Italian Eggs

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Not many would think of Italians as being big egg Eaters, but if you thought that, you’d be wrong. Italians probably eat more eggs than Americans, and they certainly have more ways to prepare them, especially in the form of the marvelous Italian Frittata. Italians eat Hard-Boiled Stuffed Egg at Wine Bars all over Italy, and they eat all kinds of Frittati mostly for lunch, but for dinner with a salad or as a late night snack as well. The fillings for Frittata are endless, with spinach, spaghetti, potato, and mushroom being most common.

One famous Italian Egg dish is Uovo en Purgatorio, a dish of a couple eggs cooked in spicy tomato sauce and serve over toasted Italian Bread.

But when it comes to Italian-Americans vs. our Italian brethren in Italy, Italian-Americans eat quite a bit more eggs than Italians in Italy. Where Italian-Americans beat out Italians in Italy in egg consumption is in the area of Egg Sandwiches, of which we just love and is our little secret, Italian-American Secret that is. American’s of other ethnic origins might not know of these tasty little sandwiches as we mostly eat them at home and the only Italian Egg Sandwich you are likely to see in an Italian-Deli is one of Sausage Pepper and Eggs. And you’re gonna have to go into a real heavy duty Italian neighborhood in Philly, Chicago, Brooklyn, and other parts of New York to find one, and even then you’re not gonna see many around.

My favorite Egg Sandwiches are the previously mention Sausage Pepper & Egg and one my dear Aunt Helen (born in Salerno) taught me way back when. It’s a sandwich that’s not that well known and is sort of a family secret. I’ve cooked it for my friends, who have all gone nuts for it, and love it so much that since we have a good number of dinner parties, my friends asked me to top crostini with this egg sandwich filling. Oh, “So what is it,” you want to know? Well, it’s quite simple, but supremely tasty. It’s spinach sautéed with butter and olive oil then mixed in with eggs (Scrambling) and top quality grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padana Cheese. The result is amazing. One day I went over to Aunt Helen’s house to pay a visit to her and my Uncle Frank. As always Aunt Helen asked me if I wanted to eat. Well, more of an order than a question. “Heck yeah,” Aunt Helen, not what I said, but in my mind. OK, is what I said to Aunt Helen, one of the greatest Italian home-cooks this country has ever seen, her food was marvelous. Aunt Helen’s Meatballs are my all-time favorites.

Anyway on this day, Aunt Helen gave me this sandwich. It was a Sandwich of Eggs scrambled with spinach and Parmigiano, and I was in Love at first bite. Dam, this sandwich was a revelation. I asked Aunt Helen how she made it, she told me and the rest is history. I made it for my friends who all went nuts for it as well, and I still make it to this very day, keeping my Aunt Helen’s memory alive, I always think of her and that day whenever I make it, Panino di Uovo e Spinaci. Yumm! You just gotta try one.

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Aunt Helen’s Panino di Uovo e Spinaci

So Frittata? They are quite a wonder this flat little Italian Omelette that can take on just about anything, the fillings that is. You can make them with an assortment of vegetables, with mushrooms, Spinach and Cheese, or my favorite, which I’ve never seen in Italy, I think I invented it, cause I’ve never seen anyone else make it, is Sausage & Peppers. Dam tasty.

Frittata are amazingly versatile. In Italy they are most often serve thin and whole for most typically lunch, with maybe a little salad on the side. Over here, we Italian Americans like to make them thicker and cut them in to wedges to snack on, stuff in sandwiches, and bring along on a road-trip or in a picnic basket with Salami, Cheese, Bread and Wine. Now that’s a good picnic basket.



by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke



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Uovo in Purgatorio





Olive Oil

8 Large Eggs, beaten and season with Salt & Pepper

4 links Italian Sweet Sausage

2 Red Bell Peppers, cleaned and cut in 1 inch strips

2 medium Onions, sliced in 1” slices

2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin

1 bunch Italian Parsley, washed and chopped rough

half cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana

  1.  Place sausage in a small pot and cook in low simmering water for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove sausages from water and cut in to 1” pieces.

3. Sauté sausages in a 10” non-stick pan with Olive Oil for about 6 minutes at medium heat until all surfaces of the sausage is nicely browned.

4. Remove sausage and keep on the side. Put the Bell Peppers in the same pan. Sauté over low heat for 10 minutes. Add onions and sauté for 8 minutes.

5.Add Sausages back to pan and continue cooking on low heat for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes.

6. Beat eggs in a large bowl with salt and pepper. Add grated cheese and most of the chopped parsley, reserving some of the parsley to sprinkle over the finished Frittata.

7.  Turn the heat up high and cook for 1 minute. Add the eggs and cook while constantly mixing the eggs with other ingredients.

