Carfagna’s Recipes

Apricot Mostarda

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse grain mustard, such as Maille
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups dried apricots, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add in the chopped shallot and salt, stirring to combine, cooking for about 2 minutes until the shallots are soft.  Stir in the coarse grain mustard and red pepper flakes, cooking for 1 minute.  Add in the vinegar and sugar.  Bring to a simmer, stirring often until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.  

Whisk in the Dijon mustard, and 1 cup of chopped apricots.  Bring this to a simmer, stirring often, cooking for 8-10 minutes.  The apricots will become plump and begin to thicken into a jam-like consistency.  Turn off the heat, stirring in the remaining chopped apricots.  Cover the pan with a lid, cool to room temperature.  Serve with soft cheeses, cured meats, nuts, and with crackers or toasted crostini.

Mostarda can be stored in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid in the refrigerator for several weeks.  Serve at room temperature.  

Mostarda is a traditional Italian condiment made from fruit (both fresh and dried), syrup, and spices, and served with cooked meats, poultry, and charcuterie. Sometimes referred to as mostarda di frutta, or simply mustard fruit, mostarda is basically a spicy relish or chutney.

But in more recent times, mostarda has come to be served with grilled and roasted meats, cold cuts, cheeses, as well as crostini, bread sticks, olives, pickles and nuts. Basically, you can enjoy it on everything from a steak to a sandwich to a wedge of cheese, or just spread on toast.

Make this simple recipe for Apricot Mostarda to include on your next charcuterie board, along with the fabulous selection of salumi and cheese, bread and crackers, all available at our Market.

Recipe: Cindy Ramsey

Photo: Cindy Ramsey

Whipped Ricotta, Feta & Honey with Olive Oil Toasted Crostini

Whipped Ricotta, Feta & Honey

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • Lemon zest (optional)
  • black pepper (optional)

Add ricotta, feta, olive oil, and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth and fully combined, about 2 minutes. Spoon the whipped ricotta into a serving bowl. Drizzle with honey, olive oil, top with a few thyme leaves, and lemon zest and/or pepper if using. Serve with toasted crostini.

Olive Oil Toasted Crostini

  • 1 medium loaf ciabatta or baguette
  • 7-8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the bread into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Brush each slice with olive oil on both sides, placing each onto a large sheet pan. Place the sheet pan into the hot oven, toasting the crostini until golden brown on each side. This should take 8-10 minutes. Rotate the sheet pan as needed for even toasting.

Ricotta cheese has long been a cornerstone in the tapestry of Italian culinary history, with its origins deeply rooted in the traditions of ancient Rome. This cheese is known for its creamy texture and subtle flavor, which have made it an essential ingredient into many classic Italian dishes, be it savory or sweet. It is a key ingredient in lasagna and manicotti, but it can also be used in cheesecakes, cannoli, or simply spread on toast.

This easy recipe for Whipped Ricotta comes together in just minutes, can be made ahead of time, and served at room temperature. Making it a go-to appetizer for any event.

Recipe: Cindy Ramsey

Photo: Cindy Ramsey

Spring Puttanesca with Linguine Pasta

  • 1-pound uncooked linguine
  • 2 spring onions, or 6 green onions
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1-ounce flat anchovy fillets in olive oil
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • 2 teaspoons Calabrian chiles, in oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups loosely packed baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley, chopped
  • Additional olive oil for serving

Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil. Add in 2 tablespoons of salt and the linguine, stirring to keep the pasta from sticking together. Cook for 2 minutes less than the time listed on the pasta package. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain. Set aside.

While the pasta cooks, thinly slice the spring onions, separating the bulbs from the greens. Thinly slice the garlic, chop the olives and the parsley. Set aside. Measure out all other ingredients as the cooking process moves quickly. Best to be ready with each ingredient.

Working with a large high-sided pan, such as a Dutch oven, oven medium heat, add in the olive oil, cooking for 1 minute. Add in the prepared onion bulbs, garlic, anchovies, drained capers, and chilis, stirring to combine, cooking for about 3-5 minutes, until the anchovies have melted in, and the onions begin to soften. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the wine, stirring often, cooking for 2-3 minutes until the wine is nearly evaporated. Stir in the olives and onion greens stirring often until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Add in the pre-cooked linguine, reserved pasta water, tossing to combine, simmer for 3-4 minutes. Off the heat, fold in the arugula and parsley, allowing the pasta to absorb the water, about 3-5 minutes. Divide among the serving bowls, drizzle a bit more olive oil on top and serve.

