Since age 7, I have cooked and baked in my mother’s kitchen. Like most kids growing up in an Italian family, we are raised with a true passion for food and good company. We enjoy spending hours preparing a meal which will be devoured in about an hour because that’s what life is all about … making memories around a dinner table.
My parents came from Italy to the U.S. in the 1960s looking for a better life. They had both lived through World War II, and like most immigrants wanted something better for their children. My mother, Carmelina, was from Calabria, and my father, Michele, was from Sassinoro. They raised my brother and me in a household that was filled with family and friends. At the dinner table, there were always cousins around, aunts and uncles, neighbors and friends. Whoever wanted to stop by was welcome. There was no need to call first – there was always enough food and drink to go around.
We used simple ingredients, but each ingredient was important.
My mother’s sage advice: A dish is only as good as the quality of the ingredients in it.
My mother would take me shopping every Saturday with her sister – my Zia Rosina. We would start at the Italian deli where we would buy imported Italian products that were hard to find elsewhere, then we would end up at the Italian bakery for fresh bread crumbs and other hard-to-find ingredients.
I have fond memories of making bread, pasta, tomato sauce and many other Italian dishes with my mother – from scratch of course.
My hope is that this article will teach everyone how simple it is to cook and bake Italian and how great it would be to get the kids started in the kitchen at a young age so they understand how important it is to eat well and live well.
My inspiration comes from my parents, who taught me many important lessons in life; one important lesson is that memories are made at the dinner table with friends and family and when you have an opportunity to create a memory with friends and family – do it!
Tiramisu is an elegant Italian dessert that is easy and delicious, and so much fun to make with the kids. Best of all it requires no baking!
Yield: 12 servings
6 large pasteurized eggs
2 cups brewed espresso coffee
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup brandy
16 ounces mascarpone cheese
Optional: 1/4 cup cocoa powder to sprinkle on top.
1. In two large bowls, separate 6 egg yolks from whites. Combine egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of cooled espresso coffee, add the sugar and brandy and beat with a mixer 2-3 minutes. Add the mascarpone cheese and beat on high until well blended. Set aside.
2. In the other bowl, combine egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon of sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into Mascarpone mixture.
3. Pour prepared espresso coffee into a shallow bowl. Important – gently “kiss” the ladyfinger cookie to the coffee on each side – being sure not to immerse the ladyfinger in the coffee, as this will cause the cookie to be too soft. Put one layer of cookies in the bottom of a shallow pan and top with half the mascarpone mixture. Add another layer of cookies and end with the second half of the mascarpone mixture.
4. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.
Optional: Sift unsweetened cocoa powder on the top for decoration.
If you have a story similar to mine I would love to hear from you.
Let me know how the tiramisu turns out. Once you make it and see how easy it is, you’ll want to make it again and again! Buon appetito!
By Rosemaria Altieri
Follow Rosemaria on Instagram @RosemariaBeauty