I must start with the caveat that this is not actually my recipe but BD’s. And, truth be told, it’s not even his. Many years ago, when shoulder pads and perms were in vogue if unfortunate and our meeting was but a fleeting dream he could only hope to attain (my blog, my version), he found himself in a liquor store that had a Jack Daniel’s promotional recipe for this cake on a tear-off pad. He availed himself.
There are few things that universally say “Christmas!” to our extended family like Nonnie’s biscotti. Not to be confused with our Nonnie (queen of the pasta fazool), this nonna is my mother and her siblings’ grandmother. Lucy Vitiello Polvinale aka Old Nonnie (or Nonnie from Florida if she was within earshot) was a pistol of a lady. Though vertically challenged to the tune of 4 foot nothing – give or take – she could whip up a feast for the hordes while telling fabulous stories in her wizened old Italian-accented voice, barking orders at Cizzie (the Florida Cizzie, not to be confused with present day Aunt Dot Cizzie) and encouraging the feeble attempts of any protegee, young or old, who thought it wise to belly up to her counter to roll gnocchi or simply bask in her wonderful presence.
I told the boys I was starting this blog to create a family “recipe book” so that if I were to die in a firey ball tomorrow, at least there would be good food at the wake (hey, they’re 8 and 9 … they love that sort of talk). They immediately went cross-eyed when I told them I would start with Pasta Fazool (pasta e fagiola for the purist). “No! No! If you die in a fiery ball, I want compost cookies!” “Me, too! Me, too!” I’m pretty sure I heard a mumbled “who likes beans anyway?” but I ignored that sacrilege and pulled out the mixer.