Tag Archives: Italian cooking

Pure Comfort Food! Gnocchi with Peas, Asparagus and Gorgonzola Sauce

Pure Comfort Food! Gnocchi with Peas, Asparagus and Gorgonzola Sauce


IMG_3885[1]Well, yes it is true that so many of us grow weary and discouraged on FB these days given the chaos of our present political challenges. Taking time out from posting alarms and alerts, some of us eventually resort to alternating posts between our opinions and activism, with Comic Relief (funny cartoons or snarky wit), Beauty (flowers and scenery), Cutsies (kittens, puppies and babies) and  FOOD! (WHAT WE ARE HAVING FOR DINNER!).

Last night I fled to my kitchenette (only 6 inches away from my tiny apartment living room) to free my mind and heart from stress, and to dive wholeheartedly with my hungry tummy into pure comfort and creativity with an awesome Italian recipe inspired by Lidia Bastianich,  I say “inspired by” because she started the whole thing off in her recipe book, but I, independent  and renegade Cooker myself, always have to tweak a recipe to make it mine, ALL MINE! So to be fair, let’s maybe say it was a winning “collaboration”,

When I posted the above picture on FB for good cheer, it must have provided some much needed comfort as more people jumped into my post with comments about this than about anything  elseI have posted all week. Several even sent me private messages asking (begging) for the recipe. Which of course I promised to do…what else are friends for? So wipe your chins dear salivators !…here we go… feel free to make it yours too with your own tweaks.


1 box/pkg of gnocchi

1 10 oz pjg of frozen peas, defrosted)

5 thin stalks of asparagus, steamed and cut into thirds

4 or 5 small cocktail tomatoes, seeds squeezed out and quartered

1/2 heavy crème OR half n  half OR evaporated mil

1 cup of chicken broth

2 tablespoons of butter salted or non salted

6 oz of crumbled gorgonzola

a dash of garlic powder, a dash of Italian herb blend (I used Penzys Tuscan blend)

a little squeesze..drops really to taste…of lemon. Go very easy on this to taste

salt and pepper to taste


**(Don’t forget a glass of rose (not red! not white!) wine to accompany. (Red is too strong, white is too “white”…I cook with complementary colors..there is enough white in this sauce)

*** Put on some nice music. Preferably by Josh Groban singing in Italian. Shut off the news on tv!



Boil the gnocchi according to the instructions of the box (Lidia makes her OWN gnocchi from scratch. Not me…one of my ingenious creative tweaks). Drain and set aside

Saute the butter (you can add a little more if you want.) in a large frying pan with  higher sides. When melted, add the combined milk and broth and dash of herbal blend and bring to a boil, then lower heat and let it cook for about 8 minutes to thicken a bit..sort of..stirring often. DO NOT burn or rapid boil and bubble (trouble!).

Add the gorgonzola and stir to melt. Taste and season to your liking.,, salt and pepper, a tiny squeeze of lemon (be careful here) and a dash of garlic powder.

Add the peas, asparagus and cocktail tomatoes and stir.

FINALLY,  add the gnocchi to coat completely.


IMPORTANT ! Take a picture and post it on FB so your friends can drool, leave lots of comments and then send them the link to this recipe on my blog!


From Christine, the Greening Spirit a la “The Cook” on https://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

***Picture with my granddaughter Giana who is now 11 years old. ( I am the same age as I was then).

264613_10151085786018396_17473576_n (2)












Tempting Tomato/Eggplant/ Basil Teasers (orig. 2013)

Tempting Tomato/Eggplant/ Basil Teasers (orig. 2013)

IMG_3443Sometimes (often) my culinary creations are a project which I oversee for an evening, or for several hours in preparation..cooking, writing, listening to music, staying between the table where I work and the stove. At those times, I linger and taste and savor and adjust..playing with my food as it were.

But on other nights, it has to be a little quicker but still…sensuous, savory, satisfying and delicious.  And sometimes it has to be a “light” meal as well..simple and without a lot of other accompaniements.

This is one of my very favorite creations. It is is actually a kind of an appetizer, but I would not have too much patience making up 50 of them for a party. But for a light supper for one or two, perhaps a cup of broth, a little crusty bread and a plateful of these are just perfect. Oh, and don’t forget the wine..a lot rose is my preference.


