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Risotto alla Marinara

(For 8 people)

A long time ago, I started writing some of my favorite recipes into my “little green book,” a bound green notebook. My daughter, Martina, was just eleven years old at the time, and she liked rating my recipes with Betti. Anytime I prepared a new recipe, Betti, Martina, and any guest who happened to be there for the meal would provide a satisfaction rating, using a ten-point scale. Betti kept giving me 9s and 10s, but Martina made me work. I just looked through my book and found a recipe that even Martina thought was “the best.”

Michele Carbone



  • 2 pounds mussels
  • 1 pound mackerel
  • 1 pound bay scallops
  • 16 jumbo shrimp (2 per person)
  • 2/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 and ½ cups white wine
  • 1 handful of chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 handful of fresh arugula
  • 1 handful minced chives
  • 1 handful minced fresh dill
  • 3 leafs of fresh sage
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 spicy pepper, such as an Italian pepperoncino or a Thai pepper
  • Salt and freshly grated black pepper to taste
  • 3 and ½ cups of risotto, Campanile preferred
  • 2 liters fish broth, brought to a low boil in a medium sized saucepan (this is incorporated in the risotto)

How to Make this Recipe

  1. In a large heavy pan, add ½ cup olive oil, 2 cloves of smashed garlic, parsley, fish, shrimp, arugula and parsley. Turn the heat to high, 2-3 minutes covered, till the arugula disappears and the mussels open.
  2. Add 1 cup of white wine, cover until it boils, about 1 min.  Remove cover, let wine evaporate 1 minute.
  3. Add ½ cup of freshly-squeezed orange juice and ¾ of a box of Pomì chopped tomatoes. Cook for just 2 minutes on high heat.
  4. Add salt and pepper and turn off the fire
  5. Remove all the seafood, placing into a separately covered container. Peel the shrimp.
  6. Add 1/2 of cup olive oil to the pan (or ½ stick of butter).
  7. Add the chopped red onion, a handful of parsley, and a smashed garlic clove and cook on low heat until the onion is translucent.
  8. Add 3 and ½ cups of risotto and cook on high for 2 minutes, mixing constantly.
  9. Add 1 cup of wine and allow to evaporate for 1 minute.
  10. Add the fish broth to the pan that you just cooked (with the orange and tomato) —1 cup at a time—stirring continuously.  Once you finish using all the just-cooked broth, use the broth that you had warmed in the additional saucepan.

    As each cup becomes incorporated in the risotto, add the next cup. You need to stay at the stove, stirring, and watching the risotto as it absorbs the broth. Do not text, answer the phone, or open the door. You are cooking the risotto! You cannot do anything else.
  11. Near the end (just taste the rice, and when it is almost done but still a little harder than what you prefer) add the dill, a little parsley, 3 leafs of fresh sage minced, and a handful of minced chives. Mix into the risotto. Allow it to incorporate for 2 minutes. Turn off the fire.
  12. Add back the reserved fish and shrimp, gently mixing them into the risotto, which will warm up the fish.
  13. Plate the risotto, then arrange the mussels in an attractive pattern on the plate. (I like to create a circle of mussels around the risotto).
  14. Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley over each plate and serve immediately.
  15. Buon Appetito!

Italian: Per favore leggete sopra la mia ricetta scritta a mano.

mixed heirloom tomatoes

Canned Tomatoes – A Cooking Basic

Although many recipes are very good when you use store-bought canned tomatoes (like Pomì), they reach the next level of excellence when you can use tomatoes you have canned yourself.  My wife and I discovered this when we lived in the Chicago area, and found many varieties of beautiful heirloom tomatoes at a local farmer’s market. We found that the yellow, green, and orange heirlooms provided a lovely balance for fish recipes requiring tomato, while the red heirlooms were milder and more tasty than the store-bought tomatoes. Now, we always keep a supply of canned tomatoes on hand.


  • Ball mason jars and new lids (you can buy these jars at Walmart and in many supermarkets) – washed and drained
  • Fresh basil
  • Lots and lots of mature, clean tomatoes – we typically buy 50 pounds of them from the market and spend the weekend cleaning and canning.

How to make this recipe


  • Put a very large pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil
  • Carefully drop the clean tomatoes (in batches) into the water
      1. Leave them there for a minute or two until the skin begins to split
  • Use a slotted spoon to lift the tomatoes from the water and put them on a large flat serving dish to cool
  • Do steps 2 and 3 multiple times until all the tomatoes are ready
  • Peel the tomatoes and put them into the canning jars, filling to near the top (you could also look at the instructions on the Ball Canning website
  • Add one leaf of clean, fresh basil to the jar
  • Use a wooden tool to make sure that there are no air bubbles in the jar
  • Screw on the top of the jar, finger-tight
  • Place the jars into a large pot of cold water or a pressure cooker, with at least 3 inches of water covering the jars.  
    1. You can follow the instructions on the Ball Ball Canning website for cooking.
    2. I do not follow instructions and do as I saw my grandmother did: At sea level, since the water boils, I wait 20 minutes, then I turn off the fire and leave the pot on the stove until it cools down (about 16 hours). Then you can store the jars for several years. However, the time it takes to cook the tomatoes is influenced by the altitude. So, if you live on top of a mountain, you may want to wait 30 minutes or so before turning the fire off.


