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Sanremo Menus

Sanremo Menus

Sanremo is the annual music festival in Italy. You can read a history of it here. Some Americans have called it “Italy’s American Idol”. Sacrilege! Don’t ever say that to your Italian friends! The Sanremo Festival is a festival of song and rewards the best songwriter and artist. The Italian music scene is known for its celebration of cantautori, singer songwriters, and the craftsmanship and talent that goes in to songwriting is a central part of the Sanremo celebration. It is, after all, called “The Festival of Italian Song” in Italian – not Italian singers! But singers there are, aplenty, and stars and Italian celebrities alike. Lisa watches on Rai, even when in the U.S., and you might be able to watch online at RaiPlay too if you are in Italy. A central challenge of the Sanremo is that, of course, we want to watch the festival, but we have to cook (and eat!). The answer: apericena to the rescue! Here are Lisa’s apericena (heavy appetizers or small plates as dinner – aka Girl Dinner for everyone!) menus.

Sanremo Day 1

Focaccia with Basil, Sicilian Sea Salt, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1 ball pre-made, good quality pizza dough

Coarse Sicilian Sea Salt

Dried rosemary


Roll out the pizza dough to fit in a 11 x 13 jelly roll pan (a cookie sheet with sides). Sprinkle with a 1/4 of a cup extra virgin olive oil, then sprinkle the salt and the rosemary. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.



1 head celery, chopped

6 peppers, chopped

2 large eggplant, peeled and chopped

1 jar Italian olive salad (Giardiniera or Muffelatta)

1 can crushed tomatoes (26 oz)

Salt and Pepper


1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup sugar


Fry in olive oil, each ingredient separately. (Make sure you drain eggplant in salt before cooking.) After all ingredients are fried, add them to tomato sauce and add vinegar, salt and pepper, and sugar. Cook on low for 30 minutes more.

Excellent as an appetizer or a vegetable.

Endive with Marinated Goat Cheese


1 (8 ounce) log of goat cheese

4 tablespoons Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons grappa or vodka

1 head of purple endive and 1 head of green endive


Slice the goat cheese log into 8 pieces and place them in a deep glass or ceramic casserole dish. Cover the cheese with the parsley, garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and grappa (or vodka) and refrigerate the dish for a minimum of 2-4 hours. Remove the dish from the refrigerator at least 1 hour before serving. Place each round of goat cheese on a leaf of endive and serve.

Stuffed Mushrooms


24 mushroom caps, washed well

1 cup breadcrumbs

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

1 tablespoon chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


Combine breadcrumbs, garlic, Parmigiano, parsley and olive oil and divide among the mushroom caps. Place 1 tablespoon olive oil on the bottom of a medium sized casserole and arrange mushroom caps. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until the mushrooms darken. Remove from oven and drizzle with olive oil.

Mini Cannoli


Alessi cannoli shells

(for the filling):

16 oz (2/3 cup) ricotta cheese

6 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup finely chopped candied fruit


To make the filling, place the ricotta cheese into a bowl, add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the chopped fruits; beat again until evenly mixed. Carefully spoon in the cannoli to the cannoli shells. Arrange the finished cannoli on a serving plate and dredge with confectioners’ sugar.

Sanremo Day 2

Zucchini Tart


1 sheet of puff pastry

2 medium sized zucchini

½ of a white or yellow onion

¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil

Salt and Pepper

4 ounces of goat cheese


Roll out the puff pastry to approximately 8 inches wide and 10 inches long. Slice the zucchini in very thin rounds. Chop the onion. Place the onion and zucchini in a medium sized bowl. Toss with salt and pepper, and olive oil. Place the puff pastry sheet on a silpat or on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Place the zucchini mixture in the center of the puff pastry, leaving an inch and a half border all around. Fold the puff pastry edges in to cover the zucchini mixture slightly. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden. Remove from the oven. While still warm, crumble the goat cheese over the top of the zucchini. Serve.

