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recipes from chef robert

Fiorella's Minestrone

1 1/2 Green Zucchinni, Medium dice
1 1/2 Yellow Squash, Medium Dice
6 stalks Celery, Medium Dice
1 Red Onion, Medium dice
1 1/2 Carrot, Medium Dice
3 Red Tomatoes Medium Dice
2 tbsp Garlic, minced
1 gallon Vegetable Stock (or Chicken Stock)
2 cups Tomato Juice
2/3 cup Tomato Paste
2 tbsp Beef Base
1/2 tbsp Granulated Garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/3 cup Ground parmesan Cheese
2 tbsp Fine chopped herbs (rosemary, thyme and oregano in equal parts)
1/2 lb Spinach
Cooked Pasta noodles

Saute garlic in olive oil over medium heat until cooked. Add carrots, celery and onions and continue to cook until celery and onions are translucent. Add yellow squash and zucchinni and saute until lightly cooked. Add vegetable stock, tomato juice, tomato paste and beef base. Bring to a simmer. Add tomatoes and simmer 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are cooked. Add spinach last then season with granulated garlic, salt, pepper and fine chopped herbs. Remove from heat and stir in parmesean cheese. Cool and store.

Before serving add 2 oz. of cooked pasta to each bowl.

polenta cakePolenta Cake

1 cup Sugar
½ tsp Sugar
½ lb Butter – softened Unsalted
4 Egg yolks -- room temp
2 tsp Orange zest – finely Grated
1 tsp Lemon zest -- finely grated
2 Vanilla beans, or 1 tsp van
1 1/3 cup Natural almonds
1 cup Yellow cornmeal, or course Polenta
1/2 cup Cornstarch  (yes 1/2 cup!)
1 tsp Baking powder
8 Egg whites -- room temp
4 tsp Confectioner's sugar
Sweetened whipped cream

Preheat oven to 325.  Generously butter an 8" X 1" square baking pan.
In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the sugar and the butter, egg yolks and orange and        lemon zests. Scrap seeds from vanilla bean into mixture, or add extract. Using an electric mixer, beat at high speed until smooth, light and creamy, about 2 minutes.
In a food processor, finely grind the almonds with the cornmeal/polenta, cornstarch and  baking powder.
In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the remaining ½ teaspoon sugar until they form soft peaks. Gently fold the dry ingredients and 1/2 the beaten egg whites into the butter mixture; then fold in the remaining egg whites until just incorporated.
Gently scrape the batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer pan to a cooling rack for 10 minutes; then invert the cake on the rack and let cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

bruschettaBruschetta Mix

8 5X6 Tomatoes, small diced    
1/2  Red Onion, small diced  
¼ cup Basil, fine chopped  
¼ cup garlic, fine chopped  
¼ cup Extra virgin olive oil  
1 fresh squeezed lemon juice
Salt & black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients. Mix gently by hand, refrigerate immediately. Serve on sliced bruschetta.


Saffron Risotto

2 teaspoons minced shallots
Olive oil for sautéing
2 cups arborio rice
2 teaspoons saffron threads
5 cups vegetable broth
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Chopped fresh chives to taste
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese

Sauté shallots in olive oil until translucent. Add rice and sauté on medium heat 3-4 minutes. Add saffron and begin adding broth 1 cup at a time. Continue to cook rice on medium heat adding more liquid (including wine) only when the liquid from the previous cup is nearly absorbed. When all of the liquid is added, taste for doneness. Rice should be al dente, meaning slightly stiff in the center but not mushy. Fold in butter, salt, pepper and chives. Garnish with cheese.

Chef's note: Risotto should be stirred with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to prevent mashing the rice while it cooks.


8 oz Butter
12 oz Sugar
2 tsp Salt
4 eggs
24 oz pastry flour (sifted)
1 tbsp baking soda (sifted)
1 tbsp Vanilla paste

Cream together butter sugar and salt. Then add egg one at a time. Add pastry flour, baking soda and vanilla. Mix until combined but do not overmix. Separate into 3 equal parts, roll out on floured table into a 2 foot log and bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Allow to cool. When cool cut 1 inch strips on the bias and place on side. bake at 275 f0or 20 additional minutes. 