Come fare la conserva: Tanti pomodori maturi, bollire 1-2 min appena la pelle si spacca metterli in uno scolapasta. Farli raffreddare. Sbuccciarli e metterli in barattoli di vetro per fare conserva -si vendono ovunque, precedentemente lavati in lavastoviglie -che disinfetta molto meglio che lavando a mano. Riempire fino all’olrlo e mettere una foglia di basilico fresco -togliere bolle d’aria con una forchetta. Chiudere il barattolo con gli appositi coperchi. Mettere in un grande pentolone e coprire d’acqua fredda. I barattoli devono essere interamente sommersi. Accendere il fuoco al massimo, da quando bolle, aspettare 20 min. poi spegnere il fuoco e lasciare raffreddare fino al mattino successivo. Pomodori pronti: si conservano vari anni.


Flounder or Halibut With Mussels and Tomato

(For 4-6  people)

Last week, I visited one of my favorite butchers in Oak Park, IL – a place called Carnivore.  I saw a giant flounder in their fish case and decided to try it.  This recipe is the one I created for the 5.5 pound (2.5 kg) fish I bought from Ciro, the chef who works at Carnivore.

First, you’ll need a large oven, and a large roasting pan.

Ingredients (all basic ingredients you should ALWAYS have in your refrigerator)

  • 1 liter of homemade canned cherry tomatoes. Or, if you don’t can your own tomatoes, you can use a box of of Pomì chopped tomatoes (it won’t be quite as good of course, but it will still be good).
  • 12 mussels or clams
  • 12 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • ½ cup of white wine
  • 1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ stick butter
  • ¼ cup of flour
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed or sliced
  • 1/3 of a sweet onion, such as a Maui or Videlia, or green onions
  • A handful of calamata olives in brine
  • 1 tablespoon of capers
  • 1 handful of chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 handful of chopped fresh Italian basil
  • 1 spicy pepper, such as an Italian pepperoncino or a Thai pepper
  • Salt and freshly grated black pepper to taste

How to Make this Recipe

  1. Sprinkle salt and pepper and use your hands to spread 50g (half stick) of melted butter all over the fish.
  2. Then, coat the fish with a thin layer of flour.  
  3. Warm 1/3 cup of olive oil in the pan, then add the fish and fry on medium/high heat for just 2 minutes per side.

    Do not use a non-stick pan!
  1. Remove the fish from the pan and transfer it to a large roasting pan. DO NOT wash the pan you fried the flounder in, because you will continue cooking the sauce in the same pan, using the drippings as a source of delicious flavor.
  2. In the large roasting pan where you’ve placed the fish, add the canned tomatoes, white wine, olive oil, 3 smashed garlic cloves, basil and salt. Turn the fish in this sauce twice, then put in oven at 400F convection (if you do not have convection, it will take longer) for 20 minutes (Flounder) or 40 minutes (Halibut).
  3. While the fish bakes, add the following to the pan in which you cooked the fish: cherry tomatoes cut in half, mussels (or clams), onion, parsley, minced hot pepper, 2 cloves of garlic smashed, some basil, a few black olives, and a tablespoon of capers.
  4. Cook on high until the tomatoes become soft, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to detach the skin of the fish that attached to the pan.  This deglazing gives a special flavor to this sauce.
  5. Take the fish out of the oven, cutting it into serving-sized pieces.  
  6. Spoon the tomato-mussel sauce over the fish and serve.
  7. Buon appetito!


  • 1 barattolo di un litro di conserva di pomodoro fatta in casa.
  • 12 cozze (12 mussels or clams)
  • 12 pomodori pachini
  • ½  bicchiere vino bianco
  • Olio d’oliva
  • Aglio
  • Burro
  • Farina
  • Aglio
  • 1/3 cipolla dolce
  • Olive nere
  • Capperi
  • 1 pugno prezzemolo tritato
  • 1-2 peperoncini piccanti tritati
  • Pepe nero e sale

Italiano L’altra sera, dopo aver discusso con un amico (Ciro) come farla ho cucinato una sogliola buonissima,funziona anche bene con l Halibut (un pesce piatto che pare che in Italiano si chiama Ippoglosso.

  • Vi serve un forno grande e una padella grande.
  • Quantita` per Sogliola di 2.5 kg.
  • Spalmare la sogliola con un po di pepe nero e sale, poi spalmare usando le mani con 50g il burro sciolto nel microonde.  Passare la sogliola nella farina, senza esagerare, e soffriggerla 2 min fuoco medio/alto per lato in pentola con 1/3 di cup (una tazzina di caffe`) d’olio d’oliva.