1 small-medium  narrow eggplant sliced in rounds, fresh basil leaves (or dried basil if necessary), a soft mozzarella sliced in rounds, cocktail tomatoes seeded and opened up, or small plum tomatoes seed and cut in thin rounds, black pitted olives cut in half lengthwise,  1-2 finely minced garlic gloves or garlic powder,  a sprinkling of finely-grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.IMG_3440


Lightly spray heated indoor grill with olive oil. Lightly cook eggplant rounds until just a touch soft/translucent. Set them aside in baking dish, place a tomato slice on each eggplant, a LITTLE minced garlic or a sprinkle of garlic IMG_3441power, then a fresh basil leaf (sprinkle with dried basil if no fresh basil is possible..but fresh is the BEST), top with a mozzarella slice, olive pieces, a sprinkle of ground pepper and a sprinkle of finely grated parmesan.


Broil until cheese starts to melt and brown..serve.

I like this with a light rose wine. Or the light Gallo Paisano Wine...not fancy..just friendly and simple.



**** I know I have established that I am not Italian. However, tomorrow I do start a series at the University in Conversational Italian. I have been listening to the practice cd in the car and repeating musical Italian phrases while I drive..Of course I have read and loved the book “Under The Tuscan Sun” which had me longing for the simple life…but for now my reading/handbook is:                                                                     



***If this looks good, don’t forget to click “Like”!

I also invite you to check out my blog   http://thegreeningspirit.wordpress.com and see what a magical world we live in!

From Christine, The Cook



Foodie Flops: Behind the Scenes on a Cooking Blog


IMG_8081  Well, an important word these days in presentations is “staging”. In getting ready to sell your house, for instance, there is now a whole lucrative business set up to “stage” your home hopefully  enticing prospective buyers in FEELING that this place is a must-have. New paint, new rugs, candles, scents, lighting and WONDERFUL and artsy photography to highlight the beauty of your space and create that illusion of perfection. Who wouldn’t want to live HERE!

It is the same way with our blogs..especially cooking blogs with their lovely kitchens (or so it appears in carefully cropped photos) with decorated plates, lovely crystal goblets, spanking clean pot-holders or tablecloths, and mouth-watering close-ups of delicious, delectable entrees, appetizers, soups, stews and delicacies. Beautifully staged to create the illusion of culinary perfection or display expertise and finesse beyond the abilities of a mere ordinary kitchen cook in a small, humble or multi-purpose kitchen space.

HA! Guess what? Those are the culinary creations and photos that “made it” through the sometimes messy and goofed-up experiments at the stove, ktchen counter or oven! SOMETIMES, behind the scenes, we have magnificent flops that will never appear on a decorated table for guests or in public on our cooking blog!

Last week, I had such a goof -up with a recipe I make every summer using the bounty of garden tomatoes that are shared amongst friends. I couldn’t wait to prepare this, and carefully selected the tastiest sun-ripened heirloom tomatoes, shopped for the best mozzarella and parmesan, and searched for small curd cottage cheese and the freshest, most aromatic home-grown basil. I cheated on the pie crust and purchased one of the frozen rolled logs of dough that can simple be defrosted and rolled open and laid into the pie dish because pie crust simple takes too much time and effort for me right now.  Oh so deliberate, careful and lovingly anticipated!

With beautiful music in the backround for mood, I sliced the tomatoes to perfect equal thickness, salted and drained them on paper towels. I prepared the cheeses, the basil..the filling… and blended them to  smooth perfection as well in the nutribullet. Laid the tomatoes in the pie dish, layered with the filling, topped with the rest of the sliced tomatoes, sprinkled with olive oil and parmesan, placed it in the pre-heated oven and then.

And then, after about 10 minutes, I realized with dismay, that I had not lined the pan with THE PIE CRUST FIRST!  In fact, the pie crust was not even un-rolled.

What’s a cook/chef/kitchen witch to do??? Certainly can’t take it apart and start all over, can’t toss. Well, the only solution was to un-roll the crust, line another pie pan and bake that separately on the oven shelf under the tomatoes.

At the end of this kitchen time…we had one pie plate of browned baked tomatoes and cheese filling, and one separate plate of crust. This one was NOT a winner visually after cooling the crust, breaking it into pieces into a serving dish and spooning the tomato/basil and cheese mixture on top. And it was really not a show-off candidate to impress you on my Sensuous Soups and Suppers blog here.

But… it still was delicious and offered me more than a few dishes for lunch over the course of the week…and yes, the flavors were nevertheless, sensuous and satisfying.

