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Risotto with Strawberries for a San Valentino Dinner..

A Romantic..Red Risotto with luscious Strawberries  for a Saint Valentine;s Day Meal from the Gourmand World Award winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd editiion

Risotto con Fragole

(Risotto with Strawberries)

First Course

Serves 2.

 4 cups vegetable broth

 6 tablespoons olive oil

 2 teaspoons dried leeks

 1 cup Arborio rice

 ½ cup dry white wine

 10 ounces fresh strawberries

Heat vegetable broth in saucepan and bring to boil. Keep hot while preparing risotto.

In a large sauté pan, place in olive oil. Heat and place in chopped leeks and rice. Let rice toast for 1 minute. Add in wine. When liquid evaporates, add in broth ½ cup at a time. Mix consistently with wooden spoon.

Wash strawberries. Place in processor and puree. When risotto has just about completed cooking (about 15 minutes), add in strawberry puree. Stir with wooden spoon.

Remove from heat. Let sit for five minutes before serving.



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Amalfi Coast, Ravello and A Limoncello Recipe

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The Amalfi Coast which includes Ravello and Positano is rich with history and so many beautiful sights to see . But one of the sights not to be missed is the famous  lemon gardens of Amalfi. These lemons are known not only for their taste but also their therapeutic properties and are used to make skin creams as well as to flavor dry pasta and oils and vinegars .

But they are most popular for a local liqueur known around the world as  Limoncello.

The story of Limoncello is attached to many legends that credit the invention of this liqueur to Sorrento, Amalfi and Capri. The first trademark for Limoncello was registered in 1988 by an Italian businessman. A legend credits  his  family members with the original invention of the recipe many many years ago. The preparation for Limoncello is simple but takes practice and has to be watched for a a few months as it ages. It has the distinctive fragrant, hypnotizing  smell of the lemons of the Amalfi Coast and is used as a digestive, as a dessert and used in many dessert recipes as well.

Here is a recipe for Crema di Limoncello (Limoncello Cream)


*10 organic lemons (preferably lemons of Amalfi)

*2 ½ pound sugar

*2 quarts of water

*95% Pure Alcohol

Wash the lemons in warm water. Peel them with a potato peeler( it is important that you eliminate the white part under the peel or the liqueur will be bitter). Cut the peel into thin stick like pieces and place them in a glass container with 25 ounces of pure alcohol. Let this sit for one month in a cool place.
After one month has passed you are ready for next step, put water in a pan to boil, add in sugar stirring till sugar is melted. When sugar has melted, remove from heat, let cool and add in 8 ounces more of pure alcohol. Then  pour into bottle with infusion of lemon peel and alcohol.
Seal the bottle and let sit for another 40 days. Then open the bottle ,filter the liquid through a cheese cloth, and place back into glass bottle. Store in freezer.
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Happy Carnevale and a Fried Apple recipe!



copyright 2016 Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati

Fried Apples-known as Frittele Di Mele are one of my favorite treats during this Holiday… Some make them in the form of a doughnut. I prefer the rustic ones that my grandmother used to make here….


Frittelle Di Mele (Fried Apples)

Excerpted from the Gourmand World Cookbook Award Winning Book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition)

3 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons of grappa

2 medium apples-peeled, cored and chopped into small cube size pieces (if you don’t fee like peeling and cutting use Crispy Fruit Snacks Apples by Crispy Green-1 pack will do ,soak in warm water for 15 minutes, squeeze out excess water and use.)

Juice of one orang2

3/4 cup raisins, soaked in 1 cup warm milk (to soften)

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

grated peel of 1 lemon or 1  orange

Peanut or sunflower seed oil for frying

Bathe raisins in warm milk, prepare apples and set aside. In bowl place eggs,vanilla, sugar, pinch of salt, orange juice, orange peel, grappa, blend together with wire whisk. Add in flour sifted with baking powder a little at a time. Blend together till smooth mix is formed, add in apples and soaked raisins (drained). Blend all together well.  Heat oil in deep pan., Drop dough in small balls into hot oil, When golden brown, remove with slotted spoon, place on paper towel and let towel absorb excess oil before sprinkling with powdered sugar and serve.

Get more recipes from the Gourmand Award Winning Book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition at  or Amazon or in ebook version exclusively on Kindle.


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A Letter from Mozart in Venice and Happy Carnevale!