    Non usare pentola antiaderente! Rimuovere il pesce ma non lavate la pentola!
  • Mettete il pesce in una pentola da forno, aggiungere la conserva di pomodoro, 1 tazzina di caffe` di olio d’oliva, tanto basilico, 3 spicchi d’aglio schiacciati, sale.

    Girate il pesce in questa salsa un paio di volte e infornate a 400F per 20 minuti. (40 min per l’halibut che e` piu` spesso)
  • Mentre il pesce e` in forno aggiungete alla padella in cui avete cucinato il pesce 12 pachini tagliati a meta`, le cozze, un pugno di prezzemolo tritato, la cipolla tritata, 2 spicchi d’aglio schiacciati, 2 peperoncini piccanti tritati, un pugno di basilico, qualche oliva e un cucchiaino di capperi.
  • Soffriggere finche` i pomodori si ammosciano, a fuoco forte rimestando continuamente con una cucchiaio di legno per rimuovere la pelle del pesce che si era attaccata alla pentola e che dara` il sapore. Togliere il pesce da forno versarci la salsetta.
  • Buon appetito!

Suggested Wine Pairing.  Arneis, Gavi, Greco di Tufo, no more than 2 years old, cold. Some people recommend red wine with a fish soup. Taste is taste! If you like a red wine, try a good Gattinara (at least 7 years old), alternatively Ciro` Chianti, Barbera, Pinot Noir, but stay away from Merlot and Cabernet!

Michele Carbone



My favorite summertime after-dinner digestivo is the limoncello made from the lemon trees in my mother’s yard in Calabria. You can purchase limoncello in many locations in Italy and the US, but the pre-packaged bottles are never as good as the ones made from those homegrown, freshly-picked Calabrian lemons.

I’ve found that I can make a great limoncello using organic lemons from the supermarket. Of course, they aren’t quite as great as those collected in the warm sunlight of my mother’s garden, but they still make something delicious.

Even the process of making limoncello is a pleasure, because you breath in the aroma of the fresh lemon zest as you prepare it. The only problem with this recipe is that you have to steep the lemon zest in alcohol for a week – or up to three weeks (depends on the point of view). I say 1 week is all is that is needed before you finish the recipe.


  • 20 organic lemons, preferably less-mature lemons with a very thick skin
  • 750 ML rectified spirit, or ethyl alcohol, such as Everclear (I do not recommend the use of vodka as a substitute, that is a terrible idea)
  • ½ KG superfine sugar
  • Water (purified or bottled)


Additional Supplies

  • A serrated vegetable peeler – One of the most important things about this recipe is that you need to use the lemon peel, avoiding the pith as much as possible. The pith gives the drink a bitter taste. Peeling the lemons “just so” used to be quite difficult, but my good friends Teresa and Carlo found a serrated vegetable peeler by OXO (it’s called the OXO Good Grips Serrated peeler, available in many stores as well as online). It makes the job easy.
  • A large glass jar with a cover. The jar needs to be able to hold at least 1 liter of liquid (more if you choose to double or triple this recipe).
  • Another large glass jar that you use for the filtration process.
  • Aluminum foil to cover the jar as the limoncello steeps in the rectified spirit.
  • Glass bottles for the finished limoncello. You will need 2 1-liter bottles for this recipe.
  • A store-bought permanent coffee filter.
  • One or two #4 paper coffee filters.


How to make this recipe

  • Wash and dry the lemons.
  • Peel the lemons, making sure that you avoid including the pith.
  • Chop the lemon zest, just a little bit.
  • Pour the 750 ml of the rectified spirits into the clean glass jar, then add the lemon zest.
  • Place the lid on the jar, then wrap it with aluminum foil or a cloth. The reason you cover it with aluminum foil is that the process is photo-sensitive. Therefore, you want to avoid exposing it to light during the one- to three-week steeping process.
  • Shake the jar, then place it in a cool, dry, and dark place. Some people say that it’s best to shake the bottle each day; others say just leave it alone. My mother leaves the bottle alone with a towel around it for at least one week, so I suggest you do it her way (moms know best)!
  • After the one-to-three week steeping period, you’re ready for the next steps.  
  • In a very clean saucepan, heat 1 liter of purified water. Add, slowly, ½ kilogram of superfine sugar to the pan and stir it until the liquid is clear, meaning that the sugar has dissolved completely, creating a supersaturated sugar mixture.
  • Allow the sugar-water to cool in a glass container.
  • Strain the steeped limoncello mixture. Don’t squeeze or try to push the saturated lemon zest in order to extract a few extra ml of limoncello.  

