Handmade Orecchiette

Handmade Orecchiette

With Sausage, Spinach, Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella

The orecchiette shape literally translates to ‘little ear’ and originated in Southern Italy . This pasta is perfect for catching sauce in its cup-like shape . Making the pasta fresh, by hand, is a fun activity to do alone or with friends and family. The dough is mixed together in a matter of minutes and only requires a half hour of rest time before you can start making the pasta. The result is also infinitely better than boxed pasta. The recipe listed below was one of the most popular pasta dishes at my restaurant. There was a time when I tried to remove it from the menu in order to make room for a new dish and I had to put it right back on due to popular demand. I mix hot and sweet Italian sausage together but you can absolutely use one or the other depending on how spicy you like your food. This pasta shape will also work well with my Simple Tomato Sauce.

Simple Tomato Sauce
Quick and Easy Tomato Sauce
Check out this recipe
Tomato Sauce
Hand-Made Orecchiette
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5 from 1 vote

Handmade Orecchiette

Easy Handmade Pasta
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time8 mins
Resting Time30 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish, pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: pasta
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 265kcal


  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • extra flour for surface


  • mix flours and salt together
  • add water
  • mix together then remove from bowl and knead until dough is elastic (about 5 min)
  • Place dough in a bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap
  • allow to rest for 30 minutes

Make the shape

  • flour a working space on counter
    Pasta dough
  • cut dough into 8 pieces
  • roll each piece with your hand into a ½ inch rod
  • cut each log into ½ inch pieces
  • use your thumb to press and swirl dough into small cup shape
  • place pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil

Cooking method

  • add ½ tbsp of salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil
  • drop orecchiette in pot
  • when orrecchiette rises to top allow to cook for another minute
  • Total cooking time should be around 5 minutes


Please don’t worry about every piece of orecchiette looking exactly the same. This is homemade pasta. You will get the hang of it as you go along. Some people like to use a measuring spoon to help push the pasta into a cup shape.


Serving: 4people | Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 582mg | Potassium: 112mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 3mg
Pasta with Sausage
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5 from 1 vote

Orecchiette with Sausage, Spinach, Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella

Sausage, Spinach, Chopped Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course, Sauces and Dips, lunch
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Pasta Sauce, sausage
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 575kcal


  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ pound Sweet Italian Sausage – casing removed
  • ½ pound Hot Italian Sausage – casing removed
  • 4 cups Baby Spinach
  • 1 pint Yellow and Red Grape Tomatoes – cut in half
  • cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • ½ cup Pasta cooking water – from cooking orecchiette
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • ½ cup Parmesan Cheese- grated
  • 6 oz Fresh Mozzarella Cheese – chopped
  • 1 lb Orecchiette – cooked al dente (firm)


  • Add 1 tbsp of oil to pan
  • Mix hot and sweet sausage together and add to pan
  • Use a spoon to break up the meat while it begins to brown – around 5 min.
  • Remove sausage from pan and set aside
  • Add the remaining tbsp of oil to pan
  • Add sliced garlic and cook until light brown on both sides
  • Return sausage to pan
  • Add tomatoes and cook for 5 min.
  • Add spinach, chicken broth and pasta water
  • When spinach is wilted add cooked orecchiette and butter allow to simmer in broth for a few minutes
  • Add grated parmesan
  • Turn off stove and toss in chopped fresh mozzarella


Serve with extra grated parmesan on the side and some crusty Italian bread.


Serving: 1person | Calories: 575kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 901mg | Potassium: 612mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2796IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 290mg | Iron: 3mg

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Life can be difficult, cooking doesn’t have to be…

Life can be difficult, cooking doesn’t have to be…

Chicken Milanese topped with Arugula, Tomatoes and Shaved Parmesan

So last night I was feeling tired. It had been a long rainy day training my puppy and waiting on line to vote. Let me rephrase this…Waiting on a very LONG line to vote in the rain. So when I got home I wanted to make something for dinner that would be delicious, easy and quick.

I realized that I hadn’t shared my Chicken Milanese recipe yet. This is my go-to prep for chicken any time of year. Meaning, it works just as good on a cold winter night as it does in the heat of summer. Learning to properly bread chicken, fish and vegetables is the foundation for anyone learning to cook. You can build many delicious recipes off of the classic breading method.

I chose to serve my thin sliced chicken breast Milanese with a simple arugula salad on top. I like the way the peppery arugula freshens the lightly fried chicken. I toss the arugula with Balsamic Vinegar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper and a touch of Dry Mustard.

