• Mini Calzones

    How to make Mini Calzones

    Yield: 8 calzones

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 40 minutes


    1 (16 ounce) ball pizza dough, homemade or store bought
    6 ounces (about 6 slices) provolone, cut into small squares
    3 ounces salami, cut into small squares
    2/3 cup ricotta cheese, preferably whole milk
    ½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
    ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    Ground black pepper, to taste
    1 large egg
    Marinara sauce, warmed, for serving


    Preheat the oven to 400°F.

    For the dough:

    Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and cut into 8 equal pieces. Roll the pieces into balls and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover and let stand while you make the filling.

    For the filling:

    In a medium bowl combine the provolone, salami, ricotta, Italian seasoning, pepper flakes, and black pepper to taste until combined.

    To assemble:

    In a small bowl beat the egg with 1 teaspoon water.

    Working with 1 ball of dough at a time, press the ball into a flat disk then use a rolling pin to roll it into a 6-inch round with an 1/8-inch thickness. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture on one half of the round then fold over to form a half moon shape, pressing the edge to seal. Crimp the edge with a fork and place back on the prepared baking sheet. Brush with the egg wash before repeating with the remaining dough.

    Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve alongside warm marinara sauce for dipping.

    To make ahead:

    Allow the baked calzones to cool completely then tightly wrap each individually in plastic wrap. Transfer to a plastic bag and freeze for up to 2 months. To bake from frozen, place on a baking sheet in a 400°F for about 30 minutes, or until heated through.

  • Pumpkin and Sausage Stuffed Shells

    How to make Pumpkin and Sausage Stuffed Shells

    Yield: 4 servings

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 1 hour 12 minutes


    20 jumbo pasta shells (about 6 ounces)
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage (casings removed)
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1 cup ricotta cheese
    2/3 cup pumpkin puree
    1 large egg
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
    1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
    1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 (24 ounce) jar marinara sauce (or 3 cups homemade)


    Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions, or until al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet to cool completely.

    Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage to the skillet and brown, breaking up into small pieces, until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and let cool completely.

    In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, pumpkin, egg, Parmesan, sage, salt, and pepper. Stir in the cooked sausage.

    Spread two thirds of the marinara in the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Fill each shell with the sausage-cheese mixture and arrange in the baking dish. Pour the remaining marinara over the shells. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake for another 10 minutes, or until bubbling.

    Let cool for 5 minutes before garnishing with additional Parmesan cheese serving.

  • Chicken Ravioli with Creamy Tomato Sauce

    How to make Chicken Ravioli with Creamy Tomato Sauce

    Yield: 4 to 6 servings

    Prep Time: 1 hour

    Cook: 1 hour 35 minutes


    For the ravioli:
    1 cup finely shredded chicken
    3/4 cup chopped fresh spinach
    3 tablespoons butter, melted
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
    1/2 cup ricotta cheese
    1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
    2 teaspoons garlic powder
    Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    fresh pasta dough sheets OR wonton wrappers

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

    For the sauce:
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1 large shallot (or medium onion), finely diced
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon granulated sugar
    1 cup heavy cream


    For the ravioli:
    In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the parsley and pasta dough. Fill the ravioli according to these directions, or use a ravioli maker. Keep the ravioli covered until you’re ready to cook. If using wonton wrappers, brush the edges of the wonton wrapper with water. Place about 1 heaping teaspoon of the filling in the center. Top with another wonton wrapper. Press firmly to seal. The ravioli can be refrigerated until ready to use. You can also freeze the ravioli until firm, place in an airtight container, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

    For the sauce:
    Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for about a minute. Add in the tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and sugar. Stir to combine. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Remove from heat and stir in the cream.

    To finish:
    Bring a large pot of salted water to a gentle boil. Cook the ravioli for 2 minutes, or until al dente. If using frozen ravioli, cook for 5 minutes, or until al dente.

    Divide the ravioli among plates. Top with the tomato sauce. Garnish with the parsley. Serve.

  • The Best Bolognese Sauce

    How to make The Best Bolognese Sauce

    Yield: 9 cups of sauce or 4-6 servings

    *If you don't have a food mill to crush the tomatoes, use a blender or immersion blender. Make sure to leave as much texture and chunks of tomato as possible, do not liquify.


