The 2014 Appetizer Wrap-Up!

December 29, 2014 Appetizer, Menu No Comments

Another year has come and gone, and I would like to thank each and every one of you for your continued support and interest in my food blog. It’s a really pleasure to be able to share my passion with you, and I look forward to sharing many more fun and exciting recipes in the upcoming year. I am also very excited to roll out new episodes of ‘A Little of This and Some of That’, the new podcast that I will be co-hosting with my friend, Carl Bussler. You can check out the podcast episodes right here on Also be sure to check out my food updates on Facebook (CucinaDomenico) and Twitter (@domskitchen).

To help wrap up 2014, I thought I would share with you some of my top appetizer dishes, which are all perfect for your New Years Eve parties. You can click on the links below to take you to the recipe. Cheers to 2015!



Mini Meatball Roll-Ups

Eggplant and White Bean Meatballs

Caprese Garlic Bread

Mini Inside-out Pizza

Cheesesteak Eggrolls


Macaroni and Cheese Muffins

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Warm Italian Crab Salad

Stuffed Olives

Sausage and Escarole Bites


Toasted Panettone with Amaretto-Mascarpone Whipped Cream

December 13, 2014 Dessert, Menu No Comments

The Christmas season in an Italian household would not be complete without having a loaf of panettone on hand. Whether it was given as a gift or purchased as a personal holiday indulgence, the cylindrical loaf of sweet Italian bread, loaded with dried fruits and raisins, is a seasonal treat that is as unique and enjoyable as its decorative cardboard packaging. There are a number of ways to enjoy panettone. Sliced fresh out of the box or lightly toasted with a pat of butter are both favorites of mine. There are also a number of trendy recipes popping up these days, such as panettone bread pudding and panettone French toast… and each one makes my mouth water just thinking about them.

Just last week, after putting up our Christmas tree, I had planned to serve up a panettone-inspired dessert. Not having enough time to assemble a bread pudding, I decided to go a simple yet elegant route. Knowing that the sweet taste of the bread would work well with the creaminess of mascarpone cheese, I decided to put together a quick mascarpone whipped cream. To add a little extra flavor to the cream, I simmered some amaretto to cook off the alcohol (to keep it kid-friendly), and folded the amaretto syrup into the whipped cream. I served it with slightly toasted panettone, and the combination was spectacular. The sweet, flavorful whipped cream served along side the toasted sweet bread made for a terrific, quick and easy holiday-inspired dessert. Be sure to keep this one in mind for your holiday get-togethers….and you can look forward to left-overs for breakfast the following day!

Toasted Panettone with Amaretto-Mascarpone Whipped Cream

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbspn sugar
1 tspn vanilla
1/4 cup amaretto
1 loaf panettone bread, sliced and lightly toasted
(using a toaster oven is preferred…if you don’t have a toaster oven, you can place the slices on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes at 350˚)

Simmer the amaretto over medium heat in a sauce pan for about 5-7 minutes, making sure that the liquid doesn’t evaporate. You will be able to smell the alcohol burning off (be careful when doing this, the smell of the simmering alcohol will be very strong). Once the alcohol is cooked off, set aside to cool. The liquid will thicken a bit to a light syrupy consistency.

Place the mascarpone cheese, cream, sugar, vanilla and amaretto into a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the cream thickens and is smooth.

When the panettone is toasted, place a slice on a plate and add a dollop of the whipped cream on the side. Lightly sprinkle the whipped cream with cinnamon. Serve and enjoy!





Pancetta Sage Herb Bread

December 4, 2014 Menu No Comments

Home-baked bread is always a nice offering for a dinner party, whether you are hosting or attending one with family or friends. A nice bottle of wine is an easy (and appreciated) fall-back, but when you present a loaf of home-baked bread, it shows that you put a little extra TLC into your thoughts. The recipe for the bread that I am sharing today is perfect for any upcoming holiday gathering, or for a nice Sunday family dinner. I’m using a basic Italian Herb Bread recipe that I found at, and am adding two of my favorite complementary ingredients….pancetta and fresh sage. The combination of the two add a delicious salty and savory punch to an already flavorful bread. No need to be intimidated if you don’t have much bread-making experience. This recipe is fairly simple and basic, and is a great introduction for those who would like to give bread-making a try.




Pancetta Sage Herb Bread

inspired by a recipe found at

4 oz diced pancetta (you can often find pre-diced packets in your grocery store)

3 tbspn fresh sage, finely chopped

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast 

1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C) 

1 tablespoon white sugar 

2 tablespoons olive oil 

1/2 teaspoons salt 

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 

1/2 teaspoon onion powder 

1/4 cup grated Romano cheese 

3 cups bread flour


Sauté chopped pancetta over medium heat until fat is rendered and it starts to brown. Remove from heat, set aside to cool.

Mix yeast, warm water, and white sugar together in a large bowl. Set aside for five minutes, or until mixture becomes foamy.

Stir olive oil, salt, pancetta, sage, garlic powder, onion powder, cheese, and 1-1/2 cups flour into the yeast mixture. Gradually mix in the remaining flour. Dough will be stiff.

Knead dough for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it is smooth and rubbery. Place in an oiled bowl, and turn to cover the surface of the dough with oil. Cover with a damp linen dish towel. Allow to rise for one hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Punch dough down to release all the air. Shape into a loaf. Place loaf on a greased cookie sheet, or into a greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Allow to rise until doubled in size, about a 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes. Remove loaf from pan, and let cool on wire racks for at least 15 minutes before slicing.



Recent Comments

  • Lynn Buono: Dear Dom, Thank you so much for such a well written thought...
  • Cristin: Making it this weekend.. Thanks Master Chef Dom...
  • Tom Casey: Can't wait for the book to come out Dom! I know it will be ...
  • MrChefToday: Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment ...
  • Dom: I'm very happy to hear that! Thank you for reaching out to m...
powered by