Ciao'd while catching up on Big Little Lies.

Buccellato is a Tuscan cake that accompanies the ritual of a child's confirmation. Confirmation is the sacrament that completes the process of initiation into the Catholic community. Marcella Hazan's recipe comes from Lunigiana, an area nestled between the mountainous districts of Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, and Liguria. She calls it "a good, simple cake." And it is. I like to serve the buccellato in the spring as an alternative to shortcake, with the first, sweet strawberries and poofs of whipped cream.  Marcella's recipe calls for mixing in a food processor. I used a mixer. 


Makes one 9-inch round cake (serves 8 to 10)

3 cups flour, plus flour for dusting the baking pan
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus butter for greasing the pan
The grated peel of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup whole milk

Turn the oven on to 350 degrees.

Smear the inside of a round 9- by 2-inch cake pan liberally with butter, sprinkle all over with flour, then turn over the pan, tapping it against a work surface to shake off excess flour. 

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Do not let it simmer. 

Combine in a mixing bowl, the flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. 

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until the pale yellow and fluffy. Beat in the melted butter, grated lemon zest, and the lemon juice, and continue beating. Beat in the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour until the batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into the pan; give the pan a shake to level off the batter; and bake in the upper middle level of the oven until the top of the cake has become colored a deep gold and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 50 minutes. 

Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn out onto the rack to cool completely. Adapted from Marcella Cucina, Marcella Hazan, HarperCollins, 1997.


These festive cookies are spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and allspice, studded with toasted walnuts, chocolate morsels, and raisins, and spiked with a healthy dose of bourbon that knits the ingredients into a rich and complex goodness. No doubt the recipe has Medieval origins. And because we Italians like to gild the lily, the cookies are finished with lemon-scented icing and colorful sprinkles.

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Ciao'd while watching Monday Night Football. This recipe inspired by
the gold and green Green Bay Packers. I am a G-Men Fan. Sorry Aaron. 

I posted this photo on Instagram and received messages from lots of you asking for the recipe (thank you!). I shot the photo before I baked the pizza which made the requests that much more interesting. Then I thought, "It's the holidays and other people - I'm not the only one! - are pining for a healthy dose of simplicity in the midst of the seasonal excess." Often, the only green we see during this party season is that of Christmas trees and wreaths. With this pesto pizza, we can have our green and eat it, too. 

You've got carte blanche to vary the ingredients in this recipe. Prefer broccoli rabe to broccoli? Go for it. Feel like adding red onion? Do it! A sprinkle of basil, a dash of oregano, a drizzle of olive oil. This pizza has personal expression written all over it. 



Two 8-inch prepared pizza crusts (I used Vicolo cornmeal crust) or one large crust
2 cups broccoli florets, larger florets halved
One 6.5-ounce jar prepared basil pesto
One 8-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry
2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella
1 cup fresh ricotta
Red pepper flakes, optional.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Place the broccoli florets in a microwaveable dish. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of water, cover, and microwave until just tender (about 3 minutes). Drain and pat dry.

Spread the pesto on the pizza crust, dividing evenly. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella over the pesto. Place the broccoli florets and artichokes on the cheese, dividing evenly. Top with the remaining mozzarella. Dollop the ricotta over the mozzarella. Sprinkle with the red pepper, if using.

Bake until the cheese is melted and the crust is lightly browned, about 12 to 15 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes before slicing. 


Every woman has that friend. The one we regard with wonderment – and gratitude. Three kids, loving husband, business owner (Fashion. Of Course. You can check it out here), football booster club president, great cook (who finds time to cook), thin, gorgeous, funny, thoughtful, always there for her friends. I'm guessing she doesn't wear Spanx. This girl has got it going on. And I love her for it.

So when Lynn, my Italian paisana, texted a culinary “Mayday" along with photos of her copious tomatoes (see image above), I sat up and read it...

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