From the course professor

20160902-img_0926Ciao! Mi chiamo Chiara De Santi e sono italiana. Hi! My name is Chiara De Santi and I am Italian. Born and raised in Italy, or more exactly, in Tuscany. Before moving to the U.S. in 2006, I was not able nor interested in cooking, although I have always been a gourmande. I can see you asking me now, when did I start my journey into cooking. Here you are: after I moved to the U.S., I began cooking as a way to preserve and reinforce my cultural identity – the Italian one – and for completing my personality. The first three years of my new life I was in Madison, Wisconsin, for graduate school. There I had to learn a new system of measurements. Americans have pounds, cups, and spoons; Italians have grams, kilos and liters (in the recipes, you still find references to grams… have fun figuring them out!). We use cups to drink and spoons to eat soup or stir sugar into an espresso. You can imagine what happened the first time I tried to bake muffins: instead of teaspoons, I used tablespoons because I had no idea of the meanings of tspoon and TBspoon. My first blueberry muffins tasted as salty as if I had emptied an entire jar! I felt quite ashamed while I was throwing them away in the garbage can. However, I did not give up: it was and it is a matter of learning! After the three Madisonian years, I moved to Fredonia, where I have refined my cooking and food explorations. Cooking healthy Italian and Mediterranean dishes for my friends is an act of love. I enjoy the meals at the table, talking and, most of all, without television! I very rarely go to restaurants because the joy of creating food at home is already a complete one and because cooking is fun, creativity, discovery, pleasure, joy, sharing, and, as I said, a true act of love.

Buon appetito!

From the Director of Dining Services for FSA at Fredonia

personal-imageHello! My name is Dean Messina I am the Director of Dining Services/Corporate Chef for the Faculty Student Association at SUNY Fredonia. I have worked as a foodservice professional for nearly 30 years; I started cooking when I was a young boy helping my mother make homemade pasta and Christmas cookies. I really never thought about going into the foodservice profession until I was out of high school. When I graduated high school I didn’t go directly to college, I worked odd jobs from being a field hand on my best friends families Muck farm (planting, cultivating and harvesting onions and potatoes) to short-order cooking at a small restaurant. After a year and a half of trying to find myself, my mother finally put her foot down and made me enroll in culinary school. That was the best advice I have ever received, so listen to your parents for the most part they’re usually right. 

I graduated from the branch campus of Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, South Carolina, which has since been merged with the branch campus of JWU in Charlotte, North Carolina. While attending JWU in Charleston I worked as a line cook at Wild Dunes Resort under French Master Chef Joel Gourie de Bourguignonne and many talented Sous Chefs. That experienced really molded my career; it gave me a chance to put into practice what I was being taught and learning in the classroom. Chef Joel was classically trained in French techniques but his cuisine style was Nouvelle, which is French in style but avoids the rich, heavy foods and emphasizes the freshness of ingredients and the presentation of the dishes. I loved it and still adhere to some of that style now. Besides crediting my Mother and Chef Joel having contributed to my culinary career my American-Italian Grandfather had some influence too. He was an Executive Chef and restaurateur for the majority of his adult life. So although I never worked with him directly, I think it was in my blood to go into the profession. The rest is history.



** Polenta **

1 stick of polenta
Pizza sauce (1/2 jar)
Mozzarella (shredded)

Slice polenta (1/4 of an inch or less) and put in the oven at 400 F for 20 minutes, turning the slices over half-time through. Then, add pizza sauce and shredded mozzarella on each slice. Put in the oven at 400 F until the mozzarella is melted.

** Ciambellone **

2 cups all-purpose flour
11 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup and 1/4 sugar
3 eggs
2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
5 oz whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional and interchangeable with other extracts)

Melt the butter and add the sugar to the butter until it forms a very homogeneous
and soft cream.
To the mix of butter and sugar, add the eggs one at the time, followed by the previously sifted flour together with the baking powder and soda. Finish with the vanilla extract and cold milk. Stir the batter until smooth.
Grease with butter (spray is preferable) a circular cake mold with a hole in the middle, and add the batter.
Put the cake in a pre-heated oven (roughly 355 F: it depends on your oven) for roughly
40 minutes.


** Veggie Cous Cous **couscous

1 box of Cous Cous
1 onion
1-2 zucchini, 1-2 peppers, 1-2 carrots
1-2 tomatoes, few beans
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

Chop up the onion and brown it in a pan with oil. Add chopped zucchini, peppers, carrots, beans, and tomatoes and cook them with some salt for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the Cous Cous following the directions on the box. Add the veggies on top of the Cous Cous and serve with some basil.


