Category Archives: Recipes

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

It’s hard for me to believe that I have never posted about Carbonara because it’s one of my wifes absolute favorites. On the three trips we’ve taken to Italy I think she’s tried them all! This recipe can be made with any kind of pasta but spaghetti and tortellini are our favorites.

This is such an easy recipe and comes together as fast as you can cook the pasta, al dente of course!

Spaghetti Carbonara Ingredients:

1 lb Spaghetti
1 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmigiano-Reggiano)
8 oz Pancetta (can substitute american bacon)
1/2 small onion – diced
4 eggs – separated
Freshly ground Black Pepper (to taste)
crushed red pepper (optional to taste)

Spaghetti Carbonara Method:

Start by boiling water to cook the pasta, per package instructions. Just after you drop the pasta in the water, place the pancetta into a heated pan with the olive oil and heat on medium-high heat. After about a minute add the onion to the pan and lower heat to medium. Cook for two minutes and add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water from the cooking pasta. This starts a sauce in the pan and the starch will help begin to make the sauce creamy.


Continue to cook until the pasta is al dente and drain the pasta but reserve about a cup of the pasta water.

Add the drained pasta to the pan and incorporate all ingredients and add fresh ground pepper (to taste but don’t skip it!).

Add a cup of the cheese to the egg yolks and incorporate.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the egg whites to the pan and mix quickly to incorporate adding the reserved pasta water.  Then add the egg yolk and cheese mixture and combine thoroughly. Top with fresh parsley and remaining cheese and serve!


If you want to be adventurous, you can wait to add the egg yolk to the individual servings and let your guest mix it as they eat!


I served mine with a Caprese salad (tomato, mozzarella, basil, olive oil salt, pepper and balsamic glaze).


Add some crushed red pepper to spice it up a bit! I love it that way!


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Ciao! Mike.

Gumbo! New Orleans Style!

As you know most of my recipes are at least modified from the original unless I make them up myself. This one is only slightly modified so I am linking directly to the link I used. I eliminated the Okra from my version because I don’t like it, but I pretty much used this exactly and it was amazing!


This gumbo is fantastic and the key to it is the roux! You must watch over the roux constantly and cook it until it’s a rich dark color.


Fresh ingredients make all the difference!


It turned out as amazing as it looks!


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Ciao! Mike.

Jambalaya – Pork, Chicken and Shrimp!

This is my first time at trying Jambalaya and after reading a few recipes online, I decided to make the recipe up myself.  I cooked a pork butt yesterday and made pulled pork rice bowls and as  you know if you’ve ever made pulled pork, there are always many leftovers. We were getting tired of the pork, so I figured I’d mix it up and add it to Jambalaya instead of Kielbasa.  If you like this recipe you could add anything to it that you like, including summer sausage, ham, or even okra or crab meat!   I used a leftover grilled chicken breast and some frozen shrimp!

Jambalaya Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 cups left over pulled pork
1-2 left over grilled chicken breast (chopped or shredded)
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup diced celery
1 yellow bell pepper, diced (substitute green if needed)
1 cup seeded and diced tomato (canned diced tomato is fine!)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoons dried oregano
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups long-grain rice
1-2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Hot sauce to taste
1/2 cup chopped scallions
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 pound medium shrimp – roughly chopped

Jambalaya Method:

In a dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter and add the onion, celery and peppers to the same pot and saute for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onion is soft.  Add the tomato, garlic, jalapeno, cayenne, oregano and cook until all the vegetables and herbs are blended well.


Add the stock and bring to a rolling boil. Stir in the rice, and add the left over pulled pork and grilled chicken, bay leaves, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Return to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.


Add 1/4 cup of the scallions, 1/4 cup of the parsley, the lemon juice and the shrimp, and stir well. Cover and remove it from the heat and allow the jambalaya to steam for 5 minutes. Serve and top with green oniona and jalepeno.  A dolop of sour cream on top will cut the heat and a dd a little texture!


