Cooking with My Sisters by Adriana Trigiani

“Cooking with My Sisters is the best Italian cookbook ever written by women from the American south. Adriana Trigiani and her sisters had the genius to unite a Southern sensibility with Italian cooking, and the stories of the Trigiani family alone are worth the price of admission.” –Pat Conroy

“This collection fills the heart as full as the stomach! Mangia, y’all!” –Rachael Ray

“Fabulous … When a bestselling novelist, her four sisters and their mother tie on their aprons and put their heads together to write a cookbook, chances are it’ll be filled with warm reminiscences, family stories and plenty of old-world recipes. This just about sums up Cooking with My Sisters.” –New York Daily News


Serves 6 for dinner, 10 for appetizer

Romaine lettuce (usually only 1 head, have another just in case)
Two 16-ounce cans white albacore tuna in water
9 hardboiled eggs sliced in half
One 15-ounce jar red roasted peppers
Two 4-ounce cans anchovies rolled with capers
8-ounces pitted black olives
8-ounces pitted green olives
½ pound Genoa salami, sliced thin and rolled *
½ pound prosciutto, sliced very thin and rolled
One 12-ounce can artichoke hearts
One 7-ounce can mushrooms packed in olive oil
½ pound cheddar cheese sliced in strips – ½ x 2 inches**
½ pound Monterey jack cheese sliced in strips – ½ x 2 inches**
12-ounces pepperoncini peppers
Fresh Italian parsley for garnishing
Olive oil to drizzle

* Other meats we’ve used: cotto salami, capicola, soprassata

** You can go for more authentic Italian – we use the “American” varieties for color

The key to this recipe is to make the platter attractive and artistic. Line a 12-inch platter (we like a round shape) with the larger lettuce leaves, which will serve as the base of the antipasto as well as a way to measure a portion. (Ideally a person should be able to pull a whole lettuce leaf off the finished antipasto with a little of everything on top.) In the center of the platter place the tuna; it’s best to use a canned variety so that you can turn the can upside down and remove the tuna intact, retaining the shape of the can. Add the roasted red peppers and place them around the platter in a symmetrical pattern, like the rays of the sun. Continue in the same pattern with the remaining ingredients until the tray is covered and all the ingredients have been used. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Cooking with My Sisters antipasto
Adriana Trigiani's Mother
Co-author Mary Trigiani with antipasto, photo copyright Cooking with My Sisters

Viola and Mary’s Hawaiian Adventure Bars

Makes Three Dozen Small Bars

1 cup of sifted all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon of salt
⅔ cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar (set aside for topping)
⅔ cup of drained, crushed pineapple
1 cup of rolled oats
½ cup of shortening
1 can of pineapple rings
4 maraschino cherries, halved

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the crushed pineapple, oats, and shortening. Stir in the dry ingredients until well blended. Pat about half of the mixture into a 9-inch square pan on the bottom evenly. Add the rings of pineapple on top of the first layer of the mixture. Take the remaining mixture and pat on top of the pineapple circles. Save two pineapple circles for the top slice one edge and twist into a bow shape, placing maraschino cherry on either side. So the same with the second pineapple ring. Sprinkle pineapple ribbons with brown sugar, bake for 25-30 minutes.