Sfincione: Sicilian pizza with sausage and greens


1 package of dry yeast

1 cup warm water (110°)

1/2 tsp sugar or honey

3 cups flour (2 cups all purpose, 1 cup semolina)

1 tbsp olive oil (plus 1 tsp)

1 tsp fine sea salt

makes a large round (12-14”) or rectangular (9×12”)

or make into you own sizes and shapes

4-6 oz feta (traditionally: tuma a sheep’s milk cheese)

1/4 cup grated romano

2 cups sausage and greens (see recipe)



  1. in medium sized bowl, mix the water with yeast. Let set for about 10 minutes.
  2. when mixture is foamy and light brown, add oil, salt and stir in 1 cup of flour.
  3. gradually add the rest of the flour until you create sticky mass. (if too dry a little more water, or it too sticky add a little more flour.)
  4. turn on to a floured surface and knead until smooth.
  5. pour a little oil in the bottom of a clean medium sized bowl. place dough ball in the oil and roll it around to coat completely.
  6. then place dough in bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. (keep in warm spot)
  7. let dough rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  8. then punch down dough and then shape into ball. Roll out to one large square or rectangle or smaller shapes if you like. Top with sauteed mixture and cheeses.
  9. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.



Sauté until browned:

In 2 tbsp olive oil

6 oz italian fennel sausage

with 2 tsp chopped garlic

1 red pepper, diced

2 tbsp hot peppers

Remove and then sauté

2-3 cups greens (kale, or swiss chard) chopped (or broccoli, blanched)

Polle con le Melanzane Sicilian Chicken with eggplant

Sicilians do love eggplant, and bit of vinegar to add depth.



4 tbsp olive oil

1 lbs whole chicken cut into pieces (or thighs, substitute game hens, cut in half)

6 cloves garlic chopped

salt and pepper

2-3 oz pancetta or prosciutto

1 yellow onion, thickly sliced

1-2 bulbs of fennel, diced

1-2 small marinated peppers in vinegar (spicy if you wish)

1 medium eggplant, cut into cubes, dried (then roasted with olive oil)

2 large springs of fresh rosemary

1 cup Marsala

1/4 cup white or red wine vinegar

1 cup chicken stock (more if needed)

3-4 cups diced tomatoes (ripe fresh or good quality canned)

1/4 cup olives, black or green

sea or kosher salt and pepper

fresh parsley


1.       Toss chicken with some oil, salt and pepper, garlic and herbs. Coat the bottom of a large deep sauté pan, with oil. Heat to medium high.

2.       Carefully set chicken pieces in pan, skin side down. Cook for about 5-10 minutes or until skin browns a bit. Turn with tongs. Reduce heat if oil is burning.

3.       Cook chicken on other side, remove from pan. Add more oil if needed,

4.       Then sauté pancetta, onion, fennel, garlic. Reduce the temperature and add the wine, vinegar, tomatoes and olives. Add the chicken back to the pan.

5.       Cover and simmer all ingredients for at least 40 minutes. (You could bake in oven at 375°) Carefully lift lid and check chicken. Add more wine or some water if liquid is evaporating too quickly.  Cook for another 5-10 minutes if needed.

6.       finished with some fresh herbs. serve with polenta or couscous.

tuscan grilled chicken with vegetables and cannellini beans

This is one of my favorite quick dishes.

Even in winter you could grill outside, but a stove top grill is perfect for grilling chicken. Prepare chicken by cutting to be “butterflied” or about ½ inch thickness for a quick cook, keeping it tender. Then add a quick sauté of vegetables with white beans for a flavorful, healthy dish.


1 1/2 lbs or 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (butterflied)

3 tbsp olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1-2 sprigs rosemary, roughly chopped

1-2 lemons, sliced

(option: 1 tsp Dijon mustard)

1 tsp hot pepper flakes

salt and pepper

1 small red onion, sliced or diced

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced, or diced (hot too if you wish)

1 cup other green vegetables (sliced) fennel, squash or zucchini

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 wedges of lemon

2-3 cups cannellini cooked beans (more if you wish)


1.       Place in chicken dish or bowl with garlic, oil, lemon slices and rosemary. Marinate for about 30 minutes to one hour.