  • Once the limoncello spirits have been filtered, mix 1:1 with the sugar-water.  
  • Decant the limoncello into your clean glass bottles, cap them, and put them in the freezer.
  • Enjoy after dinner in a shot glass. Remember that this is a highly alcoholic drink, so sip it.
Photo from

Baked Pheasant

Photo from

As discussed in my previous blog, I went to my local grocery store in the Lake Tahoe area to buy food for dinner. As I was looking at their selection of meats and foul, I found two frozen pheasants.

This is the second recipe is for baked pheasant stuffed with Italian sausage, capers, bread crumbs, and the pheasant’s liver. This sweet/salty combination is wonderful for a special dinner on a cold night.


  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 50 grams freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped capers
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 leaf of fresh sage, chopped
  • ¼ cup plain bread crumbs, lightly soaked in water
  • ½ cup of dry white wine (such as a Pinot Grigio)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 link mild Italian sausage
  • 1 whole pheasant, chopped into 8 pieces
  • 1 additional cup white wine, used for drizzling the pheasant as it cooks in the oven.

How to make this recipe

  • Heat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Coat the pheasant and baking pan with extra virgin olive oil.
  • In a medium bowl, prepare the stuffing by combining the egg, Parmigiano, chopped capers, rosemary, sage, crumbled Italian sausage, liver, and bread crumbs with a ½ cup of white wine. Mix well.
  • Using your hands, fill the chest cavity of the pheasant with the stuffing. If you know how, fill it so the abdomen and skin of the pheasant does not allow the stuffing to get out.
  • Bake the pheasant with its stuffing for about 45 minutes, occasionally opening the oven to drizzle it with white wine.
  • Remove the pheasant from the oven and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes.
  • Chop into pieces and serve immediately.
  • Buon appetito!

Suggested Wine Pairing

Try a good Cirò, Chianti, Barbera, or Pinot Noir, but stay away from Merlot and Cabernet!



  1. Scaldare il forno a 400 F
  2. Spalmare il fagiano e la pentola da forna con olio d’oliva.
  3. Preparare il ripieno:
    • 1 uovo
    • 50 gr parmigiano grattugiato fresco
    • Un cucchiaio di capperi tritati
    • Un po di rosmarino e salvia tritati
    • Circa mezza salsiccia di maiale fresca tritata, il fegato del fagiano tritato
    • Un pugno di mollica di pane ammollata nell’acqua
    • ½  bicchiere di vino bianco
    • Sale e pepe nero
    • Misciare, riempire la pancia del fagiano con questo ripieno ben amalgamato. Infornare per 45 minuti circa -dipende dalla forza del forno che avete- e ogni tanto bagnate con vino bianco (1 bicchiere in tutto).
  1. Tagliare il fagiano a pezzi.
  2. Buon appetito!

Vino: Barbera, Cirò, Chianti, Etna rosso, Pinot Nero vanno benissimo. Meglio evitare cabernet e merlot.

Michele Carbone

Pan-fried Pheasant with Grapes and Walnuts

A couple of weeks ago, while I was in the Lake Tahoe area, I went to my local grocery store to buy food for dinner. As I was looking at their selection of meats and foul, I found two frozen pheasants. I’ve never cooked pheasant before, so I bought it.  

I looked through some of my favorite Italian cookbooks (Il Grande Libro della Vera Cucina Toscana by Paolo Petroni, La Cucina Regionale Italiana by Gualtiero Marchesi, and Il Cuoco Gentiluomo by Livio Cerini di Castegnate) and discovered there are many ways to prepare pheasant. I combined some ideas and came up with two different recipes to try. While the pheasants thawed, I went back to the store to buy a few more ingredients, and then got to work. I made both recipes at the same time and asked my family to tell me which they preferred: it was an even tie, so I’ve decided to add both recipes to my food blog.

This recipe is for pan-cooked pheasant. It’s flavored with a rich combination of chopped walnuts and green grapes.


  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Flour to coat the pheasant
  • 1 cup Vin Santo (no substitutions – I tried this recipe a second time with Sautern wine and it was not as good)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 60 grams of chopped walnuts
  • 25 green grapes, sliced in half

How to make this recipe

  • Cut the pheasant into 8 pieces.
  • Coat with a light layer of flour and place it in a heavy-bottomed pan (I prefer a large enameled cooking pan).
  • Sauté it on medium-high heat in olive oil until it’s golden.
  • Keeping the heat on medium-high, add a glass of Vin Santo (no substitutions!). Allow the Vin Santo to evaporate for 2 minutes.
  • Add the milk, chopped walnuts, and the grapes to the pan. Mix gently, then add salt. Cover the pan.
  • Reduce the heat to medium or medium-low (depending on your cooktop’s flame). Cook for about 12 minutes, keeping the pan’s cover on to retain moisture.
  • Add freshly grated black paper and serve.
  • Buon appetito!