Sanremo Menus

Crostini with Creamy Ricotta and Roasted Grape Tomatoes


1 cup of whole milk ricotta cheese

3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

¼ teaspoon Sicilian Sea Salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

12-18 roasted grape tomatoes

18 slices of baguette bread, toasted


In a small bowl place the ricotta, cream, salt and pepper and thyme. Whip with a spoon or a whisk until creamy. Meanwhile, on a small cookie sheet, place the grape tomatoes and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Roast at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. (Tomatoes should be soft but not completely flat.) Assemble the crostini by putting a layer of the ricotta mixture and topping with two roasted grape tomatoes. Serve.

Chicken Breasts stuffed with Prosciutto and Provolone, with Lemon Orzo

Sanremo Menus


4 medium, skinless and boneless chicken breasts

¼ pound of shaved American ham or 4 large slices of Italian prosciutto

4 slices of provolone cheese, extra sharp

1 cup Italian breadcrumbs

¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil for cooking


Slice each chicken breast down the side so they are open but still connected. Place 1 slice of provolone and ham in the pocket. Place the chicken breast in the breadcrumbs until well coated on both sides. Place the extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan and sauté each chicken breast on each side until golden. Place in a casserole. Repeat with each chicken breast.

When all the chicken breasts are in the casserole bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve.

To make the lemon orzo, cook 2 cups of orzo according to package directions. Drain. Toss with 1/8 of a cup of extra virgin olive oil and 1/8 cup of fresh lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve as a bed underneath the chicken breasts.

Nutella Pie

Sanremo Menus


One 26 oz jar of Nutella, imported from Italy

Pastry Crust

1 and ¼ cups flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup sugar

1 stick + 1 tablespoon butter, cold

1 egg yolk


Place the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl. Add the egg yolk and the slices of butter. And begin to knead again into a soft dough. Adding a few drops of ice water as necessary. (This can also be done with all ingredients together in a mixer.) Separate the dough into two balls, 1 large and 1 smaller. Roll out the large ball of dough and place in a 9 and ½ inch tart pan or pie pan. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spoon the Nutella into the pastry. Roll out the remaining small ball of dough and cut into 8 thin strips. Arrange in a cross lattice pattern over the Nutella. Bake for 30 minutes.

Sanremo Day 3

Sanremo Menus

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tarts


3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 cup chopped onions

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon Sicilian sea salt

4 ounces goat cheese

1 egg

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon chopped thyme

1 sheet of puff pastry

You also need a mini muffin pan for this recipe


Spray the mini muffin pan with non-stick Pam. In a sauté pan, add the oil and butter, then add the onions, sugar and salt. Cook until the onions begin to brown or caramelize. Approximately 10 minutes. Allow the onions to cool. In a medium-sized bowl mix the goat cheese, egg, cream and thyme. Roll out 1 sheet of puff pastry. Cut with a scissors into small squares that fit into each mini muffin tin with 1/8 of an inch of the dough laying over the outside of the muffin form (this will form a nice crust to handle the tarts easily). Place ¼ teaspoon of the onion mixture at the bottom of each muffin tin on the puff pastry. Stir the goat cheese mixture until smooth and place in each muffin tin over the onions, until it reaches the top of the muffin form. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes, until the top of the tarts are golden. Remove from the muffin tin and serve.

Farfalle Pasta with Lisa’s Vodka Sauce and Sautéed Shrimp


1 lb farfalle

1 lb raw, cleaned and deveined shrimp

1 bottle of Lisa’s Italian Sunday Sauces, creamy vodka sauce


In a medium sized sauté pan, sauté the shrimp in 2 tablespoons of butter, until they turn bright pink. Allow to cool and drain in a colander, making sure all the water and butter drain out. Heat the vodka sauce and pour the shrimp into the vodka sauce. Simmer on very low heat, until the sauce bubbles slightly (there is no need to add the seasoning, as all the seasonings are in the vodka sauce). Meanwhile, cook the 1 lb of farfalle according to package instructions. Toss the farfalle with vodka and shrimp sauce.

