The Paperback Launches~

Beyond the Pasta paperback cover" "Mark Leslie" "Gemelli Press"

New for 2014: The Paperback Edition of

Beyond the Pasta:

Recipes, Language & Life with an Italian Family

With the popularity of the award-winning hardcover edition, I was thrilled when Gemelli Press wanted to do a paperback edition of my book. The paperback is more than just a reprinting of the hardcover; it is newly revised with these exciting additions:

-10 bonus recipes, for a total of 39 authentic family-style Italian recipes

-14 gluten-free recipes (8 naturally gluten-free, plus 6 more gluten-free when substituting gluten-free pasta

-The same heartfelt, award-winning story of my life with Nonna, Alessandra and the entire Stefani family.

-A new lower retail price!

Plus to whet your appetite, watch this quick “trailer” for the paperback: BTP Video.

And, it wouldn’t seem right if I didn’t leave you with one of the most popular recipes from the book—and it is gluten-free too!

Pollo al Pomodoro e Olive

"Mark Leslie" "Beyond the Pasta"
Chicken with Tomato and Olives

I could eat this dish once a week for the rest of my life and never tire of it. Sadly, Nonna only made this once while I was in Viterbo. This is a simple, country dish and reminds me of Tuscany. Nonna cuts her chicken into small pieces—it is only 10 but in her pan it looks more like 14 since they are so small. You may cut yours to any size you desire.

1 (4 pound) chicken, cut into 8 or 10 pieces (cut into 10 by dividing the breast into quarters)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season the chicken.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup white wine

2 large cloves garlic, minced

¾ cup strained tomatoes, such as Pomi brand *

1½ cups (5 ounces) whole green olives, pitted

¼ teaspoon salt, or more to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste 

Dry the chicken pieces with paper towels to remove any excess moisture and liberally season with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat, and when the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces, skin side down and fry until nicely browned, turning to brown both sides, 3 to 5 minutes on each side.

When the chicken has browned, transfer to a plate and set aside.  Add the white wine and garlic to the pan, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. After the wine has reduced by half, about 3 minutes, add the strained tomatoes, olives, salt and pepper. Stir until combined. Return the chicken to the skillet with its juices. Cover, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and cook another 10 minutes, until the chicken is done and the sauce has thickened slightly.

Remove the chicken to a warmed platter. Adjust the seasoning of the sauce with salt and pepper, and pour the sauce and olives over the chicken. Serve hot.

Serves 6.

*Note: Strained tomatoes can be readily found in most supermarkets in either the canned tomato or pasta aisles. Sometimes the product may be referred to by its Italian name “passato” and can be found either bottled or cartoned, as is the case with the Pomi brand.

About the Author

Mark LeslieMark Leslie, seen cooking on NBC’s "The Today Show" and Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family," loves to cook for anyone with an appetite, vacations in Italy every year, and lives to eat his way through every plate of pasta and cone of gelato placed before him. His first book, “Beyond the Pasta: Recipes, Language & Life with an Italian Family,” tells of his life in Italy while cooking with an Italian grandmother. He shares his food experiences on his blog at and has taught cooking classes in California, Georgia, Minnesota, Texas, and across Alabama. While judging for high school culinary events, he was chosen by the US Department of Education to judge for their "National Education Startup Challenge." Mark can be regularly seen cooking on NBC-affiliate, WSFA-TV 12's "Alabama Live! each Friday, bringing easy, locally sourced recipes to central Alabama. His iTunes app “Beyond the Pasta” features helpful videos and more of Nonna’s family-style recipes that she shared with him, plus, upon its release, it was named “New & Noteworthy” by Apple. DaVinci Wines chose Mark as their "2012 Storyteller" in Language Arts—where they sent him to Vinci, Italy, to write about wine, food and life. Mark, his home and book have been featured in such national publications and blogs as House Beautiful, Paula Deen, Food Republic, The Kitchn, Apartment Therapy, Field & Stream, and The Daily Meal. A Chicago-area native and “Yankee” by birth, Mark has lived in Alabama for over 24 years, and celebrates the fact that he started life eating farina, progressed to grits, and finally arrived at polenta. Buonissimo!View all posts by Mark Leslie →

  1. LisaLisa01-19-2014

    This was delicioso! I double the garlic (we heart garlic!) and I would double the sauce next time. I hope you come back to Cook’s Warehouse again, I would love to assist in another of your classes. Ciao! Lisa

"Beyond the Pasta" is owned and operated by Mark Leslie. Unless otherwise specified all content, writing, recipes and photography is original and held in copyright through the Library of Congress. It may not be used without the express written consent of Mark Leslie.