La Raccolta— Blog

La Raccolta — Blog of CASAGIOVE

The CASAGIOVE blog– a collection of stories, updates, recipes, special events and more! 

The freshest…

Un posto a tavola… A place at my table

late winter 2016

Favorite Dinners

The warm weather is on its way, but it’s not here yet… my body is still craving warm, hearty dishes.  My husband and boys are craving that too – especially after a long swim practice. These straight out of the oven dinners are just what they need. These two dishes are full of flavor, so simple to make and fill our home with the best smell!  I love that they fit in one pot and look so pretty on our table.  And the way the boys soak up the juices with a piece of crusty warm baguette really makes me smile.

Garlic Roasted Chicken

This recipe from Food Network is fantastic. It only requires a few ingredients and is ready in under an hour. The key is to use high quality chicken with skin-on and bone-in. So many recipes today use boneless, skinless breast which basically takes away all the flavor. So, I opt for the opposite and since Matthew and Bert prefer white meat, while Ben and I like dark meat, I use a combination of breast, leg and thigh meat. Also, I substitute white wine for the vinegar and water…and the sauce that results is delicious. 

Garlic Roasted Chicken about to go into the oven to finish cooking

Garlic-Roasted Chicken with Wine Reduction

This recipe is fantastic. It only requires a few ingredients and is ready in under an hour. This one pot dish is full of flavor, hearty and comforting. And the way the boys soak up the juices with a piece of crusty warm baguette really makes me smile.

Course Main Course
Servings 4 people
Author Adapted from Food Network by Patricia for CASAGIOVE


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
  • 4-5 pounds chicken breasts and thighs skin-on and bone-in
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 baguette sliced
  • 1 cup white wine


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook, skin-side down, until browned, about 10 minutes.

  2. Separate the heads of garlic into cloves but do not peel. Flip the chicken; add the garlic and rosemary to the skillet and transfer to the oven. Roast until the chicken is cooked through but still moist, approximately 30 more minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check done-ness.

  3. Remove chicken from skillet while you make sauce. Add the wine to the skillet and scrape up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Allow the wine to reduce Add the chicken back to the skillet and pour the sauce and garlic over the chicken. Serve with the baguette slices.

  4. You can squeeze the garlic out of its skin and spread on the chicken or bread.

Recipe Notes

© 2017 CASAGIOVE California,

Chicken with Tomatoes and Capers

I recently found this recipe and it became an instant favorite. The first time I made this, Bert and the boys walked in the door and immediately asked, “What smells so good? Wait… What are we having for dinner?” Again, I use high quality skin-on and bone-in chicken and mix in both white and dark meat. Also, once I add in the tomatoes, capers and tarragon (note: a little tarragon goes a long way), I put the the cast-iron pot of chicken in a 325 degree oven for about 45 minutes to finish cooking.

Recipe from NY Times

Chicken with Tomatoes and Capers ready to be served


Favorite Salad

Insalata di Arancia

I love oranges, especially blood oranges and the cara cara variety. Before they go out of season, I try to eat as many as I can. This refreshing salad highlights their sweetness and juiciness, while bringing out some of their savory qualities too. All I do is peel the orange and separate the sections (sometimes I cut the sections in half), add a little diced red onion, drizzle a high quality extra virgin olive oil (like ours!) over the top, and then sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt and a tiny bit of fresh tarragon. It’s incredibly tasty and so unique!

Orange Salad by Patricia for Casagiove

Orange Salad with red onion, tarragon, olive oil and salt


Insalata di Arancia

I love oranges, especially blood oranges and the cara cara variety. Before they go out of season, I try to eat as many as I can. This refreshing salad highlights their sweetness and juiciness, while bringing out some of their savory qualities too.
Course Salad
Author Patricia from CASAGIOVE


  • cara cara oranges
  • a little red onion diced
  • olive oil extra virgin
  • kosher salt to taste
  • a little tarragon chopped fine


  1. Peel the orange and separate the sections (sometimes I cut the sections in half). 

  2. Add a little diced red onion and drizzle a high quality extra virgin olive oil over the top.

  3. Lastly, season with kosher salt and a tiny bit of fresh tarragon.

Recipe Notes

© 2017 CASAGIOVE California,


Favorite Lunch Spot

Angelina’s Pizzeria in Dana Point

For Bert’s birthday, he requested lunch out so we planned a special date day. After having been to Angelina’s Pizzeria Napoletana recently with Alex and loving it, I knew it would be the perfect spot for lunch. Not only does it taste like you are in Napoli, but while you are there, you’ll also feel like you are in Napoli too. We ordered two pizzas to share, the Marinara with Sicilian oregano and San Marzano pomodoro sauce and the Diavola with Napoletana style salame, fior di latte mozzarella, San Marzano pomodoro sauce, basil and pepperoncini oil, along with two Morettis. So delicious!


Favorite New Product


I just finished my first jar of Pistacchiosa, a delightfully unique Sicilian pistachio spread. All it took was opening the jar and I was in love.

