Creamed sausage, potato and cabbage soup a la zuppa Toscana

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If I had access to kale, I'd have used a bunch in lieu of white cabbage. If I had, this would be a real Zuppa Toscana, that famed Italian soup that chef Emeril Lagasse swears his mother cooks the best version of. But I don't know where to buy kale -- in my lonely corner of suburbia or anywhere else in this country. Armed with the information that it is a variety of … [Read more...]

Fettuccine aglio e olio with sun-dried tomatoes

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The classic Italian spaghetti aglia e olio has only three basic ingredients: pasta, olive oil and garlic. Salt is added for flavor; parsley is sprinkled for color and texture. There are only two steps in the preparation of the dish: boiling the pasta the tossing it in the olive oil in which the garlic had been browned. In this variation, chopped sun-dried tomatoes and … [Read more...]

Holiday perfect dessert: panna cotta with peaches

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Easy, inexpensive and eye-catching holiday dessert. Classic panna cotta topped with slices of peaches arranged in a burst pattern. Gorgeous. Delicious.Panna cotta is an Italian creamy pudding made by cooking cream, sugar and gelatin, letting the mixture cool until firm, then serving it plain or topped with fruits or nuts, or even drizzled with syrup. Unlike a gelatin … [Read more...]

Budino with salted caramel sauce

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When we hear and read about how the Philippines has the longest Christmas season in the world, we know it's no exaggeration. It isn't even Halloween yet but in the malls, Christmas trees and decor are already up for sale alongside the scary masks, monster costumes and pumpkin baskets.In my house, the holiday season starts a bit later. Still before Halloween but not as … [Read more...]

Fettuccine with chocolate and bacon

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Some years ago, when we were still Dream Satellite subscribers and loyal fans of Discovery's Travel and Living Channel, I saw David Rocco cook a pasta dish with chocolate sauce called penne al cioccolato. I grimaced as I watched him do it because I thought it was utterly disgusting. What a dolt I was to have passed judgment without trying the dish first. Well, I've since … [Read more...]

Bruschetta with tomatoes, basil, pimiento and cheese

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What is bruschetta? In a nutshell, it's toasted bread. It just sounds sexy and mysterious because... well, because it's Italian! Beyond the sexy name that conjures images of sipping espresso in an outdoor cafe or drinking wine on a rustic balcony overlooking acres and acres of vineyards, it is just toasted bread. What makes bruschetta special is its preparation and what … [Read more...]

Coffee granita

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One of my favorite musicals of all time, Nine, was on Star Movies last night. I got LSS as usual. I was humming "Be Italian" (sung by Fergie) and "Cinema Italiano" (sung by Kate Hudson), both partly featured in the credits, all morning.By noon, perspiring from the summer heat, I decided it was just the perfect time to make a granita.Granita is a semi-frozen dessert … [Read more...]

Pork a la parmigiana with spaghetti in pomodoro sauce

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When people ask why I still like to eat at restaurants when we seem to have great food at home everyday, I tell them there are two reasons: variety and inspiration. No matter how well cooked the food at home is, sometimes, I do get bored with my own cooking. Not often but there are moments when I start feeling that I'm cooking the same flavors and textures and I crave for … [Read more...]

Pizza, Buffalo wings and beef salpicao

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Last Saturday, to satisfy Alex's craving for pasta and pizza, we had dinner at Cafe Lidia.  I ordered the pork parmigiana (above, left), Alex had the baked penne (above, right), Speedy opted for the beef salpicao (below, left) and, for starters, we had the mozzarella sticks (below, right) and the spicy chicken wings.  My pork parmigiana … [Read more...]

Lasagna with leftover turkey and duck meat

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Two days after Christmas, we hosted a potluck party and our share was roast turkey. On New Year's Eve, we had roast duck for lunch. There was so much food over the holidays and we had leftovers. What happened to the leftovers? Some of the turkey and duck meat became the turkey, duck and potato bake. The rest, I made lasagna with.The recipe: Chop the turkey and duck … [Read more...]