Italian Cooking & Language Blog

Fare La Scarpetta means to wipe your plate clean with a piece of bread.

What else could you ask for?

Sunday, June 24, 2012


This week in 2008, my husband proposed on the Ponte Santa Trinita in Florence, Italy. And of course, I said, "Si!"

On that same trip, we also visited Venice. Here are a few favorite pictures from that wonderful trip. 

Cin cin to my husband!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Torna a Sorrento Restaurant in Elizabeth, New Jersey

"How about dinner this neighborhood joint I've been wanting to try?"

My family eats dinner at Torna a Sorrento in Elizabeth, New Jersey, so often that my dad likes to tease that it is a new find. I’m pretty sure that you can find my parents there at least once a week. We’ve celebrated many birthdays, including my great Aunt Dora’s 100th, and events there, like my wedding rehearsal dinner.

The owners are from Sorrento (the name means “Return to Sorrento,” after a song by the same name.) The food is southern Italian, which is closest to traditional Italian-American fare. I’m pretty certain we’ve never eaten there without a plate of fried calamari, which no area restaurant can beat. They regularly have creative specials, like stuffed artichokes, and even have St. Joseph’s pastries every spring.

If you're in the area, stop by and say, "hello" from me to John, the owner who will greet you by the door.

Torna a Sorrento
(908) 351-4060
52 Westfield Ave  
Elizabeth, NJ 07208
(no website)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cooking for One

Whole wheat pizza-dough bread topped with salt, rosemary and chia seeds

My husband travels for work sometimes and I find myself cooking for one.

When I lived alone, I cooked all the time. I find cooking relaxing (and sometimes productive-seeming procrastination from writing.) Unfortunately, I do tend to cook exactly what I want with less regard for a healthy, balanced meal than when I cook for someone else. I also use substantially more garlic and hot pepper.

As a child, I remember my mother preparing a very garlicy pesto sauce over pasta when my father wasn't home for dinner. My first go-to dinner when I'm alone? A very garlicy olive oil and hot pepper mixture over pasta and sautéed shrimp. (Unless everyone in your home eats it, it isn't a very social dish. And of course you can't leave the house until the next day.)

For lunch, I tend towards salads with mixed vegetables and fresh mozzarella or avocado. And bread, hopefully homemade.

What do you prepare when when you cook for one?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Six Types of (Birthday) Mozzarella

Wednesday is my 36th birthday. There, I said it. 36. A woman’s age is supposed to be a secret, but why? We should celebrate what we’ve done and what we have yet to experience.

I’ve always been quite taken by the number six. It started when I was six and thought it was a pretty cool age.

Six has treated me well – it has appeared in friends’ phone numbers, addresses, and other places where numbers show up. Since I’m pretty vague about my superstition, I also enjoy 2 (since 2x3 is 6, of course) and 3 (for similar reasons.)

By that very odd and illogical logic, this should be a great year.

And I look forward to a year with at least six types of mozzarella: fresh, smoked, braided, in tiny ciliegine balls, di bufala and burrata.

Mozzarella everywhere! A meal at 2Amy's Pizzeria 
(2 years ago)

If you're curious, last year I listed some of my (not-always-mozzarella) favorite foods.