Recipes for disastrous love

These recipes have been passed down and circulated through my family for generations. As several of these recipes originated from my bis-nonna, the measurements have been adapted for the US.

Also, for the most part, these recipes were made without measuring cups! Cooking is a great adventure (and stress-release)!

Nonna Rosa's Ravioli


4 cups flour, 3 eggs, beaten, 3 TBSP water, ½ tsp. salt

Make a well in the flour and salt mixture; add eggs and water. Knead and roll out until thin.


½ lb. raw, chopped spinach, ½ lb. raw ground beef or combination of beef, pork & veal (originally, she used brain!), 4 eggs, beaten, 1 cup parmesan, ½ chopped onion, 1 clove minced garlic, ½ cup olive oil, 1 cup minced parsley

Roll out pasta dough until very thin. Cut into 2x2 inch squares. Fill one square with about a teaspoon of filling and then top with another pasta square. With a fork, press the edges of the ravioli so that the two pieces seal together. Add to boiling water and cook for about 5-7 minutes.

Serve with sauce of choice.

Mamma Rosa’s Bread

Ingredients for 1 loaf:

1 & 1/4 medium temperature water (not hot/boiling), 1 tablespoon yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 tablespoon salt, 3-4 cups flour

Dissolve sugar in the water

Add yeast

Leave for a couple of minutes

Yeast will start bubbling & frothing

Once the yeast has frothed, so it looks like a bowl of cappuccino, add 2 cups of flour

Add salt to flour


Add another cup of flour


Add another half cup of flour

Keep kneading and adding small amounts of flour until the dough is the texture of pizza dough

Leave dough in the bowl

Cover the bowl in plastic wrap

Let rise — minimum 30 minutes before kneading

Let rise another 30 minutes

Grease a pan (flat pan or bread pan) with some olive oil. Use enough oil to lightly coat the pan, but not dripping

While your hands are still covered in oil, knead the dough again

Place the dough on or in the pan — depending upon which pan you’ve decided

Let rise for another 30 minutes

Turn on oven to 400 degrees

Once the oven has reached 400 degrees, place the pan in the oven

In about 45 minutes, the bread should be golden brown

Nonna Stella’s Almond Pesto


Leaves from 2 bunch fresh basil, 2 tablespoons almonds, toasted, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil in a blender and purée.

Add the cheese, salt and pepper, and mix again.

Serve over pasta – add cooked gamberi or calamari

Garnish with chopped tomatoes

Nonna Stella’s Orange & Olive Salad


1 cup black or green olives, 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 4 blood oranges, peeled and sliced into rounds, Fennel seeds


De-pit olives,

Combine olives and oregano, add a bit of olive oil

Layer 3 or 4 orange slices on each plate

Top oranges with a tablespoon of olive mixture

Sprinkle with a few fennel seeds.