Baking Bread: Episode #4 : Gnocco Fritto (Fried Dough)

Gnocco Fritto is a traditional fried dough from Emilia-Romagna region, served with Italian cured meats, cheeses and paired with Lambrusco wine.

Learn how to make Gnocco Fritto on my new cooking series : Baking Bread.

For the recipe, please visit

Pumpkin Fritters…Welcome Fall !!!

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Did you know that adding sparkling water to the batter makes the fritters lighter and crispier? So, taking advantage of Ferrarelle sparkling water I’ve been given, I made delicious fritters with the quintessential symbol of autumn : pumpkin. Ferrarelle is the sparkling water of my childhood, its distinctive green glass bottle with the red label was always on my grandma’s table. Ferrarelle water gushes from the Sorgenti di Riardo, near Naples and it has a unique taste and a natural effervescence. Enjoy every fritters with a sip of Ferrarelle water.

Buon Autunno e Buon Appetito!!!

A special thanks to Ferrarelle USA

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Recipe & Photo by Ale Gambini


2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 tsp baking powder

5 tbs granulated sugar

1 egg 1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 teaspoon orange grated peel

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 shot of cognac

1/2 cup sparkling water

canola oil, for frying

confectioners’ sugar, to dust


In a big bowl sift together flour and baking powder.

Add pumpkin puree, sugar, one egg, one egg yolk, vanilla extract, grated lemon peel and grated orange peel.

Stir with a wooden spoon until combined.

Add the cognac and the sparkling water and stir until well blended. The consistency of the batter should be not too firm and not too loosely.

In a large skillet heat the canola oil.

Allow the oil to reach the right temperature for deep-frying.

Dip a teaspoon into a glass of cool water than spoon a teaspoon of batter and drop it into the frying pan.

Let the fritters float into the oil until golden.

Drain the fritters with a slotted spoon and place them on a serving plate covered with paper towel.

Serve hot, sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.

Lemon Hazelnut Ciambellone

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I’ve always loved to bake Ciambelle, the traditional Italian cakes with the hole, and this one is a huge one so I’ll call it Ciambellone (big ciambella). This ciake has a delightful, airy texture with a citrus and nutty flavor. I used to enjoy a slice of this delicious treat for breakfast or afternoon tea. If stored in an air-tight container, it will last fresh for the whole week.

Enjoy as is or slightly coated with a thin layer of your favorite hazelnut spread.

Buon Appetito!!!

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Servings : 12

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 20 min.

Cook Time : 50 min.


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups potato starch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 cup organic granulated sugar
6 eggs, separated
1 cup canola oil
1 cup water
1 large organic lemon (juice and zest)
1/2 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
confectioners sugar, for dusting


Preheat oven at 350 F degrees.
Grease a 10 inch bundt cake pan with baking spray or butter and flour.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, the potato starch, the baking powder and set aside.
With a hand or stand mixer cream the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow and creamy.
Add half of the flour mixture, then one cup of canola oil and beat until incorporated.
Add the rest of the flour mixture, one cup of water, lemon juice, lemon zest and beat until well incorporated.
Whip the eggs whites at stiff peak.
Fold gently the whipped egg whites into the cake batter.
Pour into the cake pan.
Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts.
Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool completely , then sprinkle whit confectioners’ sugar.

Photo by Ale Gambini

Pink Grapefruit-Honey Caramelized Barramundi

Yes, I’m in love with this delicious fish and since I discovered it, I try to cook barramundi in every way. My very last creation is a healthy and savory dish with a tangy and sweet twist. I caramelized two fish filets with an organic, super juicy pink grapefruit, clover honey and a shot of cognac. Give it a try to this dish full of flavors and colors.

Pair this dish with Pinot Grigio or Napa Valley Chardonnay.

Buon Appetito!!!

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Servings : 2

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 10 min.

Cook Time : 15 min.

2 tablespoons clover honey
1 pink grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin olive Oil
2 barramundi filets
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
Pink Himalayan salt and black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh italian parsley , chopped
1 shot cognac or brandy

Squeeze out the juice from a pink grapefruit, set aside.
Dissolve honey using a tablespoon of grapefruit juice, set aside.
In a large skillet melt butter and Extra Virgin Olive Oil then add the barramundi filets. Sauté quickly then turn on the other side. Pour over the grapefruit juice, the honey and sprinkle with parsley; adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
Cook at medium heat until grapefruit and honey start to thicken.
Add the shot of cognac an let cook until caramelized.
Serve hot over a slice of grapefruit, drizzled with the grapefruit-honey glaze and sprinkled with fresh parsley.

Photo by Ale Gambini

Gelato Parmigiano Reggiano & Croccante

As Italian, I always thought that Gelato is one of the symbols of  Italian food in the world as well as the Parmigiano Reggiano DOP. This gelato flavor has an amazing creamy texture with a hint of salty aftertaste. The nut brittle (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and peanuts) add a sweet and crunchy twist to this delicious gelato flavor.

Enjoy the last days of summer…buon appetito!!!

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250 ml whole milk

175 ml heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

50 gr Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, grated

80 gr granulated sugar

20 gr nonfat dry milk

1/4 teaspoon guar gum

100 gr croccante (nut brittle), chopped


Chop the nut brittle into small pieces, set aside. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, dry milk and guar gum, set aside. In a medium sauce pan, heat milk, heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract. As soon as little bubbles form around the milk mixture, remove from heat and add the Parmigiano Reggiano. Stir vigorously until the Parmigiano dissolves into the milk mixture. With an immersion hand blender, whiz the milk and Parmigiano mixture gently adding in the sugar mixture. Whiz together all the ingredients until the dry ingredients are dissolved into the liquid ones. Pour the gelato mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, previously placed into an ice bath. Let cool completely, then remove the bowl from the ice bath and cover tightly with cling wrap. Put in the fridge for at least 4 hour. Pour the gelato mixture into the gelato machine and let churn for about 20 minutes. A couple of minutes before the gelato is ready, add the chopped nut brittle and churn briefly. Place the gelato into a container, sprinkle with some nut brittle. Move the gelato into the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving.

Photo by Ale Gambini