Cooking with Love

with Gianna Conte (Jan)

Cooking with Love

with Gianna Conte (Jan)

December Newsletter

Christmas is coming......yay! The festivities in an Italian home were celebrated with food.....good food. My mom would start preparing for the holiday by soaking the dry cod (baccala) in water for three days.

Cartellate are fried cookies that were made weeks before. The cartellate were first fried and then dipped into a fig syrup (vino cotti). They lasted a long time, if they weren't eaten first.

Cartellate ready to be enjoyed.....

Dried cod, needs to be soaked in water for three days before cooking.

Baccala was used a few ways...

Baccala was cut up into pieces. It was dredged in flour and fried until golden. Drained on paper towels. Set aside to serve at dinner.

Another way mom made it was in a marinara sauce, seasoned with garlic, fresh parsley. It simmers in the marinara sauce and the served with mafalda pasta. Cheese is not served with fish, so mom would toast ground almonds with bread crumbs and top the pasta. So delicious....yummy!

Fried good 😍

Mafalda pasta is the best shape to enjoy the baccala sauce.

Onion pie made for lunch on Christmas Eve for the cooks.

Onion Pie

This onion pie is made with lots of cooked white onions, olive oil, black pitted olives, anchovies, some chopped tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper.

The dough is made with flour, olive oil, salt. It comes out so flakey, it just melts in your mouth.

Mom made this every Christmas. I used to watch her do her magic.

Ready for Christmas.

Christmas AlmondTorrone (Nougat)


1 lb of raw almonds

1 cup white sugar

1 fresh lemon cut in half, set aside

Colored sprinkles (optional)

Small amount of olive oil for greasing parchment paper on cookie sheet.



Spread the almonds on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 7-10 minutes. CAREFUL not to burn. Remove from oven. Set aside.

In heavy pot, add the sugar and make sure you don't answer the phone or leave it unattended. With a wooden spoon, stir the sugar on medium heat. Stir, stir, and stir some more until the sugar starts turning brown and starts to carmelize. It will turn liquidy and smooth. Add the toasted almonds all at once into the cooked caramel. Toss very well and quickly add to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and painted with olive oil. With two knives, mix the coated nuts until they become one large flat rectangle.

At this point after it cools a little, cut into bars or triangles. Or, you can separate into small mounds usingt two lemon halves, guide the almonds into small mounds. 

You may sprinkle tops with nonpareils or colored sprinkles.








This caramel gets extremely hot, please be careful not to burn yourself.