Mary Ann's Blog

Strawberry Fare

I am skeptical when it comes to strawberries. All winter long I crave them and every time I see them in the grocery store…I am tempted but I know better. Not since I was a kid picking wild strawberries with my parents, have I had strawberries that I can actually say…

Risotto con Fragole - Strawberry Risotto

Fruit risotto IS made in some regions of Italy as an example of alta cucina (gourmet cooking). Strawberry season is here so why not try this creamy and dreamy strawberry risotto made with Arborio rice.  Risotto con Fragole - Strawberry Risotto4 servings. 6 Tbsp. un…

Ode to Cauliflower

Yes, I know. Cauliflower is not high on the list of favorite veggies but honestly, you need to try roasting it. The flavor is sweet and the texture tender. I played around with white, purple and this golden yellow variety that I think is gorgeous to look at. Are you game …

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Guy’s Top 5 Tomato Tips

By now you know that I shoot two episodes of the series in my home garden, the Ciao Italia garden, which is lovingly cared for by my husband Guy who has maintained the garden since the show’s inception and who has been gardening all his life. He is the head gardener…

The Spin on Spinach

Right now spinach is appearing in local markets and is a welcome sign of spring. Spinach is a really versatile vegetable that somehow doesn't seem to get enough culinary credit. Here is a veggie that is high in niacin and zinc as well as loaded with fiber and vitamins A, …

Stalking The White Asparagus

By now any foodie is aware that spring might be here (given the cold temps, lately) and is anxious to get their hands on the first local asparagus, spinach, artichokes and rhubarb! For me, it isn’t spring until the white asparagus appears and the season is very shor…

What’s In a Name

Panino is a chic Italian word that translates to little roll or little bread. We think of it as an Italian sandwich. America has caught onto panini in a big way but nothing that the Italians would recognize as the real deal. Stacked with cold cuts, pickles, cheese, oozing…

Fuming Over Food Foam

Have you tried foam yet? The kind you eat. It’s been around for a few years as a chic culinary food trend and honestly, I am not biting into it. To me, foam is a mass of agitated small bubbles like the ones you take a bath in or had fun blowing from a jar as a kid …

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Timballo di Rise Rice Tart

I love all rice dishes, especially those classic ones made with Arborio rice, the same rice used to make risotto but in this recipe, no constant stirring is necessary!Timballo di Rise Rice TartServes 6 to 8 2 tablespoons melted butter¼ cup breadcrumbs3 tablespoons o…

A Cook’s Five Top Herbs

If you are as serious a cook as you are a vegetable gardener, then you know that the true flavors of just harvested vegetables can get even more palate power from fresh herbs. So can lots of other foods you cook. So forget the salt shaker to liven up your cooking and plan…

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Ciao Italia Family Classics

Mary Ann returns to her family's humble beginnings to bring us a treasure trove of more than 200 time-honored recipes.

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