Our Favorite Italian Christmas Cookies Recipe

Cooking With Nonna’s Recipe for Italian Christmas Cookies

When it comes to authentic Italian cooking, you can’t do any better than going to the source itself – an Italian grandma! So it’s no wonder that we love the site Cooking With Nonna, filled with delicious Italian recipes straight from the kitchens of Italian grandmothers.

Cooking With Nonna’s mission is “Sharing Grandma’s Italian recipes with the new generations”, and we love the idea. From appetizers to entrees, lunches to dinners to desserts, the site features some great Italian classics and modern spins on your favorite old-world Italian dishes.

You MUST try this almond coffee Italian Christmas cookie recipe. (Photo credit: Cooking with Nonna)
You MUST try this almond coffee Italian Christmas cookie recipe. (Photo credit: Cooking with Nonna)

Cooking With Nonna is the creation of Rossella and Vito Rago. Rossella travels to the kitchens of grandmothers from all regions of Italy, bringing you the greatest recipes (and secret family recipes!) from all over Italy.

This recipe for Almond Coffee Cookies is one of our all-time favorites, and will be one of the recipes that we use when they make Christmas cookies this year. We’re looking forward to taking it to our parent company Peter Salerno Inc.’s flagship showroom and making another batch myself!

Try it out for yourself, and see how these amazing flavors combine in your mouth for a beautiful Italian holiday dessert experience.

Italian Christmas Cookie Recipe: Almond Coffee Cookies (from Cooking With Nonna)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Lb Almonds
  • 1/2 Lb Sugar
  • Zest of 2 medium lemons
  • 3 Egg whites
  • 1 Tbs Espresso Ground Coffee
  • 2 Tbs Unsweetened Cocoa powder
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar for glazing (put it in a flat plate for rolling)
  • 50 Whole coffee beans

Preparation:

  • To prepare the paste, boil the almonds and remove the peel. Once they are cold and somewhat dry, put them in a food processor or a blender and chop them finely.
  • Put the chopped almonds in a bowl, add the zest of the two lemons, the sugar, the ground coffee and the cocoa powder.  Mix everything very well.
  • Add the egg whites and mix until the egg whites dilute the sugar and the mixture becomes a paste.
  • Take a lump of mixture in your hand, roll it into a ball the size slightly smaller than a golf ball.
  • Roll the ball completely into the sugar and place it on a baking sheet.
  • Slightly insert a coffee bean on top of each cookie.
  • Roll all your cookies and bake them for 30 mins. at 350F.

See more by clicking on this link and visiting Cooking With Nonna!

From Peter Salerno’s Kitchen: Why We Love Gelato!

From Peter Salerno’s Kitchen: Why We Love Gelato!

Our Favorite Reasons You Should Eat Gelato

If you follow Peter Salerno Inc. on Facebook, you know that the staff loves to cool down on a hot summer day by eating delicious gelato! From its roots with the famed Medici family in Renaissance Italy to its growing popularity around the world today, gelato is a delicious, creamy alternative to ice cream that (believe it or not) is healthier for you in many ways!

The Peter Salerno Inc. staff (and Harper the puppy!) enjoy delicious gelato.
The Peter Salerno Inc. staff (and Harper the puppy!) enjoy delicious gelato.

Every gelato lover has his or her favorite gelato “spot” – for Peter Salerno and his team, a local Sicilian gelato maker always hits the spot! But whether it’s from a gelato maker, dessert shop or your local grocer, gelato is a wonderful treat – especially during these hot summer months.

So why exactly do we love gelato so much? Here a few great reasons to love this classic Italian dessert delicacy.

Reasons Why We Love Gelato

1. It’s based in all-natural, fresh ingredients. Classic gelato made by hand features milk and water, and generally hazelnuts or pistachios in its base. These natural ingredients, rather than artificial sweeteners, chemicals and preservatives, make gelato a more naturally delicious treat.

2. It’s lower in fat and calories than ice cream. On average, gelato contains 5-6% butterfat, compared to 10-12% in most traditional American ice creams (source: WhyGelato.com). As a result, it’s naturally lower in both fat and calories than its ice cream counterparts!

3. Options, options, options! Gelato comes in several varieties, including cream and fruit-based gelatos. As a result, the tastes you can experience by eating gelato range from sweet to savory, and will satisfy lovers of ice cream, sorbet, sherbet and flavored ices alike!