8.  When most of the eggs have cooked but there is still some uncooked eggs on top, take the pan off the heat. Let cool a few minutes. Take a plate that’s larger than the diameter of the pan you’re cooking in. Place the plate over the pan, then flip over so the uncooked part of the Eggs is on top of the plate.

9.  Add olive oil to pan and turn heat up high for 1 minute. Slide the frittata back in to the pan with the raw egg side of the frittata going in to the hot pan. Turn heat down to low and cook for about 2-3 minutes until the eggs are completely cooked through. Cut into wedges and serve hot, or put into a picnic basket or your lunch box and enjoy whenever.









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Just Because








Sicilian Christmas Pizza


Panificio Graziano ..  Palermo Sicily
Sfincione (Cristmas Pizza) is a special treat served at The Feast of SanGiovanni in San Giovanni Sicily on Christmas Eve, new Years, and Good Friday .. Sfincione is one of Palermo’s most popular dishes along with Pane e Milza also known as Vastedda a sandiwhc made with Beef Spleen Ricotta & Caciocavallo Cheese. Sfincione is quite different from the hugely popular Neapolitan Pizza that everyone knows. Very few people know about real Scilian Pizza which is Sfincione and not the so-called Sicilian Pizza of America which like the real Sicilian Pizza Sfincione, American Sicilian Pizza is made in a pan and has a thick crust and is topped with tomato and mozzarella like Neapolitan Pizza .. Sfincione is topped with a breadcrumb topping that is made with onions sauteed with anchovies and has a little bit of grated Parmigiano in the breadcrumb mixture that is baked on top of the dough. Sficione is quite tasty and unique and if you ever have the chance to eat it, if you’re in Plaermo or other parts of Sicily or in one of the few places that makes it in the States, like Ben’s Pizzeria on Spring Street in Soho, New York, NY  … If you can’t find it, you might want to take the task of making it yourself and it would be quite a treat to eat in you no-meat Christmas Eve Feast whether you are makeing the Christmas Eve Feast of The 7 Fish, called La Vigilia, which is the Vigil of waiting for the Birth of The Baby Jesus .. And it doesn’t have to be Christmas for you to make it, in Palermo they enjoy all year roudn every day of the year where it’s served in Panfico (bakeries) or on the street as one of Palermo’s most popular strret foods, it’s absolutely awesome and a real special unique treat to eat. Bon Appetito e Mangia Bene Sempre …


  • 3 cups All-Purpose Flour 
  • 1 + 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons to 1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water*
  • Topping
  • 3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • olive oil, for sauteing
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper
  • 28-ounce can chopped or diced tomatoes
  • 3 or 4 anchovies, chopped, optional
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 + 1/2 cups dried bread crumbs, like Panko or seasoned Italian
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons oregano, divided

1. Combine all of the crust ingredients and mix and knead to make a smooth, soft dough, using a stand mixer, bread machine, or your hands. 

2. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and allow it to rise until puffy about 90 minutes. 

3. While the dough rises get your toppings ready. Fry the onions in a large skillet over medium heat with a few tablespoons of olive oil, sugar, and season with salt and pepper. Stir every five minutes until browned, about 25-30 minutes. 

4. Add in the tomatoes, anchovies and a teaspoon of oregano, simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool. 

5. Stir together the bread crumbs, oil and oregano, set aside. 

6. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet (a 13″ x 18″ half sheet pan) with non-stick spray. Drizzle it with olive oil, tilting the pan so the oil spreads out a bit. 

7. Gently deflate the risen dough, and stretch it into an oval in your hands. Put it on the baking sheet and gently knead and stretch it out to fit the pan. If you have a hard time stretching it leave it alone for five minutes and try again. 

8. Cover the dough, and let it rise again for about 90 minutes. 

9. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Uncover the dough and sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over top, then spread the tomato/onion sauce over top, sprinkle with Parmesan, then the bread crumbs. 

10. Bake the pizza for 35 minutes, or until the crust and crumbs are brown. Remove from the oven and let set for 5 minutes before slicing. To keep the crust crispy cut pizza in half or in quarters and place on a wire cooling rack. Slices can be cut with kitchen shears. Serve hot or cold. 

Real Sicilian Pizza
The FEAST of The 7 FISH
Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know
About The Italian Christmas Feast of The 7 Fish
But Were Afraid to Ask
by Daniel Bellino Z

Amazing Breakfast on Amalfi Coast

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My Breakfast at Villa Maria Agroturismo, Minori

“Yes the Breakfast was amazing and trully the best of my life. How can it not be, look where I was sitting.”  Perched hi atop the town of Minori on the beautiful Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy, “My God!” I had the most beautiful view imagineable on the terrazzo at Villa Maria Agroturismo looking down on the lovely seaside town of Minori with Ravello higher up the mountian and to the right. My breakfast, The BEst in The World. Well the best breakfast I’ve ever had; nice hot Coffee, Amalfi Lemon Cake, fresh Sfogliatelle, fresh fruit, toast and 10 different Homemade Jams made my Vincenzo and Maria with fruit from there farm. What could be better? Not much I tell you!

