Vincent Scordo, from the notable, recently posted a fabulous recipe, Ciabatta Roll with Tomato, Basil, Santisi Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Fillets of Anchovies. He’s a big fan of Santisi — and we appreciate his recipe. Santisi hails from northeastern Sicily in the province of Messina, and it is well matched to the BIG flavor of this sandwich. Take a look at Scordo’s site to see the beer that he matched with this sandwich!

Some time ago, there was a small café in Newport, RI, called Cappuccino’s. It seemed that I enjoyed their pasta salad for days on end and eventually deconstructed it to develop a similar recipe. This has become a summertime favorite in my family. We’ve already made it twice this spring.

Cappuccino’s signature pasta was a curvy twist. My preference is Ruote (also known as Wagon Wheels). Another favorite is Festoni.  In a pinch, I’ll select Penne e Ziti Rigati or even Gnocchi Sardi.

As recipes go, this one lacking in specifics. A little more or a little less of each ingredient will be fine! You’ll be busy chopping so this is a great recipe when you have an extra pair of helping hands. My daughters are a big help for this recipe!

You’ll need to have a very large pasta bowl for this abundance of goodness!

1 package of Vicidomini Ruote Pasta, 500 grams

½ C + Sicilian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, such as Titone DOP Biologica, Gerbino Organic, or Santisi

½ – ¾ C DeCarlo Sun Kissed Tomatoes, or sliced sun dried tomatoes

1-2 C fresh broccoli flowerettes, microwaved for 2 minutes to bright green, with a nice bite

1 Red, Yellow, or Orange Bell Pepper, diced

½ C chopped olives, try Olives from our Savory Pantry or your favorites

1 C cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

½ C celery, chopped

2 scallions/green onions, chopped

½ – ¾ C canned garbanzo beans, drained

6 slices cooked bacon (or pancetta!), crumbled

¼ C basil leaves, slivered

1-2 fresh lemons, juiced (to taste)

Ravida Sea Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Other seasonings to taste

*Good Quality Mayo

Fill an 8-Qt pot with water and heat to boiling. Begin chopping vegetables! Add pasta. While pasta is cooking, microwave the broccoli and cook the bacon.  If you are really fast you can get all of the chopping done before the pasta has cooked.  Drain the pasta while still al dente and rinse to cool the pasta.

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients. Add more olive oil as needed. If you like your salad to be a bit creamy, stir in mayo. Chill before serving.

Mary and Luanne sharing olive oil tips.

College Classes on Olive Oil Tasting?

That would be our wish. How about a super nutrition class on why good food is better and worth the effort? Does anyone know of a liberal arts seminar on this?

Until then, we’re happy to help out with tastings at culinary programs, like this week’s session in the fabulous test kitchen in NOVA’s Culinary section of the Hospitality Department (Northern Virginia Community College). We’re practically neighbors, and we appreciate their interest in …!

We shared a tasting beginning with a bland, disappointing, fusty and rancid oil.

Then we moved on to select premium extra virgin olive oils from Liguria, Tuscany, Puglia, and Sicily:


Vittorio Cassini Classico


La Poderina Toscana Biologica, DOP Seggianese

Frantoio Franci: Villa Magra dei Franci and Olivastra Seggianese




Santisi Novello

Olio Verde Novello

Zisola DOP Monti Iblei Val Tellaro

We had fun noting the characteristics such as fruity, grassy, and herbaceous. The peppery burn (pizzicata) was well noted! The best question of the day: Where does the peppery sensation go when the great olive oil is on food?

Great ideas wth Santisi

Great ideas with Santisi Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Fresh and unfiltered Santisi from Sicily

Fresh Sicilian Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Santisi is an Olio2go favorite and we’d like to share their web commercial with you. You can order Santisi here.

Santisi Olive Oil – Sicily’s Golden Gift.

Vicidomini Eliche Cascarecce -- It's pasta!

Vicidomini Eliche Cascarecce -- It's pasta!

Around here we’re calling it “Vici”  (VEE-chee) — that’s the Vicidomini artisanal pasta from a family that’s been making pasta commercially since 1812. (Do I hear an overture?) Vicidomini comes to us from near Salerno in Campania — the land of buffalo mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes! No wonder they have the best pasta. It’s well priced at $6.50 per 500 gram bag. Try it with a local olive oil such as Gargiulo’s Syrenum DOP Penisola Sorrentina 2008 or a Sicilian, Santisi 2008.

Roasted Tomatoes

Roasted Tomatoes

The bounty of summer is upon us and each day features meals with  fresh produce and great olive oil from Olio2go!

–A lightly prepared tomato “sauce” with heirloom tomatoes, fresh garlic, and basil — and Frantoio di Sommaia.

–Small plum heirloom tomatoes roasted with a a splash of Principe di Mascio DOP Extra Virgin Olive Oil and dash of Canonica Verde’s Umbrian Spice Blend

Roasted vegetables: eggplant, zucchini, onion, sweet red peppers — all with Santisi Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Insalata Caprese with yellow tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella — swirled with Principe di Mascio

Enjoy all that summer has to offer!

Olio Verde al Limone

Olio Verde al Limone

More inspiration in a bottle!  The arrival of Olio Verde al Limone at Olio2go was enough to change our dinner plans.  Suddenly inspired by a fresh new flavor, the simplest cheese ravioli set the stage for this lemony goodness.  Each pasta bowl was filled with a few ravioli, a dollop of ricotta, a drizzle of Olio Verde lemon oil, and a dusting of freshly ground sea salt and pepper. More ethereal than a squeeze of lemon, “al Limone” brought forth clear flavors demonstrating that the simplest presentations can result in the most satisfying of meals.

With a salad of field greens (in a bowl rubbed with garlic and tossed with Santisi Novello (that 750 ml bottle lasts a long time!), Manicardi 12, and freshly ground salt and pepper). All this meal needed was a little plate of cookies and a bowl of fruit for dessert.