliate fee" that we use to offset our editorial costs. "Partner Content" from our advertisers are not editorial recommendations and are clearly marked on every post or email as such. Click here for our editorial policy.

© 2008&ndash2021 TDT Media Inc. doing business as Tasting Table.

Spring Pasta Dreaming

For the last few weeks, when dinnertime rolls around I haven’t found myself where I like to be the most, namely sitting around a table with my family, downloading the day’s events over a plate of something quick and fresh. Instead, I’m sitting in a parking lot or on bleachers or walking around a track waiting for a practice to end. I had been warned this day would come, I had been warned that the older the kids, the later the practices, so I’m not complaining. Especially since it gives me some time to catch up on the podcasts I can’t listen to (or I’m not allowed to listen to) when the kids are in the car. Pod Save America saves me on Mondays and Thursdays, The Daily saves me…daily. Reply All and Alec Baldwin round out the rest of the week. But my favorite way to check out of the truly insane news cycle, if only for 45-minute bursts, is the Bon Appetit Foodcast. Last week, waiting for soccer to end, I found myself listening to Adam Rapoport (host, BA editor in chief, longtime friend of DALS), Carla Music (food director), and Andy Baraghani (senior food editor) talking about spring pastas in their usual animated and highly opinionated way. Maybe it’s because I was eating a stale Kids Clif Bar at the time or maybe it’s because one of my daughters doesn’t eat pasta, so I go through phases when I really freaking miss it or maybe it was just because I realized it was already May and I had yet to take advantage of mint, peas, leeks, asparagus, ramps, greens, and other spring VIPs…Whatever the reason, I have not been able to get their creamy, greeny, spring pastas out of my mind since listening. It’s a problem I intend to solve as soon as possible. To that end, a round-up of what’s in the running for dinner this weekend, beginning with the above, Pasta with Ramp Pesto and Guanciale, from Bon Appetit. (photo credit: Gentl & Hyers). Others that have me dreaming…

Pasta with Clams, Ramps, and Fava Beans (from Kitchen Repertoire photo credit: Dana Gallagher)

Two from Melissa Clark who always delivers: Crab with Snap Peas and Mint (above) and Pasta Primavera with Asparagus and Peas. (Both from The New York Times Photo by Andrew Scrivani.)

Lastly: Pasta with Bacon, Peas, & Leeks from Back Pocket Pasta, by Colu Henry. It calls for bacon, but you can use pancetta, or prosciutto too, and — lucky us — they let us run the recipe below.

Pasta with Bacon, Peas, & Leeks

kosher salt
2/4 pound mezze rigatoni or other short tubular pasta
1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh peas or 1 cup frozen baby peas
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
3/4 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of the salt and return to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente according to package directions.

While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce: Cook the bacon until crisp in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring often to make sure the bacon does not burn, about 4 minutes. Remove the bacon and set aside on a plate lined with paper towels.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat, add the leeks to the skillet, and sauce over medium-low heat until they are translucent, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the pasta and peas directly to the skillet and toss to coat. Increase the heat to medium-high, sprinkle in the bacon, and toss again, adding 1/4 cup of pasta water or more (up to 1 cup), as needed to loosen up the sauce. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Plate in bowls and sprinkle with parsley. Pass the grated cheese at the table.

Recipe reprinted from Back Pocket Pasta. Copyright © 2017 by Colu Henry. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Peden + Munk. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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Mmmm, pistachio-mint pesto… Lynne Kasper has several variations the one posted here looks yummy. If you can’t imagine the combo of pistachio and mint–don’t try, just make it! And by the way, mint should be added to just about everything right now, from supermarket strawberries (sigh, it’ll be a month before we have local ones in Syracuse) to chopped meat to a pitcher of ice water. Basil gets all the love, but mint is even more flexible.

Thank you thank you! I have begun the endeavor of “cooking the seasons” and it’s both overwhelming and challenging to narrow down what to make. Thanks for helping me plan for next week!

I agree that Pod Save America is wonderful. Podcasts basically get me through the tedium of the week. And I consider a new easy pasta recipe a Godsend. Thank you!

This weekend I made your Beef and Broccoli and your bake sale cake! OMG, the kids loved it. Granted, only the adults ate the broccoli, kids stuck with carrots and corn. Both recipes were easy and soooo good!

Ramp pesto is one of my favorite things. I buy a ton of ramps (10 bunches so far) and turn them into pesto, which I freeze so I can have it all year round.