The World’s Best Breakfast? Yes, well maybe. Or maybe not, but for me, the best breakfast I’ve ever had in my life. I came across Villa Maria Agroturismo when I was watching vidoes of Sicily and The Amalfi Coast on Youtube one night. I was getting ready to go on my trip and I was just looking for inspritation and a way to psych myself for my upcomong vacation. I just happened upon this video made by David Rocco. David Rocco is a Celebrity Chef from Toronto and he had done a series of food & wine videos on Italy. This particular one that I came across was about this wonderful little agroturismo Lemon Grove Farm in Minaori Italy on The Amalfi Coast called Villa Maria Agroturismo. Well I loved the video and fell in love with this place and the people who run it, husband and wife team Vincenzo & Maria. Vincenzo tends to his farm which is mainly a wonderful Lemon farm, but Vincenzo also has a good number of Olive Trees to make olive oil, he has grapevines from which he gets grapes to make a wonderful red wine and a white as well, he grows all sorts of fruits and vegetables, he has chickens for eggs and meat, as well as pigs so he can make his own homemade Salami and Prosciutto.
Yes Vincenzo takes care of the farm and he also runs his little inn agrosturismo that has 6 lovely little rooms way up in the mountain top of Minori. They also have a nice little restauarnt that you eat, yes the world’s best breakfast and a marvelous 4 Course Dinner every night made my Maria with all the food made from products from their farm; Salami, Wine, Olive Oil, fruits and vegetbles, Pork Chops, Frittata (eggs) etc.. You’ll not get a better meal anywhere, I promise you.

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View of Minori From VILLA MARIA

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Lemon Grove, Villa Maria Agroturismo, Minori Italy

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Pacceri Frutta di Mare  .. My Lunch Vilal Maria, the day I arrived …


Vesteddi Sicilian Beef Spleen Sandwich New York

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Vasteddi Sandwich

Also Known as Vasteddi or Pane e Milza

Is a Specialty of Palermo, Sicily

Made of Beef Spleen w/ Ricotta & Caciocavllo Cheese

on a Sesame Seed Bun called Vastedda

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East Village .. NEW YORK NY

Vinny is on The Right (Sadly La Foccaceria Closed in 2010)

La Foccaceria? Oh where have you gonna? Well, i know. After more than 90 years in business, it was time to close the doors. And a sad day it was for thousands, including me. I first moved into the East Village in November 1982 .. I was working in another famed old New York Italian institution in The East Village, in John’s (Since 1908) on East 12th Street right around the block from La Foccaceria .. La Foccaceria was a great little Sicilian Specialties restaurant on 1st Avenue between East 11th and East 12th Streets on the east side of First Avenue .. That was  the first spot where they opened the doors in 1914 … I’m sorry to say, I never went to that one but to it’s (La Foccaceria) 2nd locatoion a couple blocks south on 1st Avenue between East 7th Street and St.  Marks Place (E. 8th Street) on the east side of the avenue. The new La Foccaceria, run by one Vinny Bondi was jsut one block from my apartment at the corner of Avenue A and St. Marks Place. In 1982 to the East Village was on an up-swing in popularity and improvement from a sort of sub-ghetto of The Lower East Side. the neighborhood which was strongly Eastern European; Ukranian and Polish, mixed with Hispanics, Italians, and people of Jewish persuasion. At this point in time many rental apartments were quite cheap and the neighborhood was attracting artists, so-called wannabe actors and musicians and young people who wanted to live in Manhattan. In the East Village they could find an apartment (though not the best physically) at reasonable rates for the time, I did. Through a friend I was able to procure a 2 bedroom apartment for a mere $400 a month. Quite a bargain. I shared the apartment with my good friend jay F. for the first year in that apartment. Once he moved out, I kept the apartment for myself.

   Hey, I’m getting off the beaten track. Yes back in 82 the East Village was an exciting and changing neighborhood, perfect for me and other young people just starting out in this great city of ours.

