Category Archives: Antipasti

Torta Pasqualina (Ligurian Easter Pie)


Torta Pasqualina is an Italian savory pie filled with chard or spinach, eggs and ricotta. This is one of Liguria’s iconic dishes  but is prepared throughout the country during the Easter celebrations. The original Pasqualina pie calls for 33 layers of thin dough to represent the 33 years of Jesus.

This is one of the recipes I’ve shared with my foodie students during the Primavera! cooking class at the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles. For this delicious savory pie, I’ve used the outstanding Di Stefano Cheese ricotta, because Italian cuisine is all about the freshest and finest ingredients.

Buona Pasqua …Happy Easter!

Photo by Maurizio “OttO” De Togni

Yields : 8 servings

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 20 min.

Cook Time : 30 min.



1 garlic clove

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 lb spinach, cooked and chopped

1 egg

10 oz ricotta cheese

½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano

salt and pepper, to taste

2 puff pastry frozen sheets, thawed

3 eggs

1 egg yolk, to brush



Preheat oven at 350 F degrees.

In a large skillet, sauté the garlic clove with butter until golden, then add the spinach and cook for a couple of minutes. Allow to cool.

In a medium bowl, mix together ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano, the spinach and 1 egg until well blended. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper if necessary.

Line a 9 inch pie pan with parchment paper.

Roll the thawed puff pastry on a slightly floured work surface then move the puff pastry into the pie pan, trim the excess of puff pastry from the edges with a knife, pinch the pastry with a fork.

Spread evenly the filling into the puff pastry.

With the back of a dinner spoon, make 3 marks into the filling then fill the marks with the eggs.

Lay over the other puff pastry sheet, pinch the edges to seal the pie.

Brush the puff pastry with one beaten egg yolk.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Allow to cool a bit in its pan before serving.


HOW TO Make Vegan Potato Roses

A few of days ago I bought by mistake a box of vegan puff pastry so I decided to prepare a vegan dish. I sliced the potato with the mandolin slicer, I prepared a spice mix blending sea salt, fresh rosemary and chimichurri blend and I shaped the puff pastry and potato slices into roses. I baked the roses in a muffin tin greased with vegan butter spread. For a non-vegan version these beautiful and yummy roses , use regular puff pastry, brush with a slightly beaten egg before baking and grease the muffin tin with melted unsalted butter.

Make these savory roses as appetizer for Valentine’s Day dinner.

Buon Appetito!

Photo by Ale Gambini –

Yields : 3 potato roses

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 15 min.

Cook Time : 35 min.


1 sheet vegan puff pastry, thawed

1 potato

1 tablespoon spice mix (chimichurri blend, rosemary, sea salt)

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

vegan butter spread, to grease the pan


Preheat oven at 350 F degrees.

Peel, wash, pat dry the potato then slice it with a mandolin slicer as thin as possible.

Meanwhile put spice mix and olive oil in a bowl and combine then add the potato slices to the mixture and blend all the ingredients.

On a floured work surface, slightly roll the thawed puff pastry .

Cut into three rectangles.

Lay the potato slices along the length of each puff pastry rectangles, leaving 1 inch of the pastry uncovered.

Fold the empty puff pastry over the potatoes and  roll into a spiral. Seal the roses by pinching the puff pastry.

Brush three cups of a muffin tin with vegan butter spread.

Place the potato roses in the tin.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Enjoy warm.




HOW TO Make Caprese Snowman

Everyone knows Caprese Salad, the simple Italian salad, made of mozzarella and tomato slices, fresh basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil , salt and pepper that resembles the Italian flag (green, white and red). In this episode of HOW TO I’ll turn a caprese salad into a super cute snowman, the perfect ANTIPASTO (appetizer) for the Christmas dinner or Holiday Celebrations.

Keep it always homemade, simple and delicious!

…and if you like it, please take a moment to LIKE, SHARE, and SUBSCRIBE.

Ale Gambini (Host Chef – Founder – Video Maker – Video Editor)
Produced by:

Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved.


HOW TO Make Pizzette

Raise your hand if you like Pizza! Today I’ll show you how to make Pizzette. Pizzette are mini-size pizzas made with puff pastry, tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and oregano. The perfect snack, finger-food and hors d’oeuvres for birthday parties, children’s parties, graduation parties and block parties.

Keep it always homemade, simple and delicious!

…and if you like it, please take a moment to LIKE, SHARE, and SUBSCRIBE.

Ale Gambini (Host Chef – Founder – Video Maker – Video Editor)
Produced by:
Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved.

A Queen In The Kitchen…Coming Soon!!!

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A Queen In The Kitchen: Nonna Fernanda’s Authentic Northern Italian Cuisine With A Twist Of Me

Ale Gambini
SuperOtto Publishing

Italian food writer Ale Gambini presents traditional Milanese and Northern Italian dishes, handed down from her beloved Nonna Fernanda. Nearly a century of authentic Italian recipes, accurately explained step by step, prepared using only the freshest, finest and healthiest ingredients that are native to the region of Lombardy and Northern Italy in general.

This book includes the staples of the Milanese cuisine :

Milanese risotto
Veal Ossobuco
Milk cardoon
Veal Milanese

Buon Appetito!

Coming Soon on  Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 3.43.27 PM

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Photo By Maurizio “OttO” De Togni – BreadLoveAndDreams

Parmigiano Reggiano Bertozzi Giveaway+Savory Panna Cotta


March 8th 2016 is a very special day to me, first of all because my wonderful daughter is turning 6, then we celebrate the International Women’s Day and it’s already time to announce the Easter Giveaway.