This recipe comes from a wonderful book that was found on sale at JOB LOT for $2.99 years ago…one of those amazing “steal deals” that appear once in a while for an alert shopper. I bought perhaps five copies extra to give away for gifts. Perhaps you can find it still on Amazon or ebay. The book is: Smith and Hawkin “Gardener’s Community Cookbook” ,  compiled and written by Victoria Wise.

The recipe will be posted shortly in the next day or so…check in again for “Tomato, Basil and Cheese Pie”.  (A tease. I’d love for you to come back to my blog).


Ribolitta! Tuscan Bread Soup (Fare for Peasants AND Kings)



A couple of days before Christmas, a friend lent me a wonderful book ” The Wisdom of Tuscany: Simplicity, Security and the Good Life-Making the Tuscan Lifestyle Your Own” by Ferenc Mate’.

Often conversations with friends these days include  laments about the state of our U.S. economy, the fast-paced frantic lifestyles that have often destroyed the community, conversation and lingering celebration around the family dinner table, if it even exists anymore. We lament that even at tables in the home and in restaurants, while waiting for food to be served or orders taken, cell phones and hand-held gaming devices have supplanted the open waiting time that used to be a lovely opportunity for conversation, sharing, and EYE-CONTACT with companions.

It is for this reason, following such several talks with friends on this topic, that I received, read, and relished this wonderful book of another way to live, to savor life and to go about relationships with people, the land, and food based on a whole other set of values that seem to have dissolved here in mainstream commercial, materialistic, consumeristic America.

TuscanyThe book, like others of similar genre, includes recipes native to that culture. And what a celebration they are. Italians are passionate people. And so is their cooking. As close to nature, fresh, whole and un-adulterated as possible. The burgeoning grass-roots movement here amongst those who are choosing to live more gently and more enthusiastically on the planet, is now witnessed by the growing and vociferous awareness of poisonous and deadening practices of mass industrial farming practices. As a result, many of us have been forever or starting to support local farms, farmers markets, artisan bread and cheesmakers, grass-fed beef and small well-maintained and humane poultry producers and it is good for us to do so, not only for our health, but for passion, celebration and our spiritual/psychological selves as well. And for those of us who can, growing our own food is the best of all!

It is good to live simply and it is possible to live with sensuality and celebration as well. This is why I love this book, and I highly recommend it, both for its memoir, its stories and its simple recipes of good WHOLE food fit for Peasants and Kings alike.

I chose to make a Ribolitta..Tuscan Bread Soup. Over the years I have been given a number of recipes for this but never made it. Yesterday was THE day since I am homebound recouperating from a winter cold and virus. What I needed was a soup for nourishment and healing…and reading this book inspired me to put a peasant pot of culinary richness together for well-being and delight. This recipe is a composite of traditional recipes and using what what was in my own fridge and cupboard. I invite you to follow the basics, and create your own soup with what you have on hand! And that is the way it is in Tuscany…use what is available at any moment, and the way it is in my own kitchen as well.


Olive Oil ~ a large can of whole tomatoes smashed in their own juice (not in puree) ~ 1 (15.5 oz)can of canellini or chick peas, drained and rinsed ~ 1/2 cup diced carrots ~ 1/2 cup diced celery ~ 2-3 cloves garlic chopped (I get my garlic from a friend’s garden), 1/2 vidalia onion diced, 1 small zucchini diced ~ 2 small red potatoes peeled and diced ~ four large leaves of swiss chard torn or cut into short ribbons ~ 1/2 cabbage sliced/chopped ~1 Italian mild sausage, cooked separately and chopped ~1 32-oz package/can of chicken broth/stock (organic if possible) ~ diced fresh mozzarella or queso blanco ~ grated parmesan ~ dried basil, parsley and marjoram unless fresh is available ~ a nice artisan Italian bread with crust, cut into cubes.

Preparation:Gently saute diced carrots and celery for about five minutes, stirring. Do not brown. Add onions and stir for several more minutes..do not brown. Add garlic and stir to release flavor and scent. Do not burn, but saute until everything is slightly softened.

Add the smashed tomatoes and juice, fresh vegetables (zucchini, cabbage, potatoes) but not the chard.. Cover with the chicken broth and simmer, adding salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of dried herbs Go lightly at first and taste. I cannot give you an exact amount because it depends on the other ingredients and what I like. You can always add but you cannot subtract a flavour! Taste taste TASTE along the way and adjust to your pleasure.