Pistacchiosa is a creamy spread made with pistachios and olive oil. Think of it like an Italian version of peanut butter, a really special peanut butter. It’s a little salty, with just a touch of sweet. It has a smooth texture, a lot of flavor and makes anything it’s added to better. It’s light enough to enjoy any time of the day, and just the right amount of decadent to make that time of day more special. My family and I have tried it on Bay’s English muffins for a perfect start to our day, topped sliced bananas with it for a satisfying snack and even used it as frosting on chocolate cupcakes for a simple, yet delicious dessert.

I have been thinking of more ways to use it as I prepare to buy my next jar… I can’t wait to spread some on top of my pancakes or on a slice of crusty baguette, to drizzle it over a freshly baked cake or a scoop of ice cream, to swirl it into my coffee, to bake it into cookies, and to serve is as a dip for sliced apples… the possibilities are endless!

Use Pistacchiosa Pistachio Spread as an alternative to icing on cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes with Pistacchiosa


Favorite New Resource

Here is a great resource to help you know what’s in season.  Using produce that is in season makes all the difference. 



Cin Cin!



my word for 2016 is present, CASAGIOVE

My word for 2016 is PRESENT

I am constantly learning from my students. They continue to inspire me long after our time in the classroom together. Recently, one of my former students shared something that prompted me to choose a word to define my new year. It seemed so simple — a word. Not a list of to do’s, not a complicated resolution, not even a list of don’ts… just a word to define my year. Simple. That’s all I needed to bite. I could surely come up with one word! It didn’t take long for my word to come to me:


My word for 2016 is present.


My first thought was to be present. As most Italian mammas, I tend to worry. Something that I try to fight against. I know worrying is destructive. When I am in the present, giving my full attention to the people and tasks in that moment, there is no room for worrying about the future, nor is there room for pining over the past. I am just left to do my best in that moment and that I can handle. Actually, what’s beautiful about that is that not only can I handle that, but I can actually enjoy it too! So, yes, the word present seemed just right for big ol’ “worry wort” me.


And at the same time, it’s not just about me being present, it’s also remembering that I am always in the presence of God. He is with me wherever I go and remembering that I am in His presence, gives me comfort and confidence in each moment. His faithfulness assures me that there isn’t anything to fear.


I continued to brainstorm… a present. When I live my life in the present, I can be a gift to others. Not only can I can be blessed by people and experiences but I can also BE a blessing to others. I can produce, remember, offer, serve, provide, deliver, surrender… I can incorporate all these aspects of the word present.


Even in Italian, the words kept flowing… il presente (the present) un presente (a gift), la presenza (presence), essere presente (to be present), presentarsi (to show up, present oneself)… there was so much meaning wrapped up in this one word and it connected to all parts of who I want to be. Applying it has become a beautiful way to start my new year. As I find my thoughts drifting to concerns of what will happen next, I simply remember my word and it brings me back to the present — to that one next thing that I can do in that moment and I am instantly thankful and able to take the next step that presents itself (no pun intended).


One way I can be intentional about being present is coming together for family dinners. Each night, we take time to meet at our table and to share so much more than food. We take time to be thankful for the food and each other, and as we enjoy each bite, we can’t help but share the events of our day. Sometimes, we are silly, other times we are more serious. We share problems and we solve them. We laugh. In that moment, we stop and we savor. It’s a beautiful thing.


So, what is your word? And what are the possibilities?  
I can’t wait to hear!
Preparing a beautiful, simple, Arugula Salad

Insalata — Formulating the perfect simple salad

Most of my summers as a young girl in Italy were spent at my grandparents’ house in Recale. Two of my cousins lived right around the corner and one day they took me for a walk to pick some wild greens and some oranges from the family garden.  Little did I know I was about to taste a little bit of heaven that day!

We returned with handfuls of a delicious type of green that looked and tasted similar to mâche, but this lettuce was heartier and that heartiness added a deliciousness that couldn’t be matched. After barely rinsing the leaves and patting them dry, we added a little extra virgin olive oil, salt, some sections of juicy oranges and tossed it all together. It is to this day one of the yummiest salads I have ever eaten. My mom calls the type of lettuce we picked “pierchicchelle” but I have been unable to find it in America.

I am a math teacher, so I naturally appreciate formulas and tend to think of basic formulas when I cook. I like to use the formula I gleaned that day with my cousins for many of my salads. To me, just a couple of really fresh yummy ingredients tossed together makes the perfect simple salad. Here are a few of our favorite combinations:


Mâche Salad, CASAGIOVE California mâche
sections of blood oranges with its juice
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt


Arugula Salad, CASAGIOVE California

shaved parmigiano reggiano
balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt

butter lettuce + radicchio

Butter lettuce & Radicchio Salad, CASAGIOVE California

butter lettuce
lemon juice
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
kosher salt

Whichever flavor combination you choose, the key is to use the best, highest-quality ingredients and this is particularly true of the extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Both will be served uncooked, so it’s important that they are rich and able to hold their own and enhance the other elements in your salad.

We did a lot of taste comparisons, and found what we feel to be the best intersection of price, flavor, and versatility. Both are available in:

CONDIRE – The Olive Oil and Vinegar Gift Set


What are your favorite simple salad combinations and meal pairings?  I’d love to hear!


Grazie for sharing!