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Double Cheese Mafalda Bake

The first question you might have about this dish is ‘what is mafalda’ because not everyone knows that word. Mafalda is actually a type of pasta but it is special because it has frilled edges. Also known as mafaldine or reginette, this ribbon pasta is flat and about ½ inch wide, and the edges are wavy on both sides. You cook it the same as you would cook fettuccine or linguine, although sauces for mafalda tend to be more delicate.

This pasta was named after Princess Mafalda of Savoy, which is also why it is known as reginette (or ‘little queens’) in some recipes. In this recipe it is combined with 2 kinds of cheese, as well as fire-roasted tomatoes, cream, garlic, and vegetables, for a well-rounded dish which is a great example of ‘elegant comfort food’ at its finest. Feel free to use other vegetables if you prefer, or swap the Asiago for parmesan cheese.

This is a well-balanced meal because you have everything in there from the pasta to the vegetables, creamy sauce and more. You do not need to serve a side dish with this if you prefer not to, although if you do want to, consider some garlic bread. Something else you can do is serve an appetizer before this instead of having a side dish. Caesar salad would be nice, or even a simple tomato, basil and mozzarella salad. If you have your heart set on dessert instead, consider homemade chocolate mousse, which of course you can make ahead, or even some strawberries with vanilla ice cream. Continue reading

Fettuccine al Pesto Genovese

One of the best-known Italian recipes in the world, apart from pizza and pasta, has to be pesto, especially ‘pesto Genovese’ which is the most famous variety. The authentic recipe requires 7 ingredients, which are basil, pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan, pecorino, salt, and garlic. Some varieties of pesto Genovese call for potatoes, walnuts or parsley. In our recipe we are using parsley which works harmoniously with the other ingredients, as well as walnuts because they offer nice accent to the flavor. Feel free to leave one or both of these out though if you prefer.

A mortar and pestle is recommended to combine the ingredients and get the texture perfect, but use an electric blender if you prefer. Grinding the basil with a round-and-round motion, using a mortar and pestle, coaxes all the liquid out of the veins of the basil, at least according to Italian chefs. The word pesto comes from the Italian word ‘pestare’ which means to pound or crush.

So what is the history of pesto? Well the ancient Romans used to crush cheese, herbs and garlic to make a paste known as ‘moretum’ and the first written recipe for what we currently know as pesto dates back to an 1863 cookbook. Pesto did not really take off in the United States until the mid-1980s but today it is hugely popular. This recipe makes more pesto than you will need, since a little goes a long way, but keep it in a jar covered with a layer of extra-virgin olive oil, and it will be fine in the refrigerator for up to a week. Continue reading

Chorizo Pasta Casserole with Mozzarella

This recipe is perfect if you want to make something tasty and satisfying for the family. Although a lot of people toss their pasta with tomato sauce and perhaps some chicken, there are so many other pasta dishes to try, and this one is hearty and flavorful enough to resemble a restaurant-quality dish. Penne is the pasta we have suggested, but you can use macaroni or another type if you prefer. Pasta spirals would also work.

This colorful dish includes bell pepper, tomatoes, chorizo, and mozzarella, and then you have some garlic and chili powder to add enticing flavor accents. The sauce is prepared first and then the mixture goes into a baking dish, is topped with mozzarella, and then you can bake it until the cheese topping is slightly crispy at the edges and melting in gooey perfection over the casserole.

The amount of chili you add is up to you, but if your chorizo is on the spicy end of the spectrum you might want to only add a little chili. Leave it out completely if you are making this for kids, unless they have an adventurous palate. You can also tweak the other ingredients if you wish, perhaps swapping the bell pepper for mushrooms or zucchini, or swapping the chorizo for chicken. Make the dish your own. What really makes it great, apart from the delicious Italian flavor, is that layer of cheese melting over the top of the dish. Serve this with garlic bread and a simple green salad perhaps. Continue reading

Kid-Friendly Penne Bolognese

This recipe combines both beef and pork with penne pasta to make a winter warmer of a dish, which will appeal to everyone, young and old alike. In addition to the meat and pasta, you will find vegetables, oregano and garlic in this dish, along with tomatoes and beef bouillon. The penne Bolognese is served with parmesan and basil leaves as an attractive garnish, and every bite boasts wonderful Italian flavor.

