Time to announce the winner of my GIVEAWAY!

 …And the winner is:


from the blog Meg Travels .

Meg will receive a copy of the book “Masseria – The Italian Farmhouse of Puglia” published by Rizzoli.

Meg’s New Book!

I hope Meg will enjoy this book as much as I do!

I would like to thank everyone who entered. I also would like to send a big Thank you to Signora Cristina Rizzo, book’s project director for sponsoring this giveaway.


If you are not the lucky one to receive the free copy of the book, you can order your copy here.

Related posts:

My First Giveaway: Masseria the Italian Farmhouse of Puglia. A beautiful book waiting for you!

A Cultural Evening at the Embassy of Italy in Washington, DC

FTC Disclosure

I have not received any compensation for posting this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein.  I have purchased my own copy of the book and reviewed it. Mrs. Cristina Rizzo – book’s project director – has donated the book for this giveaway. I will personally pay for the book’s shipment to the contest’s winner.  My opinions are 100% my own.


A Recipe from Sicily . . . Pesto Trapanese.

When speaking of Pesto, the Italian region of Liguria naturally comes to mind. It is in fact in this region that one of the best known Italian recipes originated. In one of my previous posts I have already shared a variation of the traditional Pesto Ligure, the Trenette Avvantagiae The recipe however, was still one of the Italian Riviera.

Today I will share a new variation, this time from the region of Sicilia, specifically from the city of Trapani. You might be wondering about the connection between these two regions so far apart.

Genova, as you might know, between the 10th and 13th centuries, was one the four Repubbliche Marinare practicing extensive trading in the Mediterranean and partecipating in the Crusades. During their journeys, the Genoese ships, coming from the East, used to stop in Trapani, which was one of Sicily’s most important harbors. The Genoese sailors introduced the Ligurian pesto to the local sailors who in turn adapted the recipe to their traditions and local produces, such as mandorle (almonds) and pomodori (tomatoes).

A summer dish whose secrets lies in the quality and fresheness of its ingredients. Hot pasta is simply tossed into this hearty, creamy sauce for a simple yet satisfying meal. The cut of pasta traditionally used is called busiati, a fresh pasta, which is similar to the maccheroni al ferro and fusilli. These shapes of pasta all have in common the way they are made, with the aid of a “ferro” (similar to knitting needle) or a “ buso” – hence the name busiati – (a wooden stick from a local plant). In my dish I used dry maccheroni that I was fortunate to find at my local grocery store.

Fusilli would be a perfect option and I, personally, wouldn’t mind using this sauce with bucatini.

The Pesto Trapanese is also characterized by the absence of cheese, however, in my recipe I did add some pecorino cheese. I also used cherry tomatoes rather then regular tomatoes. Using the cherry tomatoes allows for a shorter time in the food processor which subsequently helps in keeping the texture of the almonds.

Note: traditionally a mortar and pestle should be used.

Enjoy the recipe with a glass of chilled Regaleali Bianco di Sicilia!

 La Mia Ricetta

Maccheroni con Pesto Trapanese

Cosa Serve (What is needed)

1-1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (ripe)

15 leaves of fresh basil

1 cup of whole almond

1 clove of garlic peeled, cut in half and inner green core removed.

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese

kosher salt

1 pound of fusilli or bucatini


Cosa Fare (What to do)

Put the food processor bowl and its blade in the fridge (this will prevent the basil from becoming dark).

In a large pasta pot bring the water to boil. You will use the boiling water first to blanch the almond and the tomatoes, and then to cook the pasta.

Rinse the cherry tomatoes, cut in half and squeeze out the seeds.

Clean the basil with a damp kitchen towel.

When the water start boiling add the almonds and after 70 seconds add the tomatoes.

After 20 seconds, with a skimmer, pull both the almonds and the tomatoes out of the water and transfer to a colander. Add salt to the boiling water, lower the heat and cover to keep the temperature just below boiling.

Peel the tomatoes and set aside.

Skin the almonds and transfer to a small frying pan.

Slightly toast the almond and then let them cool completely.

Once the almond have cool down you are ready to assemble the sauce. At this time you are also ready to cook your pasta. Turn the heat up, bring the water to boil and cook your pasta “ al dente”!

In the food processor grind the almond, garlic and salt.

When the almonds are roughly chopped, add the basil.

Pulse until all the basil looks like is finely chopped and blended with the almonds. The mixture should result creamy but at the same time grainy. You should be able to see and feel small bits of almonds.

Add the tomatoes and pulse until they blend into the mixture.

Lastly add the pecorino cheese and the oil and pulse to blend.

Spoon 1/2 of the sauce into a large serving bowl and diluted with some of the pasta water.

Drain the pasta and drop into the bowl and toss quickly to coat the pasta. Add the remaining sauce and toss again.

Serve in individual bowl with a sprinkle of pecorino cheese.