2.       place on hot grill pan or in a skillet. cook on one side for about 5 (until seared and meat lifts off easily. Turn and cook on the other side for about 5 more minutes on a medium high heat. Test for doneness. Press down on the thickest part of breast. If very soft cook longer, in just firm and a little soft, turn heat down and cook a little longer. If firm, with little give, chicken is ready. Remove from pan. Keep warm while cooking vegetables and beans. If chicken still needs more cooking time:  finish in a hot oven (400°) for 5-7 minutes.

3.       Heat sauté pan, coat bottom with olive oil.

4.       Sauté onions, and other vegetables until tender. (about 7 minutes)

5.       Add some white wine or chicken broth. Squeeze in lemons.

6.       Add drained cooked white beans (see notes). Toss well with vegetables. Add a little more liquid if needed. Serve on four wide bowls and top with grilled chicken.

Garnish with more rosemary and lemon slices.

To butterfly boneless chicken breasts:

1.       place chicken on cutting board. Using a large sharp knife, trim cartilage from center.

2.       Trim off other pieces of fat.to butterfly: hold one hand on top of chicken breast.

3.       Slice through the fattest part of breast, cutting through and stopping about 1/2 inch from the other side.

Note: be sure to wash the area, boards and knives with bleach/water solution.


Cooking cannellini or white beans:

1.       Place 2 cups of white beans in medium sized sauce pan. Cover with 2 inches of water.

2.       Place on stove and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover, simmer for about 1 ½ hours.

3.       Add more water as needed. Check for doneness.

Dark chocolate hazelnut mocha mousse

This very intense, full flavored mousse, is made without eggs.


3.5 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into pieces

2 tbsp hazelnut liqueur

2 tbsp espresso, or very strong coffee

6 oz  + 2 oz for topping heavy cream  (more for topping)

1 tbsp hazelnut syrup (or other syrup, vanilla or maple would work)

1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped



  1. heat about 2 inches of water in a small sauce pan.
  2. place chocolate, liqueur and espresso in a deep stainless steel bowl that will fit into pan.
  3. when water boils, remove from heat, and place bowl in water. Stir constantly until chocolate melts. Remove from water and cool a bit.
  4. then using a mixer, beat cream and syrup until soft, not too stiff.
  5. Then fold 1/3 of that mixture into the chocolate. Then fold in the remaining mixture, making sure to completely blend.
  6. then have 4 wine glasses or glass cups ready.
  7. carefully pour or ladle mixture in. chill for at least 2 hours.
  8. serve whipped cream and nuts.


option: large ripe strawberries on the side

pistachio crusted gorgonzola stuffed pork loin, dried cranberry saffron risotto pomegranate glaze


1-2 lbs of pork loin, 3/4 inch slices, then pounded


6 oz gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

3 oz dried cranberries, soaked in little marsala

salt and pepper

1/4 cup soft breadcrumbs


1 cup ground pistachios

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary

2 tbsp romano cheese

olive oil

for risotto:

2 tbsp olive oil,

2 tbsp butter

1 yellow onion

2 cups aborio rice

1 cup white wine

6-8 cups chicken stock

1 large pinch saffron threads (or tumeric)

salt and pepper

romano cheese

2/3 cup dried cranberries  (or dried cherries)

1 cup kale, finely chopped

pomegranate glaze: 1/2 cup pomegranate molasses, 1/4 cup honey, fresh rosemary, fresh pomegranate seeds if you wish



  1. Cut meat to 3/4 inch pieces. Then place between two sheets of plastic wrap and flatten to about 1/2 inch using a meat mallet or rolling pin.
  2. mix ingredients for filling. Fill with mixture and roll up.
  3. Brush with oil and coat with pistachio crust. Secure with skewer or rosemary stick.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to cook.

Make risotto:

a.       Coat the bottom of large wide skillet (with rather high sides) with olive oil.

b.       Bring temperature to medium high.  Add the half of the butter.

c.        As the butter bubbles, add the onion cook until soft, not brown, then add the rice.  Stir, coating the rice with oil and butter, about 4 minutes. add the saffron, and the wine.  Stir for 2-3 minutes until rice absorbs the liquid. Have hot stock ready.

d.       Add cranberries, or cherrie. When the rice has absorbed all the stock, (careful not let the rice stick) add more liquid.

e.       Continue to add stock, stir, wait until rice absorbs the liquid, then add more stock. about  another 15 minutes. When cooking time as reached about 20 minutes

f.        check  doneness of rice. add more liquid if needed and then stir in softened butter and cheese, and  spices. Finish with chopped herbs, (greens if you wish).