Suggested Wine Pairing

Try a good Cirò, Chianti, Barbera, or Pinot Noir, but stay away from Merlot and Cabernet!


  1. Tagliare il fagiano in 8 pezzi, infarinare e soffriggere in olio finche` non e` dorato.
  2. Sempre a fuoco forte, aggiungere un bicchiere di vin Santo (niente sostituzioni!) fare evaporare 2 min, aggiungere 1 bicchiere di latte, un paio di pugni (60 grammi) di noci a pezzettini e circa 25 chicchi d’uva bianca tagliati a metò, mischiare, aggiungere sale e coprire.
  3. Abbassare il fuoco a medio o basso – depende dalla vostra cucina – e cuocere coperto circa 12 minuti.
  4. Spolverare di pepe nero.
  5. Buon appetito.

Vino: Un buon bianco giovane e freddo, Arneis, Gavi, Greco di Tufo,, etc.  Per chi preferisce il rosso: Barbera, Cirò, Chianti, Etna rosso, Pinot Nero vanno benissimo. Meglio evitare cabernet e merlot.

Michele Carbone

Zuppa di Pesce, Seafood Stew (or Cioppino)

I was in San Francisco at a famous Italian restaurant many years ago and saw a menu item called Cioppino. I had never heard of it. Out of curiosity I ordered it. It was a variation of a classic Southern Italian fish soup in a tomato base, but they had put too much tomato!

You can use just about any combination of seafood you would like, but the essential ingredients are the squid, mussels, and shrimp. Fisherman recommend using small fish, but these are full of bones. So, the recipe I use has no bones, nobody chokes, and it is delicious.

This recipe is best when prepared a day before you wish to serve it because the flavors blend together over time. So I suggest you make it in abundance since it will be good for a couple of days.


  • ½ bunch fresh, flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 chopped onion, red
  • Hot small Calabria or Hawaiian or Thai peppers (1 or more)
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 box of Pomi chopped tomatoes and fish broth (see below) or water.
  • 1.2 pounds of squid (tubes and legs; slice the tubes into ½ inch segments)
  • Two large shrimp per person, shells on, but with the backs sliced
  • 1 and ½ pounds of fresh mussels
  • ¾ pound fish steak, such as swordfish, Marlin, tuna, Ono, or any fish that has a firm texture and is cut at least 1 inch thick. Cut in cubes of about 1 inch.
  • ½ pound of sea scallops
  • 2-4 soft shell crabs (if in season) or whatever fish you like (except octopus)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups fish broth (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to make this recipe

  • In a large heavy-bottomed pan with a cover, gently sauté the cloves of crushed garlic in about 3/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil. Remove the garlic cloves as soon as they take on color. 
  • Add the squid to the skillet together with the chopped parsley, hot pepper, and chopped red onion. Cook for 2 minutes, mixing often.
  • Add the rest of the seafood to the pan and cook for 2 more minutes, mixing often.
  • Add 1 cup of dry white wine. Cover the pan for 1 minute.
  • Remove the cover and allow the wine to evaporate for about 30 seconds.
  • Add 1 full box of Pomi chopped tomatoes, along with an equal amount + half (i.e, fill in the box of pomi with water, and next time fill it to half) of water, or better, fish broth that you should always have in your freezer. Also add the rosemary.
  • Gently stir all the ingredients together.  Cover the pan and allow the ingredients to come to a light boil.
  • Immediately turn the heat to low or medium depending on the power of your stove, keeping the cover on. Cook for another 10 minutes. Be sure it does not boil during this time or the fish will become hard and dry.  
  • After 10 min, turn off the fire and move the pot to a cool burner, add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and let sit for at least 20 minutes.

Buon appetito!

  • Suggested Wine Pairing.  Arneis, Gavi, Greco di Tufo, no more than 2 years old, cold.  Some people recommend red wine with a fish soup. Taste is taste! If you like a red wine, try a good Ciro` Chianti, or Barbera, or Pinot Noir, but stay away from Merlot and Cabernet!

How to Make Fish Stock: Use only fish from the sea, not from rivers and lakes.  You can use anything you like. For example, you can use 1 pound of sardines and/or fish heads (say salmon, grouper, Mahi Mahi, shirimp, or the “skin” of the shrimp. Always use some, say 10 or so mussels or clams, etc. and their spines. Do not use small fish. Then, you do not have to deal with their small bones that will choke some guests not used to eating fish).

In a pot (really big),  add the fish; it should occupy about 1/3 to ¼ of the pot.  Add 1-2 glasses white wine –depending on how big your pot is, 1 red onion cut in 4, 4 cloves of garlic crushed, 1 bunch of parsley, 1 sprig of rosemary, 1 celery cut in pieces, water up to 2 inches to the top, black peppercorns, and salt. Let it boil lightly for 2-3 hours or three, until the water is about half then what you started with. Drain the broth, set aside until it reaches room temperature, and then freeze. When you need it, you will defrost it.


