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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pizza Margherita and More!

Probably the most famous food that ever came to America from Italy is pizza. In various forms, pizza has a long history dating back to the 6th Century B.C. But the style of pizza we know today originated in Naples in 1889. It’s inventor, Raffaele Esposito, a famous pizza chef at the time, called the special style "Pizza Margherita” after Queen Margherita of Italy for whom it was first made. The story goes that Esposito made the pizza with basil, mozzarella, and tomatoes in honor of the green, white, and red colors of the Italian flag.
Since then, the history of the pizza has been the cause for much debate. Some in China still claim erroneously that Marco Polo brought it back from his travels while purists in Italy believe there are only two true styles of pizza – “Marinara” and “Margherita.”
Pizza in Naples today is taken so seriously that there is a True Neapolitan Pizza Association (Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana) which sets down very specific rules as to how a true Neapolitan pizza must be made.
But, while it is similar in style, the original “Pizza Margherita” was not quite the pizza we know today. It is healthier and fresher. Being that pizzas originated so long ago, there are endless variations of its recipe. And even the three essential ingredients (dough, tomatoes, and cheese) come in numerous tastes and styles. So, instead of being the unwholesome, fast-food lunch that most people consider it, pizza can be suited to anyone’s specific taste and diet. Here is one of my favorite recipes, but for more get your copy of the bestselling book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking at

Pizza Margherita
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb. tomatoes, crushed
1/2 tsp. salt
Enough dough to make a pizza pie about 12" around and roughly 1/8 – ¼ inches thick (most bread machines have a pizza dough setting).
6 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
6 fresh basil leaves cut into julienne strips
extra virgin olive oil

1. Let olive oil, tomatoes, and salt marinate in bowl while making the dough.
2. Flatten dough out with hands and lightly rub with some olive oil. Remember to flatten the dough evenly and thinly to ensure it will rise appropriately
3. Turn the edges of the dough up slightly and top with tomatoes and mozzarella, then sprinkle some olive oil on top.
4. Preheat oven to 450F and bake on pizza stone (clay stone) for about 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly.
5. Top pizza with basil leaves after removing it from the oven.
6. Allow pizza to cool, then cut into slices and enjoy.

Experience Italy Cooking School & Villa Stay in Umbria Sept 23- Oct 6th. Join me at the villa in the hills of Umbrai

For more recipes and articles Check out Recipes & Articles

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Basic Art of Italian Cooking School in Italy.

I always say that cooking from The Basic Art of Italian Cooking is wonderful but when you cook in Italy you experience the recipes..Join me at the villa that houses the cooking school. Experience Italy for 7 days/6 nights at the villa with hands on cooking classes, vineyard tours, special sightseeing and La Dolce vita while relaxing at your choice of the villa or luxury suites at the Sismano Castle. We are only taking 12 participants with us! This program will be held Sept 23- Oct 6th so hurry and reserve your spot..

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Italian Food in the Movies

My favorite two subjects. I will be speaking on these two subjects today. Just think of it ..Food at an Italian family household is.....well something that can't be described unless you are part of an Italian the food is the star of the household meal.
So if you aren't part of an Italian family or have never eaten at a large Italian family alternative is to go to the movies...a film that prtrays an Italian or an Italian American family will almost always havea scene that incldues food as the star..
Here is part of my speech on Italian Food & the Cinema..
Join me at Whole Foods Markets Feb 18th- Marlton, NJ and Feb 19th at Philadelphia,Feb 26th, Princeton, NJ for a book signing and The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm cooking school classes. Call Sue at 215-660-5045 to register or email

And if you would really like to Experience Italy join me at the villa where The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm Cooking School is. We only open up the villa a few tiems a year for gusets. And you can enjoy the next with me..Sept 23-Oct 6th, includes 6 nights 7days stay at the villa, cooking classes, Local vineyard tours, local food producers, sightseeing and La Dolce Vita lounging around at the villa in the hills of Umbria. For more info email us at
Mangia Bene, Vivi Bene

