Olive Oil Cake

This recipe is simple and delicious, just the way I like them. I published this on my old blog and have started to bring my favorite recipes over to this site.. Everyone loves this recipe and I have perfected a gluten-free version that I will post later.

I came across this recipe in the September 2009 Bon Appetit and thought it looked like a winner. The cake is better the next day, so once it has cooled completely, wrap in foil and store at room temperature.

Olive Oil Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

2 large eggs

3/4 cup whole milk

1/2 cup mild flavored olive oil

2 tsp. finely grated orange peel

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Oil and flour 9x5x3 inch metal loaf pan. Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl. Whisk eggs, milk, olive oil and orange peel in medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk egg mixture into dry ingredients. Transfer to prepared pan.Bake until tester inserted in center comes out clean, 60 to 65 minutes. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Invert pan to remove cake. Cool completely, top side up.

Baked Alfredo Pasta With Broccoli Rabe

This wonderful recipe comes from NYT Cooking. It’s simple to prepare and the clean-up is easy since you only use your pasta pan and baking dish to mix, cook and bake in. My version is a little different from the Times, but the end product is so good.


  •  Kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 2 cups finely grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  •  Black pepper
  • Crushed Red Chilis
  • 1 pound fusilli
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 small garlic clove, grated
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch pieces


  1. Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Place the butter in a 9-by-13-inch/3-quart pan or baking dish and transfer it to the oven to melt while the oven heats; remove it from the oven once it’s melted and tern oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the breadcrmbs, 1/4 cup Parmesan and the lemon zest. Add 1 tablespoon of the melted butter from the baking pan, stir until the breadcrumbs are moistened with butter, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. When the water’s boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package instructions suggest. During the last minute of cooking, add the broccoli rabe. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water, then drain the pasta and broccoli rabe.
  4. Whisk the cream, garlic and pasta water into the melted butter in the baking dish until smooth. Add the remaining Parmesan in large handfuls, vigorously whisking until smooth and combined. Add the pasta, broccoli rabe and half the mozzarella. Taste, and season well with salt and pepper and add crushed red chilis to taste . Stir until very combined.
  5. Top with the remaining mozzarella, then sprinkle evenly with the breadcrumb mixture. Bake until the mozzarella has melted and the panko is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

Instant Pot Gluten-Free Lasagna Soup

When I first heard about this soup, I was a bit skeptical. I grew up eating my mother’s specialty, which was her amazing lasagna. So the thought of a soup tasting like lasagna seemed a long shot to me. Plus, using gluten free pasta in soups can be a bit tricky since they tend to dissolve.  I was shocked that the pasta turned out perfect and it held up when reheated the next night.  This recipe lives up to the name and the flavor is like eating lasagna in a soup.

Gluten Free Instant Pot Lasagna Soup 
1 lb. Italian Sausage
1 can chicken stock
1 15oz  can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 small onion, diced2 large carrots diced
2 bay leaves
1 bag kale
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning, plus more for cheese mixture
1 cup gluten free  pasta
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
6 ounces part skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Mix the ricotta and Parmesan and season with a little dash of salt and pepper and a 1/2 tsp of Italian seasoning ; set aside.Add olive oil to pot and set to saute setting.After the pot preheats for a minute or two, add the sausage and cook until brown, using a wooden spoon to break apart (about 5 minutes).Add onions, carrots and bay leaves and continue cooking until veggies are soft, about another 5 minutes.Add garlic and Italian seasoning and cook a minute more.Add chicken stock, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, oregano, kale and pasta.Place the lid on (with silicone ring) and set it to manual for 2 minutes on high pressure. (It will take 10 to 15 minutes to come to pressure. )Allow the soup to naturally release for 5 minutes and then use quick release to remove  remaining pressure.Remove the bay leaves.Serve immediately and garnish with Parmesan and ricotta cheese mixture, sprinkle with mozzarella.

Chai Shortbread

Chai Shortbread

This good cookie recipe comes from my friend, Alicia. She sent it to me a while ago and I finally got around to trying them out. The cookies are very good and are wonderful with coffee and vanilla ice cream. This is a simple recipe. I have not tried this with gluten-free flour, but it should be an easy one to re-make and I will try it soon.

