Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"My Italian Grandmother Blog":Old Fashioned Italian Cooking

Learn How To Cook Traditional Italian Dishes From An Italian Grandmother Named Emilia

This post is in celebration of all the wonderful Italian Grandma's who have shared their delicious Italian recipes with family and friends. I stumbled about this delightful blog called "My Italian Grandmother" with a tag line which reads "Recipes inspired by my Italian grandmother. And I added some nostalgic photos from the fabulous collection at Rolling Hills Vintage .

Michele A Young Italian Cook Who Grew Up In Brooklyn

The gal who started this popular blog is named Michele, a twenty-something young woman who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, now living in New Jersey. But she is hardly a Jersey girl (as we see on T.V.) ......she is channeling her Italian grandmother Emilia who she called Nanny, who lived with the family until the "ripe age of 98".

Meet Grandma Emilia

Nanny (Grandma Emilia never wrote down her recipes and never measured anything, according to Michele who tell the story of her blog in her "About Me" section. So without any documentation of the recipes, Michele is re-interpreting the old fashioned Italian dishes with the help of her family. Often Michele experiments with a recipe in a cookbook, adding and changing accordingly with memories of how Nanny's approached the dish.

An Italian Cooking Blog With Music And Nanny's Love

When you open to the blog home page, Italian music is playing and you are immediately introduced to recipes and photos which will encourage you to start cooking or start eating or both. The photography on this blog is bold, clear and easy to follow.
Spatchcocked Roast Chicken

Today's post on "My Italian Grandmother Blog" is "Spatchcocked Roast Chicken" . Michele writes: "Spatchcocked. I hate that word. I've read a bunch of posts about this method of cooking and a lot of people said that they love this word and think it's funny. For me it's a mouthful and I'd rather say butterflied. In essence it's the same thing. The backbone is removed and the breast bone is broken so the chicken lays flat. This results in an even cooked, juicy and golden brown bird all over! No more flabby skin on the thighs! "

Remembering Warmly "My Italian Grandmother"

What is delightful about Michele's blog is that tells the story of growing up with Grandma Emilia (Nanny). Michele warmly remembers her Grandma and as she is cooking and later writing about her experience you hear the voice of a young women trying to bring back grandma in the best way she can...through her journey as a young Italian cook.

Making Homemade Manicotti, Ravioli,
Cavatelli and Tagliolini.

Michele writes: "Growing up Nanny made homemade, Manicotti, ravioli, Cavatelli and Tagliolini. She made them all by rolling out the dough by hand. I remember when she made the Manicotti and Ravioli it seemed like it would take forever before we would start cutting (my favorite part because I could help). Nanny always said it had to be thin enough for you to see through it. In the past few years I have gained more knowledge about cooking and realized that what Nanny made were not really Manicotti but cannelloni. Manicotti are crepes made from a very thin batter and cooked in a pan on the stove. Since I'm baking challenged and am not very good with a rolling pin this seemed like something I could do. I never thought I would be able to say I made homemade Manicotti but I did !"

Homemade Manicotti (Adapted From Rao's Cookbook: Over 100 Years of Italian Home Cooking by Frank Pellegrino). Michele writes: This recipe can be found on page 55. I only used the recipe for the crepe part. For the filling, I just went with what I know.
Michele writes:" I made some small changes to the recipe. I used an 8 inch nonstick omelette pan and used much less batter than stated in the recipe. Instead of oil I used cooking spray and cooked them slightly longer than 30 seconds (at least it felt like longer). I got over 20 crepes which was probably because my pan was smaller than a crepe pan but the size was perfect in my opinion"


Serves 6


2 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Approx. 2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used cooking spray)


1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. When well combined, whisk in flour until smooth. Set aside to rest for about 1 hour.

2. Heat a nonstick crepe pan over medium-high heat. Lightly brush it with vegetable oil and return to heat. Pour a little less than 1/2 cup of batter into the pan, swirling to cover the bottom evenly. Cook for about 30 seconds or until it is just set and the bottom is lightly browned. Turn the crepe over carefully with a spatula or a fork. Cook for an additional 15 seconds or until set. Remove from pan and place on a piece of waxed paper. Continue cooking and stacking crepes until you have at least 14. The extra 2 will allow for breakage.


I don't measure the cheese for the filling. I just taste it before I add the egg and add more cheese as needed.

2 lb container of part skim Ricotta
1 lb part skim Mozzarella block (of course fresh mozzarella can be used)
Locatelli Romano cheese approx 1 cup
parsley fakes
1 large egg
salt and pepper to taste
Marinara sauce, prepared (I used 2-28 oz cans crushed tomatoes and had enough for two batches of crepes)

1. Mix ricotta, Romano cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Taste. Adjust seasoning according to taste and then stir in one egg.

2. Slice mozzarella into matchstick size pieces.

3. Lay crepe on flat surface. Place about 1 tablespoon of ricotta (more if larger crepe) into the center of crepe and spread out to edges. Add mozzarella to center. (If you cut them into long sticks which I did with second batch you only need one stick). Fold one edge halfway over and then fold the other side to form a packet. Don't roll them or they will be too thick. They should be sort of flat.

4. Spread a layer of sauce onto a baking pan. Lay Manicotti side by side and arrange Manicotti until the pan is filled. Add another layer of sauce on top and sprinkle with Romano cheese.

5. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes and sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted.

Manicotti can be frozen two way. Arrange rolled crepes on a wax paper lined pan and freeze for about 1 hour. Take out of freezer and put the frozen Manicotti in a freezer bag between layers of wax paper. Store in freezer until ready to use. You could also prepare with sauce and place the whole pan in the freezer if you have the space. Let defrost and then bake when ready.

Kitchen collectible photos courtesy of

Visit My Italian Grandmother

C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of I Antique Online an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro cafĂ©.To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link: C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff Email me at dianne@cdiannezweig.comVisit my website, CDianneZweig.comDianne is a member of:The American Society of Journalists and AuthorsThe Society of Professional Journalists


  1. I think we are going to have to have Italian for dinner this evening. Thanks!

  2. Thank you so much for this article! I'm honored that you featured my blog!

  3. Thanks for sending us in Michele's direction. I just visited her blog, and now I am sooo hungry...