This Mac and Cheese is one of Elizabeth "Oma" Fisher's masterpieces. It was always there for any big family or church occasion. Everyone loved it, with no exception! Made with freshly grated cheddar and eggs tempered in warm milk, this is a custardy macaroni and cheese, with a crunchy, browned top.


Pizzoccheri is one of my favorite things to eat. It is an earthy, creamy mess of buckwheat pasta, greens, and cheese, designed to delight the child in us. Giovanna, and I cooked it as a one-pot dish, boiling the pasta and other ingredients all together, then tossing them with butter and sage and stinky cheese at the end. After talking with Giovanna about the recipe, however, I decided to develop it further to better articulate the strengths of the dish. I make the noodles slightly thicker and stouter, boil the vegetables separately so as not to overcook them, and broil the dish at the end for a slightly crunchy and caramelized top. If you do not have the time to make the fresh buckwheat pasta for this recipe, you can substitute 8 to 12 ounces of dried buckwheat noodles.


The airy flesh of the ubiquitous russet potato makes it the perfect choice for gnocchi. To create light, pillowy gnocchi, make sure that your dough is neither too wet nor overworked. Armida uses the fine markings of the back of her cheese grater to mark the gnocchi; I recommend using the fine side of a box grater to do this, or forming the gnocchi and running them along a wire whisk to mark them. The gnocchi are wonderful with Armida’s easy, rich ragu. They are also delicious with a simpler dressing of melted butter and grated cheese.


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