For chocolate biscotti substitute 4 oz. cocoa powder for flour.

Also see Gingerbread biscotti recipe below.

Parmesan Cheese MixFiorella’s Parmesan Cheese Mix
for Bread and Pizza

2.5 lbs Grated parmesan Cheese (not shredded)
4 tbsp Dried basil leaf
4 tbsp Dried Oregano
4 tbsp Dried Marjoram
2 tbsp Crushed Red Pepper
2 tbsp Dried Thyme Leaves

Mix all ingredients together well by hand or with a spoon, and refrigerate in an airtight container. May be kept for several weeks in refrigeration

This is excellent for fresh baked bread served with aged balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil as we do in the restaurant, or on pizza, salads or on ripe tomatoes

Tuscan Spice

1/2 cup Chili Powder
1/2 cup Cumin, ground
1/2 cup Black pepper, ground
1/4 cup Paprika
1/2 cup Granulated onion
1/2 cup Garlic, granulated
1/2 Tbsp Cinnamon

Mix thoroughly.


1 lb Basil
1/2 cup Pine nuts
1 cup parmsean
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Place ingredients in food processor and blend until pasty. *For pesto oil, taste pesto and add oil until saucy.

Canoli Filling

4 cup Ricotta Cheese
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 1/2 cup 10X sugar (sifted)
1 Tbsp vanilla paste
1/2 lb Mascarpone Cheese
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips
1 Tbsp Candied citron (small diced)
1/4 cup pistachios chopped
1/2 tsp Orange zest

Whip Ricotta cheese in mixer on high for one minute. Add cinnamon, 10X sugar, vanilla paste, and mascarpone, whip on high for another 45 seconds. Fold in chips, Refrigerate until use.

Winter Spiced Spaghetti Squash with Dried Cranberries and Hazelnut

1 each Spaghetti Squash                                   
1 Tbls Christmas Spice (see recipe)                       
2 Tbls Brown Sugar                                               
½ stick Whole Butter                                               
3 Tbls Dried Cranberries                                   
¼ lb Hazelnuts  (toasted and chopped)           

To select and prepare squash:
Select spaghetti squash that is uniformly sized that is firm all the way around with not blemishes or soft spots.

Rinse and dry squash and cut off the top including the stem and the very bottom…you want to just remove the very top and bottom not much of the flesh. Doing this will allow you to stand the spaghetti squash up. Carefully cut the squash in half from top to bottom. This will expose the seeds and pulp on the inside of the squash. Using a tablespoon scrape the seeds and pulp out of the inside of the squash similar to scraping out a pumpkin.

Once cleaned spray a cookie sheet or half sheet pan with non stick spray. Place the 2 halves face down in the pan and add about 2 cups of water to the pan. Place in a preheated 325 degree oven  and cook until the squash is tender and gives way to the touch when pressing the outside of the husk. (approx.30- 45 minutes)

Remove from oven and drain any residual water. Flip halves over to release steam and allow to cool (about 20 minutes)

Once cooled remove strands of squash by holding squash half in one hand and using a work gently scrape the inside of the squash. The cooked squash will begin to come out in strands. Place the squash strands in a separate bowl.

To assemble:
Melt butter and brown sugar in a sauté pan until sizzling, add Christmas spice and cranberries. Sauté lightly for 1 minute then add squash and stir constantly until squash is hot throughout. Season as needed with salt. Remove from heat and garnish with chopped toasted hazelnuts. Serve immediately to accompany any holiday feast!

Gingerbread Biscotti

8 oz Butter
12 oz Sugar
2 tsp Salt
4 eggs
24 oz pastry flour (sifted)
1 tbsp baking soda (sifted)
1 tbsp Molasses
1 tbsp Powdered Ginger
1 tsp. Nutmeg
½ tsp. Ground cloves
2 tsp.  Cinnamon

Cream together butter sugar and salt. Then add egg one at a time. Add pastry flour, spice, baking soda and vanilla. Mix until combined but do not over mix. Separate into 3 equal parts, roll out on floured table into a 2 foot log and bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Allow to cool. When cool cut 1 inch strips on the bias and place on side. Bake at 275 degrees or 20 additional minutes.


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