** Sweet Cous Cous with Figs, Oranges, and Dates **

1 box of Cous Cous
2 TBspoons of granulated sugar, 2 TBspoons of brown sugar, and 2 TBspoons of honey
half TBspoon of cinnamon
8 dried figs (chopped into cubes) and 8 pitted dates (chopped into cubes)
50 gr. raisins
50 gr. pine nuts and 50 gr. almonds (sliced)
juice squeezed from one orange and half a lemon; one peeled orange cut into cubes

ook the Cous Cous following the directions on the box (substituting salt instead of the granulated sugar) and set aside. In a pot, pour the juice squeezed from one orange and half a lemon; then, add the figs, the dates, the raisins, the cinnamon, the brown sugar and the honey. Cook them on a stove-top at medium until the syrup and the ingredients have reached a golden color. Add the peeled orange cut into cubes and continue cooking for a few minutes. Add the pine nuts and the almonds to the mix, stirring it into the Cous Cous.

Recipe adapted from the book Cucina siciliana: Sapori odori e fantasia di una grande tradizione by Enrico Alagna (Palermo: Nuova Ipsa Editore, 2007): p. 158.

** Risotto alla Milanese (also: Risotto allo Zafferano) **

1 box of rice (Arborio or Carnaroli)risso
1 onion
low sodium broth (vegetable, chicken or beef)
Parmesan (grated)

Chop up the onion and brown it in a pan with oil. Add the rice and brown it with the onion. Slowly add the broth making sure that the rice absorbs the broth (add more broth every time it is absorbed). This takes roughly 20 minutes. Five minutes prior to the end, add the saffron, then finish by adding the butter and the Parmesan.


** Pasta al pesto **

1 box of pasta
80 gr basil
50 gr Parmesan (grated)
30 gr Pecorino (grated)
30 gr pine nuts (finely chopped)
1 garlic clove (chopped)
150 gr EVOO

Wash the basil and let it dry. Chop it up in a mortar or using a  food processor. Add the other ingredients and finish by adding the oil until it has a paste-like consistency. Taste the pesto in case it needs salt. Stir the pesto into the pasta and serve.


** Rice Pie (Renaissance dish) **

Recipe from Platina’s On Right Pleasure and Good Health (Asheville, NC: Pegasus Press, 1999): pp. 161-162 (#34).

2 cups rice (Arborio)img_1901
4 cups milk (whole)
2 cups ricotta (from whole milk)
10 well-beaten egg whites
3/4 cup sugar (for a semisweet pie) OR 1 cup and half (for a sweet pie)
1 TBspoon rose water (or less)
2 pie crusts

Directions (directly excerpted from Platinas’ book)

“Spread rice which has been well cooked, either in milk or rich broth, on a board until the moisture is pressed out. Then mix into it, in a bowl, a little well-ground fresh cheese, ten well-beaten egg whites, and sugar, with rose water and half a cup of milk, if you wish. Cook everything that has been moistened in a pan, observing what we said for white pie; nevertheless, this requires less cheese than the above. […]”


14100416_10157329156955632_7997512139103360629_n** Gelato from the BIG DIPPER Ice Cream Parlor in Dukirk: Panna Cotta, Biscotti and Caffe’ **

Thank you, Terri and Carmen!


** Berlingozzo (Renaissance cake) **

Berlingozzo is a traditional cake that seems to date back to the 1400s, and it is from a village near Florence, Lamporecchio, which is mostly famous due to the brigidini cookies. Berlingozzo is a cake usually baked at Carnival time and more precisely for Mardi Gras.

2 eggs + 2 yolksscreen-shot-2016-10-15-at-8-48-44-pm
250 gr all-purpose flour AND 200 gr sugar
15 gr baking yeast
50 gr EVOO
zest of a lemon AND the juice from one orange
3/4 cup milk
colored sprinkle

Mix eggs, yolks and 150 gr of sugar until they are well mixed. Stir in the zest and the EVOO, continuing to mix it in with an electric mixer. Sift the flour and the yeast and add them to the mix, incorporating them by stirring the mixing utensil from bottom to top. Slowly add the milk to the batter. Grease a round form and add the batter. Cook in a preheated oven at 360F for 30 minutes. While the cake is baking in the oven, mix the orange juice in a pot with the remaining sugar (50 gr) and cook it until you will have a more liquid (not dense) syrup. Once the cake is ready, let it cool down for roughly 30 minutes, remove it from the form, and pour the syrup on top. Then add the sprinkles on the syrupy surface of the cake. Serve it once it has completely cooled down.