This is our first year on a summer swim team and meets are all day Saturday aka the only day my favorite farmers market is open every week. Which means I’m missing out on all springy-summery produce. The struggle is real.

Just returned from a cold, rainy, wet trip to the Green City Market with Pod Save America on the radio and starting to stockpile recipes for the beginning of CSA season. Going to make orecchiette with italian sausage and rapini tomorrow night because the girl who doesn’t like bitter greens is on her 8th grade rafting trip and the boy (who does) is back from his freshman year of college.

I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner tonight, without having to go to the grocery store. I just happen to have all the ingredients for the Bacon, Pea & Leek Pasta in my kitchen, just begging to be turned into a delicious spring dinner. Thank you for the dinner inspiration!

Nice set of recipes here, thank you for putting these together! Haven’t ever seen a lot of these variations before, so thank you!

Love “Pod Save America” (and was a huge fan of its predecessor “Keepin’ it 1600”) but I agree it’s not kid friendly…

I will have to check out the “Bon Appetit” one- these pasta’s look amazing.

9 classic Italian sauces for your winter pasta-fest

There are two schools of Carbonara thoughts: cream and no cream. This recipe uses the traditional method, where the creaminess comes from the lightly whisked eggs tossed through the pasta just before serving, rather than actually added cream.

2. Ragù alla Bolognese

Possibly the best known Italian pasta sauce, bolognese could be translated into English as “bowl of comfort”. Where spaghetti bolognese is popular outside Italy, you'll struggle to find it within the country—it's usually served with gnocchi or larger, flatter pasta like tagliatelle, pappardelle or fettuccine. There are endless variations on the Bolognese theme, and this one is unique in the addition of pork ribs to the sauce while it's brewing, for a rich, meaty flavour.

Homemade gnocchi (gnocchi di casa).

3. Amatriciana

Authorities in Amatrice, the home of the amatriciana sauce, declare its six official ingredients as guanciale (pork jowl), pecorino cheese, white wine, tomatoes (to be precise, tomatoes from San Marzano), pepper and chilli. This version omits the wine and adds some onion and garlic for flavour depth.

4. Pesto

These days, pesto has come to loosely mean a blend of herbs or leafy vegetables and nuts, with ingredients including everything from kale to miso paste. Classic Italian pesto combines olive oil, basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and hails from Genoa, where the best basil in Italy is said to grow.

Ribbon egg pasta with prawns and pesto (trenette al pesto).

5. Puttanesca

We all know the meaning of the name - "Prostitute's Sauce" - but how exactly the name came to be is less certain. Fans of salty flavours will love the combination of olives, anchovies and capers that characterise this quick and flavourful sauce.

Spaghetti alla puttanesca.

6. Alla Norma

Chunks of juicy eggplant and pockets of creamy ricotta are the defining features of the tomato-based Alla Norma sauce. If you need some extra dinner table chat, the recipe was created by an Italian chef and dedicated fan of 19th-century Italian composer Vincenzo Bellini, and named after his famous operatic aria called “Norma".

Garganelli alla Norma.
Source: Sharyn Cairns

7. Vongole

Briny clams, spicy fresh red chilli and fragrant parsley come together in this classic Neapolitan pasta, which can just about be whipped up in less time than it takes your guests to have their first glass of wine. The secret to this Italian recipe is in the timing—start cooking the vongole just after the water for the pasta comes to the boil.

Spaghetti with baby clams (spaghetti alle vongole).

8. Cacio e Pepe

An incredibly simple pasta dish out there - just cheese, butter and black pepper - but one with incredible results. The surprising creaminess comes from adding a little water used to cook the spaghetti, with the starch combining with the cheese to make creamy magic.

Tonnarelli cacio e pepe (pasta with cheese and pepper).

9. Marinara

Marinara is vibrant red and fairly chunky tomato sauce that is essential for an Italian food repertoire. It's quick to prepare and has a bright, fresh flavour that lends itself to many different pasta varieties, from gnocchi to baked ziti.

Gnocchi with tomato and basil sauce.

The aroma of the ramps (wild onions), morels and sweet butter in this dish scream spring, and you'll find yourself lingering over every bite. Don’t be tempted to add cheese, either. It will only sully an otherwise crisp and clean dish. Also, don’t skip this recipe if, for some odd reason, you don’t like mushrooms. The ramp pasta itself, which lasts for a couple days in the fridge, is just as good with butter and cheese yes, this is the place for grated pecorino or parmesan.