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Ciao! Mike


Spicy Zucchini Blossoms (fried)

I’ve seen fried zucchini blossoms on TV many times but have never tried making them at home. I planted a zucchini plant this year and it’s really doing well.  We’ve gotten several large zucchini’s so far and I decided to try something different and fry up some blossoms.

I started with making a beer batter which I added Sriracha to in order to spice it up a bit.

Zucchini Blossom Ingredients:

1 dark beer (I used Yuengling)
6 Zucchini blossoms
1 cup flour
1 Tbls Sriracha

Zucchini Blossom Method:

Heat a skillet with about 1 inch vegetable oil. Heat to 350 degree.

In a bowl, add flour, salt, beer and Sriracha. Mix into a batter. Once the oil is heated, dip each blossom into the batter to fully coat.


Fry to crispy golden brown, turning once during frying

imageThese are an excellent appetizer or could be served as a side.


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Ciao, Mike.

Grilled Corn with Herb Oil

This recipe is so simple, but it is absolutely the best corn on the cob I have ever eaten.  A variation of this recipe is in this months Food Network Magazine.

Grilled Corn with Herb Oil Ingredients:

8 ears shucked corn on the cob
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried italian seasoning
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1-2 cloves of garlic – minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley – chopped

Grilled Corn with Herb Oil Method:

Wrap each ear of corn in foil. I like to cut them in half. Grill for approximately 15 minutes, turning often.

In a small skillet of sauce pan, add the oil, italian seasonings, garlic and crushed red pepper and heat on medium for 1-2 minutes.  Add the fresh parsley right at the end and remove from heat.

When corn is done grilling, carefully unwrap the ears and brush with the herb oil. The best corn you’ll ever eat!


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Ciao, Mike.

Ravioli with garlic and herb

This is an original recipe I made up inspired by a dry spice packet I purchased in Tuscany for making Pici All’aglione, which is a spicy tomato sauce.  The spice packet is a mixture of dry italian herbs and crushed red pepper. I did this in the style of making aglio e olio but added the spices to the oil when infusing the garlic with the olive oil. You want to use a high quality olive oil for the best taste!

Ravioli with garlic and herb ingredients:

1 lb cheese ravioli
2 Tablespoon high quality olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic
1 Tablespoon dry italian herb mixture
1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to taste

Ravioli with garlic and herb method:

This recipe is great whether you use store-bought Ravioli or make your own. See my homemade ravioli recipe here if you want to make them fresh:

Cook the Ravioli per instructions. While the ravioli are cooking add two tablespoons olive oil to a medium skillet. Add the crushed red pepper, dry italian herbs and garlic cloves and simmer slowly over medium-low heat until the garlic begins to brown. This should take 5-10 mins.  Don’t let the oil get to a temp that fry the garlic-it should be a slow simmer.


Once the ravioli is cooked add them to the skillet and toss them to coat.


Transfer them to a plate and cover with fresh Parmigiano Reggiano to you taste!


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Ciao, Mike.

Chicken Chili Wonton Appetizer

I love all kinds of wonton recipes including fried, steamed and now baked! I got this recipe from A Taste of Home. This is a slightly modified version of the original, as I used a hot chili mixture to spice it up a bit!

Chicken Chili Wonton Ingredients:
36 wonton wrappers
1/2 cup buttermilk ranch salad dressing
1 envelope chili seasoning mix (I’m using a hot seasoning mix)
1-1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Sour cream and sliced green onions, optional

Chicken Chili Wonton Method:
Preheat oven to 350°.

Press wonton wrappers into greased miniature muffin cups. Bake 4-6 minutes or until lightly browned.


In a small bowl, mix salad dressing and seasoning mix; add chicken and toss to coat. Spoon 1 tablespoon filling into each wonton cup. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake 8-10 minutes longer or until heated through and wrappers are golden brown. Serve warm. If desired, top with sour cream and green onions before serving. On my second batch I added a little Sriracha to spice it up even further!


Check Out the Potstickers I posted awhile ago! They are excellent!
And these Crab Rangoons are amazing!

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Ciao, Mike.