    I was only paying $400 rent and had money to spend eating out. i used to eat at a Ukrainian Diner Odessa on Avenue A and Leskos as well, 2 doors down from Odessa. there I could get plates of home-made Perogis, fresh Keilbasi and other solid for for cheap. In the East Village there were a few old-school Italian holdovers like; John’s were I was working as a waiter & Bartender at the time, Lanza’s (now over 100 Years old), De Roberta’s Italian Pastry (over 100 years old) Brunetta a great little Italian Restaruant I used to go to which was on the same block as the original La Foccaceria and there was the current La Foccaceria on 1st Ave near East 7th Street .. I went in to La Foccaceria one  day, I met Vinny and I loved it from the start. Vinny’s father and mother had started the place way back in 1914 … Vinny, I never asked his age, but he must have been in his late 60’s at the time (1983). La Foccaceria served an array of wonderful dishes; all the usual pastas like; Lasagna, Spaghetti & Meatballs, Spaghetti Vongole (Clam Sauce), and Sicilaian Maccheroni like; Pasta con Sardi and Lasagna Coccati, broken pieces of lasagna pasta baked with sausage,peas, tomato, and mozzarella. Vinny had great soups like Pasta Fagoli and the best Lentil & Escarole Soup around. He sold sandwiches like Chicken Parmigiano, Meatball Parm, Sausage & Peppers, and his most famous dish of all, the famed Vastedda Sandwich of Palermo. A Vastedda (Vastedde) Sandwich as we’ve said is a very famous sandwich that is a specialty in Palermo, is made with Beef Spleen (or Veal) with Ricoota and Cacciocavallo Cheese on a small Sesame Seeded Bun. It is quite wonderful and was a specialty of the house at Vinny’s La Foccaceria. I just loved it, and at $1.60 per, even in 1982 it was one of New York’s great prepared food bargains. The average price of a sandwich  back then was about $5.00, so at $1.60 per? Wow! I had tried most of the dishes at La Foccaceria in my first year eating there, but there was one that I loved by far most of all. Yes, the Vastedde. Most times I would have a Vastedde and a bowl of Vinny’s wonderful Lentil & escarole Soup, the best I have ever had. If it was Thursday or Saturday, the days that Vinny made Arancini (Sicilian Rice Balls) and Sfingione (True Sicilian Pizza), I might get a piece of Sfingione and Lentil & Escarole Soup, or Sfingione, a Vastedde, and Soup. Yeah! 

Boy did I love Vinny’s. There was nothing like those Vastedde and Vinny making them. Vinny had a special stattion at a counter up front of the place where he cut the cooked Beef Spleen, fry it in lard, cut the bun, cut some Cacciocavallo, he’d lay the spleen on the bun, add some Ricotta, and sprinkle the cut Cacciocavallo Cheese over the top. Yumm! And I’d have a little chat with Vinny as he made my Vastedde right before my eyes. When i ordered it, all I had to say to Vinny, was, “One with everything.” That meant everything; the spleen, Ricotta and Cacciocavallo. Some people would order them minus the spleen. Why? Amateurs.

Sadly, Vinny closed his Foccaceria a few years ago. it was a sad day for me, no more Vinny, no more La Foccaceria, no more Vastedde.

Ode to La Foccaceria

Ode to My Pal Vinny

Ode to My Beloved Vastedde, I Will Miss You All So



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Ferdinando’s Focacceria 

Union Avenue, Carrol gardens Brooklyn, New York

Ferdinadno’s is the Only Place to Get a Good Vasteddi Sandwich Left in New York

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Best Sunday Sauce Gravy Recipes Youtube


Eat Like Frank Sinatra


Frank Sinatra & Ava Gardner  …. “Mangia Bene”

Wanna Eat like the late great Frank Sinatra? Who wouldn’t? Frank was Sicilian-American and ate Sicilian food, but even more so he loved classic Italian-American Neapolitan Cusisine, with dishes like Clams Posillipo, Spaghetti Marinara, Eggplant Parmigiano, and Veal Milanese were Frank’s favvorite dishes, and his favorite restauarnt to eat these dishes at was the great Old-School Italian Red-Sauce Joint on West 56th Street in New York called Patsy’s .. Yes it was Frank’s favorite, and when in New York Frank also like to go to The 21 Club, PJ Clarke’s, Gilly’s, and Gino’s on Lexington Avenue …


Patsy’s  … 56th Street

FRANK SINATRA’S Favorite Restaurant

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One of FRANK’S Favorites


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Pounded Extra Thin

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Two of Frank’s Favorites

Together on One Plate

EGGPLANT PARMIGIANO & Spaghetti Marinara




Charle’s “Lucky” Lucciano

Was From Lercara Friddi Sicily

The Same Town as Sinatra’s Father Anthony Martino

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Another of FRANK’S Favorites !!!

Sammy Davis Jr. Looks On

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Another of Frank’s Favorites

PJ Clarke’s  .. 3rd Avenue .. NEW YORK, NY

Where Frank Downed Many a JACK DANIELS

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FRANK Eating a Scrambled Egg & Bacon Sandwich

Yes Another Favorite


In Daniel Bellino’s SUNDAY SAUCE



When Italian-Americans Cook


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by Daniel Bellino Z