Somewhat like pizzocheri, where taleggio and cabbage are involved, this is a rib-sticking pasta dish that’s big on flavour.

This recipes looks to the flavours of our Southern Italian friends. Traditionally, pork is seasoned with fennel seeds that have an almost aniseed-like, slightly sweet flavour, and dried chilli. This particularly excellent flavour combination also happens to be one of my favourites. To make this rustic, easy to whip up dish, I’ve suggested the use of casarecce, a short dried pasta originally from Sicily that curls in on itself, but do feel free to use any other pasta you think may be appropriate.

Ramped and Ready

Ramp pizza from Carmela's (Photo courtesy Carmela's)

Dinamo is dishing out ramp gnocchi and ramp pizza. (Photo courtesy Dinamo)

Bringing big garlicky energy, when ramps arrive on area menus, it’s a sign of spring. Once a year, the relative to leeks and greens onion pops up at local farmers markets and on restaurant menus for a short-lived appearance.

Celebrated for centuries, the pungent plant with broad green leaves and white bottom grows in the wild, packing an earthy punch and making its presence known in dishes from pizza to pasta and pesto. Among chefs in the region, ramps are considered a fleeting special treat — the holy grail of spring produce — and have a cult-like fan club.

“I enjoy the pungent allium up front, and when the time is right, that sweetness comes through at the end,” says People’s Pie owner Craig Perkinson.

Sourcing his ramps from West Virginia, Perkinson says it's important to use them in their entirety. He pickles the bulbs, uses greens for pesto, dehydrates the stem for multiple uses and even makes ramp sourdough.

“Over-harvesting is a real thing, so I use the whole ramp,” says Perkinson of the slow-growing perennial.

Ramp It Up

Looking to get creative in the kitchen with ramps? This mobile market and CSA is currently offering sustainably foraged ramps from longtime Richmond chef Jimmy Sneed.

Ramps cozy up alongside gulf shrimp, crispy prosciutto, roasted garlic, pecorino and house-made pasta in a springy seafood dish that takes garlic breath one step further. They also join seared duck breast, served with a yellow carrot puree, mustard frills, radishes and a ramp vinaigrette.

The Mayor owner Kyle Morse first debuted ramp sausage a couple of years ago, and he says that each year it helps his small-batch sausage company maneuver through the slower winter months. “They taste like spring,” Morse says. “They are oniony and garlicky with a little grassiness and sweet, kind of indescribable in flavor. It’s really quite unique, which helps make it so special.”

Dishing out strictly Detroit-style ’za and gluten-free versions for his April 29 pop-up, Perkinson can’t provide specifics, but the last iteration of ramp pizza featured a ramp and basil pesto, cheese blend, grilled ramps, black garlic ricotta and crispy ramps. P.S.: Expect sides of ramp ranch to be available for the ultimate seasonal dip.

Ramps join forces with a rosemary and Goochland honey-glazed chicken breast with fingerling potatoes, bacon, Tuscan kale, crispy skins and horseradish emulsion at Libbie Mill’s Shagbark. For a real Southern treat, indulge in shrimp and grits with spring ramps, Anson mills rice porridge, aged white cheddar and blackened tomato sauce.

Available atop a white pizza or all on their own, simply roasted, ramps get their moment in the sun on the specials menu at 8 1/2 in Church Hill or the Fan.

Sister restaurant to 8 1/2 Dinamo also offers a fine white pizza with ramps, but its star player is really the luscious bowl of gnocchi, fluffy as a lamb’s ear and tossed in an earthy ramp pesto.

Celebrating cryptocurrency with an event dubbed "Future Burgers," Soul Taco is hosting a special pop-up with patties on the menu. The Hyper Local features Seven Hills beef with local mushrooms, ramps, red wine sauce, Lil' Sprouts Microgreens and Swiss cheese.

Longoven is well known for bringing savory funk to the plate, so it makes perfect sense to see ramps in concert with new potato, oyster cream, cress, and furikake on its spring tasting menu.

You’ve got ramps two ways in this sophisticated seasonal special — a ramp jam and a ramp matafan, which is like a savory pancake — artfully plated with a thick swirl of chicken liver mousse, pickled raw almonds and cheery little chive blossoms.

