Gina DePalma

I was the Pastry Chef of Babbo Restaurant and Enoteca for almost 15 years, and my cookbook, Dolce Italiano was published in October of 2007. I won a James Beard Award in 2009, and my second book is almost here.

  • Website
  • Location: New York, NY and occasionally, Rome, Italy
  • Favorite foods: anything lemon, pasta of all shapes, my mom's Sunday sugo, a perfect grilled cheese sandwich, toast with butter and jam, ripe peaches.....
  • Last bite on earth: un bacio from someone who loves me.

Latest Comments

Seriously Italian: Almond Olive Oil Cake for Valentine's Day

Cmorris, use 1/2 a teaspoon of table salt. In general, use half the amount of kosher salt when subbing table salt. So glad you like the cake!

Seriously Italian: Pastiera (Ricotta and Cooked Grains Cake)

Nobody is a dummy! I think when the site format changed a while back, only half the recipe was transferred. I thought maybe someone from SE would have seen your comments but I guess they aren't moderated.

Forgive me from taking you away from this page, but I've got the whole recipe up on my site, right here:

Buona Pasqua!

Seriously Italian: Spaghetti All'Ubriaco

Hello, cltnancy... This is one of my all-time favorite recipes too! Happy Anniversary and enjoy!

Seriously Italian: Snowy Day Risotto

Hi everyone; thanks for the great comments. I do like carnaroli rice for risotto too, I just had arborio on hand, and in some parts of the country, it is going to be an easier find.

Snackwell, I don't know how to answer your question with precision. Risotto cooks differently for me, every time. I always use my mantra of cook it until it is done, and it does vary with how much you make, how fast the liquid evaporates on your particular stove setting, etc. This recipe could take 15 to 20 minutes, generally speaking.

As a rule, I never serve risotto as a side dish, alongside meat, because in my mind, it is really a primi course, like pasta, and I can't imagine it as a side course.

But if nothing else than the huge timing issue, I never try to serve risotto with another course. We make it, eat it, and then the rest of the meal goes on the table. Or, as in the case of this week, it goes into a bowl for scooping up on the couch, wrapped in a blanket.

Good luck with your risotto! I'm sure it will turn out great!

Seriously Italian: Punctuating Flavors with Ricotta Salata

Thanks Ed! I was busy at the Bon Appetit Supper Club yesterday, and your comment was a bright spot in my day!

And I'm glad to see there are so many other ricotta salata fans out there. Maybe if we start asking for it, local grocery stores will start stocking it more...

Seriously Italian: Farfalle with Zucchini and Gorgonzola


I don't think Fontina will work with this recipe per se. The secret here is that the gorgonzola's very creamy texture and high fat content means that it simply melts right into all the other ingredients and disappears as a solid form, coating the pasta with its fat and flavor.

To duplicate that, I think you would need something that can melt in a similar way. Otherwise you are going to wind up with stringy globs; finely grated Fontina would make teeny stringy globs. A very creamy soft-ripened robiola, like La Tur, would work, maybe. If you can find it, Stracchino would probably melt similarly. I'd have to test it out for you to give a definitive answer.

Seriously Italian: A Sicilian Breakfast To Beat The Heat

Aw, crap, I couldn't remember if it was breakfast or dinner. We used to have that Cosby routine on LP, but we don't have it or a turntable anymore. Whenever I am in the kitchen making chocolate cake, I do the chant, "Dad is GREAT, gives us CHOCOLATE CAKE!!"

Seriously Italian: Speck from Alto Adige

There are versions of German speck which are very close to Italian lardo - almost all fat. Schinkenspecik is much meatier, but more heavily spiced, from what I have been told.

I did not picture bresoala here.

And I did not say that there are only smoked versions of ham or speck north of the Alps, nor do I think I made any sweeping statements or implications about German cured meats. I merely said that Alto Adige speck is not as heavily smoked in comparison to some of the smoked hams of Northern Europe.

The Real Emotions Behind the 2009 James Beard Foundation Awards

I just want to say that I love you, Ed. You've been my biggest and best cheerleader for the past 11 years, and I treasure you!

When I was led into the press room, there was Ed, jumping up and down and scooping me up in huge hug! Best moment of the night for me....

And dang, you are a fantastically skinny dude.

I am happy to be alive. Hoping to stay that way...

Serious Efforts: Choc. flourless torte @ 5280 ft. — what went wrong?

Hi bisbee. Don't be disappointed. A flourless chocolate cake doesn't have any cake-like qualities - like sponginess. That is the whole point of it being flourless. There's no leavening, nothing but butter, sugar, chocolate and egg, by design it is supposed to be dense, fudgy, gooey in the center. It is especially true for this recipe; the eggs aren't even whipped. It sounds like it came out exactly as it should.

Seriously Italian: Pastiera (Ricotta and Cooked Grains Cake)

There are a plethora of easter (and carnevale) pies from many regions of Italy that are takes on the same theme, cheese and grain, cheese and meat. Some regions traditionally serve a yeast bread with local cheeses and sometimes meats worked into the dough.

This one is decidedly sweet and the common ingredient here is ricotta. Pizza Rustica (and its counterparts with different names) is filled with savory meats and cheeses, but some versions have a sweet crust. In the north, you would find northern cured meats and harder, more aged cheeses in addition to the ricotta; in the south the meats get spicier. This is something that has so many variations it is hard to give a general description...

