Gnocchi alla boscaiola

A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend and I went to a bakery in town to have cappuccinos and pastries one Saturday morning. A few minutes later after sitting down a couple friend of ours came strolling in. They were dressed in very casual clothes that I had never seen them in before. We asked them what they were up to and they replied with telling us they had plans to go into the belora forest to find some porcini mushrooms. I had no idea people did this, especially our friends! I was very intrigued. We changed our clothes and joined them for the fun.

Because it was the middle of October the floor was covered in leaves which made it quite difficult to spot the brown-rounded tops of the funghi porcini  on the forest floor. Our two friends were much more experienced than us but we got the hang of it just fine. After about three hours frolicking through the trees with our walking sticks in hand, we finally called it quits. The result was fantastic because we all had incredible luck! Our basket was full of delizioso porcini mushrooms and our friend Federico even found a couple of bubbole mushrooms. (the thin stemmed white mushroom pictured) I had no prior knowledge of mushrooms and what kind are okay to eat and what are not but luckily our friends did.

Conversation came up about how we would enjoy these beauties; I would make gnocchi with a porcini and sausage cream sauce gnocchi alla boscaiola for dinner that night and we would make an impromptu dinner party. People that know me well know that I am a major fan of entertaining so I was thrilled with the decision and also very flattered that they would trust me (the American girl) with making the meal!

Serving size; 6 
For the gnocchi;
6 small potatoes boiled and riced potate novelle 
2 eggs
2 cups flour 
olive oil

For the sauce;
3 Italian sausages 
2 + 1/2 cups chopped porcini mushrooms
200 ml Chef Panna cream sauce ( my favorite brand to use because it's very creamy and smooth)
salt and pepper 

Fill a large pot of water, large pinch of salt and add your potatoes. Bring potatoes to a boil for 10-12 minutes until tender. Rice the potatoes and place on a well floured working surface. Add the two eggs and flour (a little at a time) to the riced potatoes and start handling it enough so that it becomes less sticky to handle. You might have to add a little more flour as you go but the less flour, the better texture. In the end it should feel semi firm to the touch. Try not work with it too much or your gnocchi will be hard. Cut the dough in eight sections and start to roll each piece into a long strip, about 1/2 inch wide. Cut them evenly into 1/4-1/2 pieces. Heat a large pot of water.

For the sauce lightly oil a large saucepan with olive oil and break the Italian sausage into bite-sized pieces. Add the chopped porcini pieces and sauté for about 8-10 minutes on medium heat. Last but definitely not least, add the cream sauce. If you don't have access to Chef Panna then you can use any plain cream based sauce. Season with salt and cracked pepper. 

Once your large pot of water is boiling add a good pinch of salt and add your gnocchi pieces. Fresh gnocchi only takes a few minutes to cook and when they float to the top they are finished. Take a slotted spoon and place them in the porcini and sausage cream sauce. Coat all the gnocchi and serve. As for the bubbole mushrooms Federico found, I sautéed them with a little olive oil and sage and seasoned with salt and pepper. My mouth is watering just thinking about how wonderful this meal was. 

Gnocchi di zucca

Autumn is here, Autumn is here! Nature's colors changing, crisp morning air, and the moment you release those cozy sweaters out from the back of your closet. AND dun dun dun... pumpkins! I personally adore pumpkins and I thought I would make gnocchi with roasted pumpkin smothered in a scrumptious sage butter sauce. I know what you are thinking.... but gnocchi is one of those dishes that you think is really impossible to make at home, but it's truly not. Please do your taste buds a favor and try this out at home.


Serving size; two 

1 cup roasted pumpkin 

3 small-medium potatoes (potate novelle)

1 egg

2 or more cups flour

3 fresh sage leaves 

2 tbs & tsp of butter

salt & pepper 

 First you cut your pumpkin in slices and roast your pumpkin in a casserole dish with a little water for 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees or until you can stick your fork inside the pumpkin with no problem. I added olive oil and salt and pepper before I roasted to add flavor. 

While your pumpkin is roasting, add your potatoes to a large pot of salted water. Boil for 10-12 minutes until soft. Peel potatoes and put them through a potato ricer into a mixing bowl. After the pumpkin is done roasting, cut them in small pieces and rice them as well. Add your egg and a pinch of salt and pepper to the mixing bowl. Start adding flour while mixing it all together. 

