A Queen In The Kitchen – Estate Italiana: FICO Eataly World (Bologna)

FICO, acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Contadina (Italian Peasant Factory) and literally fig or cool! (Italian expression), is THE WORLD’S LARGEST AGRI-FOOD PARK in beautiful Bologna (Emilia-Romagna)

100.000 square meters of authentic Italian agri-food related stuff including :

  • shops and marketplace
  • 40 eating points
  • 40 farming factories
  • 6 multimedia carousels
  • 6 classrooms
  • theater and cinema
  • 2 hectares of fields and stables
  • 1 congress center

FICO is HUGE and the best way to explore it is to rent at the entrance the FICO bike, a Bianchi tricycle provided with two shopping baskets.

If you are planning to visit Bologna, the capital of the Emilia Romagna region, don’t forget to plan a whole day at FICO.

Buona Estate!


Majestic entrance at FICO Eataly World .


Red Hot Chili Pepper sculpture in the parking lot.


Best way to visit FICO is to rent a FICO Bike.


Neapolitan Pizza at ROSSOPOMODORO.


Italian Gelato Workshops at Gelato University Carpigiani.


Traditional Sicilian pastries at Pasticceria Palazzolo.


Outstanding Italian rice at Grandi Riso spot.


Huge selection of Italian wines.


Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, shop and tasting.

IMG_2032Authentic Italian restaurants and bistros a go-go.


One of my favorite spot at FICO: Librerie COOP bookstore.


Ale Gambini (Host, Author, Editor)

Maurizio OTTO De Togni (Executive Producer, Original Music, Video Maker, Photo).

Produced by: BreadLoveAndDreams and SuperOttO Publishing Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved.

A Queen In The Kitchen : Lasagne Della Nonna (Authentic Italian Lasagna)…Happy 4th Of July!!!

Who doesn’t love Lasagne? Yes Lasagne, because that’s how we Italians call this dish. When we say Lasagne, we commonly refer to the Lasagne alla Bolognese, made with wide hand rolled flat egg pasta and meat sauce. This heavenly primo piatto (first dish) originated in the city of Bologna (Emilia Romagna), is one of the staple of the Italian cuisine throughout the globe.

Let’s celebrate July 4th by preparing the authentic Italian lasagna, the one and only  made with just 4 ingredients : lasagne (rolled flat egg pasta), ragú (meat sauce), besciamella (Bechamél sauce) and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

I’m so in love with Lasagne that I’ve dedicated the cover of my very first cookbook A Queen In The Kitchen to them.

Watch the new episode of A Queen In The Kitchen and learn how to make my Nonna Fernanda’s Lasagne alla Bolognese.

A Queen In The Kitchen Online Food Program is available on You Tube and Vimeo.


Buon Appetito!





Ale Gambini (Host, Chef, Author)
Maurizio OTTO De Togni (Executive Producer, Music, Photo)
Mirko “Mirakle” Urania (Director, Video Maker, Editor, Photo)
Produced by: BreadLoveAndDreams and SuperOttO Publishing
Copyright © 2017. All Rights Reserved.




Baking Bread Plus: Episode #19: Fresh Pasta Making Feat. Bologna Gourmet 🇮🇹

I’m thrilled to announce that my web cooking series Baking Bread Plus is back, and today’s episode is all about fresh pasta  making.

Watch me learning how to make fresh pasta from the authentic Italian SFOGLINA (pasta sheet maker) Ilaria De Fidio owner of  Bologna Gourmet  and  Casa Ilaria , a delightful B & B directly  located in the heart of the historic city of Bologna (Italy).

It takes only two ingredients (flour and eggs), an over-size  wooden rolling pin and a lot of practice to prepare the best pasta all’uovo (egg pasta)  such as lasagne, tagliatelle, pappardelle, agnolotti, cappelletti and ravioli.

…and if you liked it, please share and subscribe to our YouTube Channel!

Buon Appetito!!!