Classic puttanesca is traditionally made with big bold flavors, most always including tomatoes, anchovies, capers, olives, onions, garlic, and Calabrian chilies. Always fragrant and enticing in so many ways.  This recipe brings a lighter Spring version without the tomatoes, but with the same alluring aroma and rich flavor it is known for.

Puttanesca Pasta is simple to make and said to have originated from Naples, possibly dating back to the mid-20th century, or earlier. Explanations for the origin of the name are many. However, the modern name of this preparation refers to pasta ‘prepared as it comes’, meaning that is made with items readily available in any Italian pantry. This is the beauty of Puttanesca Pasta in that all the ingredients can be found on our Market shelves, ready to fill your Italian pantry for an easy go-to dinner that is quick to bring to the table.

Recipe: Cindy Ramsey

Photo: Cindy Ramsey

This Entry Was Posted in Pasta

Ligurian Olive Oil & Citrus Cake 

  • 1 1/2 cups Ligurian extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • zest and juice of 1 large orange
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Using a 9-inch springform pan, lightly butter and flour the bottom and sides of the pan, or evenly spray with baking spray.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, setting the springform directly onto the parchment.  Set aside.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the olive oil and eggs, whisking until smooth.  Add in the milk, lemon juice and zest, orange juice and zest, and the sugar.  Whisk until combined and smooth.  

Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a separate small bowl, whisking to combine.  With the mixer turned off, add the flour mixture to the bowl of the stand mixer, gently whisking until just combined.  Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl, whisking again for just a minute.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared springform pan.  Place the sheet pan with the filled springform into the preheated oven, baking for 80-85 minutes.  As the time comes close to 70 minutes, check the top of the cake to be sure it is not browning too quickly before the cake is done.  If so, place a large sheet of foil loosely over the springform to prevent excess browning.  Test the cake for doneness at 75 minutes to gauge the baking time.  The cake-tester or toothpick should come out clean with just a few crumbs attached.  Continue baking at 5-minute intervals until the cake is fully baked.  Remove from the oven, allowing it to cool completely before removing the outer ring of the springform pan.  Serve with fresh berries if desired.

Liguria is a northwest region of Italy, sometimes referred to as ‘Italy’s Northern Mediterranean Paradise’ or the ‘Italian Riviera’, placed on a mountainous arc of Mediterranean coastline. Liguria is one of Italy’s best regarded regions for its terroir for olive trees and the subsequent production of extra virgin olive oil.  Ligurian olive oil has a fruity more delicate flavor that enhances the ingredients it is paired with.  The region also boasts ownership of the Ligurian sauce known as Pesto Genovaise, comprised with its pine nuts, Genoa basil and, most certainly, olive oil.

Using Ligurian olive oil here in this recipe for Olive Oil Citrus Cake results in a cake with a golden hue and a moist crumb.  The cake does not taste like olive oil nor citrus, but more of a well-balanced bite that leaves you wanting more.  Offering a cake uniquely different than one made with butter. 

Recipe: Cindy Ramsey

Photo: Cindy Ramsey

Prosciutto & Melon Crostini

Prosciutto e Melone’

  • 8-12 pieces of ciabatta or baguette cut into ¼” slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ounces spreadable goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1/2 cantaloupe melon, seeds removed
  • basil leaves, sliced into thin ribbons
  • balsamic glaze

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the ciabatta slices onto a baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush each slice with a small amount of olive oil. Place into the hot oven to toast until golden brown, about 6-8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, use a melon baller to scoop out the cantaloupe to form balls, or cut the melon into bite size pieces. Spread a small amount of goat cheese on top of the crostini. Place the melon on the goat cheese, draping a small piece of prosciutto over the melon. Garnish the prosciutto with a few ribbons of basil. Drizzle a bit of balsamic glaze over the crostini. Serve at room temperature.

Most palettes enjoy the satisfying combination of salty and sweet. ‘Prosciutto e Melone’ is a dish that strikes the perfect balance to satisfy that craving. The combination of prosciutto and melon is so popular that it has survived for centuries.