Flour a working surface and take the mixture and start handling it enough so that it becomes less sticky to handle. You might have to add a little more flour as you go but in the end it should feel semi firm to the touch.Try not work with it too much or your gnocchi will be hard. Cut the dough in six sections and start to roll each piece into a long strip, about 1/2 inch wide. Cut them evenly into 1/4-1/2 pieces. 

Heat a large pot of water.
For the sauce, melt butter in a small saucepan and then add three sage leaves. (& little S+P) I cook the butter for a while so that it turns slightly brown for an extra boost of flavor. Once your water in the pot is boiled, add a pinch of salt and then all your gnocchi pieces. They only take a few minutes to cook, you will know they are finished when they float to the top. Take a slotted spoon and place them immediately in the brown butter sage sauce. Make sure they are all covered with the sauce then plate with a good sprinkle of parmigiano reggiano.

Autumn party in your mouth. Thank me later.


Panino al prosciutto e mozzarella

I decided it was a good morning to grab a cappuccino in town and walk around aimlessly. I have always loved doing this because you can find things you would have never found before by just taking a moment for yourself to appreciate the little things in life. The darling shop full of vintage records, the lady emptying baskets full of fresh fruit and vegetables out of her truck, the pastry shops that fill the air with that indescribably sweet aroma. Ah, sometimes not saying anything at all and just observing life around you can be so fulfilling.


Today I will be sharing my easy recipe for one delicious sandwich.

Serving size; two

Panino al prosciutto è mozzarella di bufala

2 small french baguettes

4 slices of fresh mozzarella di bufala

1 handful of arugula

4 slices of tomatoes

6 slices of prosciutto toscano


olive oil

salt and pepper

Slice the baguettes in half, but not completely. This helps to hold all the scrumptious goodies inside your sandwich. While your oven is preheating for a broil at 400 degrees, Mix together the handful of arugula with a little drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place 3 slices of prosciutto toscano inside the halved baguette and top with the 2 slices of the mozzarella di bufala. If mozzarella di bufala is too difficult to find, any kind of fresh mozzarella would work. Spread the pesto on one side of the bread. After your oven is preheated, place your two sandwiches on a baking ban and broil until the cheese has melted and the top of your bread has some color. Before serving, tuck the dressed arugula inside along with the slices of tomato. Serve warm. Ta-da!


Spaghetti ai frutti di mare


Have you ever been asked the question "What would you chose to be your last meal?" Well my answer would be easy, my answer would be this recipe. I remember the very first time I had this dish at a restaurant here in Italy. It was love at first bite. First of all, pasta. And let's face it, pasta is good with everything. Then you have mussels, clams, prawns and it's all mixed in with olive oil- tomato- garlic sauce goodness?! That my friends, is what I call a party in the mouth. 
Instead of waiting until the weekend to dive into seafood heaven, I decided it was time to try it at home. 


Serving size; 2

1 small bag of fresh mussels (about 14)

1 small bag of fresh clams (16)

8 prawns 

4 ounces of uncooked spaghetti

1 garlic clove

1/2 white onion; minced

3 medium tomatos (already boiled & peeled) 

fresh parsley 

olive oil 

1 splash of vino bianco (white wine)

salt and pepper 

First things first. Take your mussels and clams and place them in a deep bowl of cold water. Cover with a cloth and leave in the fridge for a few hours up to overnight. Shellfish are filter feeders and bottom dwellers which is why they tend to be filled with sand. 
  • NOTE; It is important to lift the clams\mussels out of the water as apposed to pouring the pot into a strainer to ensure you are not pouring the sand back onto the shellfish. 
Heat a pot of water for your pasta. Once boiled, add a large pinch of salt to the water and immediately put the pasta in. One minute less than the package calls for.  

Heat a skillet on medium with olive oil. Once it is hot, add the garlic clove to infuse the olive oil with garlic flavor and the minced onions and sautè a little. Add the prawns, mussels, clams and tomatoes. Splash some white wine and cover for about 4-5 minutes until the shellfish have opened and the prawns are pink in color. Don't forget the salt and pepper! 

Once the pasta is al dente, drain the spaghetti and add it to the skillet of seafood. Mix in all the ingredients and cook for another minute or so making sure the oil and all the flavors are coating the spaghetti. Sprinkle parsley on top if you wish and pour a glass of white wine to accompany this delicious meal you are about to devour. 

P.S; You might be thinking, "where is the cheese?!" In Italian cooking seafood is rarely ever paired with cheese. So skip the cheese in this dish! It will change the flavor anyway.