** Homemade pasta **

Recipe by Dean Messina®


** Tomato sauce (for pasta) **

EVOOScreen Shot 2016-10-15 at 8.50.01 PM.png
garlic (as much as you like)
tomato sauce: strained and chopped (we used the brand Pomi’)
parmesan and pecorino romano (grated and mixed)

Cut the garlic in pieces and saute it in the oil (EVOO) until golden brown. Add the tomato sauce, add salt, and cook for roughly thirty minutes. Add the sauce to the pasta (cooked in boiling and salted water) and finish with parmesan and pecorino mix. You can add fresh basil, too.

For an Italian(-American) perspective, check Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce!


** Homemade pizza dough **

330 gr water at normal temperaturescreen-shot-2016-11-03-at-12-00-10-pm
20 gr EVOO
10 gr sugar
15 gr fresh yeast
600 gr flour (all-purpose or bread flour)
10 gr salt

Add the ingredients following the order given above in a food processor bowl, such the one of a Kitchen Aid. Knead the ingredients for 2-3 minutes until they are well knead. Form a ball and let it rest covered in a bowl for 90 minutes far away from heat. Then, divide it in two parts and roll it with a rolling pin. Place it in a pan and add the toppings you like. Cook then the pizza in a pre-heated oven at 425 F until ready.


** Spaghetti all’amatriciana **Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Recipe adapted from:

We made some changes, such as using Turkey bacon and Pecorino Romano. Students learned to which extent a recipe might be adapted, changed, re-imagined based on the available ingredients. It was still a cultural and a learning experience.

** Frittata alla fiorentina (Florentine-style omelette) **

Recipe from: Pellegrino Artusi, Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well (Toronto, Buffalo, and London: University of Toronto Press, 2003): p. 132image1 (11).JPG

“Is there anyone who does not know how to make an omelette? Is there anyone in this world who has not in his life made some sort of omelette? All the same, it will not be a complete waste of time to say a few words on the subject.

It is not a good idea to beat the eggs excessively when making an omelette. Whirl them around in a soup bowl with a fork, and when you see the whites breaking up and blending with the yolks, stop. There are two kinds of omelette: simple, egg-only omelettes and those made with some additional ingredient. A simple omelette is one made ‘paper-thin,’ Florentine style, the sort one man is said to have rolled onto his fork all at once and swallowed in a single mouthful, after which he asked for a whole ream. Nonetheless the Florentine omelette turns out very tasty when prepared in excellent Tuscan olive oil also because it is cooked on one side only, which custom is preferable for almost all omelettes. When the underside has firmed up, flip the skillet over a platter which you are holding in your hand, and send to the table.”


** Fettuccine with meatballs **

Recipe by Dean Messina®image1-12


2 lbs ground beef
2 lbs ground pork
3 each large eggs, beaten
1 each white onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated; ½ cup breadcrumbs, seasoned; 1 pinch kosher salt; 1 pinch Pepper, black, fresh ground, to taste; 2 tsp fresh basil, chopped; ½ bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped finely


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Mix all ingredients together until incorporated. Do not over mix.
  3. Portion mixture into 40 ea. x 2 oz. balls.
  4. Bake in oven until internal temperature reaches 160° F.
  5. Remove from oven and let rest prior to putting in sauce.

Servings: 20; Yield: 40/2 oz. meatballs; Recipe Type: Beef

For the tomato sauce for fettuccine, see above (week eight).


The Futurist Cuisine! The recipes are from the Cookbook by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, The Futurist Cookbook, first published in 1932. Our edition is version translated into English (Penuin Classics, 2014).

** Mafarka Pudding (pp. 222-223) **

(formula by the Futurist Pasca d’Angelo)image1 (14).JPG

50 gr. coffee.
sugar to taste.
100 gr. rice.
2 eggs.
rind of fresh lemon.
50 gr. orange flower water.
1/2 litre milk.

Cook the coffee in the milk and sweeten to taste. Pour in the rice and cook it until very dry and al dente. Remove from the heat and when it is cold grate into it the peel of a lemon and stir in the orange flower water; pour into a mould and refrigerate. When icy cold serve withe fresh biscuits.

Buon appetito, and long live steel!

** Dates in Moonlight (pp. 198-199) **

(formula by the Futurist Dr Sirocofran)

35-40 very mature and sugary dates, 500 grams Roman ricotta. Stone the dates and mash them well (all the better if you can pass them through a sieve). Mix the pulp thus obtained with ricotta until you have a smooth poltiglia. Refrigerate for a few hours and served chilled.

