Carfagna’s Recipes

Meet Chef Cindy!

Cindy Ramsey has been leading cooking classes since 2012 with a focus on using seasonal ingredients, often partnering with local Farmer’s Markets. She specializes in developing classes that encourage students to have fun in the kitchen while they grow their confidence and expand their cooking and baking skills. Cindy is founder, author, and photographer of the food blog, Cooking with Chez Cindy where she publishes her own recipes and food-related stories.

Cooking fills my days with joy—whether cooking for a client, preparing for a class, or feeding myself, my friends or my family. If I’m not cooking or baking, I’m generally thinking about the next thing I will be cooking or baking.” Cindy Ramsey

Salmon Piccata with Lemon Caper Sauce

  • 4 6-ounce skinless salmon filets, center cut
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 1/3 cup unsalted chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Dry the salmon filets with a paper towel. Evenly season the filets with 1 teaspoon salt. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the hot skillet. Carefully add the filets to the pan flesh-side down. Allow to cook without moving or turning for 4-5 minutes. This will create a deep brown color on this first side. Using a flexible spatula, flip each filet over to cook on the second side. Cook this side for 2-3 minutes. The filets should be slightly pink at the center. Remove the filet to a plate to rest.

Working quickly, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add in the chopped shallots and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine cooking for about 1 minute. Add in the chicken broth, lemon juice, capers, and lemon zest. Simmer for 2 minutes to slightly reduce the mixture. Whisk in the butter and mustard until smooth. Turn off the heat, removing the pan from the heat surface. Spoon the sauce over the salmon, sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

View upcoming classes here.

Recipe: Joyce Conway

Photo: Cindy Ramsey

Salmon Piccata is a dinner that seems very elegant that you might order from a restaurant.  However, it is a quick cooking meal that you can serve at home in under 30 minutes.  Be sure to have all your measuring and chopping of the ingredients completed before you start cooking.  Once you start cooking, everything moves along very quickly. Piccata is more commonly made with chicken or veal, but always with a buttery pan sauce spiked with lemons and capers. Serve the Piccata with thin Capellini or Vermicelli pasta.  

Piccata was once thought to have been created for Italian nobility during the Renaissance.  Further research leads to Piccata being a dish made by Italian immigrants first noted in the 1930’s. When you make it at home, you and your family may feel as if you are dining like royalty!

Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Red Wine Ganache


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature 
  • 1 cup dry red wine, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Fresh Flowers to decorate (optional)


  • 1 (3-ounce) semisweet chocolate baking bar, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine, warmed
  • Flaky sea salt

To Make the Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray an 8 or 9-inch round cake pan with baking spray. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and kosher salt in a medium bowl. 

Place granulated sugar, egg, and melted butter in a mixing bowl and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes until pale. Add 1 cup wine and vanilla and mix to combine. Add flour mixture and mix until completely combined. 

Scrape batter into prepared pan, and smooth top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Let the cake cool completely.

To Make the Ganache:

Place chopped chocolate, diced butter, and corn syrup in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at high in 20-second intervals until melted, stirring between intervals until smooth. Stir in powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of wine. Let stand at room temperature until slightly thickened, about 15-20 minutes.

Invert cake onto a plate. Pour ganache onto the center of the top of the cake letting it drip down the sides. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, and let stand until ganache is set, about 30 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

Recipe: Joyce Conway

Photo: Cindy Ramsey

Chocolate and red wine have long been a match made in heaven. Or in this recipe, a match made in Italy. This scrumptious cake is rich in chocolate flavor, but not overly sweet as the sugar is balanced by adding red wine to the batter. The cake is then glazed with a silky red wine chocolate ganache that gently dips down the sides of this single layer cake. Be sure to use the flakey sea salt sprinkled on top of the glaze as the salt acts as a bridge between the sweetness of the cake and a beautiful glass of red wine. Our wine shop recommends pairing the cake with Nebbiolo wine to complement a delightful Italian dinner. Learn how to make this cake, and more Italian favorites using wine, in our upcoming class, Creative Cooking with Wine.

Torta Caprese

  • 6 eggs, eggs and whites separated
  • 225 grams or 8 ounces of sugar
  • 280 grams or 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 280 grams or 10 ounces softened unsalted butter
  • 340 grams or 3.5 cups super fine almond flour
  • powdered sugar for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350°.