Add beans, cooked sausage when the potatoes are cooked. Simmer for five minutes. Add the swiss chard..simmer until it softens into the soup.

Add the cubed bread on top of the soup. Simmer gently. And stir.

Put some chunks of mozarella or queso blanco in the bowls. Ladle soup over the cheese.. Add a sprinkling of fresh grated parmesan (or packaged if that is what you have) on top.

A glass of beer, or a red wine is the perfect complement to this.

*** Please note that soups and stews ALWAYS taste better on the second day and following days as the ingredients mellow and blend into more complex flavours. (If it lasts that long)

Let’s live well, with celebration, creativity, conversation, and companionship in the kitchen and around the table!

Support your local farmers and farmer’s markets, local beef and poultry farms, buy your eggs from friends who have chickens, tend to your own window herb garden, and best of all if you are able…grow your own food.

With love from Christine, Greening Spirit/ The Cook

“Break-the-Fast” Morning Peppers, Onions and Mushrooms!


If you are one of the morning people who have to jump up early, grab a coffee and toast or a quick bowl of cereal, jump in the car and race off to work or school, this breakfast isn’t for you. But you could cook it for dinner, and in fact most people would do just that.

For me, giving up most wheat, cutting back on grains, letting go of some extra weight that I do not need and having some time in the morning for reading, writing or cooking before I work allows me the pleasure of eating vegetables for my own break-the-fast. Although this may seem strange or un-appetizing to some, for me this works very well, giving me energy to start things off AND allowing some of those extra pounds to start melting away.

If you MUST have meat for breakfast, this works very well with sweet or hot cooked sausage chopped and added as well, or a chunk of toasted artisan whole-grain bread for dunking. Who said breakfast has to be cereal or eggs…and god forbid…pop-tarts, or granola bars that truly are NOT food to begin with!

Always in my recipes here, the emphasis is on fresh ingredients, sensuous flavours and textures, AND simplicity of preparation and time requirements. I learned much about this kind of immediate and simple preparation from my former Italian mother-in-law Maria, and my father-in-law Bill who would whip up the most savory and sensuous delights in a large pot or cast iron skillet with an ease and imagination that still is fresh in my memory altho he is gone now, and she is in her 80’s and we live far apart. And I must admit, with the multitude of cookbooks that are in my collection, I always loved the recipes tucked in the treasure  “Under the Tuscan Sun”  by Frances Mayes…meals prepared with the freshest whole ingredients in season and with a minimum of kitchen time. And of course, ultimately shared!


3 medium Italian frying peppers, sliced thin, 1-medium vidalia onion sliced thin, 2-3 garlic cloves chopped, 2-3 cocktail tomatoes IMG_5354seeded and chopped, i portobella mushroom cap sliced, fresh basil (or dried if fresh is not available), olive oil and a splash of canned chicken broth handy if necessary for “unsticking”), salt and pepper.


Heat large skillet. Add a light coating of oil. When quite hot, add peppers and onions, stirring constantly..do not brown or burn. When peppers and onions have a “sheen” from the olive oil and the releasing of their moisture, turn down the heat a bit and continuing to IMG_5356watch and stir. This will take some minutes to bring them to a semi-carmelized kind of state, but still firm Add a little salt and pepper to taste…keep stirring periodically. When softened, add the mushrooms and garlic, stirring (don’t burn!). When mushrooms are cooked, add the chopped tomatoes, s splash of broth or water and the chopped basil..cook gently until the tomatoes fall apart and the basil is wilted. Taste and taste again to adjust seasonings to your pleasure. Serve in a pretty dish. (I added a sprinkle of parmesan as well).

IMG_5357It is important to be attentive to your cooking when involved in “Sensuous Cooking”… multi-tasking while going back and forth to the stove (like cooking and doing FB at the same time), or cooking and stirring with the phone cradled between ear and shoulder or even with a headset can surely spell disaster for your ultimate culinary delight and pleasure. For me, preparing food in this way is a kind of sensory art form..yes..it is like making art…and it deserves your attention and presence and focus. For me, this is also like a meditation..a “Be Here Now” experience..and very grounding. And of course when you eat REAL food, you become grounded as well as body, Brain, and spirit have the best fuel to propel you into your life.