They’re not playing around with the ramps at Carmela’s, offering an umami-packed pasta special with curly campanelle, guanciale, pickled ramps, truffled Parmesan and cured egg yolk, plus a ramp pizza with ramps pickled and pesto-ed, with crispy soppressata, micro basil and just a squeeze of lemon.

Hummus is among us at Susie & Esther. Operating out of The Jasper each week, the Jewish- and Mediterranean-inspired pop-up regularly dedicates a night to the spread, and this week a version with charred ramps tossed with lemon and extra-virgin olive oil graces the menu.

Pasta with Ramp Pesto and Guanciale - Recipes

We’re making fresh pizza at home with Pizzaiolo Sal Reina of Francesca’s Pizza in Bergen County! He shares his tips and tricks for making the best pizza at home! Including his secret to great sauce - you won’t BELIEVE how easy it is!

There's a few weeks left in ramp season - and they're definitely worth getting and playing with! This easy pesto is a great way to introduce them into your kitchen! Ramps are wild garlic/leek, they're most often available at farmer's markets and in some grocery stores (I JUST saw them at Whole Foods this week!). They have a delicious garlic/oniony flavor and a beautiful bright green color that makes this pesto so, so pretty! I toss mine with toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese - but you can always use a different nut (I'd say walnuts as my second choice) or omit them altogether if you have an allergy! Spin with olive oil and serve over pasta! YUM!

Mamma D joins me in the Cucina for this special Mother's Day episode! We took an "English tea" (not really) and give it some Italian-American flair! (Because really, what's America if not a mix of the rest of the world!?) Mom & I show you 3 simple, savory "bites." (Caprese, Fig & Prosciutto, and Mortadella Sammies) Plus one sweet one! (Strawberry Ricotta toast!) AND of course we have tea. but we turned it into a cocktail with the help of my friend Beth Nydick, co-author of Clean Cocktails! Finally, Mom sheds a tear as she shares her favorite part of being a Mom! It's all in this episode!

My friend & author, Andrew Cotto is BACK in the Cucina with another delicious meal AND Italian adventure! His latest novel, "Cucina Romana" is out NOW (link inside!) and of course, we had to make the classic Roman dish, pasta carbonara! Fatty guanciale, mixed with eggs and cheese (yes Jersey peeps, it's a bacon, egg & cheese as a pasta course!). Fresh cracked black pepper represents the "carbon" for carbonara. coal miners.

I've always loved looking through old photos, old notes and papers, and above all, old cook books! When my Nanny passed we pulled what has become our kitchen Bible from her home. ALL of her best stuff was in there, including notes, substitute ingredients and other recipes she had collected over the years. This one was one of those recipes that's jotted onto scrap paper and tossed in the front cover - which means you know it's gonna be good! We actually never made this as a family, I'm not sure why because it's DELICIOUS! These spinach and potato gnocchi are the fluffiest little pillows of yum ever! They some how have the texture of ricotta gnocchi, and the color of Spring! It was always tradition in my family to start using spinach as the first of the Spring ingredients. And these gnocchi incorporate it perfectly (also, good way to sneak greens into picky eaters!) Best part? This recipe had it's own special sauce included! I changed the sauce a little because of my body's aversion to dairy but feel free to make whatever changes work best for YOU!

This simple arugula salad recipe is fast, fresh and easy! Toasted pine nuts and saved parmesan perfectly round out this dish with peppery arugula and bright lemon! The perfect side dish for any meal!

Nonni's porcini mushroom risotto is a family favorite for us! While it's a hearty dish, best served when the weather is cold we eat it all year round! Laganica sausage and ground beef create the base for this earthy meal. Then we add dried porcini mushrooms to the recipe. If you can't find them at the grocery store or market, I've included a link to buy them online. Finally I show you how to make one of my favorite, simple salads. It's the perfect side for this meal creating balance with peppery arugula and bright lemon! Plus I'll show you how to build any salad so you can get it done in advance!

This colorful take on the classic is perfect for Valentine's Day! Fresh or frozen berries, along with berry juice create the layers between the classic custard filling. Served in individual bowls (or for sharing!) it's a gorgeous finish to your Valentine's Day dinner!

Love is love - and pasta is life! It doesn't matter what kind of love you have in your life - you have love worth celebrating! And this is the perfect combination to do it with! Pink pasta dough creates heart shaped ravioli, filled with seasoned, fresh ricotta. Tossed in the easiest sauce ever! Butter and cheese! But don't worry, I added a mature little twist to finish it off with.