Add the egg whites along with ½ of the sugar to a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whip on high speed until stiff peaks are formed, about 6 to 7 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator.

Put the chocolate into a glass or metal bowl and cook over a double boiler or microwave until completely melted. Set aside.

Add the butter and remaining sugar to a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add in 1 egg yolk at a time to the mixer until combined until all the eggs have been incorporated.

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and fold in the almond flour until combined, then fold in the chocolate until combined.

Lastly, fold in the chilled meringue until combined.

Prepare a 10” springform pan with butter and cocoa powder.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350° 40 to 42 minutes.

Cool completely and dust with powdered sugar.

Recipe: Joyce Conway

Photo: Cindy Ramsey

Torta Caprese, a sumptuous chocolate and almond cake, is a culinary masterpiece that originates from the enchanting Amalfi Coast. This decadent dessert is an embodiment of the region’s rich culinary heritage, where the collision of sea and sun influences not only the landscape but also the flavors of its dishes. The Torta Caprese is characterized by its dense, moist texture and intense chocolate flavor, elevated by the inclusion of finely ground almonds. The Amalfi Coast’s commitment to using high-quality, local ingredients is evident in every bite of this luscious cake. As you savor each mouthful, you can almost feel the coastal breeze and envision the breathtaking scenery that surrounds this culinary gem. The Torta Caprese stands as a delectable testament to the Amalfi Coast’s ability to weave tradition, flavor, and a touch of indulgence into an irresistible dessert that embodies the spirit of this Mediterranean paradise.

Winter Caprese Salad

  • 2 Large Tangerines or blood oranges, peeled and cut into 4 slices
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cored and cut into 4 slices
  • Fresh mozzarella, torn
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Chopped fresh chives or basil


On a large plate, arrange tangerines/blood oranges and tomatoes with mozzarella.

Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle lightly with Balsamic glaze and generously with oil.

Sprinkle with chopped chives or basil and serve.

Recipe: Joyce Conway

Photo: Cindy Ramsey

The Winter Caprese Salad is a delightful variation of the classic Italian Caprese, uniquely tailored to capture the essence of the Amalfi Coast even during the colder months. This seasonal twist features ripe tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and vibrant basil, but it adds a wintery touch with additions like citrus fruit and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. The Amalfi Coast, renowned for its fresh produce and culinary finesse, inspires this adaptation by embracing the flavors of the season while staying true to the Mediterranean tradition. Each crisp bite of the Winter Caprese Salad transports you to the coastal paradise, where the charm of the Amalfi Coast is encapsulated in the combination of sun-kissed ingredients, offering a taste of winter infused with the coastal spirit.

Easy Gnocchi Sorrentino – Carfagna Style

  • 16 ounces Carfagna’s Homemade Gnocchi
  • ¾ cup Carfagna’s Vodka Sauce or Homemade Vodka Sauce { recipe to follow)
  • 1 cup homemade mozzarella Ciliegine (small balls)
  • ¼ cup basil chiffonade, plus a few small sprigs for garnish
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese for garnish


Preheat the convection oven to 425 degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add a generous amount of salt.

Add the frozen gnocchi and cook until the gnocchi rises to the surface of the water. Remove the individual pieces as they rise to the top, using a spider or strainer and place in a medium sized bowl.

Add the sauce and stir to combine. Stir in the basil chiffonade and ¾ of the mozzarella cubes.

Place in a greased baking dish and top with the remaining mozzarella cubes. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until bubbly and the mozzarella begins to brown.

Remove from the oven and top with the remaining basil leaves. Sprinkle freshly grated parmesan cheese over the top and serve.

Recipe: Joyce Conway

Photo: Cindy Ramsey

Gnocchi Sorrentino is a delightful Italian dish that perfectly captures the flavors of the Amalfi Coast. This savory creation features pillowy potato gnocchi, typically handmade, paired with a rich tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and aromatic basil. The dish pays homage to the region’s abundant produce and the Mediterranean’s culinary traditions. The Amalfi Coast, with its stunning coastal landscapes and charming cliffside villages, is renowned for its vibrant and fresh ingredients, and Gnocchi Sorrentino is a testament to the region’s culinary excellence. Each bite of this dish is like a journey along the picturesque coastline, where the harmony of flavors mirrors the beauty of the Amalfi Coast itself.