    2 tablespoons olive oil, divded
    1 1/4 pounds ground beef
    1 1/4 pounds ground pork
    Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
    4 ounces pancetta or bacon, sliced
    1 yellow onion, finely diced
    2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
    1 celery stalk, finely diced
    5 garlic cloves, minced
    1/3 cup (3 oz) tomato paste
    1 cup dry red wine
    1 cup milk
    2 (28 ounce) cans whole tomatoes, passed through a food mill*
    2 bay leaves
    1 bunch fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen string
    1 Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind
    1 pound fresh pasta, such as fettuccine, tagliatelle, or pappardelle, cooked until al dente and drained
    Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving


    In a large, heavy, deep lidded Dutch oven or pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, ground pork, and salt and pepper to taste and cook until browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the meat to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the pancetta/bacon and cook until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to the paper towel-lined plate.

    Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the milk, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, and cheese rind and stir until combined. Add in the meats and season with salt and pepper.

    Bring to a simmer then partially cover and reduce to medium-low. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. You can also transfer the mixture to a slow cooker and cook for 3 1/2 hours. Discard bay leaves, thyme, and cheese rind. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with pasta and grated cheese.

  • Healthy Fettuccine Alfredo

    How to make Healthy Fettuccine Alfredo

    Yield: 4 servings


    1 pound whole wheat fettuccine (I used whole wheat spinach fettuccine)
    6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
    3 small heads cauliflower, chopped
    1 tablespoon butter
    5 garlic cloves, chopped
    1 teaspoon salt
    Pinch nutmeg
    Pinch freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1/4 cup heavy cream


    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the fettuccine according to the package directions, or until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.

    Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Add the cauliflower, cover, and cook until very tender, about 15 minutes.

    Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

    Transfer the cauliflower and vegetable broth to a blender. Add the garlic, salt, nutmeg, pepper, and olive oil. Blend until the mixture is smooth and velvety. You may need to work in batches if your blender is too small. If the mixture is too thick, add some of the pasta water to thin.

    Transfer the puree back to the skillet. Add the cream and cook over low heat. Add more pasta water, if necessary, to thin the sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings. Toss the fettuccine in the sauce and serve.

  • Video: How to Make Pizza

    How to make Video: Pizza

    Yield: 3 balls of pizza dough and 1 cup sauce


    For the dough:
    3 3/4 cups (500 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
    1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
    1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (be sure not to use really hot water as that will kill the yeast)

    For the garlic butter crust:
    3 tablespoons butter, melted
    2 garlic cloves, minced

    For the sauce:
    1 (14.5-ounce) can tomato sauce
    2 tablespoons tomato paste
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1/2 teaspoon dried basil
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/8 teaspoon sugar
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/8 teaspoon allspice

    For topping:
    Fresh mozzarella cheese, grated
    Fresh basil


    In a medium bowl combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Gradually add the water, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the water is incorporated and a shaggy dough forms. You may need to use your hands to fully incorporate the water. Just remember, you don't need to knead!

    Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a clean large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature in a draft-free place until the dough is doubled in size. This may take up to 10 hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is. Don't worry too much about the time as this dough is very forgiving. You can also let the dough ferment in the fridge overnight. Remove from the fridge 2 hours before using the dough, or until the dough is at room temperature.

    Transfer the dough to a well-floured work surface. Divide into 3 equal portions. Take one portion of dough and gather 4 corners to the center to create 4 folds. Turn seam side down and roll into an even ball. Repeat with remaining portions. Let the dough rest, covered, until soft and pliable, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

    The dough can be made ahead of time. Refrigerate the dough, individually wrapped in plastic, for up to 3 days. Unwrap and let rest at room temperature, covered in plastic wrap, for 2 to 3 hours before shaping. Freeze the dough, individually wrapped in plastic and placed in ziptop bags, for up to 1 month. Defrost the dough overnight in the fridge then allow to sit at room temperature as directed above before shaping.

    Place a baking stone on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat to 450°F or 500°F, as hot as you can comfortably crank it.

    The dough is now ready to be shaped. On a well-floured work surface use your hands and fingers to gently stretch one ball of dough out into an evenly thin 10 to 12-inch disk. To get the dough super thin, briefly stretch out with a rolling pin. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined pizza peel or flat cookie sheet. Cover with a kitchen towel until ready to top.

    For the sauce:
    In a small saucepan combine all the sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce, and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

    For the pepperoni:
    Place the pepperoni in a medium skillet. Set over medium-high heat and saute the pepperoni until some fat has rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove the pepperoni to a paper towel-lined plate.

    To assemble:
    Brush the garlic butter onto the edges of the pizza dough. Top pizza dough with a large dollop of sauce and spread evenly. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Top with pepperoni and basil. Slide the dough onto the baking stone, keeping the parchment underneath the dough. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and the dough is golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

  • Prosciutto and Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms

    How to make Prosciutto and Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms

    Yield: 24 mushrooms


    24 large white button mushrooms
    4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4 cup finely chopped onion
    8 thin slices prosciutto, chopped
    1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
    2 tablespoons minced Italian flat-leaf parsley
    1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    2 large eggs, beaten
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


    Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

    Remove the stems from mushrooms. Discard the tips of stems, then chop the remaining stems.

    Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped mushroom stems, garlic, and onion. Stirring often, sauté until the mushroom stems are tender, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the prosciutto, breadcrumbs, parsley, 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano, egg, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.

    Divide the filling among the mushroom caps, heaping slightly. Arrange the mushrooms in one layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the stuffed mushrooms with the remaining cheese and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

  • Video: How to Make and Roll Fresh Pasta Dough

    How to make Video: and Roll Fresh Pasta Dough

    Yield: about 1 pound of dough


    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
    4 large eggs
    Kosher salt


    In a large bowl or on a clean work surface make a mound out of the flour then make a deep well in the middle. Crack the eggs into the well of flour. Add a generous sprinkle of salt. Using a fork, gently beat the eggs until combined then start gradually scraping the flour into the egg mixture until the mixture thickens and a dough starts to form. At this point use your hands to continue adding flour to the egg mixture just until the dough comes together in a cohesive ball. You may not need to use all the flour. Continue gently kneading the dough, adding more flour if it is too sticky, until it becomes smooth, soft, and elastic.

    Cover the dough and let it rest at room temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes or up to 2 hours. The dough can also be completely covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day at this point (the dough may turn a grayish color from refrigeration which should not impact the taste).

    Prepare your pasta roller and generously flour your work surface. Cut off a quarter of the dough and coat completely in flour. Flatten the dough slightly before rolling through the widest setting on the pasta maker. If the dough comes out oddly shaped, fold the edges over to reform into a perfect rectangle. Continue to run the dough through the widest setting and reshaping until the dough is of even thickness and shape and has increased elasticity. If you're using a hand crank pasta roller, try to maintain a consistent rolling speed. Continue rolling the dough through each roller setting twice to ensure the dough remains evenly thick, well shaped, and satiny in texture. Roll until desired thickness.

    Use the pasta roller cutter attachments to cut the dough into desired pasta shapes. If the dough isn't completely cut but the cutter attachment, it may be too soft and needs more flour. You can also flour the dough well, roll it up, and use a knife to cut strips of dough. The pasta is now ready to be cooked or may be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. To dry pasta cuts like fettuccine, either dry the pasta on a pasta drying rack (or a makeshift one) or curl the pasta into nests and let the pasta dry for 24 hours at room temperature. Filled pasta can be frozen in a single layer on floured baking sheets then transferred to airtight containers for up to 2 months. No need to thaw before cooking

    Traditional: Replace all-purpose flour with Italian "00" flour.
    Whole Wheat Pasta Dough: Use 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour and proceed with recipe.
    Herbed Pasta Dough: Add 1/4 cup minced fresh herbs to the eggs, adjusting flour if necessary.
    Spinach Pasta Dough: Cook 6 ounces of spinach in 1/4 cup water in a large pot over medium heat until the spinach is wilted and tender, about 4 to 5 mintues. Drain the spinach in a dry cheesecloth and squeeze out as much water as possible. Puree the spinach in a blender or food processor until smooth. Proceed with dough, decreasing the eggs to 3 and increasing the flour if necessary.

  • Antipasto Calzone

    How to make Antipasto Calzone

    Yield: Serves 4

    Place the provolone and fontina cheeses in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes before grating to make it easier to grate.


    Cornmeal, for dusting
    Flour, for dusting
    1 (1 pound) ball of pizza dough
    1 cup (4 ounces) grated provolone cheese
    1 cup (4 ounces) grated fontina cheese
    1 (4-ounce) salami, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    2 jarred roasted red bell peppers, drained and cut into 1-inch pieces
    1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
    1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
    1 large egg, beaten
    Marinara sauce, for dipping


    Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 450°F. Sprinkle a heavy baking sheet with cornmeal.

    On a lightly floured work surface, roll the pizza dough into a 13-inch circle, about 1/4-inch in thickness. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet.

    In a medium bowl, combine the cheeses, salami, peppers, olives, and olive oil, tossing to combine. Spoon the mixture onto one half of the dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Lightly brush the edges of the dough with the beaten egg. Fold the unfilled side of the dough over the filling and firmly press the edges of the dough together to seal. Drizzle the calzone with olive oil. Cut a 1/2-inch wide slid in the top layer of dough for venting.

    Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the calzone is golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before cutting into slices and serving with the marinara sauce.