** Spring Paradox (p. 198) **unnamed2

(formula by the Futurist Aeropainter Prampolini)

A big cylinder of plain ice cream has peeled bananas standing on top of it to look like palm
trees. Hide some hard-boiled eggs, with their yolks removed and filled with plum jam, among the bananas.

** Risotto Trinacria (p. 220) **image1-13

(formula by the Futurist Dr Vernazza)

Rice cooked in the normal way. Sauce prepared by frying a little onion and butter, to which you add a tiny bit of flaked white tuna and tomato. Season the risotto, mix in a few green olives and garnish with well-peeled mandarin segments.

** Divorced Eggs (p. 225) **

image2 (3).JPG(formula by the Futurist Giachino, proprietor of the Holy Palate)

Divide some hard-boiled eggs in half and remove the yolks intact. Put the yolks on a poltiglia of potatoes and the whites on a poltiglia of carrots.



Thanksgiving Celebration.

** Shiaffoni Stuffed With Ricotta, Zucchini and Prosciutto ** (by Jessica B. & Samantha D.)

Recipe from Everyday Italian Favorites cookbook (p. 86)

Ingredients for pasta:
Salt and Pepper to taste
7 oz. sciaffoni or rigatonidscn0201
3 tbsp. EVOO, plus more for pasta
7 oz. zucchini, finely diced
14 oz. fresh ricotta cheese
3 1/2 oz. prosciutto, finely diced
3/4 cup plus 2 1/2 tbsp. Grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus some for baking dish
Ingredients for the bechamel (sauce):
2 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour or Italian “00” flour
2 cups milk
Ground nutmeg to taste
Salt to taste

Make the pasta: Bring the large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until 2 minutes before the package instructions for al dente. Drain, rinse in cold water, and drain again. Mix with a bit of olive oil to prevent it from sticking together.
Heat the overnight to 375 degrees F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Cook the zucchini until it is crisp-tender. Let it cool, then mix it with the ricotta, prosciutto, and two thirds of the grated Parmigiano.

Make the bechamel sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan. To make a roux, add the flour and whisk butter and flour together for 3 to 4 minutes over low heat, until smooth. Heat the milk in a separate pan, then add to the roux, pouring it in a slow stream. Season with salt and nutmeg and continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the sauce is think and creamy. If the bechamel is too thick, add a bit of milk. If it is too thin, let it cook for a few additional minutes.
Use a pastry bad to pipe the filling into the schiaffoni/rigatoni. Grease a 9 by 13 inch baking fish and spread bechamel sauce over the bottom and sides. Fill it with pasta and pout the remaining bechamel on top. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano and a few silvers of butter.
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the surface is golden-brown.

** Lentils Soup ** (by Brianna C. & Chelsea M.)

Brianna wrote: I will try to make this recipe as easy to follow as possible, but since it was from my mom and has been passed down in my family, there are very few exact measurements so I will make them up as to how I usually do it! So for lentils you need:
dscn01971 onion, 3 medium chopped carrots, peeled and halved, 3 stalks of celery chopped and halved, 3 garlic cloves, 1 1/2 cup lentils rinsed, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1 container of vegetable broth or chicken broth paired with 2 cups water, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar (optional), 1 tbsp tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste
Cooking instructions:
1. Put olive oil in the bottom of a large pot
2. Add onion, celery and carrots (we added 2 little white potatoes to our dish) and simmer until onions are clear.
3. Stir in garlic for 30 seconds
4. Stir in paste and cook 1 minute
5. Add broth, water, lentils and thyme
6. Bring to a boil
7. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook 45 minutes
8. Once cooked, stir in salt, pepper and vinegar (it will be done once the lentils and vegetables are cooked through and soft)

** Chicken Parm Soup ** (by Melissa G., David E. & Leah M.)


  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ chunksdscn0199
  • 8 oz. penne
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded Parmesan
  • 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish


  1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender and golden, 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Stir in tomato paste and crushed red pepper flakes.
  2. Add diced tomatoes and chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add chicken and cook until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Add pasta and cook until al dente, 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Right before serving, mix in Parmesan and mozzarella until just melted and season generously with salt and pepper.
  5. Ladle into bowls and top with parsley.


