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There’s Nothing an Italian Grandmother Can’t Fix

I received a complimentary Nonna Box to review. All photos and opinions are my own.

I was having a bit of a crappy day. I won’t get into the details, but stress was on high and I was really burnt out. Plus, this was “crazy hour” over here, where Ciro basically takes any remaining sanity he was holding onto and deposits it into his diaper along with the rest of the stuff he has no use for, while Penelope runs around trying to climb the walls.

“Witching hour” is putting it lightly, and honestly, the last thing I wanted to do was cook or think about dinner.

I remembered just a few days ago we received our first Nonna Box:

NonnaBox - Authentic and Gourmet Italian Products and Recipes Delivered Straight to Your DoorIf you’re wondering what a “Nonna Box” is, it’s basically everything you love about an Italian grandmother, shipped to your door in a box filled with authentic and gourmet Italian products and recipes. The quality ingredients in each box are all from a specific region of Italy, and each box has recipes from an Italian “Nonna”. And yes, the Nonnas are real!

You know I love gifts, and this right here is an AWESOME. GIFT. The idea behind it and the presentation are very cool.

Our box had products from Lombardy.

NonnaBox - Authentic and Gourmet Italian Products and Recipes Delivered Straight to Your Door

The card was signed by Guido himself. I have an Italian cousin named Guido, who has lots of chest hair and wears a pinky ring. While I don’t think this was the same Guido, I do feel like this Guido really knows me, because my “Lombardy” box had all the makings of an Italian girl’s dream: polenta, amaretti cookies, chocolate, and Pizzoccheri (pasta), among them.

NonnaBox - Authentic and Gourmet Italian Products and Recipes Delivered Straight to Your Door

Guess who went straight for the Amaretti cookies?


I don’t blame her. She’s a woman who knows the good stuff.

OH, and that thick blue envelope signed by Guido is full of recipes, all the product information found in the box, and the story of the Nonna who shared the particular recipes in your box.

NonnaBox - Authentic and Gourmet Italian Products and Recipes Delivered Straight to Your Door


This one was from “Nonna Carla”, and her favorite dish is the Pizzoccheri.

So, even though I had no desire to cook, everyone knows that when an Italian woman – Nonna Carla, in this case – tells you to do something – especially if she’s telling you to eat – you don’t argue with her.

And since the Pizzoccheri was her favorite, we figured we’d start there. It was a one-pot meal, and ba-LIEVE me, it was a “one-pot-meal” kind of a night over here.

So, Ciro went into his jumper, me and Miss P put on our aprons, and we had fun with it.


The first rule in cooking with toddlers is to give them a task, because as I’ve learned, they LOVE to help. My little sous chef was more than happy to shred the cabbage (and it kept her busy while I prepped the rest):


The Pizzoccheri, cabbage and sweet potatoes cooked away in a pot together, and once they were finished cooking, we added half of it to a big bowl and layered on the sliced the cheese:


…then did like Nonna Carla told us to do, which was add the rest of the pasta and veggies, then mix it all together to allow the cheese to really melt.



While the cheesy goodness was melting away in the pasta and veggies, I made the sauce – which is a simple butter sage sauce with bit of garlic. I never used this method before, which was basically just to toss a garlic clove in melted butter and let it brown, then remove it. Nonna Carla knows what she’s doing because this made the butter sauce taste SO GOOD – and is a browned hunk of garlic covered in butter not a beautiful sight to see?


We poured on the sauce, then topped it with some grated cheese…


…then mixed it up even more! We ate it with a side of the one-pot steamed artichokes I always make.


We all agreed that this was – honestly, truly – one of the best dinners we’ve had in a while.


After the crappy day we had, who knew that a little bit of cooking, some quality ingredients, and a visit from Nonna Carla would turn our day around? This just proves my theory that there isn’t much an Italian grandmother can’t fix.

The Details

As I said before, these make awesome gifts – especially with Mother’s Day coming up!  The presentation is beautiful and impressive. It’s perfect for anyone missing their Italian grandmother, perfect for anyone who never had an Italian grandmother and always wanted one (come on now, who wouldn’t?), and especially perfect for anyone who likes a great meal.

Nonna Box allows you to choose from 3 subscription options:

  • month-to-month
  • 3 month pre-pay
  • 6 month pre-pay

OR you can do a ONE-TIME order (which I think is a great option if you’d like to test it out, or if you want to gift it to someone for Mother’s Day or a birthday):

Here are a few facts about Nonna Box:

  • All the Nonnas are real, a different one representing each box
  • All the products are hard-to-come-by, gourmet, and from traditional producers of the featured region. You will not find these products in your local grocery, and chances are that are difficult to find in gourmet specialized stores as well – and if you do, it’s very unlikely that you find all the products in a Nonna Box in the same place.
  • Product quantities are always limited – for example, Nonna Box snagged the last of all US importers’ stock of Pizzoccheri, which means Nonna Box recipients were among the lucky few at the time who could get their hands on the pasta! The same thing happened this last month with a particular chocolate bar that came from an 18th-century shop in downtown Genova, which is the same place where Ghirardelli apprenticed and learned how to make chocolate before coming to the US and founding the famous Ghirardelli company.
  • Shipping is free, and the subscription can be canceled or paused at any time.

I already know who I am gifting this too! Head over to Nonna Box and see for yourself. Buon Appeitito!


Alessandra Macaluso is the author of What a Good Eater! , Lucy the Bee and the Healing Honey, and The Real-Deal Bridal Bible. She’s also a Qigong and Tai Chi instructor, and overall wellness advocate. Her work has been featured in several anthologies which can all be found on her Amazon author page, and she has contributed to The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, TODAY Parents, and many other online publications.

Alessandra is a northerner-turned-southerner, enjoying the south with her children, Penelope and Ciro, and her husband, Greg.

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[…] the specialty ones. It’s like her secret stash of the mother country, right in her pantry. I tried this one out for myself, and let me tell you, it’s fantastic. Nonna […]

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