Category Archives: Secondi Piatti and Contorni

A Queen In The Kitchen…Coming Soon!!!

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A Queen In The Kitchen: Nonna Fernanda’s Authentic Northern Italian Cuisine With A Twist Of Me

Ale Gambini
SuperOtto Publishing

Italian food writer Ale Gambini presents traditional Milanese and Northern Italian dishes, handed down from her beloved Nonna Fernanda. Nearly a century of authentic Italian recipes, accurately explained step by step, prepared using only the freshest, finest and healthiest ingredients that are native to the region of Lombardy and Northern Italy in general.

This book includes the staples of the Milanese cuisine :

Milanese risotto
Veal Ossobuco
Milk cardoon
Veal Milanese

Buon Appetito!

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Photo By Maurizio “OttO” De Togni – BreadLoveAndDreams

Ham & Cheese Potato Superballs


Let’s start a new year of blogging with a savory, super easy recipe : Polpette di Patate AKA Potato Superballs. I’ve always been a huge fan of this amazing starchy tuberous, so healthy and versatile. I filled the superballs with two of my favorite Italian products : Prosciutto Cotto (Italian Cooked Ham) and Provolone Dolce cheese.

Prosciutto cotto, literally cooked ham, is the most popular deli product in Italy. Prosciutto cotto is very different from the American ham. The skin is left on top to keep in moisture and flavors. The cooking process is very slow in order to create a unique texture. Prosciutto cotto is not smoked or sweetened and it’s very low in sodium. To enjoy the prosciutto cotto at its best is very important to have it sliced properly. The deli clerk MUST remove the rind of the part he will be slice and leave the white fat that add an amazing flavor. Prosciutto cotto needs to be thinly sliced with a deli slicer.

Provolone cheese it’s a semi-hard cheese from cow’s milk widely produced in the Po Valley (Lombardy and Veneto regions). It comes in two forms : Provolone Dolce, 2-3 months aged, pale yellow color and mild taste. Provolone Piccante, aged more than four months and with a sharper taste.

Enjoy the potato superballs as an appetizer, side dish or shape them into  smaller balls for your kid’s lunch box 😉

Buon Appetito!

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Recipe & Photo by Ale Gambini –


Servings : 6 

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 30 minutes

Cook Time : 5 minutes



2 large potatoes

½ tablespoon coarse salt

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated

1 egg yolk

1 pinch ground nutmeg

salt and pepper, to taste

3 slices Prosciutto Cotto (Italian cooked ham), thinly sliced

3 slices Provolone cheese

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup water

bread crumbs, for coating

canola oil, for frying




Peel, wash and place the potatoes into a medium saucepan.

Add cold water until it covered. Add ½ tablespoon of coarse salt and bring to boil. Cook for about 20 minutes or until tender.

Drain the potatoes then mesh with a potato ricer.

Add butter, parmesan cheese, egg yolk, ground nutmeg, salt, pepper and combine all the ingredients until smooth.

Prepare the filling chopping ham and provolone cheese into small pieces, then combine them.

Spoon 2 tablespoons of mashed potatoes into the palm of your hand, fill the center with 1 teaspoon of filling then shape into baseball-sized balls.

In a soup plate, prepare the batter mixing flour and water. The consistency should be just thick.

Drench each balls briefly into the batter, then dip into the bread crumbs making sure to coat them completely.

Lay the balls into a large skillet of abundant hot oil and fry until golden.

Drain over a plate lined with paper towel.

Allow to cool a couple of minutes before serving.


Rustic Savory Neapolitan Pastiera

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Pastiera Napoletana (Neapolitan Pastiera) is a sweet Italian cake usually prepared during the Holy Week and eaten on Easter Sunday. I made my own rustic savory version adding to the boiled rice and ricotta cheese, healthy veggies as peas and carrots (canned veggies work equally well). This could be an amazing savory pie to pack and enjoy on Memorial Day’s picnic, kids will love the mild flavor of this pie too. The Savory Neapolitan Pastiera can be served slightly warmed up or cold, either way it will taste delicious.

Buon Appetito!!!

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Photo by Ale Gambini –

Servings : 6

Difficulty : intermediate

Prep Time : 20 min.

Cook Time : 35 min.


1 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed

5 oz arborio rice

1 garlic clove

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

7 oz carrots, boiled and sliced

7 oz  peas, boiled

8 oz fresh Italian ricotta cheese

2 oz Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated

4 egg yolks

salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat oven at 350 F degrees.

Line a 9 inch pie pan with parchment paper.

Cook the rice in a medium pot of boiling salted until tender, drain with a colander. Set aside.

In a large skillet, sauté the garlic clove with butter until golden, then add boiled peas and carrots and cook for a couple of minutes.

Allow to cool.

In a big bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, the parmesan cheese, boiled rice, peas, carrots, 3 egg yolks, salt and pepper to taste.

Roll the thawed puff pastry on a slightly floured work surface then move the puff pastry into the pie pan, trim the excess of puff pastry from the edges and reserve it. Pinch the pastry with a fork.

Spread evenly the filling into the puff pastry.

Roll and cut in strips the leftover puff pastry to make a pattern on top of the pie. Brush the edges of the puff pastry with one beaten egg yolk.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Allow to cool a bit in its pan before serving.

Pink Grapefruit-Honey Caramelized Barramundi

Yes, I’m in love with this delicious fish and since I discovered it, I try to cook barramundi in every way. My very last creation is a healthy and savory dish with a tangy and sweet twist. I caramelized two fish filets with an organic, super juicy pink grapefruit, clover honey and a shot of cognac. Give it a try to this dish full of flavors and colors.

