Ciao'd while watching Chopped, the bacon edition. Yeah, I know. 

In East Cork, by the sea,

The hens, the hens, they call to me.

Leg Horn, Sussex, Barred, and Black,

As red beaks peck, orange feet tack.

Early dawn, in their Palais du Poulet,

Do they wonder what brings the day?

The sustenance of Ballymaloe,

They take and give as they go.

Eggs for breakfast, chicken for dinner,

Is the cook winner or sinner?



Come sit on the culinary therapy couch and let me talk you down from the anxiety ledge. Roasting is one of the easiest ways to cook poultry. Bring the chicken to room temperature, slather it with herbs and olive oil, and stuff it with herbs and lemon. Stick the bird in the oven, walk away, have a glass of wine, and then check its temp with an instant-read thermometer. Seriously simple! I'm serious. 

Serves 4 to 6

3- to 4-pound whole chicken
2 tablespoons chopped mixed herbs, such as rosemary, sage, and oregano
Zest of one medium lemon, finely chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I like the Lucero Green Collection)
1 medium lemon (use the one you zested)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh sage
3 sprigs fresh parsley
1/2 cup white wine

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry. Place the chicken on a slightly tilted dish to let the water drain from the cavity as you prepare the rub (and then pat dry again). In a small bowl, mix the herbs, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Add the olive oil and stir to combine.

Season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on a rack
(v-shaped or flat) in a roasting pan. Using a skewer or toothpick, pierce the zested lemon all over (10 to 15 places). Slip the lemon into the cavity with the rosemary, sage, and parsley sprigs. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the back. Slather the chicken with the herb mixture, rubbing it into the skin and cavities. Pour the wine into the pan. 

Roast the chicken until the thickest part of thigh registers 170 degrees and the juice runs clear, about 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest 15 minutes before carving.


Ciao'd while trying not to eat my son's Valentine's Day chocolate.



I like to serve this sprightly pasta dish with its bright, sunny flavor when the day is rainy or snowy or grey. It’s a pick-me-up in the most delicious way. Tortellini can be had in many flavors. Choose your favorite.

Serves 4

1 pound (16 ounces) fresh or frozen tortellini
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
¼ cup minced fresh basil
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for passing at the table

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the tortellini according to package directions.

As the tortellini cooks, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the lemon zest and basil and stir to mix. Drain the tortellini and add to the butter mixture along with the lemon juice. Toss to coat.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with the Parmesan.


Ciao'd while watching a dozen robins on the lawn. 

Garlicky Shrimp with White Beans and Sausage was one of the first recipes I posted when I started my blog six months ago. It remains one of the most popular and most requested recipes to date. Redolent with a riot of complementary flavors - garlic, smoked paprika, and tomatoes to name a few - the stew is a family and friend favorite no matter what time of year you serve it.

So why not a throwback to this comforting dish during the cold winter season? Those of you who just joined the Ciao Donata party may have missed the recipe, so it's new for you. I think you'll like it. And did I mention, it's SUPER easy and quick to prepare? Indulge here.


Ciao'd while watching Love Actually. I feel it in my toes.

When beef tenderloin took the place of ground beef in my mother’s stroganoff, it became company food. I think “company” works perfectly well for “family,” too. In this rendition, I use chanterelle mushrooms. They imbue the stroganoff with a sweet richness that plays off the tart sour cream. Spoiler alert: wild mushrooms can be pricey. Feel free to use cremini mushrooms instead. The flavor will not suffer. Beef Stroganoff with Chanterelle Mushrooms is comfort food with an adult attitude. That said, button mushrooms are a worthy substitute for the chanterelles.

Serves 6

2 pounds beef tenderloin, cut into 2-inch strips
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
¾ pound fresh chanterelle mushrooms (thickly slice larger mushrooms) 
¼ cup dry red wine
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
¾ cup sour cream (don’t use low-fat), at room temperature
¾ pound (12 ounces) egg noodle
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Pat the meat dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large heavy skillet over high heat, heat the oil until very hot (the oil will shimmer). Add the beef strips in a single layer, and sear, turning once, until brown, about 1 minute per side. Do not crowd the beef; you may have to cook it in batches. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Reduce the heat to medium-high and melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in the skillet. Add the shallot and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté until the liquid evaporates, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan to release the meat and mushroom bits, until the wine reduces by half, a minute or so. Add the beef broth and simmer until the liquid begins to thicken, about 10 to 12 minutes. Combine the cornstarch and water and stir into the mixture; cook until the sauce thickens further, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the sour cream and heat through but do not allow it to boil. Return the beef to the pan and simmer over medium-low heat until the meat is heated through, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Toss the cooked and drained egg noodles in the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Serve the beef and sauce over the egg noodles, sprinkled with parsley.  


Ciao'd while watching Lunes Noche Football. From Mexico City. Viva! 



Similar to a crustless quiche or a Spanish tortilla, the egg-based Italian frittata is a delicious canvas for vegetables, cheese, and meats. It’s the dish that keeps on giving. Enjoy a slice of warm frittata for breakfast. Slice a wedge and make a sandwich with crusty bread for lunch. Pair it with a simple green salad for a light supper.  The latter is just the ticket during the hectic holidays.

8 large eggs
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¾ pound sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed
3 cups broccoli florets
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the salt and red pepper flakes.

In a medium cast-iron or nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up into chunks, until browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the broccoli and red pepper to the skillet and cook until the broccoli is crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the egg mixture and basil and cook over moderately low heat until set around the edge, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle the frittata with the cheese.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the center is set, about 10 to 12 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.