Pasta All’ Amatriciana

Hello friends! One of the main reasons I love Italian recipes is the simplicity and fresh ingredients. For example, this recipe only has seven ingredients. You will notice that this recipe calls for Guanciale. Guanciale is an Italian cured meat made from pork jowl or cheeks. Its name is derived from guancia, the Italian word for cheek. If this puts you off you can always substitute thick bacon.

Also, picture above is from our trip to Rome because this recipe is a typical dish of Roman trattorias and taverns, but originally from the town of Amatrice, in the province of Rieti. 


3.5 oz Guanciale (or thick bacon)

1 3/4 cup whole peeled tomatoes

1/4 cup white wine

Chili flake to taste

Pecorino cheese

Bucatini pasta

Salt to taste


Saute Guanciale until fat release then add wine and cook of the alcohol.

Add chili flake and salt to taste and crushed tomatoes.

Simmer this sauce for at least 1 hour.

Boil the Bucatini in salted water until al dente, drain, and add the pasta and Pecorino cheese to the simmering sauce.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookies

We all need chocolate chip cookies in our life. This is a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe that can be used with any brand of chocolate chips. I found it on the back of the Ghirardelli chocolate chip bag and decided to give it a try. One thing I do recommend is to blend the mixture, before pouring in the chips, for a few minutes to make the cookie a bit thinner. The first time I made them, I didn’t do that and the cookie was more cake like.


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I used salted butter and they were still delicious)

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 cups (12 oz) chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375 F.

Stir flour with baking soda and salt, set aside.

Beat butter with sugars and add vanilla and eggs.

Continue to beat the mixture for a few minutes.

Blend dry ingredients with sugar mixture.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoon on uncreased baking sheet (I like to use parchment paper to prevent sticking).

Bake for 9-11 minutes.

Torta al cioccolato (chocolate cake)

Hello friends! I hope this post finds you all well on this beautiful spring day. If not, a chocolate cake may make things better. This is a recipe found in the book Torta della Nonna by Emil Davies. The author writes that this recipe is from a historic Italian cookbook that dates back to 1929. It is a dense and rich chocolate cake that is one layer only. Truly, all you need is the one layer because it is so delicious and rich. You can top it with powdered sugar, a chocolate ganache, or chocolate buttercream.


1 cup Dutch unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted, plus extra for dusting

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

1 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped

350 ml (12 fl oz) whole milk, equal to 1.4 cups of milk


Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).

Grease a 20 cm (8 inch) round cake tin and dust it with sifted cocoa powder. Tap the pan upside down to remove extra cocoa powder.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Do not forget to sift the cocoa powder as it can create lumps if not sifted.

Mix the milk and vanilla.

Add the liquid to the dry ingredients in small increments while stirring with a wooden spoon. If the batter is too stiff, add a little more milk.

Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 30 minutes, or until the center of the cake feels spongy.

Once cooled, remove from the pan and either dust with powdered sugar or frost with ganache or buttercream frosting. Berries and whip cream go well with this dessert as well.

Bolognese Sauce

This delicious bolognese sauce is a recipe my BF has mastered and tweaked to perfection. The longer it simmers throughout the day, the better, so start early with the cookery. Use the pasta of your choice.


1/2 stalk celery, diced

1/2 carrot, diced

1/4 yellow or white onion, diced

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1/2 lb ground pork

1/2 lb ground beef

25 oz can crushed tomato

Water, use the empty tomato can, you will need 3/4 of the can and may need to add more

1/2 cup dry white wine

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp oregano

Chili flake to taste



Heat olive oil and sauté vegetables on medium until softened, about five minutes. Add beef first, brown, add pork to beef and vegetables, brown. Do not pour off fat, leave it in there for flavor. Add wine and cook until alcohol is cooked absorbed. Add water, tomato, and spices to taste. Simmer covered for at least two hours, the longer the better.

Once it is ready to eat, boil the pasta of your choice and enjoy!

Mom’s Cheesecake Recipe

My mom told me this cheesecake recipe is from Betty Crocker, but I have had no luck finding it on their website so I am giving her full credit because she has been making it throughout my childhood. You have to start this recipe the day before because it requires a cooling of 6-12 hours between bakes.