To many, gelato is a new dessert discovery. But it’s been around since the Renaissance (and in America since the late 1700s) – so why not try it for yourself? It’s about time you discovered why so many people, including Peter Salerno Inc., love gelato!

From Peter Salerno’s Kitchen: Homemade Cavatelli Recipe [PHOTOS]

From Peter Salerno’s Kitchen: Homemade Cavatelli Recipe [PHOTOS]

Peter Salerno’s Personal Recipe for Homemade Cavatelli

Peter Salerno's ingredients list for his secret family homemade cavatelli recipe!
Peter Salerno’s ingredients list for his secret family homemade cavatelli recipe!

With the holidays approaching, Peter Salerno and his family are spending more and more time in his custom designed, award-winning kitchens than ever. But sometimes instead of designing kitchens, Peter is at home in his own kitchen designing authentic, homemade Italian meals.

Last weekend, Peter and his family (wife Tracy, son Anthony and daughter-in-law Eve, daughter Gabrielle and son-in-law Brian) gathered for a delicious homemade Italian dinner, which included the Salerno family recipe for the perfect cavatelli.

Now, the Salerno family recipe for cavatelli is supposed to be a well-kept secret – but it’s the holidays, and Peter Salerno felt like sharing just a “little bit” of the family recipe. (Just like his award-winning kitchen designs: what good are they if they’re not shared with others?)

So Peter’s sharing his surprisingly simple list of ingredients for the perfect homemade cavatelli recipe with you here, as well as some pictures from his preparation of the dish. As for the preparation steps themselves? Well, those may have to come at another time. After all, Peter’s parents might have something to say about that!

Peter Salerno’s Homemade Cavatelli Recipe Ingredients

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 lb. ricotta cheese

Peter Salerno's ingredients list for his secret family homemade cavatelli recipe!

 

From humble beginnings as strips of homemade dough on the Salerno kitchen counter…

Peter Salerno's ingredients list for his secret family homemade cavatelli recipe!

 

The beginnings of Peter Salerno’s delicious homemade cavatelli recipe begin to take shape (literally!)…

 

Peter Salerno's ingredients list for his secret family homemade cavatelli recipe!

Peter Salerno’s Favorite Roasted Eggplant Platter Recipe

Peter Salerno and his team love this healthy, smart and surprisingly filling recipe from Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen!

Enjoy Chitra’s recipe for Roasted Eggplant. It’s simple, savory and scrumptious!

Chitra's Healthy Kitchen

Eggplant Platter

About:

This is a quick to make simple eggplant preparation which gives a crunchy taste and a healthy bite. Marinate eggplant with your favourite spices and roast them by topping with cheese, olives and herbs. It can either be roasted in oven, grill or even in the pan.  This can served as a starter or even combine with pasta/gravies and served as a dish. So enjoy this roasted aubergine in any of your favourite form or just enjoy with salads.

Yields: 4-5 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes (or) baking time-15-20minutes

View original post 241 more words

From Peter Salerno’s Kitchen: Eggplant Roulade Recipe

Eggplant Roulade Recipe (Involtini di Melanzane)

Leave it to our friends at Epicurious to come up with yet another stunning adaptation of a classic Sicilian appetizer recipe. This time, Peter Salerno is happy to serve up a fantastic Italian appetizer: eggplant roulade, or involtini di melanzane.

If you love the smoky, savory taste of grilled eggplant, then this recipe is sure to please. According to Epicurious, this preparation of eggplant roulade serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main course. We personally prefer to double the recipe and serve 8 for a classic family-style Sicilian appetizer!

Here's a great eggplant roulade recipe from Epicurious. (Photo: Cooking Planit)
Here’s a great eggplant roulade recipe from Epicurious. (Photo: Cooking Planit)

Do you have any recipes you’d like to see Peter Salerno test and feature on PeterSalernoBlog.com? Do you want a beautiful custom kitchen of your very own? Leave us a comment, or email info@PeterSalernoInc.com!

Thanks to Epicurious for this recipe.

Recipe: Grilled Eggplant Roulade (Involtini di Melanzane)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 plum tomatoes
  • 5 dried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed fresh herbs (such as basil, mint, parsley, and tarragon leaves)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled soft mild goat cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan

Preparation

Prepare grill.