Chai Shortbread

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup powdered sugar
10 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 Tbsp. ice water

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients, stirring well with whisk. Place sugar and butter in a medium bowl; beat with mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed until just combined (dough will be crumbly). Sprinkle with ice water, toss with fork. Divide dough in half; shape into 2 (6 inch long) logs. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour or until very firm.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Unwrap dough. Carefully cut each log into 18 slices with a serrated knife. Place circles 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on pans for 5 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

My Artwork

I have been doing some abstract art and currently have lots of work. I use pencil, ink, alcohol ink and acrylic paints to create. It’s all actually doodles that sometimes turn into some fun art pieces. Recently, I have started uploading some of the art to Threadless.com and they turn the art into pillows, shower curtains, face masks and more. You can access my page by going to https://miketosatto.threadless.com

Gluten-Free Ricotta Cake

I came across this recipe in the May 2017 edition of ITALIA! magazine. It’s simple to make and and tastes great too. I prefer to eat it at room temperature, but it can be served cold. I ended up beating my egg whites by hand because I used my Kitchenaid stand mixer for the cheese mixture, so keep that in mind if you do not want to bring egg whites to stiff peaks by hand. The cake hada nice spongy texture that is not overly sweet with a light citrus taste. It also converted to gluten-free by substituting All Purpose Gluten- Free Flour.

Gluten- Free Ricotta Cake
24 oz Ricotta Cheese
6 large Eggs, separated
1/3 cup Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
1 cup Super-Fine Sugar
Grated zest of  2 Oranges
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Pinch of Salt
Powdered Sugar, to dust

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place ricotta in a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, blend until smooth. Add egg yolks, flour, 6 Tbsp. sugar, orange and lime zest and salt. Whisk to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites on low speed until foamy. Increase speed to high and gradually add remaining sugar, whisking until stiff, glossy peaks form: this may take up to 3-4 minutes.
Gently fold one-third of the whites into the ricotta mixture using a spatula until just combined. Gently fold in the remaining whites until just combined.
Pour the mixture into a springform cake pan greased with butter and sprinkled with sugar, bake 45-50 minutes, or until the center is firm and the top is golden brown. The mixture will rise and then drop slightly during cooking.
Allow pan to cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to release from the pan, then turn out and allow to cool completely before serving dusted with plenty of powdered sugar.

Gluten-Free Instant Pot Lasagna

Lasagna Close-Up

If you haven’t joined the Instant Pot bandwagon, it’s time to hop aboard. Not every recipe is a time saver, but you can do so much with it. I’ve prepared many lasagnas over the years and this is now my favorite way. When you are cooking for two, you get two good meals and less headache and clean up. I admit that I was skeptical about this technique, but I have embraced it. Taking the sides off of the spring-form pan was scary the first time, but the end result is a beautiful layered, baked pasta dish. I have tried different combinations for this recipe and I have landed on all sausage. The first time I used all ground beef, but felt that it lacked texture and flavor. The next two times I went with a half ground sirloin, half Italian sausage blend and was satisfied with the flavor and texture. This last recipe, I went with all Italian sausage and decided it was the winner.
In the past, I have always made my own sauce, but to save time I went with a jarred sauce. Going with a pricier jar was the logical choice for me, knowing that it would come closer to homemade. I found this Michael’s ofBrooklyn Home Style Gravy at Sprouts and it comes pretty close to home made.

Gluten Free Instant Pot Lasagna 

  • 1 lb bulk  gluten free Italian sausage
  • 8 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese – divided in half
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. Italian spices
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Gluten free lasagna noodles
  • 1 jar gluten free pasta sauce


  1. Using Saute function, brown Italian sausage, breaking up the clump. Remove to plate lined with paper towel to drain.
  2. Mix ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 egg, and spices.
  3. Line bottom of 7” spring form pan with lasagna noodles, broken into pieces to fit the pan.
  4. Add enough pasta sauce to cover the noodles.
  5. Add layer of half of meat mixture.
  6. Add layer of half of cheese mixture.
  7. Repeat with another layer of noodles, tomato sauce, ground beef, and cheese.
  8. Top with layer of noodles, and additional tomato sauce.
  9. Add remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
  10. Place trivet in Instant Pot insert, and add 1.5 cups water.
  11. Loosely cover pan of lasagna with foil to keep out water.
  12. Place lasagna pan on top of trivet in pot.
  13. Lock lid on pot, and set valve to seal. (make sure to insert the silicone ring)
  14. Press manual, 20 minutes high pressure.
  15. When finished cooking, allow to naturally release (NR) pressure – approximately 10 minutes.
  16. Remove lasagna after pressure releases. Broil on high for a few minutes to brown cheese, watching so that you don’t burn the top.
  17. Let rest for a about 5 minutes, run a knife along edge to release and remove ring.
  18. Slice and serve with additional sauce.