There’s only one family recipe that I was told not to put on the internet and luckily, it’s not this one. I’ve been eating biscotti for as long as I can remember. When most babies were  teething on store-bought baby biscuits, I was teething the Italian way on homemade biscotti. These were a staple at my Nana’s and Grampa’s house growing up and I’ve continued the tradition in our family now. Now, I try to repay the favor and I send a batch of biscotti back to Boston to make sure my Grampa’s cookie jar never goes dry. Here’s to my Grampa, the coolest dude in town (who’s about to turn 96 years old).

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Spicy Italian Escarole Soup

In London David and I made dinner for the four of us so we spend the night relaxing by the fire. My parents and grandparents have been making this soup for as long as I can remember. I didn’t have access to the ingredients I normally would have in the states, so I spiced it up and made it my own. This is a hearty soup that warms you up in the winter time, and simple enough to put together in no time at all.

Serves 6

  • 8 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 lb Nduja or 1 tsp Red Pepper flakes
  • 1 head of Escarole, washed, dried and chopped
  • 3/4 pound Pastina or Stelline Pasta (little pasta for soup)
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Parmesan for serving

Put the chicken broth into a large stock pot and heat on medium heat until simmering. In a medium bowl combine the beef, nduja or red pepper flakes, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Roll the meat mixture into 1 inch meatballs. Add the meatballs into the broth and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the escarole into the pot and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste the soup for seasonings and add salt and pepper if needed. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese or if you’re like my sister and I, about a 1/4 cup. Buon Appetito!

Spicy Italian Escarole Soup

A Tuscan Feast

There are few events in life where one looks back and describes it as truly magical. Our engagement party at JM Cellars in 2009 was one of those nights. I feel confident saying that everyone there felt that magic. The founders of Salumi, where I use to work,  Armo and Marilyn Batali (yesMario’s parents) were guests that night  and were blown away with JM Cellars. The wine, the grounds, and the  owners John and Peggy all usually have that kind of effect on people. Armo was really excited following the party and talked often of holding some kind of event there.  On August 21st, the Tuscan Feast finally happened and the magic was back and in full effect. The night was a benefit for the Chef’s Collaborative with Armandino Batali and John Bigelow, along with Chef Roy Breiman, . I was working the event and my husband David along with our good friends Joe and Jane were in attendance. Guests were able to make gnocchi with Marilyn, stuff sausages with Chef Roy and stretch mozzarella with Armo . With my Italian upbringing and working at Salumi for years, I was expecting an extraordinary amount of food, but I don’t think anyone (besides the Chefs) could imagine what this feast would entail. There was a large circular wooden table approximately 15 feet in diameter tiered with platters covering every inch of space. From the porchetta & veal loin stuffed with sweetbreads to the prosciutto and figs & manila clams smothered with caramelized onions, every morsel on the table was delicious and decadent.
More importantly than the food (I can’t believe I’m even typing those words) were the people who made the event happen and the guests that attended. There were farmers, foragers, bakers, chefs, foodies, photographers, wine makers, and executives, (by executives I mean the founder and creator of Amazon, Jeff Bezos) I think it would be safe to say that the Seattle food community was well represented. There was an exceptional amount of talent present that night and everyone shared the passion of local and seasonal food. It left you feeling warm inside with a beaming smile on your face, truly wonderful. Listening to Armo, Chef Roy and John talk about one another was something special that I had not been apart of before. Armo inducted John and Peggy into the Salumi Family which almost made me shed a tear.  John, Peggy, Armo and Marilyn are people who I respect tremendously and to be apart of this night was such a blessing. I couldn’t help but think back to the engagement party and be thankful for that special night and bringing the people together who meant a lot to David and I. The Tuscan Feast was a once in a lifetime opportunity. My husband looked happier than I had seen him in years Part of it being that he was surrounded by food, and people with such a strong passion and respect for one another and the food; The other part being he made gnocchi with Marilyn for almost an hour. David made unbelievably perfect gnocchi and it was hard to believe it was his first time. Marilyn MAY have mention that you don’t have to be Italian to make good gnocchi, but I’m choosing to ignore this comment. This feast is yet another example of what kinds of fireworks can happen with you bring together great people, mouth-watering food, and lots of love.


  • Gnocchi
  • Mozzarella Stretching
  • Old World Prosciutto Slicing
  • Handmade Sausage



  • Clam Fregola
  • Salt Cod .Bacala. Tomatoes and Capers
  • Handmade Sausage with Grapes
  • Heirloom Tomatoes with Fresh Basil, Chemlali Olive Oil
  • Fresh Lima Beans with Olive Oil & Tuna Genovese
  • Fennel Salad with Burnt Citrus, Toasted Coriander
  • Prosciutto, Figs, Arugula, Balsamic
  • Grilled Salumi Cotto, with Soft Cheeses
  • Grilled Veggies Antipasti
  • Pimento, Red Onions, Pickled Radish
  • Baby Zucchini with Flowers, Aubrergine, Baby Cauliflowers, Young Carrots


  • Stuffed Veal Breast-Cima Ripiena
  • Tuscan Porchetta- Stuffed Pork Belly with Crisp Skin
  • Gnocchi with Spare Ribs


  • Rhubarb Tart with Basil Foam
  • Fresh Berries Italian Ribbon Sauce
  • Poached Stone Fruits Sweet Vanilla Verjus

Me, Armo, One of the cooks, David

Joe making Sausage

David making Sausage

Marilyn making Gnocchi

Figs & Prosciutto

Love is in the Air: Armo and Chef Roy

Clams Fregola

Italian Watermelon Martini

Watermelon Martini

Here’s a recipe to get everyone through the weekend. I’m sure you could substitute vodka for gin, but we all know that gin is the real martini (thanks to James Bond for screwing that one up).

  • 1/4 oz Italian Vermouth
  • 1 oz Watermelon juice (strained)
  • 2 1/4 oz Gin
  • pinch of pork salt (ground fine)

Combine in a cocktail shaker full of ice. Stir quickly and serve with a watermelon garnish. 

Italian Chicken Salad

Here is a favorite recipe of mine (and now my friends). If you are looking for the perfect bite to take on a picnic or keep out at a cookout, this is it. No mayo = less refrigeration needed. Even though this is Italian Chicken Salad, I served this with croissants. Sorry Grampa, next time I’ll get Italian bread, I promise.

Italian Chicken Salad

  • 2 Roasted or Poached Chicken Breasts, shredded
  • 2 Yellow or Orange Bell Peppers, sliced 1/4 inch
  • 3 Lemons, segmented
  • 1 Lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 tbsp fresh Thyme, minced
  • 3 tbsp Marjoram, minced
  • 1 cup of Parmesan, grated
  • 3/4-1 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients and enjoy!