5.  when ready: place pork on small heavy pan. cook in a hot oven (425) for about 8 minutes.

6.  serve with risotto, greens, pomegranate glaze. (see above)

Beet “carpaccio” fennel , blood oranges, truffled arugula

True carpaccio is thinly sliced raw beef. The story, that I know, is that is was created at Harry’s Bar in Venice, and was named after the artist Carpaccio since the red of the meat resembled the red inthe rich velvet fabics worn by people in his paintings. I think the ruby red beets are fun substitute.



2-3 beets, boiled peeled, very thinly sliced

2 blood oranges (or ruby grapefruit) cut into sections (reserving juices)

1/2 bulb fresh fennel, very thinly sliced

1 small shallot, thinly sliced

2 cups baby arugula, tossed with

2-3 tsp truffle oil, 1 tbsp cup blood orange juice, 1 tsp red wine vinegar (or lemon juice)

pinch of sea salt, ground pepper

2 oz shaved asiago or pecorino


  1. place beets in water to cover. Boil for about 20 minutes or until tender. (you could roast if you wish.) cool cooked beets in cold water. The skins should peel off with a little “massaging”.
  2. Have fennel sliced, thinly, and placed in cold or iced water.
  3. Peel the oranges, then cut into sections: using a very sharp knife, cut in between the membrane. Do this over a cup to reserve the blood orange juice.
  4. Using a very thin, sharp knife or a mandoline, cut beets into the very thin slices.
  5. Arrange beet slices on plates in a circular pattern.
  6. Toss the arugula and fennel in a bowl with a little truffle oil, blood orange juice, red wine vinegar, sea salt and pepper.
  7. Arrange a mound of the greens/fennel on top of the beets.
  8. Finish with a little of the sliced shallots and shaved asiago.

artichoke heart and crab tartlets with pesto

you can use shallow tart pans full size muffin tins to shape, then bake your tarts.


1 sheet puff pastry (thaw according to package directions) 6 tartlets

6 artichoke hearts, canned drained, chopped

1/2 lb+ lump crab (drained of any liquid)

2- 3 tbsp mayonnaise

2 tbsp grated romano

1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers

1/2 tsp hot peppers

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/ 4 soft bread crumbs

lemon zest

2 tsp tarragon or dill

sauce: basil pesto (puree: 1 cup fresh basil, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp grated romano, 1 clove garlic)

little old bay for garnish


  1. To pre bake tartlets: cut into squares (at least 1/2 inch larger than tart pan or cupcake tins). Spray pans with non stick pan spray. Set dough in. fill with foil (or small tin) and pie weights. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes. remove foil.
  2. prepare crab mixture: chop the artichoke hearts, mix with crab, mayo, cheese and seasoning. add a little diced red pepper, and a little bread crumb to bind.
  3. Set mixture into baked tart shells. Bake again at 425° for about 5 minutes until tops are light brown. serve on small plates with basil pesto.

whole wheat pizzette with Sicilian eggplant caponata, anchovies, ricotta salata

if you don’t have time for caponata, you could make a quick sun dried tomato tapenade (see recipe)

would be just fine without anchovies or cheese, but more flavor is always better.



1 batch whole wheat pizza dough


in a large saute pan, cook slowly

2-3 tbsp olive oil

1 small red onion, diced

1 small bulb fennel, diced

1 small red bell pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic

2 small, baby eggplant, diced

12 calamata olives, pitted, roughly chopped

2 oz raisins (golden)

1/2 cup diced fresh tomatoes

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

or Sundried tomato tapenade


2 cups sun dried tomatoes (soaked in warm water for 20 minutes)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup golden raisins

2 tsp chopped garlic

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, leave from 1 sprig of rosemary

1/4 cup white wine (or white balsamic vinegar)

mix: in food processor or with stick immersion blender until smooth.


Method for pizza:

  1. have toppings made in advance
  2. have whole wheat dough shaped into small pizzette (4 inch). Pre bake if you wish.
  3. spread with caponata or sundried tomato tapenade.
  4. Add anchovies.
  5. Add ricotta salata or mozzarella.
  6. Bake at 450° until pizzette crispy and cheese melts.