featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


It’s always a pleasure to welcome a fellow Jersey girl to Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers. With us today is Rosie Genova author of the Italian Kitchen Mysteries. An English teacher by day and novelist by night, Rosie also writes women’s fiction as Rosemary DiBattista. Learn more about her and her books at her website.

There’s a moment in my book, Murder and Marinara, when things look particularly dark for the staff of the Casa Lido, the restaurant at the center of the series. The chef responds by making a frittata, an egg-based dish that is one part quiche, one part omelet. And while the characters’ problems aren’t solved for another hundred pages, at least they get a warm, comforting meal.

In real life, I’m a big fan of Italian food that might be categorized as cucina rustica, or as we say in English, comfort food. Particularly at this time of year, I turn to favorites like roasted sausage with peppers and polenta; pasta with pancetta; greens with garlic and white beans, and one I  recently served up: a lovely frittata rounded out with a green salad and homemade bread.

The frittata pictured came about at the end of a long day. I was tired, nothing was defrosted, and I didn’t want pizza. In the refrigerator were some leftover roasted potatoes with caramelized onions and a package of fresh mozzarella. I always have eggs on hand; ditto Progresso flavored bread crumbs, a staple no Italian kitchen is ever without. I sliced the potatoes thin, estimated how much cheese to slice (then added six more slices) and scrambled up some eggs with freshly ground pepper, salt, grated Parm, and the flavored crumbs, making sure to get every last piece of sweet browned onions in there. I started it on the stove in the cast iron pan and finished it off in the oven. While it set up, I threw together a salad and warmed up half a loaf of bread. With a glass of strong red wine, that meal was nirvana. And I put it together in just about the time it would have taken me to get to the pizza place and back. 

The recipe below is a more formalized version of my thrown-together version, but this is a dish with many variations:

1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 quarter of a large Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
5 ounces of baby arugula (or baby spinach, escarole, or other tender green)
8 large eggs
¼ pound of fontina cheese cut into cubes (or fresh or regular mozzarella)
½ teaspoon of salt, or more to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, or several twists of a grinder
Italian flavored bread crumbs and grated cheese for topping

1.             Pre-heat oven to 350°.
2.             Heat oil in a well-seasoned 10-inch cast iron pan or other heavy ovenproof skillet. Cook the onion over medium heat, separating it into ribbons until nicely browned. Add arugula and cook, stirring frequently until wilted, about 2 minutes.
3.             Whisk together the eggs, cheese, salt and pepper until frothy. Pour over arugula and onions in the skillet and cook over medium heat without stirring until almost set, about 5-6 minutes.
4.             Remove from heat and sprinkle bread crumbs and cheese over the top. Bake for about 15 minutes until edges are golden brown and center is set.

(You don’t have to be limited to this recipe, however. You can do as I did, and use leftovers, any other veggies of your choice, or meats such as crumbled cooked Italian sausage, sautéed pancetta, or ham.)

Murder and Marinara
Hit whodunit writer Victoria Rienzi is getting back to her roots by working at her family’s Italian restaurant. But now in between plating pasta and pouring vino, she’ll have to find the secret ingredient in a murder.... 

When Victoria takes a break from penning her popular mystery series and moves back to the Jersey shore, she imagines sun, sand, and scents of fresh basil and simmering marinara sauce at the family restaurant, the Casa Lido. But her nonna’s recipes aren’t the only things getting stirred up in this Italian kitchen.

Their small town is up in arms over plans to film a new reality TV show, and when Victoria serves the show’s pushy producer his last meal, the Casa Lido staff finds itself embroiled in a murder investigation. Victoria wants to find the real killer, but there are as many suspects as tomatoes in her nonna’s garden. Now she’ll have to heat up her sleuthing skills quickly…before someone else gets a plateful of murder. 

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Kathleen Kaska said...

Congratulations on your first mystery, Rosie. I've already been to amazon to check it out. It's on my list. I love the recipe, too.

Rose Anderson said...

Congrats on your first mystery. That recipe looks yummy. Best luck.

Rosie said...

Thanks, Kathleen! And the recipe is super easy, and maybe not one we'd think of for dinner--part of why I like it!

And thanks, Lois, for having me as your guest today.

Rosie said...

Thanks, Rose. Love your name, by the way. ;>

Linda Reilly said...

Rosie, I've ordered your book and it is currently winging its way to me from B&N. Can't wait to read it, and thanks for the luscious-looking recipe!

Rosie said...

Thanks, Linda! Hope you enjoy it. There are more recipes in the book, too.

Angela Adams said...

Rosie, I admire anyone who can cook -- because I can't. Best wishes with your book!!!

Rosie said...

Thanks, Angela! And don't sell yourself short; you're probably a better cook than you think you are.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Love the sound of your new series, Rosie, and thanks for the recipe!

Lorrie Thomson said...

Ever since Rosie taught me about frittatas, they've been a staple in my house for dinner. I highly recommend both the dish and Murder and Marinara, a delish-delightful combo.

Gemma Juliana said...

Love your book cover, Rosie, and the premise of your novel. I'll be checking it out on Amazon and adding to my e-TBR file. Recipe looks delicious.