Zuppa di Pesce



  • Soffriggere in olio (quanto basta da coprire il fondo della padella per circa 3-4 mm, aglio.  Togliere appena prende colore
  • Aggiungere prezzemolo tritato, 1 pugno, 1 o piu` pepperoncini piccanti, 1/3 di cipolla rossa tritata, e le seppie, tubi tagliati a rondelle tentacoli interi.  Soffriggere (fuoco forte) 2 min
  • Aggiunger il resto del pesce.  Girare spesso, soffriggere 2 min.
  • Aggiungere 1 cup di vino bianco secco, coprire 1 min, scoperchiare e fare evaporare 30 secondi.
  • Aggiungere 1 box di Pomi “crushed” o “meglio” stessa quantita` di conserva di pomodori fatti in casa, e un una quantita` e mezza di acqua, o meglio di brodo di pesce fatto in casa e un rametto di rosmarino. (riempire il box di pomi d’acqua e poi riempirlo a meta e versare sul pesce)
  • Mischiare coprire e fare cuocere per dieci minuti a fuoco basso o medio-dipende dalla cucina- l’importante e`che non bollas enno` rovinate tutto.
  • Spegnere il fuoco, aggiungere sale e pepe e muovete la padella su un fornello freddo e lasiate riposare 20 min o piu`. (meglio farla il giorno prima ha piu` sapore).


Buon appetito!


Vino: Un buon bianco givane e freddo, Arneis, Gavi, Greco di Tufo,, etc.  Per chi preferisce il rosso: Barbera, Ciro`, Chianti,Etna rosso, Pinot Nero vanno benissimo. Meglio evitare cabernet e merlot.



Brodo di pesce:

Potete usare tutti i pesci che volete, meglio grossi cosi` non hanno spine e naturalmente pesci di mare e non di lago o fiume che sono troppo delicati.  Per esempio, sardine, teste di pesce tipo cernia, dentice, salmone ecc, gamberi o I loro gusci e sempre qualche cozza.  Procedure come segue.
In una pentola grande, la piu` grande che avete, e se non avete una pentola veramente grande e` ora di comprarla!, mettete abbastanza pesce da occupare circa 1/3 o 1/4 del volume della pentola, poi 1-2 bicchieri di vino bianco secco –dipende da quanto e` grande la pentola! 1 cipolla rossa tagliata in 4, 1 sedano a pezzi, 1 rametto di rosmarino, un mazzo di prezzemolo, 3-4 spicchi d’aglio schiacciati, pepe nero in grani.  Riempire d’acqua fino a 3-4 cm dall’orlo, salare.  Bollire 2-3 ore, finche` il liquido si e` ridotto a circa la meta`. Filtrare e surgelare.  Dovreste sempre avere in freezer surgelati brodi di: pesce, vegetale, pollo e carne.  Cosi` quando vi servono sono li che vi aspettano.

Michele Carbone spaghetti

Spaghetti with Bottarga

This is a simple dish to make and delicious, but some people don’t like it because “it tastes too much of fish!”

Bottarga is the dried, salted, pressed roe of various fish, mostly being the gray mullet and yellow fin tuna (also sold under the name of Amberjack and Hamachi, which to be precise [since fish names are often not precise] is the tuna type that is known as “Ricciola” in Italian).  I have used the bottarga of gray mullet and various tuna.

In my opinion, the bottarga of Ricciola is the best, but it is very difficult, and almost impossible to find in America. If you can find a source and send it to me, I’ll be very grateful!

The recipe uses the same “original base” that I use to cook the spaghetti cacio e pepe and those with ricotta cheese: I mean, for those simple recipes (such as pecorino or ricotta, or in this case bottarga), you want to leave the ingredients the chance to shine in their natural flavors. I learned this Bottarga recipe from a friend of mine, a Sicilian Chef, Giancarlo Gottardo.


  • 1 box of spaghetti
  • Zest of 2 fresh lemons
  • ½ cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • A handful of chopped fresh Italian parsley, plus 2 tablespoons set aside to be used at the end of the recipe
  • 1 spicy Calabrian or Hawaiian, or Thai pepper (optional—use it if you like a little bit of a “kick” to your pasta)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 200 grams of bottarga. Keep the bottarga in the freezer until the last minute, then you will grate or (better) shave about 200 grams of it into the pasta bowl immediately before serving.