Take time, take TIME when you can to feed yourself well, and sensuously! And by all means when you can, SHARE the feast!   IMG_5358

Bella Brussel Sprouts and Pasta (Gluten-free)


Bella Brussels Sprouts and Pasta SupperNo. I am not Italian. But the ingredients I love to use for many of my quickie suppers are connected to the Mediterranean cuisines, using greens of some sort, garlic, onions, basil, marjoram, olive oil and/or tomatoes. Last night I was starving after being out all day and when I am starving, I often want a simple (and sensuous/flavorful) pasta meal with healthy greens..something I can whip together with minimal fuss..a quickie of sorts with whatever is in the refrigerator.

I also have recently given up (or at least minimized) wheat in my diet as new information comes forth about the kind of genetically engineered wheat that has become our national staple and has significant health and dietary risks.  Thankfully, I have found a wonderful non-gluten pasta made from brown rice that in flavor, and even more importantly in TEXTURE,  is an excellent substitution for the wheat. (Made by a company named TINKYADA,  it can be found in health food stores and in many markets in the U.S.)

My refrigerator holds many treasures but for some reason last night I was really craving some sort of green vegetable and was delighted that I had hand-picked a small supply of loose Brussels Sprouts from the market the day before; An odd and amusing vegetable with its unique growth habit ( no it does grow in those little round carboard cellophane wrapped boxes on the shelves)  and in its musky/dusky flavor with a surprise hint of sweetness if prepared carefully.Brussels Sprouts on the vine My kitchen counter and herb cabinet als0 is well stocked with other tasty supplies as well to be creatively sprinkled, chopped, or carefully tossed into, poured over or stirred into my evening fare. So here we are! Last night’s very delicious dinner…it was SOOOO good.

I describe here a portion for one person..please just double or triple ingredients by your own good calculations and careful hand.


6-8 small/medium Brussels Sprouts, rinsed,…2-3 slices of sweet (or regular) onion, diced…1 or 2  large cloves of garlic diced…olive oil and butter...3 -4 small sweet cocktail tomatoes, seeded and quarted (may use 2 smallish plum tomatoes)..a small slab of a soft mozzarella,  chopped or diced)…dried basil and marjoram…a pinch of slivered almonds..salt and pepper to taste… a sprinkle of cayenne if desired..several tablespoons of a canned chicken broth as desired… a  single portion of gluten-free pasta ( I used spirals), cooked in advance and set aside, warmed.  (Regular wheat pasta may be used if you are not fussy about “gluten-free.)


Cook pasta al dente, drain and set aside keeping it warm. Rinse Brussels Sprouts, discarding bruised outer leaves, cut off dried bottom and cut in half. Boil gently in  lightly salted water until tender and drain. In a small skillet, saute onion and garlic  in a mixture of olive oil and butter (1-2 tablespoons) until translucent and just beginning to color golden (do not burn). Add cooked brussels sprouts and stir.. Add chopped tomatoes, and cook a little longer for them to soften. Add a little chicken broth to moisten and make a little “juice”…sprinkle with a pinch of  the dried basil and sweet marjoram, salt and pepper to taste. It is important always to taste and adjust seasonings as you go along for “sensous” suppers. ( warning! Season with a light touch..and then increase as necessary…it is NOT possible to decrease an ingredient once you have over-added it…!)

Put the warm pasta in a bowl. Add diced/chopped mozzarella on top of the pasta and then put the hot sprouts mixture over those. (There should be a little broth). Add a good pinch of the slivered almonds and a sprinkle of cayenne if desired. Stir lightly to mix ingredients. The cheese should melt a bit and be slightly chewy, the slivered almonds add a crunch, the pasta al-dente, the brussels sprouts rich and flavourful, the tomatoes add a nice red in contrast to the green. Totally delicious.

Vinho VerdeWith this I had a chilled glass of a light, mineral-y vinho verde rose wine (well actually, I must admit..I had two chilled glasses). About $6.99 a bottle. A happy meal! See you again soon!

Bravo Broccoli Rappini !


Rappe 1It has SO been winter here up in the Northeast with winds, snow, blizzards, tree damage, loss of electricity and heat! All sufferings aside as a result of Winter’s wrath, we also experience the beauty of this season, when all vegetation is nestled under a blanket of white, and we can hardly remember the colors of summer..vegetables, herbs, flowers, fruits that delight the eye, and tease the senses and the tongue, fresh from nature’s fields, woodland or gardens.M and M's 1

It is precisely this time of year, after warming soups, and sturdy grains, that many of us start to long for the taste of Greens. Often, salads are not exactly what we crave, many of them being cold in temperature themselves, but still..that emerging deep hunger for green things can be compelling as we wrap ourselves to stay warm, but miss the verdancy and energy of GREEN..dark, rich and energizing within winter’s color palette of brown, black, grey and white.

