Janice Therese Mancuso

Cooking, decorating, and Italian living



email: jtm@jtmancuso.com

Website created and designed by Janice Therese Mancuso.

©1998-2011 Janice Therese Mancuso (jtm) All rights reserved.


4 cups fresh basil leaves

4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped

½ to ¾ cup pignoli

½ to ¾ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

¼ to ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Roasted Red Peppers

Wash and core peppers. Cut in half, lengthwise. Slit rounded bottoms and place skin side up on baking sheet. Press to flatten. Turn on broiler. Place under broiler and bake until skin blackens. Place in paper bag, fold top edges over to seal. The warmth and moisture in the bag will help loosen the peels. Let peppers sit for at least 10 minutes. Peel and discard skin.


Store tightly covered in back of refrigerator. Use within one week.



2 tablespoons olive oil

2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed

2 cups water

1 cup white wine

1 cup coarse-ground yellow cornmeal

1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

freshly ground black pepper


In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté garlic in olive oil until fragrant. Slowly add water and wine and stir in cornmeal. Cook, stirring constantly about 10 minutes or until cornmeal thickens and begins to boil. Stir in cheese and black pepper. Serve immediately.

Polenta with

Roasted Red Peppers

Use Italian (flat leaf) parsley to make a flavorful pesto. Just replace the basil with parsley and the pignoli with walnuts.

Pizza alla Margherita

1¾ cups very warm water

1 (¼-ounce) package active dry yeast

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon olive oil

3½ to 4 cups unbleached flour

4 to 6 Roma firm, ripe tomatoes

12 to 16 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thin

2 to 4 ounces fresh basil leaves, sliced thin


Pour water into large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with yeast and add honey. Let sit for 10 minutes, allowing yeast to foam. Add olive oil and three cups flour and mix well. Stir in enough remaining flour for dough to form a ball. Transfer dough to floured board and knead 5 minutes or until dough is smooth. >>>>>>>

Pizza alla Margherita (continued)


Coat the inside of a large bowl with olive oil. Place dough in bowl and coat with oil. Cover and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes.


Heat oven to 500 degrees. Oil two large baking sheets. Set aside. Punch dough down. Divide into four pieces. On floured board, pat and stretch one piece into a 10-inch circle. Position round of dough on baking pan. Brush dough with olive oil. Repeat with remaining dough.


Bake dough for 3 to 5 minutes, just until dry on top. Remove from oven and top with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Bake 5 minutes or until cheese has melted and is lightly browned. Cut with pizza cutter and serve immediately.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse basil, garlic, and pignoli until fine. Pulse in cheese. With processor running, add oil to form a paste. Serve.