If you love the King of cheeses Parmigiano Reggiano as much as I do, don’t miss the opportunity to win 2 amazing Parmigiano Reggiano Bertozzi Gift Boxes sponsored by Bertozzi America. Each box contains:

  • 1 wedge Parmigiano Reggiano Solo di Bruna.
  • 1 wedge Parmigiano Reggiano Montagna.
  • 1 wedge Parmigiano Reggiano Stravecchio.
  • 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano flakes.
  • 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano sticks.
  • 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano freshly grated.
  • 1 Bertozzi tote bag.
  • 1 Bertozzi cheese knife.
  • 1 Bertozzi postcard signed by Carlo Alberto Bertozzi.

Parmigiano Reggiano Bertozzi is an outstanding Parmigiano Reggiano PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), produced in Emilia-Romgna (Italy). Bertozzi cows are grass-fed; and their milk from morning and evening milking is blended in a vat, untreated and unpasteurized.

Grated Parmigiano Reggiano PDO from Italy contains zero cellulose. 

When buying pre-packaged grated Parmigiano Reggiano always remember to look for the Consorzio of Parmigiano-Reggiano logo.

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To enter this giveaway, simply FOLLOW  @breadloveanddreams and  @bertozziamerica on Instagram. LIKE  Bread Love And Dreams and  Bertozzi America on Facebook.

For more chances to win, share on your Facebook timeline and let me know.

Winners will be randomly selected and announced on March 26 2016.

Winners will be notified via email.

Prizes will be shipped only in the United States (Alaska and Hawaii not included).

You must be 21 years old to qualify for this prize.

Giveaway sponsored by Bertozzi America

Need an idea for a special Easter Sunday lunch? Check my Savory Panna Cotta made with Parmigiano Reggiano PDO…simple, homemade and delicious!

Recipe & Photo By Ale Gambini – BreadLoveAndDreams


PREP TIME : 15 min. + 4 hours refrigeration


1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano Bertozzi, freshly grated
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch ground pepper
1/2 cup tomato sauce, canned
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 garlic clove
2 basil leaves, finely chopped
a dash of sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
 Parmigiano Reggiano Bertozzi flakes and fresh basil leaves, to garnish
Place 2 tablespoons of cold water in a medium bowl, sprinkle the gelatin  over it. Allow to stand for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile heat the cream until starts to boil,  then reduce the heat and whisk in the Parmigiano Reggiano. Add pepper and nutmeg and combine. Remove from heat.
Pour the cream mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
Pass the mixture through a strainer to eliminate bubbles.
Lightly brush with canola oil 4 medium or 6 small molds.
Pour the mixture into the molds and allow to cool.
Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before unmolding.
Prepare the tomato coulis (vegetable puree, used as a sauce) heating oil and garlic in a skillet until golden, then discard the garlic and add  tomato sauce, fresh basil, a dash of sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Cook  until the sauce starts to thicken, remove from heat and allow to cool.
Unmold  the panna cotta over a plate, serve accompanied with a tablespoon of tomato coulis and garnished with Parmigiano Reggiano flakes and fresh basil.

Ham & Cheese Potato Superballs


Let’s start a new year of blogging with a savory, super easy recipe : Polpette di Patate AKA Potato Superballs. I’ve always been a huge fan of this amazing starchy tuberous, so healthy and versatile. I filled the superballs with two of my favorite Italian products : Prosciutto Cotto (Italian Cooked Ham) and Provolone Dolce cheese.

Prosciutto cotto, literally cooked ham, is the most popular deli product in Italy. Prosciutto cotto is very different from the American ham. The skin is left on top to keep in moisture and flavors. The cooking process is very slow in order to create a unique texture. Prosciutto cotto is not smoked or sweetened and it’s very low in sodium. To enjoy the prosciutto cotto at its best is very important to have it sliced properly. The deli clerk MUST remove the rind of the part he will be slice and leave the white fat that add an amazing flavor. Prosciutto cotto needs to be thinly sliced with a deli slicer.

Provolone cheese it’s a semi-hard cheese from cow’s milk widely produced in the Po Valley (Lombardy and Veneto regions). It comes in two forms : Provolone Dolce, 2-3 months aged, pale yellow color and mild taste. Provolone Piccante, aged more than four months and with a sharper taste.

Enjoy the potato superballs as an appetizer, side dish or shape them into  smaller balls for your kid’s lunch box 😉

Buon Appetito!

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Recipe & Photo by Ale Gambini –


Servings : 6 

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 30 minutes

Cook Time : 5 minutes



2 large potatoes

½ tablespoon coarse salt

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated

1 egg yolk

1 pinch ground nutmeg

salt and pepper, to taste

3 slices Prosciutto Cotto (Italian cooked ham), thinly sliced

3 slices Provolone cheese

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup water

bread crumbs, for coating

canola oil, for frying




Peel, wash and place the potatoes into a medium saucepan.

Add cold water until it covered. Add ½ tablespoon of coarse salt and bring to boil. Cook for about 20 minutes or until tender.

Drain the potatoes then mesh with a potato ricer.

Add butter, parmesan cheese, egg yolk, ground nutmeg, salt, pepper and combine all the ingredients until smooth.

Prepare the filling chopping ham and provolone cheese into small pieces, then combine them.

Spoon 2 tablespoons of mashed potatoes into the palm of your hand, fill the center with 1 teaspoon of filling then shape into baseball-sized balls.

In a soup plate, prepare the batter mixing flour and water. The consistency should be just thick.

Drench each balls briefly into the batter, then dip into the bread crumbs making sure to coat them completely.

Lay the balls into a large skillet of abundant hot oil and fry until golden.

Drain over a plate lined with paper towel.

Allow to cool a couple of minutes before serving.