Thursday, April 30, 2009

You'll Love It; Don't Lose The Chance For Spaghetti

You'll kick yourself if you miss entering the giveaway for I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci. Tonight at midnight, Pacific Time (California time) is your last chance to enter the giveaway.

This may be Melucci's first book, but having spent her entire career in the publishing field and having insightful conversations and relationships with famous authors, she knows how to make us turn the next page, make us laugh and pull us in for secrets like a best girlfriend would. She shares her life, her loves, her cooking, and, yes, even recipes -- more than 60 of them.

Her publisher gave me permission to publish a few of them just for you, to tantalize your taste buds. You'll find dessert recipes in the book too, but today I am deviating slightly into the world of savory foods.

Best of luck to all on the giveaway, but if you are not one of the lucky 5 winners, I do highly recommend this book to you. Buy it -- you'll meet a new girlfriend.

First-Date Butterflies
2 cups (about 4 ounces) farfalle
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
Pinch red hot pepper flakes
1 (6-ounce) can tuna packed in olive oil (essential!): Progresso or any brand imported from Italy will do nicely, but I even use Bumble Bee’s version, and it's fine!
1 tablespoon capers
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons dry white wine
Splash olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
Freshly ground pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. This sauce is so quick and easy, you can make it while the pasta is cooking. When the water is boiling rapidly, add a large dose of salt and the pasta, then cover the pot until the water is boiling rapidly again. Uncover the pot and give it a few good stirs.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, add the onion and hot pepper, and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Open the can of tuna and drain as much of the oil as possible (I do this by pressing the disengaged top of the can against the tuna over the sink with as much force as I can muster). Add the tuna to the onions, then the capers, the salt, and the wine. Lower heat and cook until the pasta is ready.

Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the tuna, add a splash of olive oil, the chopped parsley, and a few grindings of black pepper.

Serves 2, or 1, with enough for lunch the next day.

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Dinner to Impress an Older Gentleman

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak
2 to 3 Pounds flank steak
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 garlic glove, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper

Place meat in a bowl or Ziploc bag with remaining ingredients and marinate for 30 minutes on the counter and as much as overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat broiler or grill. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Slice thinly.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

(Giulia served the steaks with Fried Red Potatoes)

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Lamb Burgers
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1/2 cup minced fresh mint
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine all ingredients, shape into patties, cook on a barbecue, under the broiler, or atop the stove for 5 to 7 minutes on each side. I don’t serve them with bread, I serve them with:

Orzo Salad with Feta
(Adapted from Gourmet magazine)
1/2 pound orzo
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
3/4 cup feta, crumbled
1/2 cup scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced

Cook the orzo according to the directions for pasta on page 19. Orzo is a quick-cooking pasta, so begin checking it at the 6-minute mark.

In a medium bowl, whisk the lemon juice, zest, olive oil, salt, and a few grindings of pepper. When the orzo is cooked, add it to the bowl and stir. Let it cool, then add the remaining ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4.

For dessert, they had Marcus’ Strawberry Shortcakes, but he didn't even share the recipe with her.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Still trying to impress that older gentleman, she made the following dinner.

Spaghettini in a White Truffle Oil Peignoir
1/2 Pound spaghettini (or thin spaghetti)
3 tablespoons white truffle oil
Freshly grated parmigiano
Freshly ground pepper

Cook spaghettini according to the directions for pasta on page 19. (Sorry you'll have to get the book!) Drain and return to pot, add truffle oil. Divide into two bowls, get back in bed, bring along the cheese and pepper.

Clothing optional.

Ineffectual Eggplant Parmigiana
3 large eggplants
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes (or whole if you feel like pureeing them yourself with a hand blender or in a food processor; I don’t)
1 tablespoon red wine
1 large pinch sugar
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano
1 cup grated mozzarella

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice the eggplants crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces, lay on a baking sheet, and brush both sides with 1/2 cup olive oil. Bake each side for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add chopped onion, and sauté until the onion is soft (about 5 to 7 minutes). Add oregano and stir, then add tomatoes; bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes, then add wine, sugar and basil.

While the sauce is cooking, chop walnuts and toast them in a small skillet over low heat, then add them to bread crumbs and mix them together with 1 teaspoon olive oil.

When the eggplants are browned on both sides, remove them from the oven and reduce heat to 375 degrees.

Add a little of the sauce to the bottom of a 9 by 9-inch baking dish (or whatever baking dish you have that will accommodate the eggplant and most of the sauce), then sprinkle a little parmigiano on top. Add a layer of eggplant followed by sauce, a sprinkling of mozzarella, a sprinkling of parmigiano, and continue until all the eggplant is used up.

Cover the top with the bread crumb—walnut mixture and bake until browned and bubbling, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Serves the 2 of you, plus the 3 other people you wish were there to help keep the conversation going.

Related Post on Joy Of Desserts:
Author Giulia Melucci invites us
to her New York Apartment.

Watch the video!

By Giulia Melucci

These recipes are also part of Favorite Ingredient Friday, hosted at Overwhelmed With Joy! Be sure to visit the other participants for more great recipes.


  1. Oooh, these recipes look great! Care to share them tomorrow for my Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange?

    I've entered your giveaway for this cookbook and I hope you draw my name! :)

    By the way, I have a beautiful, hard cover children's book that I'm giving away! Stop by before Saturday to enter for a chance to win!

  2. Overwhelmed!: Yes, I'd love to participate in your Favorite Ingredients Friday with these recipes. I just hope your readers won't be disappointed that they missed the giveaway. Of course they had fair warning at last week's FIF.

  3. She seems very witty! Will look for this book :)

  4. what great recipes thanks so much for sharing always looking great ones to add to my growing list

  5. What a great giveaway! hope I'm not too late.

  6. Oh my! So many wonderful recipes to choose from... I think the steak is first on my list. Thank you!


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