Cooking with Nonna: a a few-class Italian food guidebook

I may well have superior cholesterol, but I simply cannot support but forget about it when I pay a visit to my nonna.

My grandmother, whom I connect with my nonna, doesn’t just have a knack for stirring up the tastiest recipes. She also reminds me where by my society stems from — a prosperous Italian history that embraces existence in spite of a historical past of war and hardship. 

My nonna stands four foot and eleven inches with grey hair and purple veins on her arms like racetracks. She was undernourished from the 2nd Environment War and has a grade two education and learning, and despite the fact that she is older now with tiny know-how of the English language, her spirit is spry and active. She also understands the enormous sacrifice it will take to care for her relatives. 

Growing up, I would race to my Nonna’s house right after school figuring out that a plate of chicken cutlets was ready for me at the kitchen area desk. Even if I was not hungry I would eat each individual little bit of food simply because if any one is familiar with nonna, they know that cleaning off your plate is just one of the most effective means to her heart. 

I have had the joy of growing up with some staple Italian dishes. Each individual of these meals that I have outlined are comforting and scrumptious dishes that I by no means get weary of taking in, besides possibly the salad.  Ideally they will give you some inspiration for your up coming evening meal. 

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If you like pasta, then you will enjoy pastina. This is a warming soup built from hen broth and miniature pasta noodles, also recognised as pastina. My mom has jars entire of broth she saves for making for this soup, which is a working day-prolonged approach of boiling a significant chicken with clean substances like basil, carrots, and celery. This easy soup is fantastic for a chilly snow day. 

Spinach Pizza 

This pizza is created with contemporary dough that is conquer and rolled skinny, then topped with minimalist toppings like parmesan, mozzarella, olive oil, garlic, and spinach leaves. It is also tasty with a freshly sliced tomato on best, which we mature in our backyard.

The spinach blended with the other elements will make you slide in love with these leafy greens, but make confident to help you save some for your pet!

Maria Besko (Left) My ideal close friend Ayesha and I experiencing pizza and pasta at my property, which is the only reason why she is friends with me. (Appropriate) Me serving spinach pizza to my doggy.

Salad with Olive Oil and Vinaigrette  

The romance among vinaigrette and olive oil outlasts each and every marriage on earth, which include Brad and Angelina. I am generally not a enthusiast of salads unless they have meat in them, but this mixture is a basic in each and every Mediterranean residence.

The very best aspect about salad with olive oil and vinaigrette is absorbing the leftover dressing with a loaf of toasted bread at the time the salad leaves are gone. Nothing at all beats the zesty zing of the vinaigrette blended with the nutty flavour of the olive oil.

The texture of the salad is also crucial and similarly enjoyable. If you are looking for a fantastic crunch I endorse employing romaine lettuce. You can also include some sweetness with chopped carrots.

Sicilian Rice Balls (Arancini di Riso)

Southern Italy is identified for these fried risotto snacks, which are typically offered as street food stuff. Arancini di Riso is built with risotto, parsley, garlic, basil, and parmesan cheese, all rolled into balls and fried in oil. This is a terrific snack that can be dipped in marinara sauce. 

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Gnocchi and Pasta

Gnocchi are smaller, thick, dough-like dumplings, usually created from wheat flour or potato. My nonna cooks them in olive oil, garlic, and parsley, topped off with a handful of parmesan for that tiny somethin’ somethin’. This mixture of olive oil and garlic is termed Pasta di Aglio e Olio. 

There are other mixtures of pastas built with seafood, these as shrimp and linguini. This kind of pasta is named Frutti di Mare, which translates to “Fruit of the Sea.” My Dad emphasizes that a nutritious food should incorporate some sort of starch, protein, and vegetable, which is one thing I maintain in head when building my individual meals — only I would include alcoholic beverages to that record. 

Maria Besko (Still left) Sicilian rice balls. (Ideal) Frutti di Mare with a aspect of seasoned sweet yams.

Chicken Cutlets

My nonna uses a meat tenderiser not only to discipline her grandkids, i.e. me, but also to pound thick chicken breasts into tender, completely ready-to-eat items. She coats them with an assortment of high-quality bread crumbs, rosemary, and Italian spices . . . McDonald’s Rooster McNuggets could never!


Italian Ribbons (Cioffe)  

My nonna would make these fried ribbons just about every Christmas and Easter. The batter for these treats incorporates a shot of Millefiori liqueur and they are topped with vibrant sprinkles.

To make the ribbon form you have to generate a slit in the dough and place a person stop as a result of the other. No a person ribbon appears the identical, but they all style excellent. The ribbons are also not much too sweet and have a fantastic doughy texture. 


I took the liberty of generating these myself with the assistance of “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro’s recipe book Baking with the Manager. Spinelli in Edmonton would make these sweets as effectively.

To make canoli, the dough needs to be rolled very skinny and fried with a round rod, and then injected with a mixture of ricotta, cinnamon, and sugar. Chocolate chips or pistachios make a fantastic garnish for the finishes. 

Maria Besko (Still left) Cioffe, also regarded as Italian ribbons. (Ideal) Me with a plate of canoli.


Desserts are commonly savored with a latte or an espresso. The bitterness from the coffee and the sweetness from the desserts are heavenly. My mother normally makes use of her Breville coffee equipment to make coffee in the early morning and evenings. This equipment is loud enough that I don’t require an alarm clock to wake up, even on weekends. Many thanks Mom! 

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