Pair this dish with Pinot Grigio or Napa Valley Chardonnay.

Buon Appetito!!!

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Servings : 2

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 10 min.

Cook Time : 15 min.

2 tablespoons clover honey
1 pink grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin olive Oil
2 barramundi filets
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
Pink Himalayan salt and black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh italian parsley , chopped
1 shot cognac or brandy

Squeeze out the juice from a pink grapefruit, set aside.
Dissolve honey using a tablespoon of grapefruit juice, set aside.
In a large skillet melt butter and Extra Virgin Olive Oil then add the barramundi filets. Sauté quickly then turn on the other side. Pour over the grapefruit juice, the honey and sprinkle with parsley; adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
Cook at medium heat until grapefruit and honey start to thicken.
Add the shot of cognac an let cook until caramelized.
Serve hot over a slice of grapefruit, drizzled with the grapefruit-honey glaze and sprinkled with fresh parsley.

Photo by Ale Gambini

Taròz (Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans and Cheese)

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The Taròz is a traditional dish from Valtellina (Lombardy region), prepared with local vegetables as green beans and potatoes, boiled and fried with onion, garlic and butter and blended with two types of cheese : Val Lesina (or Casera) and Grana Padano. The word Taroz in dialect means blend (tarare = to blend). Taròz are a second course to eat along with cured meats (salame or bresaola).

Buon Appetito!!!

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Serves : 4

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 15 min.

Cook Time : 30 min.


2 medium potatoes
10 oz green beans (locally grown)
3 oz onion, chopped
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
7 oz Val Lesina Cheese or Casera Cheese, diced
2 oz Grana Padano, grated
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 clove of garlic
ground black peppercorn , to taste


Peel and wash the potatoes and boil in a medium pot with salted water for about 25 minutes or until tender.
In the meantime, wash and trim the green beans, then boil in a large pot with salted water for about 15 minutes or until tender.
In a large skillet, soften the onion with olive oil then add the green beans (previously drained) and sauté for 5 minutes.
Drain and dice the potatoes, then add them to the green beans and onion.
With a wooden spoon, mash the potatoes and green beans until blended.
Add the diced Val Lesina or Casera Cheese and the grated Grana Padano. Stir all the ingredients together until well blended.
In a medium skillet, brown the butter with a garlic clove.
Place the Taròz on a serving plate, pour over the browned butter.
Serve hot sprinkled with ground black peppercorn

Photo by Ale Gambini

Air Chilled Chicken Breast With Balsamic Vinegar Of Modena And Juniper Berries

I specifically decided to call this recipe AIR-CHILLED chicken breast with Balsamic Vinegar of Modena and juniper berries  ’cause the air-chilling process is the reason why this dish is so tasty and healthy. The air-chill method, which has been used in Europe for more than 40 years, keeps the meat juicy and tender, and it keeps the natural flavor of the bird locked inside.
I added to the chicken a glaze made of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP, juniper berries and a hint of honey, to give this dish a sweet and sour touch.
Pair this delicious second course with Golfo del Tigullio Ciliegiolo DOC red wine.

Buon Appetito!!!

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Serves : 4

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 15 min

Cook Time : 15 min.


2 air-chilled boneless chicken breasts
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP
1 tsp honey
6 juniper berries
salt & pepper, to taste
chive, for garnish


Wash, pat dry and dice 4 chive stems and set aside.
With a sharp knife, split each chicken breast lengthwise. Wash, pat dry and pound each steaks.
In a large skillet, heat oil and butter then add the chicken breast steaks and season with salt and pepper. Saute’ 5 minutes each side until golden.
Remove the chicken steaks from the skillet and place them on a serving dish. Cover with aluminum foil to keep it warm.
Add to the chicken cooking sauce on the skillet 1/4 of cup of balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon of honey and 6 juniper berries. Cook at low heat until a glaze forms.
Place each steaks on serving platters, drizzle with Balsamic Vinegar glaze and sprinkle with chives.
Serve hot.

Photo by Ale Gambini

Sformato Di Zucchine – Zucchini Flan

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Tortino di Zucchine_BLAD blog - 15 copySummer is the Zucchini season. Actually in Italian we call these delicious vegetables ZUCCHINE, but whatever we want to call them, they are suitable for an incredible variety of summer recipes.

The zucchini flan is an inviting prelude to a tasty summer dinner.

Pair this dish with a Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene wine DOCG.

Buon Appetito!!!

Serves : 4
Difficulty : easy
Prep Time : 30 min.
Cook Time : 30 min.


7 oz zucchini, diced
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups Béchamel Sauce
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1 tbsp bread crumbs
white pepper and salt, to taste

For The Béchamel Sauce
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk, warm
1 pinch ground nutmeg


Preheat oven at 350 F degrees.
Grease with butter 4 ramekins, set aside.
Wash, dry and dice the zucchini.
In a medium skillet, saute’ the garlic with olive oil until golden then add the diced zucchini and cook at medium heat until tender. Discard the garlic clove.
Prepare the Béchamel Sauce heating the butter until it melts, then add the flour and stir very well smooth and golden. Remove the butter mixture from heat and pour in warm milk, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to boil , add the nutmeg and stir constantly until just thick. Set aside.
In a big bowl put the zucchini, 1 cup of Béchamel Sauce, the eggs, Parmigiano Reggiano, salt, pepper and bread crumbs.
Stir vigorously unti well combined.
Pour the mixture into the ramekins and bake for about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and serve warm, with the remaining Béchamel Sauce.

Photo by Ale Gambini