Ossobuco di Piero .. Piero's Braised Veal Shanks
Cannoli di Ricotta

serves 4


4 veal shanks about 5-6 inches in diameter, less than 1 inch thick)

odori = 1 carrot, 1 small onion, 1 stalk of celery, handful of parsley 

meat broth

extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper


Finely chop the odori and put them in the bottom of a casserole with abundant olive oil, place the meat on top add salt and pepper and set the flame to medium. Add a ladle of warm broth and cover. When the broth begins to bubble, flip the meat, lower the flame and cover. Check periodically to turn the meat and make sure the pan doesn't dry out (add more broth if necessary). Let the meat cook for about 3 hours until it's falling-apart tender and a rich, dark sauce has formed in the bottom of the pan.

Sunday lunch recipe of  the

wise and hearty Piero di Sanino

(Pietro Dogolini), ready for

anyone who stops by on their way

down or up the mountain.

Pesto alla Trapanese .. Pesto from Trapani

serves 4


big handful of basil leaves

4 cloves garlic

1.5 oz (40 g) peeled almonds

sale grosso, big salt or coarse salt

4 mature tomatoes

      or the equivalent in cherry tomatoes

about 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3/4 lb of long pasta


If you want to remove the skins from the tomatoes you can pierce the skin with a knife and drop them into boiling water for a minute or until you can easily peel away the skins. Chop the tomatoes into pieces discarding the seeds.

Peel the cloves of garlic and chop each into 3 or 4 big pieces.

Roughly chop the almonds.

In a mortar and pestle crush the garlic and basil with big salt. Add the almonds and reduce them to small pieces, it should be a  chunky mixture.

Add the tomatoes and crush them into the garlic almond paste just enough to make a thick mixture that hangs together.

Stir in just enough olive oil to make a kind of sauce.

Boil the pasta (usually the long, twirly busiati) in salted water until it is al dente reserving some of the pasta cooking water.

Dress the pasta in a serving bowl tossing it with the pesto and adding some of the pasta cooking water to help the sauce coat the pasta.


Using the mortar and pestle brings out the essential oils of all the ingredients exalting the flavors and also making a creamy consistency. Although the effect is a bit different you could use a food processor or an immersion blender but be careful to not over process, the sauce should be chunky.


or coppatedde for a simple country version 


Cannoli are called cannoli when their shells are formed by wrapping the dough around a piece of canna (these days a metal tool has replaced the typical piece of cane or bamboo) and then frying them to make a tube-like shell. In the Sicilian countryside Aunt Francesca makes an alternate sandwich version called coppadtedde.

for the pastry shells 

1 cup flour 

2 T sugar

2 T extra virgin olive oil 

2 T Marsala or white wine

1 T strong coffee

1 egg yolk 


Mix the liquids with the sugar and then stir in the flour. Mix well, knead well to form a ball adding flour if the dough is too sticky, adding Marsala if the dough is too dry. It should be the consistency more or less of pasta dough. Roll through a pasta machine or use a rolling pin, folding and turning several times, to make thin sheets of dough (about 1/8 inch thick, not transparent) and prick with a fork. 


For the tube shells, cut the dough into 10cm squares and wrap around the tube fixing the overlap with an egg wash, fry in hot oil (170-180C / 325-350F) until they are a dark golden color, drain on paper towels.


For the coppatedde use a glass or biscuit cutter to cut the dough into circles about 3 inches in diameter, fry in hot olive oil until dark and golden, drain on paper towels.


for the filling

1 lb ricotta

up to 1/2 lb sugar or to taste (or to taste)

flavoring options: cinnamon to taste, or lemon zest if you prefer (lots of it says aunt Francesca who gave me this recipe), finely chopped zuccata (that’s the green candied cucuzza squash) or some chopped chocolate although chocolate arrived in Sicily over 400 years after this recipe was invented.

Beat the ricotta with the sugar, or pass the ricotta through a sieve and mix it with sugar, it should be very creamy.  Stir in the lemon zest or other flavoring you choose. 

Most traditional recipes for cannoli filling use zuccata or candied citron, but the lemon peel is the better option if you haven’t made zuccata lately since most store-bought versions of candied fruit taste medicinal; if you can get a good one use it, otherwise I suggest lemon zest or cinnamon. 


for decorating

candied cherries

pistachios chopped finely

powdered sugar


Assemble right before serving otherwise they will get soggy. For cannoli use a sac à poche to fill the pastry tubes, dip the ends in chopped pistachios or decorate with candied fruit, sprinkle with powdered sugar.  For the coppetedde spread the ricotta cream on one side of one of the little pastry cups, top with another pastry cup, roll the edges in finely chopped pistachios and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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