How to make this recipe

    1. Start by boiling the water for the pasta.  You can start the rest of the preparations as soon as you put the spaghetti in the boiling water.
    2. Grate the 2 fresh lemon peels, putting the zest into a saucer and setting aside.
    3. Finely chop a bunch of Italian parsley.
    4. Get out a large pasta bowl and warm it up (I run hot water into it, then pour out the water before adding the pasta).  
      1. All the ingredients are mixed into the bowl at the end of this recipe and you will need to move quickly.
    5. In a large skillet, gently sauté a couple of cloves of crushed garlic in about ½ a cup of extra-virgin olive oil. Remove the garlic cloves as soon as they take on color.
    6. Turn off the heat, add half of the handful of chopped fresh Italian parsley (about two tablespoons) and 1 or 2 minced peppers to the pan. (Remember to reserve about 2 more tablespoons of parsley just prior to serving).
    7. A soon as the spaghetti tastes ready (al dente), reserve about 1 cup of the hot water from the pasta pan before pouring the pasta into a colander.
    8. Moving quickly, pour the pasta from the colander directly into the skillet (which should still be hot, but the fire is off). Gently mix the pasta with the oil and other ingredients in the pan. Add a little bit of the water that you reserved from the pasta pot (about ½ cup) and continue to mix. It should be a smooth mixture, not too “wet” but not too “dry,” either.  
    9. Transfer to the warm pasta bowl.
    10. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley and gently mix.
    11. ” Shave” or grate the bottarga directly into the spaghetti (which, of course, you keep in the freezer until the last moment. I use a vegetable peeler to shave the frozen bottarga).
      1. How much bottarga? Everyone has different tastes. I like a lot of it, but some people find it too fishy! So grate enough to suit your own taste. I’d suggest about 200 grams for 1 box of spaghetti.
    12. Add the lemon zest, mix very well.  
    13. Serve immediately.
    14. I suggest to bring the bottarga to the table and allow guests to shave additional bottarga on their plates at will.  


Buon appetito!

Suggested Wine Pairing

A fresh Rosé is a wonderful pairing; or use a cold, dry white wine like a Gavi.



Spaghetti con la Botarga.
Piatto semplicissimo da fare, buonissimo, ma a molti non piace perche` “sa troppo di pesce”!

Ci sono due tipi di Botarga, almeno che io sappia, una di cefalo (muggine) e l’altra di Ricciola o altro tipo di tonno. Quella di Ricciola secondo me e` la migliore, ma trovarla, almeno in America, e` molto difficile, quasi impossibile visto che non l’ho MAI trovata-se la trovate e me la spedite ve ne saro` molto grato!!!.

La ricetta, semplicissima usa la stessa “base iniziale ” che uso per cucinare gli spaghetti cacio e pepe e quelli con la ricotta, cioe` per quelle ricette semplici dove vuoi lasciare al pecorino (per la cacio e pepe), ricotta, e in questo caso alla botarga la possibiita di farsi apprezzare nella loro naturalezza. Finita la filosofia procedere come di seguito secondo quanto ho imparato da un mio amico Chef siculo Giancarlo Gottardo:

1 box di spaghetti
Grattate la buccia di 2 limoni freschi e mettetela in un piattino (Lemon zest, possibly from 2 lemons you just picked up from the tree)

Riempite di acqua calda una bowl (ciotola, piatto di portata, cioe` dove metterete la pasta per servirla a tavola) e fatela intiepidire.

Soffriggere delicatamente, un paio di spicchi d’aglio schiacciati in circa 120 ml olio d’oliva (1/2 cup). Toglierli APPENA prendono colore, SPEGNERE il fuoco e aggiungere un mezzo pugno di prezzemolo tritato (about 2 spoons) e un peperoncino calabrese piccante tritato (o di piu` se vi piace mangiare piccante).

Intanto state cuocendo gli spaghetti. Quando la pasta e` al dente, dovete muovervi rapidamente!:

Prendere 1 cup di acqua, dalla pasta che sta bollendo appena prima di scolarla, scolare la pasta e mischiarla nella padella con l’olio e aggiungere un po’ dell’ acqua che avevate preso, circa 1/2 cup, cioe` quanto basta perche` sia vellutata, ne` secca, ne` liquida. Aggiungere un altro po di prezzemolo tritato, (2 cucchiai). Mischiare e trasferire in una “bowl” (piatto di portata), che avete precedentemente intiepidito riempendola di acqua calda e poi asciugandola.

SUBITO, “shave” o grattare RAPIDAMENTE sopra gli spaghetti la botarga che naturalmente terrete nel freezer fino all’utimo momento (io uso un “vegetable peeler”). Quanta botarga? I gusti so gusti. A me piace tanta botarga, ma alcuni storceranno il naso dicendo che sa troppo di pesce! Percio` fate a gusto vostro. Io suggerirei circa 200 g. Aggiungete la buccia grattata di due limoni, mischiate molto bene e buon appetito. (suggerisco di portare la botarrga a tavola e grattarne altra sopra il vostro piatto a piacimento)


Funghi Trifolati and Fricassee of Mushroom

(For 4 people, or for 1 very hungry person)

I’m in the mountains alone with my Bullmastiff and my Boxer, and tonight I cooked the “mushrooms in fricassee,” a delicious recipe that you will never find in a restaurant.  

