January 12, 2012

my three favorite cooking shows

Extra Virgin on the Cooking Channel

Extra Virgin is a sassy, fun show starring actress Debi Mazar and her husband, Gabriele Corcos who are a quirky combination of New York and Italian cultures. I love their energy and their love for each other and food. I've been a fan of Debi's for years, and Gabriele compliments her style so well. 

They cook simple Tuscan foods like pizza, biscotti, panzanella, bolognese sauce, pesto, roast chicken and tiramisu.  Their recipes are all natural and pretty easy to make. Don't have a pizza oven? Try cranking up your oven to 500 and cooking a fresh pizza.  I buy pizza dough at my local pizzeria, Massimo's. You won't be disappointed. 

Even if you don't cook, they are fun to watch, and who knows, they might inspire you to make a little bruschetta.  

Recipe courtesy Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar
Prep Time: 40 min, Inactive Prep Time: 3 hr 0 min


  • 3 cups brewed coffee, cooled
  • 2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 14 ounces savoiardi cookies (firm ladyfingers)
  • 4 ounces sugar, plus 2 tablespoons or more, for the coffee
  • 2 shots rum or Italian Marsala, optional
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup shaved dark chocolate, to garnish
  • Special equipment: Moka coffee pot that serves 12 (3 cups coffee)


First prepare the coffee using a Moka machine big enough to serve 12 (about 3 cups) pour it in a bowl and allow to cool off, add 2 tablespoons sugar or sweeten to taste.

Mix the egg yolks with 2 ounces sugar, and mix until you obtain a creamy light mixture. Work the mascarpone in a bowl using a wooden spoon, making sure you eliminate any lumps, then add the mascarpone to the sugar-egg mixture and continue to mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix the egg whites, pinch of salt, and the remaining 2 ounces sugar, until they reach a somewhat firm, but fluffy consistency, then add them to the mascarpone mixture. Stir in the rum, if using.

Dip the savoiardi cookies (firm ladyfingers) in the coffee, and one by one lay them flat into a 7 by 11 pyrex tray, making sure you do not soak the cookies, as you want to make sure they maintain their firmness. Once the first layer of cookies has been laid out, spread a layer of the mascarpone cream on top, and dust with 1 tablespoon cocoa powder.

Now, again, prepare another layer of coffee-dipped cookies, cream and cocoa powder. Garnish the top of the cake with the shaved dark chocolate.

Cover the tray with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 3 hours so the flavors can marry and the tiramisu can settle.

Serves 8
Cook's Note: Because you are working with raw eggs, it is mandatory that you use the freshest product you can find. Organic, free-range eggs are good enough, unless you have a neighbor with a chicken coup...in that case, get his!

Test the eggs by putting them in a bowl of water: if they fall to the bottom they are fresh and safe, if they come afloat they are ready to be tossed!  *RAW EGG WARNING


David Rocco's Dolce Vita on the Cooking Channel

David Rocco's show is set in Florence, Italy, which I love because every episode features a romantic snippet of Italian life.   He also travels to other regions and cooks up simple magic from their local traditions and foods. 

His food is simple, healthy and rustic.  Some of the recipes I've tried include the Caprese Salad, Grilled Radicchio, Mussels alla "my way", and Pumpkin Soup.  New recipes I'm dying to try are Pizza Pasta, made from left-over spaghetti, and Zia Orsola's Spinach Risotto.

One of the things I love about this type of cooking is that Italians are resourceful.  They use leftover bread to make meatballs, panzanella or bread pudding.  And they use leftover spaghetti to make a Pizza Pasta.  All you need to do is add eggs and parmesean cheese.  It's simple and brilliant!  Here's the recipe:

Pizza Pasta
Cook Time: 5 min Level: Easy Serves: 4 servings


  • 2 eggs
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 2/3 pound leftover spaghetti with sauce
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


In a bowl, beat eggs with freshly grated cheese before tossing with leftover spaghetti. Make sure the spaghetti is fully covered with the egg. Add a dash or two of salt, to taste, noting that the leftover spaghetti is already seasoned with salt.
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. To test oil temperature, drop a piece of spaghetti into the pan. If it sizzles upon contact, the oil is ready.
Pour the spaghetti mixture into the pan and flatten it out like a pancake. Fry for 2 minutes on high heat, or until golden brown.
To flip the pasta, cover the pan with a plate larger than the pan, and hold it covered. Flip the pan and plate together to transfer.


Two Fat Ladies on the Cooking Channel

Warning!  These "ladies" can be annoying to some, but I find them quite endearing.  My seven year old son and I love watching them together.  You can't ask for anything better than that!  So, now on to Clarissa and Jennifer (the one with the glasses). These two chubby British gals just know how to cook. 

They start and end every show arriving and departing on their vintage motor-cycle and side car. They smoke and joke, and it's fun to watch.  Their cooking style reminds me of Italian cooks in that their meals are usually simple and rustic, and they use fresh ingredients. 

They cook things like Coq au Vin, Welsh Lamb Pie, Tomato Summer Pudding and Stuffed Artichokes (recipe below).  It's comfort food British style.  The shows airing on the Cooking Channel are reruns.  Jennifer died in 1999, but their show doesn't seem dated and the food is still enticing .  

If you google their names and read their bios, you'll find they have lived very bawdy, interesting lives.  They've even been parodied on Saturday Night Live by Brendan Fraser and  Darryl Hammond!  Hysterical!

Stuffed Artichokes

Recipe courtesy Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright
Prep Time: 30 min  Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min  
  • 6 large globe artichokes
  • 3 ounces fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces Parmesan, freshly grated
  • 4 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers, cut in half
  • 2 ounces black olives, stoned and chopped
  • Salt
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 pint (1/2 cup) white wine


Remove the large outside leaves from the artichokes. Cut 1-inch off the top of the remaining leaves and scoop out the choke from the center of the artichoke.

Make the stuffing by mixing together the bread crumbs, onion, Parmesan, parsley, garlic, tomatoes, capers, olives, and salt and pepper to taste.and fill the center of the artichokes.

Cover the bottom of a heavy casserole, large enough to hold the artichokes comfortably, with olive oil. Heat until it is warm, then add the artichokes. Pour over the white wine, cover and simmer gently for about 1 hour.

Yield: 6 servings
ciao! fabiana


  1. OMG, I have serious catching up to do with the cooking chanel! Thank you for sharing the recipe too! xoxooo

  2. Hey girl! The blue shoes you want are from Netaporter.com. They're Chloe :-) xooxoxo


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