Coffee Ginger Semifreddo . . . A sweet treat to beat the Summer heat!


Few weeks ago, in a previous post, I showed you pictures of my Coffee-Ginger Semifreddo and I promised my recipe. With outside temperature reaching 105 degrees, here it is the perfect treat for these scorching days of Summer.

Semifreddo (literally half-cold) is a semi-frozen dessert, predecessor of the gelato. It is defined as “ dolce al cucchiaio” (dessert for spoon) and it is best served at a temperature between 14-21 degree.



Coffee and Ginger Semifreddo

NOTE: The recipe is divided into two sections: ginger semifreddo and coffee semifreddo.

Ingredients for Ginger Semifreddo:

1 cup. mascarpone cheese (at room temperature)

3 fresh eggs

10 tablespoons sugar

¾ cup heavy whipping cream (very cold)

2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

Spray a 9 by 5 by 3-inch metal loaf pan with non-stick spray. Line the pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper allowing the excess to hang over the ends and sides.

First make the ginger syrup. In a small pan melt (on low heat) 6-1/3 tablespoons of sugar with 4 tablespoon of water and 2 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger.

Let simmer for five minutes, remove from stove and let steep for five more minutes.

In a medium glass bowl, break the egg yolks with a fork; passing through a sieve, add the ginger syrup and a pinch of salt and whisk together until smooth. Put the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.

Whisk until the egg mixture is pale, thick and creamy, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Put the bowl into a larger bowl of iced water and with an hand held electric mixer beat until fluffy and completely cool.

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the 3/4 cup of heavy cream with the mascarpone and the remaining sugar at medium-high speed until soft peaks begin to form.

Start folding the whipped cream-mascarpone mixture into the cooled egg-yolk mixture (do not pour all at once, start with 1/4, fold it in then add more) and with a spatula mix gently until no streaks remain.

Spoon the mixture onto the prepared loaf pan, spreading in an even layer.

Oops, forgot to take picture . . . this is the second layer!

Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the semifreddo and place into freezer for one hour.

SECOND STEP: Preparing the coffee semifreddo.

Time the second step of the semifreddo so that the coffee semifreddo will be ready for the freezer not before the one hour mark from the time you place the ginger semifreddo into the freezer.

Ingredients for Coffee Semifreddo:

¾ cup heavy whipping cream

12 tablespoon of sugar

¼ cup brewed espresso

4 eggs

In a small pan melt (on low heat) 6 -1/3 tablespoons of sugar with the ¼ cup of espresso. Bring to boil and then simmer for five minutes, remove from stove and let cool.

Repeat same step you followed for ginger semifreddo: In a medium glass bowl, break the egg yolks with a fork; add a pinch of salt and start whisk while slowly pouring the coffee syrup. Put the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.

Whisk until the egg mixture is, thick and creamy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Put the bowl into a larger bowl of iced water to cool completely. Use the hand held electric mixer to beat the coffee cream until light and fluffy.

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with 3 tablespoons of sugar (also add a pinch of salt) until firm, like meringue.

Gently fold the egg whites into the coffee cream.

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream and the remaining sugar, until soft peaks form.

Fold the cream into the coffee mixture and with a spatula mix gently until no streaks remain.

Remove the ginger semifreddo from the freezer, remove the plastic film from the top and quickly Spoon the coffee mixture over the ginger semifreddo.

Spread in an even layer, Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the semifreddo and place into freezer for at least 4 hours.

Remove the plastic wrap. Invert the semifreddo onto a platter and peel off the parchment paper.

You can sprinkle the top with finely chopped crystallized ginger, a dust of ground coffee or dark unsweetened chocolate powder.

Cut the semifreddo into 1-inch slices or 2-inches squares and serve.

NOTE: You can add an ingredient of your choice between the two layers of semifreddo, such as crushed amaretti, chocolate covered coffee beans, ground crystallized ginger, and so on.

I tried to prepare a sheet of dark chocolate but I need to work on this preparation a little more, I will, however, show you my attempt.

It was my intention to create two sheets of dark chocolate, one to line the bottom of the loaf pan (it would then become the top of the semifreddo) and one between the two layers of semifreddo. I gave up to the bottom part as I could not get a clean-cut of the sheet of chocolate. I did, however, use the pieces of chocolate’s sheet between the two layers of semifreddo. I figure that none would know that it was not perfect . . . I forgot that the whole world would know after reading my blog!

Here it is My attempt at making sheets of chocolate:

Melt some dark chocolate in a small pan sitting on top of  pan with simmering water.

Add some chopped crystallized ginger.

Spread the mixture about 1/8 inch thick on parchment paper.

Cover with parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator until no longer soft, but not hard.

Using a sharp knife I tried to make a clean-cut.

Clean cuts? Not this time!

As you can see I was not successful so I only used the cutouts in the middle of the semifreddo.

I will keep practicing and I will share more tips.

For now enjoy my scrumptious semifreddo!