Authentic Italian Lasagne

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Lasagne are wide, rolled flat, egg pasta sheets but commonly this term refers to a main dish made with several layers of lasagne sheets alternated with sauces and other ingredients. When we (the Italians) talk about lasagne we usually mean Lasagne alla Bolognese, the typical first course (primo piatto) from the city of Bologna (Emilia-Romagna region) made with lasagne sheets, ragù (meat sauce), béchamel sauce and Parmigiano Reggiano DOP (authentic Italian parmesan cheese). Although this dish is worldwide known as LASAGNA and pronounced Lasanya, let’s call it the Italian way : LASAGNE [laˈzaɲɲe].

Pair this beautiful dish with Chianti or Barbera wine.


L.A.-based 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 such as Milanese risotto, veal ossobuco and Panettone (Christmas sweet bread).

A Queen In The Kitchen is published by SuperOttO publishing:
ISBN-13: 978-0692669099.

Available on:


Amazon.com (US)CA, Amazon Europe: (ITFRESDE) and UK.

Buon Appetito!!!


Recipe by Ale Gambini – Photo by Maurizio “OttO” De Togni

Servings : 4-6

Difficulty : intermediate

Prep Time : 30 min.

Cook Time : 1h 30 min.


ragu’ sauce, see recipe below
9 oz lasagne (rolled flat egg pasta)
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 pinch grounded nutmeg
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
For the ragu’:
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork (for a milder taste use 0.25 lb ground pork and 0.25 lb ground chicken)
1 beef bouillon cube
30 oz of organic tomato sauce (vine ripened tomatoes)
1 cup of red wine
1 pinch of ground black pepper
3 leaves of basil (washed and pat-dried)


For the ragu’:
In a medium sauce pan, place olive oil, butter, chopped onion, carrot and celery and saute’ until the onion turns golden.
Reduce the heat and add both beef and pork ground meats, stirring constantly until browned.
Add the red wine, simmer until reduced by half (about 2 minutes) then add tomato sauce, basil, black pepper and salt to taste.
Reduce the heat as low as possible and partially cover the pan.
Cook for at least one hour and remember to stir very often. If the sauce gets too thick add half glass of hot water.

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

Prepare the Béchamel sauce by heating the butter until it melts, remove from heat then add the flour by whisking until smooth and pale yellow. Slowly pour in the scalded milk, whisking continuously. Return to a boil, add the nutmeg and stir until just thick. Set aside.
Grease the bottom of a rectangular baking dish with a knob of butter and cover the bottom with a couple of tablespoons of ragu’.
Make a layer with enough lasagne sheets to cover the dish.
Cover the lasagne sheets with ragu’, then Béchamel sauce and sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano. Repeat the process (lasagne sheets, ragu’, Béchamel, Parmigiano Reggiano) until you have four layers of pasta. The top layer should be Béchamel sauce sprinkled with Parmigiano Reggiano.
Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the edges are browned and the sauces are bubbling.
Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

Apple Chocolate Cake

Apple Chocolate Cake

Apple and Chocolate are always the perfect combination, so why not baking a delicious cake waiting for Christmas?
This is the Apple Chocolate Cake learned from my dear auntie Cesarina. She used to bake all kind of goodies every weekend for the whole family.

Buon Appetito!


1.5 cups flour type 00
1 (1/2 oz or 16 gr) sachet vanilla baking powder
4 apples
1 cup granulated sugar
10 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3 whole eggs
one pinch of ground cinnamon
1 container (6 oz) plain yogurt
3.5 oz dark chocolate chunks
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


Preheat oven at 325 F degrees.
Grease a 9-inch cake pan with baking spray or butter and flour.
In a large bowl sift together flour and vanilla baking powder, and set aside.
With a hand or stand mixer cream well butter and sugar at medium speed.
Add the eggs (one at the time), cinnamon and yogurt.
Reduce the speed, then, add slowly the flour mixture until well incorporated.
Peel, core and cut the apples into small cubes.
Pour half of the cake batter into the pan, then half of the apple cubes and half of the chocolate chunks.
Pour the remaining cake batter, then the remaining apples and chocolate chunks.
Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a cooling rack.
Serve sprinkled with confectioner’ sugar.