The picture is my first attempt at this recipe and, as you can see, it is a bit thin. I will double the cream cheese filling on my next attempt and change the recipe accordingly if it works out. This is the original recipe, not doubled.




1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

6 TBS butter, melted

Cream cheese filling:

2 eggs, well beaten

3/4 lb soft cream cheese (12 oz)

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

Sour cream topping:

1/2 cup sour cream

2 TBS sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp salt


Heat up the oven to 325F. Mix the first three ingredients together and press into a springform pan.

Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Let cool for 3-5 minutes

Turn the oven up to 375F. Mix the cream cheese filling ingredients together and pour into the graham cracker crust.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Let cool for 6-12 hours

Heat oven to 425F. Mix together sour cream topping ingredients and pour into on to the cooled cream cheese cake. Bake for five minutes. Let cool and refrigerate.

Cherry Tomato Pork Chops

Christmas has come and gone, but we’re still celebrating. With another week off of work and my studies completed, I have more time to cook and share my favorite recipes.

If you are looking for a side, this pork chop recipe pairs well with the vegetable rice pilaf found in the side dish category. I am attempting to get all the delicious recipes my boyfriend has in his hand written book of recipes on this site for ease of shopping. This is another one of his gems.


2 bone-in pork chops

3 TBS olive oil

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 slices of mozzarella cheese

15 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes

1 sprig fennel

1 garlic clove

1/4 tsp oregano

Fresh basil

Salt and pepper to taste


Season pork chops with salt and pepper and get them to room temperature, about 30 minutes non-refrigerated.

Heat olive oil in a pan on medium and add garlic clove for a few minutes. Sear pork chops on both sides and cook until internal temp 160 degrees.

Turn heat down to low and add tomatoes, season with more salt and pepper, fennel, chili pepper, and oregano. Add wine and cook for 5 minutes while consistently moving ingredients in the pan to avoid burning or sticking.

Add water if too dry.

Add mozzarella to chops during the last few minutes of cooking and serve once cheese is melted.

Garnish with fresh basil.

Cannoli Cake

This is a cake my Bf’s daughter has made several times and it is so good. The picture is my one try at making it for her recent birthday. My advice is to make it as a sheet cake. The layered cake did not set well, but tasted good. It is a twist on the cannoli cookie. Original recipe found on


1 box white cake mix

1 can sweetened condensed milk


1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese

1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup mini chocolate chips

Additional powdered sugar


Bake cake mix according to directions.

Once cake is cooked, poke holes all over the top of the cake (I used the handle end of a spoon). Pour 1/2 of the can of condensed milk into the holes. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

Make frosting: combine ricotta, mascarpone, cinnamon, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Add powdered sugar a little at time until combined. Mix in remaining condensed milk.

Once the cake is cool, frost and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Dust with additional powdered sugar.

Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.

Spicy Calabrian Pesto

This delicious pesto is another one from my boyfriend’s collection of recipes. He usually makes this with homemade gnocchi. You can use it with any type of pasta.


2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup white onion, chopped

2 red bell peppers, chopped

25 cherry tomatoes, halved

6 basil leaves, fresh

7 ounces (a little over 3/4 cup) ricotta cheese

1.75 ounces (approx 1/4 cup) Pecorino cheese, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

Chili flake to taste

Oregano to taste


Heat olive oil in pan and add onion, cook until soft. Add bell peppers and cook for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, chili flake and cook for another 10-15 minutes.

Blend in a blender or food processor until smooth while adding basil leaves.

In mixing bowl add ricotta and Pecorino and mix by hand, add oregano.

Old Fashioned Potato Salad

The best potato salad I have ever tasted!

I had my bf walk me through this potato salad because he makes it often and I wanted to learn his technique. This recipe relies a lot on taste. The basic ingredients are below but the measurements will alter to your taste.


5 Russet potatoes

3 eggs

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup dill relish

1 dill pickle, chopped

1 TBS mustard

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 tsp garlic salt

1/4 tsp celery salt

Pepper to taste


Boil potatoes, cool, peel, and chop

Cool eggs, cool, peel, and chop

Combine all ingredients, mix well, and chill in the fridge

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