Spinach Parmigiano


2 lbs of frozen spinach, thawed

4 tablespoons butter

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

3 eggs, slightly beaten

6 tablespoons of grated parmesan


Cook the spinach in a sauté pan until all water has evaporated. Add butter, salt, and nutmeg to the spinach and cook for four minutes. Shut off the flame and remove the pan from the stove. Add eggs and parmigiano, mix well and serve.

Crème de Menthe Parfaits


2 scoops of excellent quality vanilla gelato (or good quality American vanilla ice cream)

1 bottle crème de menthe liqueur


Scoop generous balls of gelato into individual plates and top with 1-2 teaspoons of crème de menthe. Serve immediately. Optional: a red maraschino cherry on top.

Sanremo Day 4

Crostini with Roasted Peppers

Sanremo Menus


4-6 peppers, red, yellow and orange

6-8 cloves of garlic

½ cup Extra Virgin Olive oil


Roast peppers by placing them under the broiler on a cookie sheet, until the outer skin turns completely black. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled, peel off the skin and remove the stem and seeds from inside the peppers. Rinse the peppers under cold water to make sure all the pith and seeds are gone. Dry in paper towels. Cut the peppers into strips. Place the roasted peppers in a small casserole. Top with extra virgin olive oil and sliced garlic cloves. Repeat until you’ve used all the peppers. Allow to marinate at room temperature for at least two hours.

To make the crostini slice a baguette in ¼ inch slices. Brush on extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper and broil for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the crostini from the oven and place on a platter. Top each crostino with 2 slices of roasted peppers. Serve.

Pasta with Pesto, Green Beans, and Potatoes

Sanremo Menus


1 lb French green beans or haricots vert

3 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 jar of imported Italian basil pesto

1 lb gemelli pasta (or rotini, corkscrew, etc)


Cut the green beans with a scissors in half so they are approximately 1 – 1 ½ inches long. Boil in a pot of water until they are cooked but not soggy. In a separate pan, boil the cubed potatoes until they are fork tender but not falling apart.

Separately, cook your pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving a ½ a cup of the pasta water. Toss the pasta with the pesto until thoroughly covered. Add the green beans and potatoes and mix well. If the mixture is too dry, add a few tablespoons of the pasta water and stir. Serve with Parmigiano Reggiano.

Beet Salad

Sanremo Menus


1 package fully cooked beets

4 oz goat cheese

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Slice the beets and plate. Top with extra virgin olive oil and crumbled goat cheese. Serve.

Neapolitan Orange Cake

Sanremo Menus


½ cup unsalted butter

2 eggs

½ cup granulated sugar

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 cup flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

Juice of 2 oranges (approximately 1 cup)

Zest of 2 oranges


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter (or spray with PAM) a 9 inch cake pan. In a double boiler melt the butter, and set the melted butter aside. (This can also be done in the microwave). In a medium bowl mix the eggs, granulated sugar, and 1 cup of the confectioner’s sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the melted butter and slowly stir in the flour, baking powder, orange zest, and ½ cup of the orange juice. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes.

To prepare the glaze:

In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ½ cup of orange juice and the remaining 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar. When the cake has cooled, plate it on a cake platter, poke holes in the top of the cake and drizzle the orange glaze all over the cake.

Sanremo Day 5

Tomatoes stuffed with Pesto

Sanremo Menus

8 campari tomatoes (or medium size on the vine tomatoes)
1 jar excellent quality Italian basil pesto

Wash the tomatoes. With a small spoon, scoop out the seeds and the pith. Stand the tomatoes on a plate. Fill each tomato with pesto and top with Parmigiano Reggiano. Serve.

