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, August 4, 2015


A Jersey girl born and bred, national bestselling author Rosie Genova left her heart at the shore, which serves as the setting for her Italian Kitchen Mysteries. Her debut novel, Murder and Marinara, was named a 2013 Best Pick by Suspense Magazine and was a finalist for a 2014 Daphne Award. You can learn more about Rosie at her website.

My current release, A Dish Best Served Cold, not only features a cold case, but some cold recipes as well. One of them, the recipe I’m including here, has an interesting back-story—just like a good murder suspect!

The recipe comes from my friend Tom Ficarra, an enthusiastic foodie and pretty formidable home cook. (He also provided the inspiration for Father Tom, an important character in my story.) Italian dishes are his specialty, particularly those he samples in his yearly travels to Italy. The last time Tom visited Sicily, he stopped in a small town to fill up his rental car. He interrupted the gas station owner just as he was about to have his pranzo, or late day meal—pasta with arugula and fresh tomatoes that had been marinating in garlic. Served over hot pasta, the vegetables form a “sauce” that doesn’t require cooking.

As you can see, the measurements are not exact, and Tom’s original wording (“Chop the crap out of the tomatoes!”) has been, shall we say, adjusted, for public consumption. If arugula is not to your taste, you may use any green you like in this dish; the heat from the pasta will wilt it slightly. Also, if you find raw garlic a bit too pungent, do what I do: before marinating, lightly sauté the cloves in olive oil until soft but not browned.

The sweetness of the tomatoes really balance the bite of the greens. And here’s what else I love about this meal—your salad is on top of the pasta! All you need to add is some crusty bread and a medium-bodied wine for a complete meal.

Buon appetito!

Father Tom’s Cold Tomato Sauce
This recipe makes more than enough “sauce” for a pound of pasta. It’s also good the next day as a cold pasta salad—add olives, cubed cheese, and chickpeas for a different take on the dish.

approximately 10 fresh plum tomatoes
5 oz. package of fresh arugula or other hardy baby green
3/4-1 cup of olive oil 
1-2 cloves of garlic, depending on taste
salt and freshly grated pepper to taste

Chop tomatoes, arugula, and garlic well; place in large bowl and mix thoroughly. At this stage, I season with two generous teaspoons of sea salt and several twists of the pepper grinder. Before serving, taste and adjust seasonings to preference.

Pour olive oil over the mixture. Let the mixture marinate for at least three hours, taking care to stir the mixture several times. The arugula will soften and sweeten in the oil and juices from the tomatoes.

Serve over hot pasta of your choice (I used the double twists known as gemelli) with a generous amount of grated Romano cheese.

A Dish Best Served Cold 
At the Casa Lido, the end of summer means a party, and hit whodunit writer Victoria “Vic” Rienzi and her family are cooking like crazy for the restaurant’s seventieth anniversary celebration. As they chop onions and garlic, old family friend Pete Petrocelli stops by, saying he knows something that would make for a good mystery novel. Curious, Vic asks Nonna to elaborate on Pete’s claim and learns of a relative who mysteriously disappeared back in Italy…

The night of the party brings a crowd—and a full throttle hurricane. When the storm finally passes, everyone thinks they’re in the clear—until the first casualty is found, and it’s Pete. Remembering his visit, Vic isn’t certain Pete’s death was an accident and decides to dig deeper into his story. What she finds is meatier than Nonna’s sauce…

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Angela Adams said...

That looks amazing! Thanks!!!

Rosie said...

Thanks, Angela! It's super easy as well.

Rosie said...

And thank-you, Lois, for having me today!

Kathye Quick said...

I needed something for dinner tonight. Looks like I found it.

Plus, the book sounds wonderful.

Nice to meet you, Rosie!

Sandy Cody said...

Love the sound of this recipe - and the books sounds terrific too. I think I just figured out what we're having for dinner tonight.

Rosie said...


I think we have met in another life, one in which my name is "Rosemary"!

Rosie said...

It is super easy to prepare and perfect for this typically Jersey heat wave we've been having.

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Love the recipe and the blurb!