Pizza Rustica is one of my favorites too! Similar to what Deb07 posted, my aunts use to come over and we would bang out five of them in huge roasting pans to feed the crowds. Those were some rough hours grating cheeses and cutting sausges!

This is most definitely my version of the Campania/Naples traditional Pastiera, which is its own thing!

Panna Cotta

It lasts forever, too, if you keep it well wrapped!
I hate working with powdered is so great that home cooks have the alternative of sheets now. When I lived in Italy, I never, ever saw powdered gelatin, and you could find the sheets in any grocery store...I am hoping that this will be the case here someday.

Seriously Italian: Spaghetti All'Ubriaco

Thanks for being patient with me, folks! I heart SE!

I bet bucatini would be great with this method. Remember, proportions are all relative. You may want more wine in both pans for more wine flavor, and yes, more butter or olive oil may suit your needs!

Hope all the experiments work! My mom and I scarfed ours down pretty fast...

Seriously Italian: Spaghetti All'Ubriaco

Sorry about the salt and draining confusion.
If you salt your pasta water generously, it should do the trick, but by all means, season this dish, or any dish, to your taste with salt.

And yes, drain the pasta whichever method you choose - some folks dump it into a strainer, I lift it out with tongs, or you may have one of those pasta pots with a drainer insert....

As for the dish just being okay - well, I enjoyed it and still do. Thank you for recalling the name of the restaurant; it has been some years since I was there and I had forgotten (sorry - chemo brain strikes). They were very kind to me when I was there.

Guess I didn't do a very good job this week - I apologize Serious Eaters and Team!

Seriously Italian: Cinnamon Breakfast Toasts

@jeanmarieok: Hi! Yes, they will keep very well, even a couple of weeks, in an airtight container.

Pasta alla Gricia

@mr_chorzo, I'll work on that for a part 2 post sometime soon!

Seriously Italian: Almond Olive Oil Cake for Valentine's Day

Everyone, I am so glad you are making the cake and loving it! It disappeared pretty fast at my house too!

@newyorkbaker, I don't have my own recipe for cannoli, but I really like the one in Mario's book, Holiday Food. I made the cannoli that are pictured in the book, and they were pretty wonderful.

As audrasena said, the orange juice in the recipe is primarily to add moisture, not orange flavor. I sometimes use oj when developing a recipe instead of milk, which contributes protein and changes the texture.

Serious Cookies: Cocoa Snowflakes

Hi Christina, you absolutely could leave out the nuts. Also the booze!

Thanks, everyone, for such a warm welcome back!

Sugar Rush: Schiacciata Uva at Babbo

Hi! Its actually from my cookbook, Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen! And Kathy is right - my rendition is brioche. So this is not authentic, but a sweet, dessert version of schiacciata.

Sorry - couldn't resist jumping in~

Snapshots from Italy: Eataly Torino

That is what I meant; I apologize if it wasn't clearer! I should add that my lunch was somewhere around €8 for the plate of pasta, and included mineral water, which was a nice, unexpected touch, since the water can really jack up any restaurant bill.

I thought Eataly was wondrous. I hope that came across.

Snapshots from Italy: Seeing Red at the Market

Hi there!
Great question. Yes, I must say that prices have gone up dramatically and are continuing to rise. I usually shop in Monteverde or Testaccio, because the Campo, and even Piazza San Calisto are expensive. Produce is still relatively reasonable, depending on what you buy. That day, I also bought 3 big potatoes, and 2 big red onions, and it was €.90, so it evens out sometimes. The strawberries were maybe €1.50.

Meat is really, really expensive; I only eat it twice a week, maybe. Pasta is more expensive than it used to be, but still an economical way to eat. I've been making pasta lately and it is a real money saver. With 3 eggs and 300 gms of flour, I can make enough pasta for 4-5 meals.

Most Romans know that prices can vary greatly from shop to shop, block to block, so they will go out of their way to find a good bargain.

Rome is overall a very expensive city. I am in Torino right now for a few days. Prices are much less expensive here, for everything. And the shopping is great, I must add. Eveyone who loves Italy should visit Torino. It is one of the great, grand European cities. I'm going to post on it soon!

Snapshots from Italy: Roman Easter Soup

To make any egg-enriched soup, I would use 1 egg yolk per 1 1/4 cups stock; flavor and season as you like! If you use whole eggs, you will get a stracciatella-effect, and the soup should actually come to a simmer to fully cook the eggs. I don't want to get too far off-topic, but if you have ever had stracciatella, you know what I mean. Good luck!

Snapshots from Italy: Tagliatelle with Artichokes, Leeks, and Lemon

Hi Ben! The artichokes here are gi-normous, I must say! Much bigger than the ones I am used to back in the States, which are probably more like to the ones you used. The first couple of times I have made this dish, I did it a la minute, and by cooking the artichokes a bit first, then adding the leeks, they softened up pretty fast with the lid on. But cooking them ahead of time can work too.

I had some friends over for dinner a few nights ago and wanted to cut down on my in-the-kitchen exile; an hour or so ahead of time, I sauteed the artichokes in a bit of olive oil, then added a bit of water and the lid to cook them through, and set them aside. I picked up the rest of the recipe by cooking the leeks, and added the chokes back to the pan when I added the lemon. It worked fine that way, so if anyone wants to break the recipe up in the same manner, go for it...

Snapshots from Italy: Crema di Gianduja

Hi Jen,
They are both quite good, and I think the Baratti is becoming my will be a great gift for your sister!