Now the “fricassee” is just one more step after you prepare the “Mushrooms trifolati”, so the first part of this recipe will give you an excellent dish, called mushrooms trifolati, then when you want to try a variation of it, you add the fricassee.


  • 14 to 16 ounces of mushrooms (preferably a medley of mushroom types) sliced about 1/3 cm tick
  • Juice from ½ or 1 fresh lemon (depending on how much juice it makes, and how you like it)
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/3 cup of finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

How to make this recipe

Part A: Mushrooms trifolati:

  1. In a large non-stick skillet, gently sauté the cloves of crushed garlic in about 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil. Remove the garlic cloves as soon as they take on color.
  2. Adjust the heat to medium-high or high (depending on the intensity of your burners – for a family stove, high, for a professional stove, medium-high).
  3. Add the mushrooms to the skillet together with the chopped parsley. Cook on high heat for about 4 minutes, mixing them often.  
  4. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. At this point, the funghi trifolati are ready to eat!

Part B.  “Fricassee”

    1. Remove the skillet from the flame, add egg yolks, mixing them well.  Immediately add the lemon juice and mix well.
    2. Serve immediately.

Buon Appetito!


Suggested Wine Pairing.  A good Chianti or Barbera.

Funghi Trifolati e in Fricassea


Sono in montagna, da solo con il mio Bullmastiff e la mia Boxer, e stasera mi sono cucinato i “Funghi in fricassea”, ricetta buonissima che si mangia molto raramente. Per cominciare,la Fricassea non e` altro che una modifica della ricotta di base dei Funghi Trifolati,percio` di seguito entrambe le ricette:

Procedere come segue: Per circa 4 persone 400 grammi di funghi freschi. Meglio misti: naturalmente migliori sono i funghi migliore e` la riuscita.

1 soffriggere 3 spicchi d’ aglio schiacciati in olio (2/3 di tazzine di caffe`, circa 1/4 of a cup), in una padella antiaderente da circa 20 cm di diametro. Appena dorato togliere aglio.

Funghi trifolati:

  1. Aggiungere i funghi tagliati a fettine e mischiate con circa 1/3 cup di prezzemolo tritato. Cuocere a fuoco forte circa 4 minuti girando spesso.
  2. A questo punto aggiungere sale e pepe nero e I funghi trifolati sono pronti.

Oppure: “Fricassea”:

  1. Togliere la padella dal fuoco, aggiungere 3 rossi (tuorli) d’uovo mischiare bene e aggiungere subito 1/2 limone (se e` sugoso o 1 limone se e` secco/rachitico). Mischiare bene.
  2. Aggiungere sale e pepe e buon appetito.
Grilled Lamb Steak

Grilled Lamb Steak

Lamb Steak (for 2 people, or for 1 hungry person)
When I need to cook something quick and delicious, I buy a lamb steak (or several steaks if I plan to come home with friends), and a mixture of mushrooms. See also the accompanying recipe for Mushrooms Trifolati or Mushrooms in Fricassea, also on my website.


  • 1 lamb steak with the bone in
  • 1/8 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed (optional, I like it)
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

How to make this recipe

  1. About a ½ hour before you plan to cook, or 10 min if you just got home and you are in a hurry, take the lamb steak from the refrigerator. On a large plate, marinate it in a light coating of olive oil, (garlic, optional) and rosemary sprigs to marinade, sliding your fingers down the sprigs to break off the leaves for the marinade. (Discard the woody stems of the sprigs).
  2. Sprinkle salt and freshly-ground black pepper over the lamb.
  3. When you are ready to cook, use a cast-iron skillet or grill.  Heat it on high so that it is “smoking” before you add the lamb steak. (Make sure you have your stove’s ventilator on so that it will pull the smoke from the intense heat out of your kitchen).
  4. Place the lamb on the skillet/grill and let it cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on your preferences and how thick the meat is.  
  5. Turn off the flame, remove the skillet from heat, and serve immediately.  This recipe is great with the fricassee of mushrooms.
  6. Buon appetito!

Suggested Wine Pairing

A good Chianti or Barbera.


Bistecca di agnello con osso, alla griglia. Piatto ottimo e particolarmente utile quando tornate a casa stanchi e volete mangiare qualcosa di buono in 15 minuti, o se tornate a casa con un gruppo di amici e volete preparargli qualcosa da mangiare rapidamente.  

Marinare lagnellos con olio, rosmarino, (aglio, se vi piace), sale e pepe, minomo 10 min, meglio ½ ora.

Scaldare la graticola sul fuoco finche` non fuma.  CUocere l’agnello 3-4 minuti per lato (dipende dallo spessore della bistecca).

Rimettere nel piatto con la marinata e buona appetito.

Vino: un rosso generoso e felice, per esempio un buon Chianti o Barbera.

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