Reliving Memories of a colorful Carnevale in Venice from Mozart  in this Letter to his wife who was in Salzburg, at date of this letter

from Venice Feb 13,1771

Bad weather and an amazing gale meant that it wasn`t till the morning of Carnival Monday that we reached Venice, that same afternoon we managed to see H Wider who, together with his wife, accompanied us to the opera . We lunched with him on Shrove Tuesday, then went to the opera, which began at 2 and finished at around 7 in the evening, after which we dined with him and by 11 or 12 o`clock German time we were in St Mark`s Square in order to go to the Ridotto. We told each other that you`d probably be with H Hagenauer and would hardly imagine that we were talking about you in St Mark`s Square. We had the most appalling rain, but today, Ash Wednesday, we have the most beautiful weather. Praise be to God, we`re in good health. Who do you think we met in Brescia? – – We were on our way to the opera buffa there when we encountered Sga Angeliga [sic] Maggiore, the prima donna, who`s married to a tenor who was also performing there. She was very surprised to see us. Tell H Spizeder that if he wants to see his former impresario Crosa, he can do so in Milan, where he goes about begging, wretchedly dressed and with a long beard. This is how God punishes cheats! You`ll have heard that Carattoli and Laschi have died. I`ve received your letter with the note from H von Vogt. Farewell, I must hurry. We kiss you 100000 times and I am
your old


For recipes for Carnevale get your copy of  the award winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd edition


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Pasta with Artichokes for a Warm Winter Lunch!

copyright 2016 Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati

We have been  making the best of winter weather (that has not been so terribly cold) here in the mountains of Abruzzo…with warm this pasta and artichoke recipe..


Pasta Shells (conchiglie) with Artichokes

from the Gourmand World Award Winning Book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd edition

1 lb of shell pasta ( 100%semolina)

1 tblp butter

1 tblsp heavy cream

2 cloves of garlic

2 sardine filets (optional)

7 artichokes

A handful of parsley and basil

2 tblsps extra virgin olive oil

Parmigiano Reggiano freshly grated to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the heart of the artichokes into small squares, place into  saucepan with  olive oil, garlic and finely chopped parsley

Salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low heat and cover for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, place in half of butter, sardine filets, Cover and cook for another 5 minutes over low heat.

Place a pot of water to boil. When boiling add in pinch of sea salt. Place in pasta shells and cook till al dente. Drain, place in saucepan with artichokes, add in remaining butter, cream. Gently toss pasta to coat with sauce. Grate parmigiano-reggiano cheese on top, toss gently. Serve immediately.



For more recipes, get your copy of the  Gourmand World Award Winning Book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd ediiton at and


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Garlic..Nature’s Medicine

copyright 2016 Art of Living, Prima Media,Inc/Maria Liberati

I love garlic to flavor many of my recipes..and apparently that is a good thing…

Garlic – Nature’s Medicine

Garlic has been documented as being in use in 3000 B.C. in Ancient Egypt, the Mediterranean area, Pakistan, India, China, Spain, Portugal, France, and later America.
“For thousands of years, people have grown garlic for food to cure wounds, ear infections, and leprosy, restore virility, ward off vampires, and keep scorpions at bay. In fact, ancient Egyptians found garlic so special they even worshipped it.”

Interesting enough though are the 10 most unusual uses for garlic today:

1. To treat acne

2. To ward off mosquitoes

3. To help pets repel fleas and ticks

4. To expel parasites from the body

5. To use a garden pesticide

6. To take as an antibiotic

7. To use as fishing bait

8. To convert into glue

9. To ingest as cough syrup

10. To use as an aphrodisiac

For more info on Garlic.. get my new ebooklet ..The Basic Art of  Garlic on Kindle


If you love the beauty of Tuscany, you will love my new designs at VIDA..scarves, blouses, shirts designed by me using photos  that I and Alfonso took on our many visits there..Check the shop out


For more recipes get your copy of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd edition

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A Simple Nut Torte on a Snowy Day in the Mountains of Italy..


Photo credit (

text copyright 2016 Maria Liberati/Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc

What to do on a snowy day in the sleepy mountains of  Italy…read poetry by Leonardo DaVinci and  make a delicious simple nut and fruit torte…

Two large  baskets of walnuts have been waiting for me at my farm here to use..picked in late fall, in the mountains of Abruzzo..known as noci di Sorrento in Italy..and  I found this simple, delicious dessert at a Holiday dinner this past Christmas..the best way to make use of them…Alfonso and I have been enjoying this delicious torte for dessert this past week…and we need another for tonight’s dinner!


Torte di Noci (nut torte)

170 grams flour,sifted

170 grams sugar

400 grams of nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds)

100 grams of raisins (let sit in warm water for 15 minutes)

3 eggs

100 grams of unsweetened baking chocolate


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, place in sifted flour, and sugar, then eggs one at a time, then blend together. Then add in, by hand. the nuts in whole pieces, and raisins (that have been drained). Melt chocolate in a double boiler and stir in.  When well blended, place in 8 inch pan that has been covered with baking paper. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until firm. remove from oven, remove from pan by pikcing up ends of baking paper,let cool and serve,


Never Trust a Nut  by Leonardo DaVinci (translated for The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: DaVinci style)