Capri Style Chicken Cacciatore

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless large chicken thighs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 1 small bell pepper, large dice
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 ½ (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup olives, mixed, pitted
  • salt and pepper to taste


Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, add the chicken (seasoned with salt and pepper) and saute until very browned before removing from the pan and setting aside.

In the same pan, add onion, peppers and mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Add the broth and deglaze the pan by scraping the brown bits off the bottom with a wooden spoon while the broth sizzles.

Add the tomatoes, herbs, chicken and olives. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes, until meat registers 165 degrees on a meat thermometer. Season with salt and pepper.

Recipe: Joyce Conway

Photo: Cindy Ramsey

Capri Style Chicken Cacciatore is a delectable dish that captures the essence of the Amalfi Coast’s culinary heritage. This flavorful creation combines tender chicken cooked in a rustic tomato-based sauce with olives, capers, and aromatic herbs. The dish is a tribute to the vibrant and fresh ingredients that characterize the coastal region, where the azure waters meet the rocky cliffs. The Amalfi Coast, known for its picturesque landscapes and gastronomic treasures, infuses its distinct flavors into the Capri Style Chicken Cacciatore. With every bite, one can savor the Mediterranean influence and the harmonious blend of ingredients that evoke the sun-soaked charm of this captivating coastline. It’s a culinary journey that mirrors the allure and richness of the Amalfi Coast’s culinary traditions.

Carfagna’s Famous Christmas Prime Rib Roast

When we think of Christmas week at Carfagna’s, we think of the long lines of customers patiently waiting to pick up their professionally trimmed and tied Prime Rib Roasts. It’s a tradition unlike any other. Wake up, grab some coffee for the road, and set out for an afternoon at Carfagna’s Market. Lined up along the store front waiting for 10:00am to strike and the doors to open. Some customers like to make a bee line straight to the ticket counter, and some enjoy the ease of the day spent browsing at our selection of specialty meats, foods and Italian delicacies. One things for sure, about every other customer coming through the door is there to grab one of our Prime Rib Roasts. Trimmed and tied to perfection, our Christmas dinner wouldn’t be the same without this delicious roast. So come see us again this Christmas and don’t forget to see Raj in the wine department so he can pair the perfect wine with your Holiday Feast!

If you’re wondering how we like to prepare a Prime Rib Roast, here’s our recipe for both Bone-In and Boneless Roasts:

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Tuscan White Bean Soup

This recipe is a family recipe. This is a staple my father makes during the cold months. It’s delicious any time of year, but it’s hearty and warms the soul. An Italian tradition from the hills of Tuscany. Cannellini beans, or white kidney beans, are at the forefront of this dish. My father always preferred Swiss chard to other similar leafy greens, and I tend to stick with it as well. Not only is it delicious and healthy, but the firm leaves don’t break down in the soup, and the bright red stems add a beautiful splash of color.  I’ve used kale, spinach, and baby bok choy (which I used with Swiss chard for the above picture), all are great for this dish. Use good Extra Virgin Olive Oil, as it’s used also as a garnish in this dish and good olive oil compliments the soup oh so well. It’s a simple recipe and one you’ll crave every time the temperature outside drops.

For this recipe, which will give you 6-8 servings, you’ll need the following:

  • 5 (15 oz) cans of cannellini beans or white kidney beans
  • 1 (15 oz) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 med onion
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 bunch of Swiss Chard/Kale/Spinach/Baby Bok Choy
  • chicken base (sub vegetable base for vegetarian)
  • salt
  • Black pepper
  • crushed red pepper

First prep your veggies:

Dice your onion

chop your garlic

Rinse your leafy greens, pat dry and rough chop them into large pieces. They’ll cook down but I like having the large leafs in the soup. If you’re using swiss chard or kale be sure to cut out the large portions of the stems. They’re tough and unnecessary for the delicate soup.

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Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe with Homemade Spaghetti

One of our all time favorite dishes and it’s so easy to make. Cacio e Pepe (Cheese and Pepper). It’s that simple. For this recipe you use the simple trick of ladling in pasta water to your pasta to create a creamy sauce. The starch from the pasta water will help the cheese and pepper to coat the pasta.

Here’s an easy recipe for homemade pasta as well:

Homemade Spaghetti – Pasta dough comes in many variations but is mostly made of flour and eggs. For every 100g of flour you add an egg. One pound of pasta is approximately 500g of flour and 5 eggs.

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