Make Italy Yours

A blog of Italian Culture and Nature

Category: Italian cooking

Eggplant Lasagna

from the Bartolini kitchens


This post was actually written and the lasagna prepared last summer, when I was at the height of the Great Eggplant Glut of 2017. At the time, I promised that I’d post the recipe. Well. my birthday is coming next week and I was in need of something to prepare in celebration. Unfortunately, despite recent attempts to stretch the parameters, I’m still rather restricted to soft foods. Just as I’ve done, i could make a soup, or pasta, or soup with pasta but I wanted something a bit more special. Enter eggplant lasagna. Lucky for me, there’s a tray waiting for me in the freezer. Oh, boy!

Now, to be clear, this dish contains my homemade pasta and, therefore, is not gluten-free (GF). If the noodles are to be omitted, I’d rather make eggplant parmesan, this lasagna’s GF cousin. Well, it is my birthday and sometimes I just want…

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Olio Santo – The Spicy Peperoncini Oil of Italy

from the Bartolini kitchens

Olio Santo 2

My last post was so recipe-laden that I thought it best to go easy with this one …

I was introduced to Olio Santo during my first visit to San Marino a little over 2 years ago. My cousin Maurizio offered to drizzle a bit of it on my linguine alla vongole, a dish Zia had prepared for me after I mentioned it was a favorite. I thoroughly enjoyed the oil and was told that Zia made it and that it was very easy to do. After a brief explanation, I knew that I’d be making it once I got home. I have ever since.

Red peperoncini are grown throughout Southern Italy but primarily in Calabria and Basilicata, the toe and instep of the Italian boot. Come August, you can often see the peperoncini hanging in large bunches, drying in the hot Mediterranean sun. Across the south, their name often contains…

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You know it’s autumn in Venice when …

Verde Venezia

The afternoon of October 1st in Venice felt like a warm day in April, yet there’s a striking difference. Mornings are colder and very bright in autumn while on foggy days, colors become blurred and look rather pastel.


In this post we are sharing our nine favorite impressions of autumn in Venice and a few Slow Travel tips. Actually, it’s not easy for me to write this on a day which looked like summer 🙂 yet we’re in for a change in the season. You can see it and you can smell it. The air feels sharper and sometimes a breeze of cold wind hits all of a sudden.

Then one sunny morning in October, you notice how the temperature has dropped sharply, making you long for spicy morning coffee or our staple crostata alle mandorle e cardamomo – cardamom-almond grape cake.

A few days ago, GoEuro published their article Twenty Insider Tips for Things to Do in…

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Limoncello – Drink of the Amalfi Coast


Limoncello Photo by Margie MiklasAlmost synonymous with the Amalfi Coast is limoncello, the refreshing liqueur, aperitif, and digestivo made from the large lemons grown in Campania. While controversy exists regarding the origins of this popular drink, limoncello prevails as the drink of choice anywhere along the Amalfi Coast as well as Naples and Sorrento. Native Italians from Sorrento, Capri, and Amalfi all lay claim to limoncello’s  birthplace, and no clear evidence exists today to dispute the legends.

Recipes abound for those wishing to replicate this tart drink at home. The key ingredient is the peel from either the ovale di Sorrento, or large oval-shaped lemons grown in the Sorrento area, or the sfusato amalfitano lemon from the Amalfi area of Campania. For this reason, attempts to make limoncello at home are never quite the same as the limoncello for purchase in Campania.

Lemons on the Amalfi Coast, Italy Photo by Margie MiklasThe four basic ingredients in the aperitif include:

  •  the zest of…

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Trenette with Soft Shell Crabs and Morel Mushrooms

from the Bartolini kitchens

Present conditions notwithstanding, spring’s arrival is certainly welcomed in these parts, for it means the return of flowers and green to our drab landscape. It also means that fresh produce and vegetables begin to make their return to our markets, starting with asparagus and a variety of mushrooms. One yearly event that may escape your notice is the arrival of soft shell crabs. A crab’s shell does not grow, so, every year the crabs shed their old shells in favor of this year’s newer, more spacious models. The new shell is relatively soft for a few weeks, setting off a rush to harvest as many crabs as possible before they toughen up for another 11 months.

Lucky for me, I’ve a great fishmonger that provides many of the fruits of spring. Located not far from my home in Chicago, The Fishguy Market & Wellfleet is my go-to place for seafood and…

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Castagnaccio, a Tuscan delicacy for Christmas

Madeinitalymall's Blog

Castagnaccio is made of chesnuts – Photo and article by Linda G. Bass credit l’Italo Americano
Everyone loves Italian food and the food in Tuscany is considered to be some of the best of all the regions of Italy. Castagnaccio is a plain, chestnut flour cake which is typical in the Tuscany. Chestnuts are harvested in autumn and the cake appears on Tuscan tables throughout the colder months. It is a savory cake that is a wonderful way to end a Tuscan meal. The cake is made from chestnut flour, pine nuts, rosemary and raisins with the addition of olive oil or course! It has no sugar, yeast or baking powder.

This cake is an excellent example of traditional Tuscan food which is simple and inexpensive. Chestnuts are plentiful in Tuscany. In ancient times the bounty prevented hunger for many a poor Tuscan. A romantic legend tells that the Rosemary…

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Everything You Need To Know About Pizza – PART I


Pizza is surely one of the first things that come to mind when thinking about Italy. Of course it is, since we are talking about a delicious dish loved by Italians and appreciated all over the World.

That’s why I decided to celebrate it (yes, I really do love pizza!) and write this long and comprehensive post only about it.

I realised there’s a lot to say if I want to give you a real taste of Italian culture, and I’ll also give you info that is useful if you actually visit Italy, like where and what to eat!

So, let’s start immediately with…


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