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My passions for Italian food and culture are carried forth in any number of ways. I visit every “Italian store” I can find (often comparing it to the store of my childhood, Bari Imports, with its barrels of baccala). If I find olive oil in the back corner of a gourmet store, I will engage the proprietor in a conversation about the oil. Sometimes I will reveal my role in the business.  Sometimes not. (Yesterday when visiting a store I found a 2009 (!) priced at $39.95 for 500 ml. I shudder to think how many remain in the back room).

In the guise of research, aka surfing the web at work, my passion for Italian food leads me to seek Italian recipes with a theme. Currently, that theme is Biscotti. No long ago we posted Nona’s recipe in a recent blog post. And we are currently enamored with these two recipes found on Serious Eats and Domenica Cooks.

The Lemon, Olive Oil, and Almond Biscotti recipe nicely references using a Sicilian Olive Oil. Full-flavored Sicilians such as Titone, Planeta, and Zisola Extra Virgin Olive Oil have the characteristics –a perfect match for these biscotti. (Titone was also recently featured in our blog post on Organic certification).  Must confess to making these with a Tuscan oil, Poggio Etrusco from Pamela Sheldon Johns’ Tuscan estate.

Rich, toasty, and crumbly, the lemon biscotti, provide for a fresh break with morning coffee or later, with tea!

Another fabulous choice: Domenica Marchetti’s Cheese Biscotti are perfect with a salumi platter or a light soup meal. I think they are divine with a rich tomato-based soup. Read the comments from others and you’ll soon be rushing off to buy her cookbooks. Hint: we have her pasta cookbook, The Glorious Pasta of Italy.

As always, use the best ingredients for the best results.

P.s. I’ve been munching on Mattei Biscotti di Prato while writing this post!

Over a dozen years ago, Francena captured the recipes she learned at her grandmother’s side and recorded them as a gift to future generations. Since that time, this charming and folksy cookbook has sold 10,000 copies.

Filled with family photos from the 1950s, you might think Francena was related to the Godfather—or my extended family. Written for the love of food and tradition, Francena’s recipes for Stuffed Mushrooms, Chicken Parmesan, or Breaded Veal will take you back to your own Nonna’s kitchen.

This will remind you of those wonderful church and community cookbooks.  It’s a family treasury of Francena’s family favorites. Perhaps your grandmother made braciole (with beef) in January, as mind did, or Cucuzza (fried zucchini) in August. These are not difficult recipes. These are friendly and achievable!

Our favorite quote: “Olive oil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, onions, and pasta are staple ingredients I always have on hand.”

You won’t find the Braided Easter Egg Bread, Panettone for Christmas, or Polenta for any season. This is a classic Italian family cookbook with recipes from the mid-century, packed with family heritage, and filled with such recipes as Frittata, Eggplant Parmesan, Manicotti, and Baked Ziti.

Each recipe page includes a beverage recommendation, usually wine, among them such as Merlot, Pino Grigio, Sangiovese, and Asti Spumanti!

Enjoy this tribute to a grandmother to as Francena has recorded for future generations.

We have been granted permission to share Francena’s Biscotti recipe with you. You can click on the recipe image and print the recipe.

You can purchase the book for $12.95 including postage and shipping (cash, check, or money order). Please contact Francena at this link.