Ribollita — Italian for “reboiled” — is a hearty Tuscan vegetable and bread soup with peasant origins.  Its name comes from the practical reheating of yesterday’s minestrone soup, throwing in whatever leftover vegetables and stale bread you had lying around, and reboiling the whole concoction. I’m happy just to start from scratch and wind up with the same lovely, warm, comforting soup, since leftovers are so rare with four teenage boys eating us out of house and home!

If I had to pick my favorite cuisine, it would be rustic Italian or French. Nothing fancy, just simple, traditional, slow-cooked, handcrafted dishes that you know are made with a whole lotta love. Ribollita is a perfect example…

What better way to kick off a festive holiday celebration than with a lovely cocktail and some fabulous hors d’oeuvres? Whether you’re doing the entertaining or you’ve been assigned an hors d’oeuvres to bring somewhere, I’ve got a few ideas beyond the obvious crudite or cheese platter.

1. First up is classic Stuffed Mushrooms. Inspired by Giada DiLaurentiis’ recipe, this is just nice, big mushroom caps filled with an herbed bread crumb stuffing. It’s a cinch to whip up, and you can get em all stuffed in advance and just pop the pan in the oven for 25 minutes before serving. Sometimes the oldies but goodies are still the best!

2. My next idea is even easier:…

Escarole, Sausage & White Bean Stew

Looking for a comforting, hearty, winter dish that you can pull together pretty quickly? Look no further! This simple one-pot wonder can be enjoyed as either a delicious soup or a belly-warming stew, depending on how long you reduce the broth. And leftovers—if there end up being any—are a most welcome sight and reheat easily over a low flame.

The recipe comes from a favorite old cookbook called American Brasserie by Chicago chefs Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand. With my lifelong penchant for collecting cookbooks, my library has long since outgrown a shelf in my kitchen, and I have to be selective about which books make it to the shelf of honor and which live a…

California BLTs

Life is nothing short of hectic these days with four teenagers, all on different afternoon and evening schedules. There’s baseball training, newspaper layout sessions, driver’s ed classes, sports broadcasts, Spanish tutoring, yearbook meetings, study sessions, alumni college interviews, guitar lessons, piano lessons, bass lessons—well, you get the idea. Some nights, it’s like Grand Central Station with ridiculously staggered arrivals and departures.

On those crazy nights, instead of wasting time cooking something that will be shoveled down on the fly between activities, I often put together the components for BLTs (or in this case, California BLTs!) and let the troops assemble themselves as time allows. They’re easy and satisfying, and the cool secret is cooking the…

Shrimp in Spiced Phyllo with Tomato Chutney

I’m a sucker for glamorous hors d’oeuvres. Pour me a lovely glass of wine or champagne, pass a silver tray with scrumptious bites, and I’m at my favorite kind of party. (Good company and good music go without saying!) And this shrimp in spiced phyllo with tomato chutney is right at the top of the list of luxurious hors d’oeuvres.

Basically, if you treat phyllo lovingly and bathe every layer in butter like you’re supposed to, you could wrap up shoelaces in it and I would swoon. There’s something about the delicate, shattering crunchiness of phyllo that seems grown-up and decadent. It’s not an ingredient you use in everyday cooking, so it’s elevated, sophisticated even. And…

Most Popular Recipe

I’m so thrilled that last week’s fabulous recipe, George’s Meat Sauce, had people swooning all over social media. Folks shared with me their cooking plans, questions and even photos of drool-worthy results. The consensus was unanimous: George’s Meat Sauce is a winner!

But I wondered what the actual all-time most popular recipe is on my site. Is it something healthy like the colorful Bagna Cauda Salad? A nostalgic crowd pleaser like Giada’s Stuffed Mushrooms? Something hearty and decadent like Truffled Filet of Beef Sandwiches? (“I’ll have a Bloody Mary, a steak sandwich…and a steak sandwich. On Mr. Underhill’s bill!”) Or is it the best chocolate cake ever?

Surprise, surprise! Hands-down, it…

George’s Meat Sauce

How I wish you could smell my house right now. There’s an enormous pot simmering away on the stove, and the aroma of pork, fennel and white wine is sneakily wafting around the corner into my office. It’s all savory and comfort-foody and yummy. And when I say an enormous pot of sauce, I mean I six-times’d (sextupled?) the recipe so in addition to feeding my gang, I could feed the freezer and have a bunch of those magical moments when there’s no ambition to make dinner — and then you open the freezer and see a container of this scrumptiousness sitting there and there are angels’ voices singing and the swirling freezer frost adds…

Every once in a while, I’m lucky enough to stumble upon a new recipe and know instantly that it’ll become part of our weekday dinner repertoire. This light, flavorful baked pasta — shells stuffed with ricotta, fontina, fennel and radicchio — is one of those recipes.

It had been staring at me temptingly, all cheesy and crusty, from the cover of Food & Wine, and by last week I could no longer resist. I sautéed fennel, radicchio and onions in a large pan while boiling up the jumbo shells, and then I stuffed them individually with a mixture of the sautéed veggies, fresh ricotta, shredded fontina cheese, eggs and parsley. While I prefer to make my…

Top 5 Jewish High Holiday Recipes

The High Holidays are soon upon us, when Jews around the world will welcome the New Year 5773. If you’re cooking dinner for Rosh Hashanah or whipping up something to break the fast on Yom Kippur, I’ve got a few ideas to share.

Rosh Hashanah Barefoot Contessa Matzo Balls: Want to know my three secrets for light, tender, tasty matzo balls? Check out this recipe and dazzle your guests with delightful matzo balls that are easy to make and will please a crowd.


Barefoot Contessa Brisket: I’m not a brisket fan, but if you are, I hear this recipe gets rave reviews. It’s got a flavorful tomato juice-based sauce, and the brisket cooks with…

Brown Butter Tomatoes

This is undoubtedly the simplest, most brilliant recipe I have come across in ages. An irresistible combination: sweet, fleshy tomatoes and nutty brown butter. The hot, foamy butter sizzles as it splashes over the cool tomatoes, and the resulting juice is glorious to mop up with crusty bread. Try it while ripe local tomatoes are still plentiful, or you’ll be stuck drooling with anticipation until next summer!

Brown Butter Tomatoes

From Food52


  • 2 large or 3 small ripe beefsteak tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Flaky sea salt, like Maldon
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • Baguette or other country bread, for mopping up the butter


1. Core the tomatoes and slice them 1/3-inch thick. Divide the tomato slices among 4 plates, overlapping the slices just…