Trim eggplant and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Using a total of 3 tablespoons oil for eggplant, lightly brush both sides of each slice with some oil and grill in batches on an oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals until golden brown and tender, about 3 minutes on each side. (Alternatively, broil eggplant under a preheated broiler about 3 inches from heat.) With a metal spatula transfer eggplant as grilled to a platter and keep warm, loosely covered.

Cut an X in blossom end of each plum tomato. Have ready a bowl of ice and cold water. In a small saucepan of boiling water blanch tomatoes 10 seconds and transfer with a slotted spoon to ice water to stop cooking. Peel tomatoes and seed. Chop blanched and dried tomatoes. Mince onion and garlic.

In a 10-inch heavy skillet heat remaining tablespoon oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and sauté onion, garlic, and pine nuts, stirring, until onion and pine nuts are golden. Add blanched and dried tomatoes and herbs and sauté, stirring, until liquid tomatoes give off is evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add goat cheese and Parmesan and cook, stirring, just until melted. Remove skillet from heat and season filling with salt and pepper.

Put a generous tablespoon filling at wide end of an eggplant slice and roll up slice toward narrow end, enclosing filling. Make more roulades in same manner and arrange on a warm platter.

From Peter Salerno’s Kitchen: Torta di Ricotta (Ricotta Cheesecake)

Our Favorite Recipe for Torta di Ricotta

If you’re like us at Peter Salerno Inc., there’s nothing better on a cold winter’s night than a hot espresso or cappucino, a fantastic dessert wine, and a traditional Italian dessert.

Even though it’s a bit early in the season for Torta di Ricotta (Ricotta Cheesecake) – it’s traditionally served in Abruzzi during Easter season as a pastime – it’s such a delicious, outside-the-box Italian dessert recipe that we just can’t wait to share it with you.

Our favorite recipe for Torta di Ricotta, from DeLallo. (Credit DeLallo)
Our favorite recipe for Torta di Ricotta, from DeLallo. (Credit DeLallo)

The tastes of ricotta, lemon and light confectioner’s sugar come together in this dessert, which is much lighter than you would expect! Done correctly, the sweetness of the ricotta and sugar blend with the zesty tang of lemon to create a one-of-a-kind, uniquely Italian flavor.

Pair your torta di ricotta with a delicious limoncello for a lemon-fresh dessert experience, or enjoy with your espresso of choice for a savory blend of flavors that will beautifully complete any meal.

Thank you to the wonderful people at DeLallo for their torta di ricotta recipe (ricotta cheesecake), which is quickly becoming one of our very favorites at Peter Salerno Inc. Enjoy!

Sweet Ricotta Cheesecake – Torta di Ricotta (from DeLallo)

Ingredients:

Pastry:

1 cup sugar
3 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 sticks butter, cold
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Filling:

5 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 pounds DeLallo Whole Milk Ricotta, well drained
Zest of 3 lemons
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Directions:

For the pastry dough: in a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and eggs with a whisk until light in color. In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups flour, lemon zest and butter. Work ingredients together with a fork, allow butter to remain in small chunks. Add flour mixture to the beaten eggs and sugar. Gently work the dough and slowly add the remaining flour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. (If the dough is too sticky, add more flour—a little at a time.) Gently form the dough into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

For the filling: beat egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl until light in color. Slowly fold in ricotta until the mixture is smooth. Mix in lemon zest, flour and cornstarch. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until they form peaks, and then gently fold into the filling mixture.

Once ready to prepare, preheat the oven to 300˚F. Grease and flour mini bundt pans. Remove pastry dough from the refrigerator. Cut into 6 equal pieces (for mini bundt cakes).

Gently roll out dough with a rolling pin or pasta machine to create thin sheets. Arrange each sheet carefully inside bundt pans to line, allowing some of the dough to hang over the edges.

Fill each pan with ricotta filling and gently fold the excess dough over top to form a top.

Bake for 1 hour, or until golden. Allow cakes to cool completely before removing from pans, and then refrigerate until ready to serve, at least 6 hours.

Top with sifted confectioners’ sugar.

Makes 6 mini bundt cakes, or 1 full size bundt pan.