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5 from 2 votes

Chicken Milanese

Panko Breaded Chicken Breast
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, American
Keyword: chicken, Breaded Chicken
Servings: 4 people


  • 1.5 lbs thin sliced chicken breast
  • 1 cup flour-for dredging
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried onion flakes
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • vegetable oil for frying


  • Mix Panko with onion flakes, salt, pepper, oregano
  • dredge each chicken breast into flour first, then egg, then panko mix
  • Fill frying pan with 1/2 inch vegetable oil and heat over medium heat
  • When oil is warm add chicken and cook until golden brown on each side
  • Place on paper towel to absorb the extra oil


This recipe is a base for many dishes. Serve the chicken with a salad on top or top with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese to make delicious chicken parmigiana. You do not need to deep fry the chicken, you need enough oil to wet the breadcrumbs. I like to place the chicken on a paper towel after frying to remove extra oil.
This recipe can be made in advance and reheated in the oven.
arugula salad
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0 from 0 votes

Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan Cheese

Arugula, Tomatoes, Parmesan and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine: Italian, American
Keyword: Salad
Servings: 4 people


  • 6 cups baby arugula
  • 1 pint yellow and red tomatoes cut in half
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ tsp dry mustard
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • tsp pepper
  • pinch sugar
  • shaved Parmigiana Reggiano for topping


  • Place arugula and tomatoes in a bowl
  • In another bowl whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and sugar
  • Pour dressing over salad and top with shaved Parmigiana

Surf Fishing

It is incredible to walk on the beach and watch people surf fish. It requires a lot of patience and skill to catch and reel in a fish while standing in the ocean surf. My daughter Olivia and I took a long walk on the beach yesterday and we were delighted to find some of our familiar friends fishing for bass. When fish is freshly caught a simple recipe works best because it lets the flavor of the the fish shine through. I prefer a whole roasted fish but my family prefers it to be filleted first because they really do not like any bones. I suggest using a good olive oil, mediterranean oregano, fresh lemon, capers and some salt and pepper. Put the fish in a baking dish, add the ingredients and put it in a 375 oven for 8-10 minutes. Thats it! Serve with a simple salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, feta cheese tossed with some olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper and you have a delicious, healthy meal.

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup


Butternut squash is a sweet and savory squash that is in season in the Fall. When in peak season you do not have to do much to create a wonderful soup or filling for ravioli. Butternut squash is very good for you and is rich in vitamin A and potassium. I love to combine fresh sage with the squash. The flavors work very well together. I also like the salty crunch that bacon adds to the soup but you can absolutely leave it out. I do not use any cream in this recipe because it does not need it. You want the vibrant flavor of the squash to shine through. This soup can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I promised my friend Michelle a soup recipe this week since the weather is getting colder in New York. She’s a busy woman so I knew it had to be easy to prepare, healthy and delicious. I think this recipe fits the bill. Let me know what you think.

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5 from 4 votes

Butternut Squash Soup

with Brioche Croutons and Crumbled Bacon
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Appetizer, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Soup
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 364kcal


  • Blender or Food Processor
  • Sheet Pan
  • Frying Pan


  • 1 Butternut Squash (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 tbsp butter softened
  • 1/4 cup shallot chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups vegetable Broth
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh sage chopped
  • 2 slices bacon

Brioche Croutons

  • 3 slices cubed brioche bread
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Cut Squash in half remove pulp and seeds
  • Rub inside with softened butter
  • Place flesh side down on baking sheet lined with parchment
  • Roast for 45 – 55 minutes until fork tender
  • Cook bacon until crispy, crumble and set aside
  • While squash is roasting saute chopped shallots in olive oil until translucent
  • When squash is done use a spoon to sccop out squash into a blender or mixer
  • Add sauteed shallot, vegetable broth and all the rest of the ingredients
  • Puree until smooth
  • Reheat when ready to serve


  • Pour olive oil into mixing bowl
  • Add chopped rosemary
  • Toss brioche cubes in oil
  • Season with black pepper
  • Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes until golden brown


You can add more chili powder to the soup if you like a little more heat. To serve, heat up soup and pour into bowls. Sprinkle crumbled bacon and croutons on top. I suggest frying some fresh sage leaves to garnish the soup with.
If you would like to keep the soup vegan you can substitute olive oil for the butter and leave out the bacon.


Serving: 1person | Calories: 364kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 771mg | Potassium: 660mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 20527IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 2mg

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Roasted Apple Salad with Goat Cheese and Honey Mustard Dressing


Preheat oven to 375

Peel, core and half two apples. Put on a baking sheet lined with foil.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar.

Brush melted butter and sugar on apples. Bake for 20 minutes.


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Whisk together all ingredients.

To Serve:

Place arugula on serving plate and toss with dressing

Slice roasted apples and place on arugula

Top with crumbled goat cheese

Tuna Salad

Imported Tuna Salad

Bunch of Wild Arugula

1 Can of Imported Tuna Drained ( I like Paolo’s Gourmet Tuna In Olive Oil)

Cherry or Grape Tomatoes

Fresh Mozzarella Cheese Chopped

Castelvetrano Olives ( Mild Green Olives)

1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar

Salt and Pepper to Taste