Carried high above the trees the nut slipped
from the mortal grip of a bird’s beak.
Whoosh it fell,
Pop, clunk it hit,
and landed between two ancient bricks.
The little nut prayed, a little nuts prayer
to the wall that cradled and held him there.
“My savior, my savior your bells have God’s
Your walls are so mighty, let me stay in this
“Protect me and keep me from the fat ground
from the fallen leaves and the harbinger’s hoe.”
“I vow to you, please, spare me this doom
and content until death, I shall live in this
Moved by compassion, the wall said, “oK.”
“Where you have fallen, young nut can stay.
In a short time, the nut split in two
his roots snaked the walls
and weakened its glue.
his shoots shot right out of that little black
and covered the bell whose praises he tolled.
The nut’s twisted roots
grew thicker and tore
at each ancient stone
from the wall where he bore.
Stricken with grief
the wall bewailed it’s state
and soon fell apart
for it was too late

For more great recipes and more poetry by Leonardo DaVinci get your copy of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: DaVinci Style

rsz_front_cover (2) da vinci

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A Chocolate–Orange Cake Make Together

Sometimes a special recipe turns a relaxing dinner or get together into a special occasion…cooking together creates an occasion to celebrate… This recipe is simple enough for parents to make with their kids..and that is the book this recipe will be placed in..The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:Cooking With Kids,,but you can try it before the book is released:

chocolate orange cake

Chocolate-Orange Cake

1 1/4 cups flour sifted (extra to flour the pan)

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened powdered cocoa

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup potato starch

1/4 cup butter (some extra to butter the pan)

5 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

For the Filling:

1 cup orange marmalade

For the Glaze:
8 ozs. Dark chocolate (80% cocoa)

2 tablespoons fresh cream

Place eggs and sugar in a bowl, beat  together till creamy. Sift first the flour, baking soda, potato starch, then add into eggs and sugar, then add in melted butter. Blend well then add in cocoa powder that has been sifted and gently mix till well blended. Then add in vanilla and baking soda and baking powder and blend into mixture.  Butter and flour an 8 inch cake pan. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool and remove from pan. In a double boiler melt baking chocolate with cream, blend together,set aside. Cut cake in half and spread orange marmalade on top of interior  layer. Top with other half then spread  chocolate glaze on the top. Place in fridge or at room temperature to let chocolate glaze set, then serve.


In the meantime you can get more recipes in the Gourmand World Award winning book The Basic Art of Italian Coking: Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd edition


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Roasted Potatoes and Fennel Casserole

copyright 2016 Art of Living,PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati

Wow.. a delicious way to enjoy the healthy benefits of fennel with potatoes, garlic and fresh lemon..Cena (dinner)  for tonight will be  healthy and delicious oven roasted potatoes and fennel with lemon and garlic…serve with a dry white wine and a piece of artisan cheese and you have a great meal! Delicious, healthy and light!

roasted potatoes and finocchio

Roasted Potatoes and Fennel

1 pound red or yellow potatoes

1 large fennel bulb, cleaned and cut in quarters

1 fresh lemon

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

freshly ground black pepper

4 cloves garlic

Boil potatoes for 10 minutes. (you can remove or leave peel on to roast) Cut potatoes in quarters. Place cut potatoes, fennel in roasting pan with garlic cloves.Grate lemon over potatoes and fennel, then squeeze juice on top of fennel and potatoes, place in garlic cloves. Pour in olive oil over vegetables, grind black pepper on top. Gently stir to distribute liquid over all vegetables. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Stir a few times while cooking. You can also place under broil for last3- 5 minutes to brown on top depending on your oven.

For more great recipes get your copy of  the Gourmand World Award Winning book-The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd edition


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A Farro Lentil Soup Recipe to Warm a Cold Winter Night..

copyright 2016 Art of Living, Prima Media,Inc/ Maria Liberatifarro and lentil soup

My solution to a cold winter night in the mountains of Abruzzo….a hot bowl of freshly made soup….


Farro Lentil Soup



*Handful of fresh parsley, washed and chopped

*2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

*1 small golden onion chopped

*2 cloves of garlic

*2 quarts of vegetable broth

*1 cup dried lentils

*Pinch of salt

*1 cup farro

Soak dried lentils in water overnight or for at least 4 hours, drain and set aside. Place broth in pot and warm till hot.

Wash parsley and chop the leaves finely. Place olive oil in a large soup pot and warm, then place in whole garlic and finely chopped onions. Saute on low heat till golden. Add in ½ cup of hot broth, chopped parsley, drained lentils, stir and let this mixture come to a boil. Then add in remaining broth, pinch of salt. Place heat to low, cover and stir, let cook for 10 minutes. Raise to medium heat and add in farro  and cook for 30 minutes covered, stirring every so often, adding more water if needed.

Slice crusty bread, grill, toast or broil, put in bottom of soup plate, drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top, serve hot soup on top of bread slice…

For more recipes get your copy of The  Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd edition