Historians state that the combination was first enjoyed in Roman times. However, the actual recipe seems to have been first documented in the 1890’s. Today we can still enjoy the refreshing combination in one delicious bite of cured ham and melon on toast. Our Carfagna’s recipe is written here for you to try in your own home.

Recipe: Cindy Ramsey

Photo: Cindy Ramsey

Arugula Salad with Ribbons of Vegetables & Citrus Dressing

  • 1 5-ounce container of baby arugula greens
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and shaved into long strips
  • 2 small zucchini, shaved into long strips
  • 1 large fennel bulb, tough outer leaves removed, shaved into thin strips
  • 2 clementines, peeled and sliced crosswise into thin rounds
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds

To make the salad: Place the arugula greens onto a large serving platter. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the carrots and zucchini into long thin strips. Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, thinly shave the fennel bulb into strips. Arrange the vegetable strips and the clementine rounds over the arugula. Scatter the sunflower seeds, and drizzle 1/3 cup of the citrus dressing over the vegetables and fruit.

To make the citrus dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil

Add the vinegar, orange juice, honey, Dijon mustard, and salt to a medium size bowl.  Using a whisk, mix to combine.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking while you drizzle to emulsify the ingredients into a creamy consistency.

Recipe: Cindy Ramsey

Photo: Cindy Ramsey

The cultivation of arugula dates to Roman times. The Romans first referred to this bitter green as “eruca. “Over centuries of time, regional dialects changed the pronunciation to “aruculu” in Northern Italy and “ruchetta” in Southern Italy. In modern times, the name has morphed into Arugula, and in England it is known as Rocket.

In many Italian recipes, this aromatic peppery green is added to a variety of dishes, topping pizzas and pastas, made into pesto, or in this recipe, arugula is the base of a colorful salad. The hearty salad green stands up well to the ribbons of vegetables, along with the sweet clementine citrus to balance the slight bitterness of the arugula.

This Entry Was Posted in Salads

Chicken Wellington

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 4 ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • I Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 9”x14” sheet refrigerated or thawed puff pastry
  • 2 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 8 ounces Baby Bella mushrooms, woody stems removed and chopped
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 4 ounces Brie or Gruyere cheese, cut into 4 thin slices
  • 1 egg, beaten


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt, and pepper. Cook until evenly browned, about 2½ -3 minutes per side, turning only once. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

In the same skillet, cook the bacon over medium high heat until crispy. Remove from the skillet, blot on a paper towel, then crumble.

In the same skillet with the bacon grease, place the onion, garlic and mushrooms and cook over medium heat stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms lose their moisture and onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Do not burn the garlic. Stir in the crumbled bacon and parsley.

Cut the puff pastry into 4 equal pieces. Place a cheese slice topped with a chicken breast in the center of the piece of puff pastry.

Combine the cream cheese and Dijon mustard in a small bowl.Spread ¼ of the cream cheese mixture over each chicken breast.Top with ¼ of the mushroom mixture.

Fold the top and bottom of the pastry over the chicken, trimming with kitchen shears or a knife so puff pastry is fairly evenly surrounding the chicken. Press the pastry seams together with damp fingers to seal. Place seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Decorate the tops with leftover pastry if you like! Brush the tops with some of the beaten egg.

Bake in the preheated oven until pastry is golden brown and chicken is no longer pink in the center, 15 to 20 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F.

Cut each Chicken Wellington in half or serve whole. Garnish with whole Berry Cranberry Sauce.

Recipe: Joyce Conway

Photo: Cindy Ramsey

While Chicken Wellington is a classic British dish, its delightful flavors have found a place in the hearts of many, including those in Italy. This savory creation, featuring tender chicken wrapped in puff pastry with layers of mushrooms and a rich duxelles, has become a culinary crossover that resonates with Italian palates. The Italian appreciation for fine ingredients and culinary craftsmanship welcomes the essence of Chicken Wellington, and it is not uncommon to find variations or adaptations in Italian kitchens. The dish showcases the universal appeal of combining quality poultry with expertly crafted pastry, transcending cultural boundaries and making its mark on the diverse tapestry of global cuisine.

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.