Monday, February 16, 2009

Orvieto Classico-Wine of Popes & Princes

copyright 2009, Maria Liberati
I am always blogging about this wine..Orvieto Classico. Besides being fresh and crisp it reminds me of Orvieto and its' magnificent Cathedral. I can just stand in front of it outside and admire it for hours..such a work of art and the wine Orvieto Classico is a work of art..
Read more about Orvieto Classico at
Copyright, 2009, Maria Liberati, The Basic Art of Italian Cooking

Umbria, “the great heart of Italy”, is known for its white wine, especially its crown jewel, orvieto. This area accounts for 15% of Italy’s wine production (80% of which is white) even though it is the 4th smallest region in this country. White it only produces one third the amount of Tuscany, the results are nothing to scoff at.

Orvieto, “wine of the popes”, has a history as rich as its flavor. Popes, princes, and artists visiting from Rome and Florence, two of its neighboring cities, once sipped this abboccato, or semi-sweet wine. The medieval city of Perugia makes up the hills that surround the Umbrian capital city of Orvieto. The rolling hills of these medieval villages, with their tufa limestone and volcanic soil, along with the rainy climate with dry, sun-filled summers, contribute to the success of Orvieto’s grapes.

From the popes of the Middles Ages to more modern Italians of the 20th century, Orvieto has been the token dessert wine. This soft golden wine has formed its sweet nectar by having the grape skins stay in contact with the juice for a while before fermentation; lower grape yields; and of course more meticulous selection. Grapes were often stored in crates, barrels, or humid grottoes for long periods of time after the harvest, which was unlike many other wines.

Today’s crisp, peachy orvieto is dry but semi-sweet, referred to as orvieto abboccato. This has made a comeback as a dessert wine, although small amounts (less than 5%) of dolce (sweet) are produced in this region as well. This deep golden wine, nicknamed by Gabriele d’ Annunzio ( a famous Italian writer) as “the sun of Italy in a bottle”, is a full, mellow, slightly bitter drink best drunk in the year produced. Orvieto abboccato is best paired with liver, cheeses, spicy foods, and fruit salads. In case there aren’t enough reasons to drink it, it has also recently been discovered that the anthocyanins that this wine is comprised of have great antioxidant properties. A glass a day…

For more on wines and great recipes to go with them get your copy of the bestselling book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking at and chek out more at

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Buona San Valentino..

Happy San Valentino! Keep the spirit of this day alive by celebrating love..for everyone..
If you'd like to make a special dinner,here is my suggestion for a luscious seafood risotto with Orvieto classico
For a simple dessert-a scoop of chocolate or vanilla gelato or ice cream in a glass of champagne or Spumante..
See Valentine's Day around the world

Dark chocolate..(not milk chocolate)with at least 70% cocoa gives you the healthy benefits of eating chocolate -a delicious aphrodisiac.

Keep the dinner Simple & Sweet!!
Join me for two The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm Cooking school events at Whole Foods in Marlton, NJ on February 18th at 6 PM for a class on pasta nd their sauces and a book signing and/or Whole Foods in Philadelphia on February 19th at 6 PM for a book signing and cooking class on 'Cooking on A Budget" the Basic Art of Italian Cooking way..

If you'd like to hone your cooking skills in Italy stay at our villa in Umbria for 7 days, cook with me, visit local vineyards, artisan producing food purveyors, sightsee, and enjoy La Dolce Vita in the hills of Umbria! For more info email us at : to register or for more info.Dates are Sept 23-Oct 6th.Only 12 spots are available so hurry and reserve your place!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Gelato..oohh soo cold

Yes it is still winter and cold temps almost everywhere but what could be more delicious than a scoop of gelato. And more of an experience if you can have your scoop at one of the elegant coffee bars in the center of Rome,Italy...
Hers is a luscious way to combine the flavor of coffee in gelato and for more on gelato go to

Gelato Al Caffe
*2 cups cream
*2 cups coffee
*3/4 cup sugar
*pinch of salt

Place in a saucepan the cream, coffee and salt. Place over low heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat when it begins to boil.Add in sugar and let dissolve and mix in well.
Place mixture in the refrigerator. When cool place in ice cream or gelato maker and follow instructions.