** Rigatoni with Parmigiano Reggiano Cream ** (by Kathryn L. and Danielle K.)

img_7509 dscn0200


** Pasta alla Carbonara **


1 package of pancetta
5 eggs
grated Parmesan (and milk)
salt and pepper
1 package of pasta


In a large pan with olive oil covering the bottom put the pancetta cut in little pieces and let it become golden-light brown. Stir often. Separately, boil water with salt. Add pasta to water at the same time when pancetta is already golden-brown.While water is boiling and the pancetta is cooking, in a container beat eggs adding salt, pepper, some milk, and grated Parmesan. The consistence has to be quite dense. When pasta is ready, reheat again the pan with pancetta and stir in the pasta. When nicely mixed, add eggs mixture and stir rapidly for 2-3 minutes, or until all is well mixed and soft. If you like, you can sprinkle some fresh parsley over the pasta before serving.

Vegetarian version: shredded zucchini instead of pancetta.

** Nutella Blind Taste Test: Italian vs. American **

We repeated the Blind Taste Test!

With Nutella, we enjoyed Italian breakfast cookies (pictures below) and fette biscottate (the toasts!).



“Tortellacci” (Recipes by Dean Messina®)

Servings: 8

** Cheese Tortellini Filling **

Ingredients (cheese filling) 

1/2 cup ricotta cheese; 1/4 cup parmesan, grated; 2 Tbsp spinach, chopped; 1 each egg; 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper; 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg; EGG WASH: as needed; 1 each egg; 1/2 tsp water

Fresh pasta, see recipe


  1. In a bowl combine all ingredients, except for the pasta and egg wash.
  2. Using the fresh pasta recipe, roll out your dough either by hand or by machine. Cut into 3 or 4- inch rounds with a round cookie cutter. Place 1/4 teaspoon into the center of each round. Brush egg wash (on the bottom half of the round and fold over to seal. Fold back around your finger and turn down the edge to form a tortellini.
  3. In half a gallon of rapidly boiling salted water add the tortellini in batches. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they float to the surface. Remove to a strainer to drain.

Source (Alton Brown):

** Meat Tortellini Filling **

Ingredients (meat filling)

1/4 lb ground pork; 1/4 lb ground veal; 2 Tbsp dry white wine; 2 oz Mortadella, sliced; 2 oz Prosciutto, sliced; 1 each egg; 1/4 cup parmesan, grated; 1 pinch nutmeg, grated; EGG WASH: as needed; 1 each egg; ½ tsp water

Fresh pasta, see recipe


  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the pork and veal and cook over medium-heat for about 10 minutes. Add the wine, continuing to cook the meat for another 10 minutes. Remove the meat and its juice from the pan and mince in a food processor, along with the Mortadella and prosciutto. Mince the meat in a food processor along with the Mortadella and prosciutto.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine meat mixture with egg, cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix well. *Note: You can prepare the filling a day ahead and keep refrigerated.


** Spicy Sun Dried-Tomato Cream Sauce ** screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-10-29-56-am


1 Tbsp olive oil; 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped; 1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, chopped; 1 cup whipping cream; 7¼ oz jar roasted red peppers, drained, chopped; 1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper; 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped; 1 lb pasta, tortellini; 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add tomatoes, cream, red peppers and crushed red pepper; simmer over medium heat 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup basil and simmer 1 minute longer.
  2. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot. Add sauce, cheese and 1/2 cup basil and toss to coat. Add enough reserved cooking liquid to pasta to moisten if dry. Season with salt and pepper.



PRIMI: Pasta alla Carbonara (week 14) & Risottto alla Milanese (week 3)

SECONDO: Polpette con Salsa di Pomodoro (meatballs: week 11; tomato sauce: week 8)

DOLCI: Berlingozzo (week 7) & Torta di Riso Rinascimentale (week 5)

** Cornetti alla Nutella **

Baked Puff pastry dough filled with Nutella (follow the instructions to cook the pastry dough).

** Tiramisù **


Mascarpone (8 oz, 226 g); 3 egg yolks (might be substituted with egg mix); 3 TB sugar; Lady Fingers (1 box); Coffee (espresso); A bar of chocolate


 Stir sugar into the yolks until whitish and creamy, then add the mascarpone and stir it until you have a creamy, whipped batter. Meanwhile, prepare the espresso coffee (probably requires one cup). If it is too strong, dilute with water. Dip the Lady Fingers into the coffee (without soaking them) and form a layer across the bottom of the serving dish, then cover them with the mascarpone mix, and then grate the chocolate over it. Add another layer of Lady Fingers, mascarpone mix, and grated chocolate. On the top, you can add some meringues to complete it.