All posts tagged ingredients


Published December 13, 2013 by Tony


Neapolitan Roccocò

Another Neapolitan delight.
I’ve talked about Neapolitan Christmas’ desserts in the post “Neapolitan Sweets”, but I now want to say more about Roccoco, the most famous and typical sweet for us.

This sort of biscuit can’t lack in each Neapolitan home because is synonymous with Christmas, and marks the end of lunch during Christmas period.
A sweet that comes from patience and dedication of the Real convent of the Magdalene‘s sisters, which perhaps is due the first preparation of the Roccocò, whose oldest recipe seems to date back to 1320.
Their name probably is derived from the French word “rocaille“, due to their hardness and baroque round shape, like a rounded shell.
Their shape, color and flavor talk us of the past, because Roccocò are impenetrable sweets, hard, dry, prosperous and humble at the same time, but yet affectionate and flavorful in their donut shape.  A tradition by now!
These biscuits are more suitable for those who have solid teeth… unless you eat them some days later the preparation, or add some yeast and cook them for less time. Some prefer to soak them in wine or liquor.
Preparation that is pretty easy but needs some ingredients that might be difficult to find in your countries. Two of them are called “PISTO” and “VANILLINA”, products already prepared powder and sold in small sachets. The benefit to using a powdered product is that when you mix it directly into a batter or a cookie dough you get the straight flavor and, like vanilla extract, without it being diluted in the alcohol.

PISTOPISTO” is an important  ingredient that gives Roccocò their typical flavor. It is formed from a mixture of various spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, coriander (cilantro) and dill. If you can not find the Neapolitan “Pisto”, you can prepare something similar by whisking together 10 cloves, a nutmeg half chopped, and half a stick of cinnamon; or mixing 2 grams nutmeg, 3 grams of cinnamon and 2 grams of cloves. I’d also add a teaspoon of anise liqueur, if you have it available.

vanillinaVANILLINA” is vanillin or vanilla extract. It is a mixture of several hundred different compounds in addition to vanillin. Artificial vanilla flavoring is a solution of pure vanillin, usually of synthetic origin. Today, artificial vanillin is made either from guaiacol or from lignin, a constituent of wood, which is a byproduct of the pulp industry. It’s used in very small quantity, like 1 gram (0,3 ounces) for a 500-600 grams cake (16-18 ounces). Failing that, you could use the vials with essence of rum, lemon, vanilla, bitter almond, butter-vanilla. Essences that you can find in some supermarket or drugstore.


500 grams of flour (type “00”)
500 grams of sugar
300 grams of roasted almonds (you can add hazelnuts too)
7 grams of “pisto”
4-5 grams of ammonia (for food use)
1 or 2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla powder (nearly 1 gram )
A pinch of salt
1 fresh orange peel
2 clementines or tangerines’ peels
1 fresh lemon (grated rind)
250-350 grams of warm water
1 whole egg beaten, for brushing over the surface of the Roccocò.

[In the case that you have almonds not roasted, place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and cook them at 180° C (fan oven) for 10 minutes exactly. Then set aside to cool them.]


On a work surface pour the flour, sugar, pisto and salt. Add the fruits’ peels  chopped in very small pieces, the grated lemon’s peel (you could replace them with small pieces of candied fruit), the vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa, ammonia and salt. Add at little a time the lukewarm water mixing with your hands the compound. Amalgamate everything well until you get a homogeneous and rather compact mixture. Knead until the dough comes off from surface and hands, becoming dry and consistent: I recommend you do not add more water than necessary.

You should get a homogeneous and rather compact mixture.
Finally insert the almonds, distributing them evenly throughout the mixture, amalgamating it again if the case.
Preheat the oven to 180° C.

Meanwhile, roll up different parts of the compound to form long strips like snakes.  Cut each strip into several pieces about 15 cm long, and roll each to form a ring, no larger than 5-7 cm.

Flatten lightly them, to get small-sized donuts, and arrange them  -spaced apart – on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

Brush their surface with the beaten egg and bake at 180° C. for NO MORE than  18-20 minutes. The right time they become “dark gold”. Extract them from the oven after that time! (These cookies become harder as the cooking time increases!) Note that they appear soft when warm, but begin to harden (how they gotta be) as they cool.

Here’s for some video



Published December 8, 2013 by Tony




– 500 grams of flour
– 4 eggs
– 2 tablespoons of sugar
– 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
– 1 pinch of salt
– 2 tablespoons of liqueur (*)
– The peel of half an orange and  
half a lemon, grated
– 2 packets of vanilla
–  Oil for frying


– 400 grams of honey
– 50 grams of sugar
– 2 tablespoons anise
– 200 grams of candied fruit (orange, lemon, some cherries)

(*) – We usually use the Alberti “Strega”liqueur.

dough1 – Put the flour and sugar to form a sort of volcano with a hole, in which you will beat a little bit the eggs. Add the oil, salt, sugar and all the spices/seasonings. With a spoon begin to mix the flour, then knead with your hands. The dough must be quite soft, but not too stretchy! (if it is too soft, you can add other flour, or a bit of water if it is too hard). Sprinkle the dough – shaped like a ball – with a little flour and leave it to rest,  covered with a towel, for an hour.
2 – Knead again the dough and cut it to obtain various narrow and long sausages not thicker of your little finger. Cut each piece into many sections no longer than 1.5 cm, thereby resulting in a large number of small cubes.




3 – For frying use a large pan large and put enough oil for frying. Bring the oil to a temperature above 150° C and add the cubes of dough, as many as the pan allows. Fry until they become “golden” colored, and go forward until you have fried all the cubes, which you should put in a container to dry with paper towels. If you have a deep-fat fryer, even better.
a5_pasta4 – Meanwhile, prepare the garnish. Cut into small pieces the pieces of candied fruit, and if you want you can stay a few whole pieces for garnish at the end, as you also can add small colored sugared almonds or chocolate shavings. Put the “struffoli ” in the tray that will be used for the course.

a6_pasta5 – Now you have to be very fast to prevent the honey will become solidified!
Put in a pot the honey, sugar and anise and sew over low heat until it becomes dark golden colored. Pour quickly it on the “struffoli ” while still warm, and mix to ensure that each piece is coated with honey. Quickly add the candied fruit and garnish, giving to the whole the shape of the tray or the one you want. Allow to cool.


Published March 31, 2013 by Tony


If you want to have an Easter lunch that reflects the Neapolitan or Italian tradition, you have to keep in mind that the main ingredients to be used in these days must be based on:

Fresh veggie, vegetables: preferably those that this season offers, such as artichokes, peas, cabbage, asparagus. [About artichokes, you can taste variety without thorns (as Romanesco variety), to eat boiled.]
Cold cuts: salami, capicolla, bacon.
Cheeses: ricotta, salt ricotta, provolone, caciotta.
Eggs: preferably boiled.
Meat: lamb, pork.
Pasta: fresh pasta, egg pasta, lasagne, cannelloni.
Pie: any rustic (salt) cake made with dough, eggs, salami, oil or lard.
Desserts: chocolate, any soft cake with candies fruits.

Here are some images to whet your imagination and appetite. Enjoy your meal!








Published February 14, 2013 by Tony



The Italian word “migliaccio” derived from “miglio”, which is the flour obtained from millet, a minor cereal used in the past, then replaced by flour derived from the maize. Although this term refers to several cakes, depending on the region of Italy, in Naples it once was a modest pudding, by rural traditional, made just with millet flour. Today, it is a typical carnival sweet made with semolina flour (wheat middlings) and ricotta. This ancient cake, simple in its preparation, will capture your heart and your palate if you will embark on the preparation.
Here’s the recipe:


• Water: 250 ml
• Milk: 750 ml
• Semolina: 250 g
• Ricotta (cottage cheese): 500 g
• Sugar: 400 g
• Eggs: 8
• Salt: a pinch
• Butter: 50g (for greasing the pan)
• cinnamon powder: 1 tablespoon
• Limoncello: a spoon (or a different aromatized liquor)
• Candied fruit: 100 g (elective)


• Pour water and milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and slowly pour in the semolina. Stir constantly to prevent lumps, until the consistency is similar to polenta, then remove from heat and set the mixture aside.


• In a bowl, beat the eggs and mix them with the sugar. Add the ricotta, candied fruit (optional), limoncello and cinnamon. Then add it to the semolina prepared previously. In order to mix better is advisable to use an electric mixer.



• Pour the mixture into a buttered pan, large enough to make the cake not taller than 3-4 cm. (1:18 to 1:56 in.). Bake at 180 ° C – 200 ° C (356-392 ° F), until the cake surface is golden brown (40-45 minutes). The Migliaccio must be cooked at temperatures not too high (it must dry, mostly).



You can dust with icing sugar before serving cut into slices.



Migliaccio napoletano

The masterpiece of sweetness, softness and fragrance is served!



Published September 25, 2012 by Tony

Ricotta & Ham Sandwich


This can be another homemade sandwich, tasty and easy to prepare also if the
ricotta” isn’t a fresh cheese that everyone usually has in the fridge. However, its purchase, although cheap, will pay you off of the expense. Often we also eat “mozzarella” and ham sandwiches. Usually, in the preparation of a sandwich, we consider the ingredients to be used, taking care to match a “wet/creamy” one whereas any condiment is lacking (sauce, oil, etc.)


2 thin slices of ham (you can use any type of ham but I advise you “Parma ham” or any raw one).



Fresh Ricotta (the necessary amount to spread one side of the sandwich).



Apply plenty of the cheese on the sandwich (avoid to pour the milk), put over the ham and…. bite!



Published September 24, 2012 by Tony


About food, I want to show you the sandwich I ate today. I suppose you Americans, who may never get over your obsession with amazing hamburgers and fully stuffed, could turn up your noses in front of a so simple recipe. Often, especially for artisanal sandwiches worth to choose few ingredients to taste the full flavor of the selected ones. In any case, I challenge you to try this new one, in view of the fact that it is easy to prepare and with ingredients we usually already have at home, also if we Italians usually use the loaf to make sandwiches.


1 canned tuna (better if in olive oil, nearly 2 oz per can).

2 or 3 mature cherry tomatoes.

Wash the tomatoes and open the sandwich then pouring the tuna with a bit of its oil, add the tomatoes mashing or cutting them on the tuna. Close the sandwich and eat……….. yummy!