Join me at The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm cooking school in Italy Sept 26th -October 3rd. Enjoy La Dolce Vita at the villa or the castle..
Enjoy 4 cooking classes, tours to local wineries and olive groves,sightseing and more all while relaxing at the villa or luxury suites at a nearby castle. For mroe info email us at
For more great recipes get your copy of the best selling book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking at
Mangia Bene, Vivi Bene,

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Passionate Red...

The color of Love -Red- is a must for any Valentine's Dinner Table. For a romantic dinner the color red...always wins! Red tinted glass, red handles on silverware,red place settings..and don't forget the red wine and red candles....

For more on wines of Venice:

Join Me Sunday, Feb 8th, 2 PM at the Whole Foods in Jenkintown,Pa for a book signing and Valentine's Day dinner cooking class. To register call the store at 215-481-0707 or email us at

For your copy of the best selling book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking go to

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Creamy Hot Cioccolata for a Valentine..

Evidence that chocolate existed over 1,000 yrs ago in what is now the United States has been found. Considered an aphrodisiac it is the sweet of choice for many for Valentine's Day.
Go to and for more on Valentine's Day...
Here is a sweet chocolate recipe to keep you and your sweet one warm and snuggling on Valentine's Day..
Creamy Hot Chocolate
*8 ounces dark, unsweetened chocolate
*1 1/2 cup cream or non fat non-dairy creamer
*1 cup milk
Place chocolate pieves in top of double boiler and melt, remove from heat. Place milk and cream over low heat and bring to a slow boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Drizzle melted chocolate on top and whisk in with a wire whisk. Serve hot in warmed cups immediately!

Join me this Sunday at Whole Foods Market in Jenkintown, Pa for a book signing and cooking class. The cooking class will be a 4 course authentic Italian style Valentine's Day dinner taken from The Basic Art of Italian Cooking school in Italy.
Regsitration is limited. To register email

Or join us in Italy at The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm cooking school for a walk of cooking classes, touring local vineyards and olive oil mills and sightseeing and living La Dolce Vita in the villa. Places limited to a group of 12 only. For more info email us at

For more great recipes get your copy of the bestselling book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking at

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Always be Open a Bottle of Wine in Orvieto..

One of my favorite winebars is in Orvieto (region of Umbria)-La Champagneria. You will find this in Piazza Marconi (principal piazza in Orvieto). Ask for GianLuca and Velia. GianLuca is very knowledgeable about wines and liqueurs from all over the world and the antipasti that Velia whips up to go with the drinks are heavenly. Grab a table outside under the stars (if not too cold out) and you will have a splendid view of the whole piazza. If you are not knowledgeable about wines, tell Gian Luca the taste you are looking for and he will make a perfect choice and tell you all about your beverage. Gian Luca is a true artist and is so passionate about being a sommelier that he told us that he always carries something that can open a bottle of wine in his backpocket- Gian Luca told me "you neer know when you will have the opporutnity to experience a great bottle of wine or champagne and you must always be ready. I even have one on my nightstand in my bedroom." A true artist..kind of like Stradivarius who used to sleep with is violin..
This is one of our stops for our The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm Cooking Shcool in Italy coming in fall 2009. email us at fpr more info and to will be an experience to remember..
Cooking School Dates:
The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm COoking School will be presenting a class on preparing a 4 course authentic Valentine's Day Italian dinner at Whole Foods Market in Jenkintown, Pa on Feb 8th at 2 PM. Join me for the class and a book signing before class. To register email us at

The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm cooking school in Italy will take place Sept 13-19th at Borgo Fontanile in Orvieto Italy. Join us for week of cooking classes with organic fresh produce from the farm, vineyard tours ,wine tastings, To register or for more info email us at

For more great recipes get your copy of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking at