About Me

hiking in Cinqueterra
Hiking in Monterosso, Cinque Terra

Ciao a tutti!

Welcome to An Italian Dish. I’m so glad you stopped by. If you’re here, you probably love of Italian food and dream of la dolce vita. Maybe you have always wanted to learn how to make fresh pasta, or homemade limoncello or want to learn about biking in Florence or off-beat activities in Venice. 

Since my first trip to Italy in 2012, I have returned four more times, and I am so grateful. In 2015, at age 55, I took a 6-week solo trip around Italy, and on subsequent trips, found the birthplace of my great grandparents. Both were born in Campania in the small mountain villages of Torre le Nocelle and San Giorgio del Sannio, respectively. They immigrated to the North End, the Little Italy of Boston. 

Thanks to the Internet, Ancestry.com and my tenacity, I found their villages and walked on the streets where they grew up, met a distant relative and met many paesani. Now I travel around Italy whenever possible and learn all I can about Italian food, desserts, and beverages, with an emphasis on naturally vegetarian foods and the local cuisine from Campania. I created this blog to share my passion for food and travel. Due to my insatiable interest in Italian cooking, I learned some recipes and cooking techniques along the way. 

At An Italian Dish, you will find a collection of recipes from antipasto to Italian Christmas cookies to tiramisu and more. Some travel pieces are thrown in, as well as some stories from my genealogy research. This blog is a labor of love; I’m not a classically trained chef (although I did take a knife skills class; that’s another story). I’ll be learning right along with you, and each Italian dish takes on a life of its own. For a while I was fascinated with poaching peaches and wanted to top everything with mascarpone. 

I adore Italian cuisine and love how it interacts with daily life and visit the farmer’s market to find fresh vegetables and fruits in season. I am always discovering new fascinations. Recently, I researched yeasted cakes and spent a solid two weeks covered in flour. I found a whole world in Italian yeasted cakes! Also, making fresh pasta and homemade sourdough bread have started to border on obsession.

I never thought I would be taking food photos on my front porch. Just like I thought I would never be a small-dog person. Life is full of surprises. On cooking days, I have to time everything according to the position of the sun to get the very best shot. If my partner is lured into the kitchen by the smell of a freshly baked cake, he knows he won’t be getting a taste until after the photo shoot. A batch of pasta often compares to a diva-like fashion model. The background and setting have to be just so to receive the prima donna on a platter with an entourage of lacy napkin, silver fork, and glass of wine, always blurred in the background. I love experimenting with food photography and food styling. I have a long way to go, but I hope you will bear with me as I stumble my way through. 

I promise to test each recipe several times and give you the most accurate instructions and measurements possible. With that being said, it always takes a few tries to get a recipe just right, but that’s where the fun comes in.
I invite you to subscribe to my webpage and find me on
Instagram and Facebook.  I’ll keep in touch during my travels to Italy.

For more about me, keep reading…

As a young girl, I was a cooking nerd. A lump of dough and a rolling pin were my favorite toys. My friends and I made taffy, cookies and cakes after school, and I used to enter my apple pies in the county fair. I am no longer a nerd;  I believe the term is “foodie,” thank you very much.

My Italian grandmother nurtured my penchant for cooking and the love of kitchen. I have fond memories of her green-tiled kitchen. She was loving and warm, but she was a stickler for detail and precision. I appreciate her high standards which translate into love and respect. She loved me so much; she wanted to pass on the skills worked hard to learn. Thank you, Nana, for teaching me to use a knife to smooth off the top when measuring flour.

nana and me in the kitchen
                                                        Nana and me- circa 1964

 I live in California and travel to Italy to conduct my food research. By research I mean eating Italian food, drinking Italian wine, visiting farms and markets. Life is good.

I was raised on the typical American diet- mostly meat and potatoes- but I no longer eat that way. I am a rebel and question just about everything. You might notice that the recipes in this Italian food blog are vegetarian or vegan. I understand the benefits of less meat, more veggies and feature Italian recipes that are naturally vegetarian. I don’t promote one particular diet, but I aspire to embrace the Italian cuisine; the reverence for land and the people and dishes prepared with simple and fresh ingredients.


La Dolce Vita

Food is the fabric of Italian life. It is the slow leisurely meals. It is the pleasure and sensual pleasures of time spent eating and preparing food with those you love.

I love Slow Food

The Slow Food Movement, which began in Italy in 1989, embraces Italian food and culture and brings it to the international stage.  Their motto is food should be “good, clean and fair.”  If you are interested in learning more about Slow Food, you can read my piece, here

Enough said. It’s time to start eating.

9 thoughts

  1. I love reading your blog, Ellen. Beautiful images and the food look so yummy I know it will help me appreciate the flavor of my next meal. I am going to attempt to leave my email here. i’ve been unable to enter my email in the page for “following”. Thank you for sharing your story, your gift. Ciao Bella!

    1. Hi Maria,
      Thanks so much for your feedback and your appreciation of the Italian cuisine. I don’t know what happened with the “following page,” but I will check to see if I can find the problem. I want you to be able to get my blog posts and updates in your email. A presto!

  2. Hi, Anita… Carole in Massachusetts checking in. I’m looking forward to hearing first-hand about all your travels and adventures this fall! Your far-flung Avellino cousins are excited for you!

    1. Hi Carole,
      Thanks for checking in. Yes, I am counting the days until my adventure begins in late August, and I look forward to sharing all of it with my newly-found cousins. It is so funny… my blog name is An Italian Dish, and when all squished together looks like Anita Liandish, when my real name is Ellen. My daughter teases me about it and calls me Anita. Thanks again for getting in touch!

  3. Hi, I can’t look; you’r making me so hungry. I enjoy dabbing in the kitchen but being a boy my mother didn’t teach me much about cooking. I must try your recipes. My grandmother Conte was from San Giorgio del Sannio and my grandfather Russo was from TLN, only a few miles apart but they first met circa 1900 in Wstechester N.Y.. I’ll continue reading. Thanks, Myke

  4. Love! You are a gem! So happy I found you through the Tierra Newsletter. I just started CSA and LOVE it and thier recipe page on Facebook, I appreciate your authenticity of your recipes too. I’m a animal lover and glad you look for humane sources!

    1. Hello! Great to hear! I love Tierra so much and every time I pick up my vegetables, I feel inspired. Thank you so much for your feedback! Let me know if you ever want to take a cooking class…

Your comments are always welcome!