Sweet Potato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Pine Nuts

Sanremo Menus

3 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, cleaned and chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Sicilian sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups vegetable broth

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange sweet potatoes, red bell pepper, onion and garlic cloves in an even layer. Drizzle with olive oil and toss together until well-coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
Transfer the roasted vegetables and 2 cups of vegetable broth to a blender. Blend until smooth and transfer to a large pot. Add the remaining 2 cups of vegetable broth and simmer over low heat. In a small frying pan, toast the pine nuts until they are golden but not brown. Serve the soup with toasted pine nuts on top.

Italian Herb Breadsticks

Sanremo Menus

1 package puff pastry
1 teaspoon Sicilian sea salt
½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoons origano
½ teaspoon dried basil

Thaw 1 sheet of puff pastry. Cut into 8 long strips (do not roll out the puff pastry). In a long bowl, or a dish, place 1 teaspoon Sicilian sea salt, ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, ½ teaspoons origano, and ½ teaspoon dried basil. Mix well together. Take each strip of puff pastry and place on the herbs, coating each side of the puff pastry. Lift the puff pastry strip and twist. Place on a baking sheet on either parchment paper or a silpat. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes, or until golden.

Mushroom Tarts

Sanremo Menus

1 package puff pastry
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces of cremini mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces of white button mushrooms, sliced
4 tablespoons pine nuts
1 tablespoons origano
1 teaspoon Sicilian sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Pecorino Romano, or Fontina or Gruyere, grated

Roll out the puff pastry. Cut each sheet into 8 squares. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the mushrooms, cooking them over low heat until they are soft. Drain the mushrooms in a colander to dispose of all the liquid. Let the mushrooms cool. Transfer the mushrooms to a medium sized bowl. Mix in the pine nuts, origano, and salt and pepper. Line two baking sheets or jelly roll pans with parchment paper or a silpat. Place the puff pastry squares on the baking sheets and with a form make holes in the pastry 2 or 3 times. Place 1 ½ – 2 teaspoons of the mushroom mixture on each square, leaving ½ inch border of the pastry uncovered. Place the grated cheeses on top of the mushroom mixture. Bake for 10 minutes until the pastry is golden.

Coviglia al Café

Sanremo Menus

6 whole eggs , separated
1 cup sugar
½ cup strong espresso
1 cup heavy cream

In a medium sized bowl, beat the egg yolks with a hand mixer and add ½ cup of the sugar. In another medium sized bowl, dissolve the remaining ½ cup of sugar into the espresso. Combine the 2 mixtures in a large bowl thoroughly mixing the egg yolks into the coffee and sugar. In a clean, medium sized bowl beat the heavy cream with a hand mixer until it forms soft peaks. Then, very gently, fold the cream into the coffee and egg mixture. In another clean bowl, beat the egg whites with the hand mixer until they form stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the egg, coffee and cream mixture, and then pour it into individual cups such as espresso cups or ramekins.
Place the cups or ramekins in the freezer for a minimum of 3 hours until the mixture is firm but not frozen.


About the Author
Lisa Caponigri is the author of This is Sunday Dinner and Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner?, published by Sterling Epicure. Both of Lisa's cookbooks brim with her memories of living in Italy, both as a child and as an adult raising her own family, anecdotes about her family, regional and seasonal Italian specialties, and all the advice needed to get a spectacular Sunday Dinner on the table, every Sunday of the year. She has developed a line of prepared foods and sauces called Lisa’s Italian Kitchen. Lisa debuted on HSN and has appeared on QVC. She has also appeared on a variety of television programs, including Seattle's New Day Northwest, Good Morning Toronto, Chicago's WGNLunchbreak, and New England Cooks, to name a few. Lisa is frequently consulted as an expert in Italian lifestyle and food. Lisa Caponigri lives in South Bend, IN and travels frequently to Italy to research the latest in "la dolce vita". Visit to learn more about Lisa!

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