This classic Piemontese dish is a family tradition for me! Mamma D joins me in the Cucina this week to walk us through, not just how to make bagna cauda, but what to serve with it and a few delightful little memories around this meal! And, watch for a cameo from my grandfather as he tells the story of the origins of bagna cauda!

We are starting the year off with a bang! None other than the Queen of Italian home cooking herself - Lidia Bastianich! Lidia is my extra special guest this week as we talk about her upcoming PBS special "Lidia Celebrates America: A Salute to First Responders". Along with all things food, the power of cooking, and why Lidia thinks a little patch of dirt just MIGHT be the cure for the quarantine blues. After the interview, I head to the Cucina to guide you step by step through Lidia's breakfast risotto recipe! If you've never had rice and eggs for breakfast, you've been missing out! This recipe is (of course!) a knock out! The perfect way to start the day!

What better way to end the Feast of Seven Fishes than with some zeppole! This is my neighbor's family recipe and they turn out perfect every time! Crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside! This recipe uses a small potato, but I know there's a lot of other versions out there! Like so many Italian Christmas Eve dishes, they're each as unique as the family that makes them!

Since the holidays will be looking a little different this year, I wanted to share a simple dessert that can be made quickly and easily, without creating weeks worth of leftovers! This easy affogato recipe shows you how to make the perfect pot of espresso, assemble and eat the dish! Plus it's a great way to make everyone happy because you can use any flavor of gelato (or ice cream) that you like! Try things like chocolate, hazelnut or peppermint!

Thanksgiving 2020 is going to look a LITTLE different. But that doesn't mean we can't celebrate and enjoy! In this video I share three new recipes for a smaller crowd! Starting with my citrus and sage roast turkey breast. A simple Italian side dish of roasted fennel. And a unique and light dessert idea of cranberry granita! These recipes can help create a delicious dinner experience regardless of who is (or isn't) around the table this year! I hope you'll give them a shot and add them to your traditional fair. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I'm SO excited to be kicking off November with my friends at Groundwork Elizabeth and Urban Griddle! I headed to Urban Griddle to get their recipe for their fan favorite "pig candy" - and to get a sneak peek at the menu for November 7th's Urban Farm Dinner! Owner George Vlahos talks about why Groundwork Elizabeth is so important to him, and to the community! Plus we have a lot of fun!

An American classic - done Cucina style! Leave it to my family! We don't do your typical meatloaf - nope! My Mom essentially makes a giant meatball and then glazes it with sweet marsala wine! I promise - you won't miss the ketchup! This was on heavy dinner rotation when I was a kid, it's easy and basically just feels like home! It's a great meal for these cool nights! Serve it up with some potatoes and greens and you've got yourself a delicious dinner!

We are going ALL IN on this white mac and cheese recipe! It's been getting pretty chilly at night here in Jersey and I'm ready for Fall flavors and "stick to your ribs" dishes (not that I didn't eat my face off all Summer anyway!). This delicious baked macaroni and cheese is NOT just for the kiddos. Sharp white cheddar, fontina (or gruyere!) mix with Fall flavors like nutmeg and clove then get topped with a generous helping of breadcrumbs and baked to browned, bubbling perfection!

This classic Italian pasta shape is incredibly easy to make! Homemade ricotta cavatelli use the same dough as ricotta gnocchi, but the shape is even more simple! No special tools required, just your hands and a wooden board! Toss them with a Bolognese, marinara or of course, broccoli rabe!

I can’t think of anything more quintessentially Italian Summer than limoncello. And what better way to hold on to these last few days than bottle it up!? My aunt’s been making limoncello for years now and it always turns out great. So I finally got around to asking her for the recipe - it’s amazingly simple, but like all things Italian, it takes time and quality to do right.

I tossed this pizza together on a Friday night when I had leftover pesto, prosciutto and ricotta in the house! Taking inspiration from some of our amazing local pizzerias I used the pesto as the sauce, dolloped on the last few spoons of fresh ricotta, tore up a bit of fresh mozzarella, sprinkled the whole thing with grated parmesan and topped it all with the last few pieces of prosciutto. The result was spectacular! We've been loving this pizza ALL Summer long and I hope you all enjoy it too! You can use my fresh pizza dough recipe and pesto recipes below, watch the video and give it a try at home!

Watch the video: Wild Ramp Pesto