Mary Ann's Blog

Pumpkin Pride

The symbol of city of Mantua in northern Lombardy is not some fierce looking lion or regal eagle. No, Mantua is proud to have zucca (pumpkin) as the protagonist of its culinary heritage and tortelli di zucca ( pasta stuffed with pumpkin) as its most famous dish. This lea…

Something’s Fishy

A recent article in the New York Times makes me think that I am a fish out of water when it comes to buying fresh fish. It seems that according to a recent report by Oceana, a ocean conservation group, 1 in 5 seafood samples of fish is fake, meaning mislabeled. Much of th…

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Pick a Pack of Peppers

It’s been a great garden season for hot weather vegetables like eggplant, tomatoes and those deep red sweet peppers. My garden is teaming with sweet red peppers and they are perfect for grilling. Throw them whole on a pre-heated grill or use your broiler; when black…

The Ciao Italia Pronto Playlist

I've compiled some of my favorite Pronto recipes into a special Pronto Playlist! From 10 Minute Tomato Sauce to Key Lime Pie in a Glass, these are some delicious recipes that can be made pronto. You can view them all in the playlist below.   

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Pass The Paccheri

Paccheri pasta is very popular right now; these gigantic looking rigatoni, both in short and long form are perfect with a homemade tomato sauce. Add roasted eggplant to the sauce and now we are talking. To make this sauce,  cut 5 long Japanese style eggplants (the s…

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Can You Bake A Pie?

I just felt like baking a cherry pie, even though the temps have been close to 100F recently.  Call me crazy. Here are some tips for baking pies in general. 1) For single crust fruit filled pies, pre-bake the crust for about 10 minutes to avoid crust sogginess. I li…

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Had Enough Zucchini?

By now, anyone who has a garden and planted zucchini is in a bind, so to speak. When will we ever learn that one plant is PLENTY! Each year, my well-meaning gardener-husband goes overboard with hills of 6 or 7 plants, “just in case one does not take.” They all…


A Kale Salad That Can't Be Beet

Kale and beets have prominent spots in my garden and right now, it is time to harvest them. When I do, I start conjuring up how I will use them in new ways. That’s when I thought about combining the two into a salad full of healthy benefits. I got to work; first I c…

Delicious Deconstructed Eggplant Parmigiano

So eggplant lovers, here is my new way to have eggplant Parmigiano without having to fry anything and without a lot of unnecessary fillings, like meats, veggies, eggs, olives, mushrooms and a host of other things. I favor a small round violet colored Italian eggplant call…

Strawberry Fare

Summer is a glorious time to be in Italy with rich red poppies waving lazily in the breeze as far as the eye can see and if you find yourself in the environs of Rome and want to take a break from all the art, architecture and crowds, make a little side trip to the charmin…

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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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