Cooked from Fresh is Always Best

Although there might be easier ways to make a Bolognese dish, namely popping open a jar of readymade Bolognese sauce, our aim with this recipe is to show you how easy it can be to create the Bolognese sauce from scratch. It is mainly a case of stirring the ingredients together and allowing the sauce to simmer for an hour while the flavors combine. If you want, you can prepare everything ahead, and spoon the pasta and sauce into a baking dish. Add some cheese on top and refrigerate until required, then you can just bake it for 30 minutes at 375 degrees F, or until the dish is piping hot.

Bolognese sauce often pairs with spaghetti but if you want the flavor of the sauce but you prefer pasta to long ribbons of spaghetti, go ahead and try this recipe, because it works really well. Use another pasta shape if you prefer, like rigatoni, pasta spirals or macaroni. You can stick with only beef or only pork if you do not want to use both meats, and even sneak in some finely chopped carrots. Continue reading

Buttery Bacon Spaghetti

There are pasta recipes for dieters, but guess what, this is not one of them! Sometimes nothing but the richest, most indulgent pasta dinner will do, especially if you are craving Italian comfort food but not really in a pizza mood. This recipe boasts butter, olive oil and bacon, as well as parmesan cheese and garlic. We are quite heavy-handed with the butter and garlic in this recipe, because if you want something this decadent there is no point in restricting the best ingredients in the dish.

Every mouthful is delicious, aromatic, rich-flavored, and satisfying, and served with a contrasting side dish like steamed asparagus or mixed baby salad leaves, this makes a fantastic dinner, and you can make it from scratch and have it on the table in less than 30 minutes, including cooking the pasta and bacon, which of course you should do simultaneously to save time. Get the bacon really crispy so it crumbles between your fingers easily. Cook the bacon first because you will need to let it cool down before crumbling it. It will warm up again fast when tossed with the pasta anyway.

This is not the type of dish to tweak into something healthy, so do not even think about swapping the butter for margarine or leaving out the extra-virgin olive oil. This dish can be served in smaller portions if you do not want too much of this decadent feast, or in larger portions if you really want to treat yourself to something special. Continue reading

Unusual Chicken Curry Pasta

If you are in the mood for fusion, consider this lovely dish which blends pasta with chicken and curry seasonings for a fantastic result. You can use any kind of pasta shapes you like here, and also choose whichever kind of chutney you want to use. Mango chutney is lovely but too sweet for some people. Tomato chutney or another kind of fruit chutney would also work well. You can also increase the amount of curry powder or even add a pinch of chili powder if you want to spice this up a bit.

This is a lovely creamy dish which is nice served hot or cold. You could make it in advance and serve it as a chilled appetizer before an Italian main dish. As long as the main dish did not feature curry or chicken, this would be a great combination, so think about serving this chilled as an appetizer before an entrée of veal marsala, homemade grilled pizza, or even some kind of Italian salad if the weather is hot and you only want cold dishes.

If you take the pasta out and serve this dish over a bed of white rice this becomes an Indian curry (or at least an Americanized version of such a dish) but stir the pasta with the sweet, fragrant curry mixture, and you get a dish which boasts both Italian and Indian flavors, and can be served with mozzarella cubes on the side. So if you want something based on pasta but also offering an exciting kick of flavor, you cannot go wrong with this. Continue reading

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Christine Szalay-Kudra

Hi I'm Christine, and I am happy you are visiting. Food is a large part of our family's lives, and we love to try new dishes, especially Italian food which offers so much freshness and flavor, whether you are making a classic Italian dish like lasagna or pizza, or experimenting with new appetizers, entrées or desserts from Italy.

Even if you are brand new to this cuisine, you will be able to find all kinds of tempting recipes here. I have been collecting classic Italian recipes, all conveniently in one place, along with unusual recipes from Italy plus some dishes inspired by Italian cuisine.

When the weather is cold, a baked pasta dish or juicy pork or veal recipe might be ideal. During the summer months, an Italian salad might be your dish of choice. We have vegetarian recipes, Italian soups, and even tips on how to work with Italian ingredients for the best results, whether you are making lasagna, gnocchi or an Italian casserole


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