ENTER the COOKING GREENS such as Kale, Collards and Broccoli Rappini (Rabbe). I often at this time have a particular craving for Broccoli Rappini because of it slightly bitter flavor..a flavor that is is an important part of our digestive process, triggering inner digestive juices that both cleanse us, break down the nutrients of our food and disperse them throughout our body. Altho Broccoli Rappini actually  a member of the Brassica family of plants it, in flavor and appearance , resembles its cousin in the mustard plant groupings which accounts for it peppery bitterness.

For this recipe in winter, I must depend on the commercial variety of Rappini in the supermarkets which are delicious of course, but in summer when I garden, I prefer to raise Italian varieties of wild and garden Rappis,  especially from Franchi Seeds. They are thinner stemmed, and quite hot and slightly more bitter than the commercial varieties…and it takes more of it to make a supper! But it is well worth trying and comparing if you have a garden yourselves.

This is a wonderful supper in a bowl any time of the year…but especially sustaining in this cold season when you have just about had it with shoveling snow, and trying to stay upright on ice-laden walks. I will give alternate hints for including meat and using pasta instead of potatoes.

Please be aware when buying the commercial variety of Rappini in the supermarkets, that especially in those shelved vegetable sections that are constantly sprayed with water and mist, that Rappini deteriorates quickly and will turn yellow and rot. I truly do not like this use of spraying vegetables on the shelves…it cause the plants to spoil, AND unless you shake your purchase vigorously..you are paying for the extra weight of the water trapped within the leaves of your product..which of course I am sure is part of the plan of the merchandisers.

Ingredients: (feel free to add and create on your own, substituting as you like. The only thing not variable is the Broccoli Rappini!)

Rappini 21 commercial bunch of broccoli rappini, 2-3 medium potatoes cooked, chopped and set aside, one small/medium onion diced, 2 cloves garlic diced, 3-4 cocktail or plum tomatoes, seeded and quartered, olive oil, dried basil and dried marjoram, 2-3 chopped canned artichoke hearts, 3-4 deli olives pitted and chopped, a nice soft-style fresh mozzarella cheese (1 thick slice diced in little squares), 2-3 teasp pignoli nuts slightly sauteed, a little canned chicken broth as necessary, a sprinkle of cayenne.

Preparation :

Discard any yellowed  leaves. Drain. Chop off dried stem ends. Discard. Chop greens in thirds, put in a deep pan with a little water, and steam until wilted. Drain. In a deep pan or skillet, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until just slightly golden, add chopped rappini,  a little salt and pepper, the diced chopped artichoke hearts and a little chicken broth or water. Simmer for a few minutes, add the chopped tomatoes, a pinch of dried basil and a pinch of dried marjoram to taste. Simmer gently for a few minutes, stirring. Add  sliced olives. TASTE, taste, taste,  and adjust seasonings to please yourself. Keep warm, adding a little more broth if necessary.


To Serve:

Put cooked chopped potatoes in the bottom of a serving bowl.  Add chopped mozzarella to the  heated broccoli rappini mixture and spoon the mixture  over the potatoes. Garnish with the lightly sauteed pignola nuts. Taste and adjust seasonings…a sprinkle of cayenne if desired. ENJOY!  A chewy artisan bread and  glass of a light red wine is just fine to complete this supper.

*Note: chopped broiled Italian sweet sausage made be added into the mixture if  meat is desired. This may also be served over a pasta of choice instead of potatoes. I am going gluten free, so I use a brown rice pasta which is absolutely delicious.


I have just signed up at the local University for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute...which is a program of no homework/no tests college courses for pleasure and leisure for people age 50 and older. I myself am a teacher/speaker/retreat director/workshop presenter by profession, but am excited to take courses on topics that are of interest but that I do not personally teach. One of the courses I have just signed up for is “Conversational Italian” so in the future I may express my Delicioso recipes with some new and musical words, given the lyrical quality of that language ( and the Italian/Mediterranean enthusiasm for much of my style of cooking!).