I'm so happy to welcome Rosie Genova to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Rosie writes the Italian Kitchen Mystery series. MINESTRONE MISCHIEF is the fourth book in the series and was released last month.
In Italian cooking, “ragu” is a catch-all name for sauces that contain meat. (It is not that stuff in a jar. Trust me.) A ragu needs a long, slow cook for its flavors to meld, which involves more prepping, lots of stirring, and more dirty pots. I came up with this short-cut recipe after I made boneless pork ribs in a slow cooker with a homemade barbecue sauce. The meat came out so beautifully tender, I was inspired to Italian-ize it with a tomato base. The sauce from this recipe closely approximates that long simmer on the stove, but with a “set and forget it” advantage. I use a separate pan for the searing and onion/garlic sauté, but if you have a cooker with browning capability, save yourself the trouble of another pan to clean. And if time is really tight, feel free to simply dump all the ingredients over the seasoned meat and give it a stir. However you make it, this is an easy, satisfying, and tasty dish. And while it cooks, your house will smell like my grandmother’s kitchen. Buon appetito!
The finished dish! A tender bite of pork sits happily atop the rigatoni.
Slow Cooker Pork Ragu
1.5-2 lbs. of
country style pork ribs
1 Vidalia onion
2 cloves of
1 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes
1 28 oz. can strained tomatoes or tomato purée
1 to 2 teaspoons of salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tbs. of olive oil
Splash of red
1-Lightly season the ribs with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan, brown the ribs all sides for a quick sear. Place in the bottom of the slow cooker.
2-Dice onion and begin cooking in the pan where the meat was browned. Add a drizzle of olive oil if needed. Sauté onions for 5 to 8 minutes, depending on how caramelized you would like them to be. When onions grow transparent and begin to wilt, add the garlic and sauté for approximately three minutes.
3-Add the wine and tomatoes to the onion and garlic mixture, and simmer briefly to deglaze the pan. Add salt, pepper, dried basil, and parsley. Pour mixture over meat in slow cooker, and cook on low for eight hours or until fork tender. Serve over a hearty pasta such as rigatoni.
MINESTRONE MISCHIEF by Rosie Genova
The Fourth Italian Kitchen Mystery
Halloween is coming to Oceanside Park and with it, more mischief than mystery writer Victoria Rienzi is prepared for. Working on her next book and her relationship with Tim, she's now dealing with her "biggest fan", a stalker.
I'm so happy that this series has returned. The juxtaposition of a mystery author who kills people and solves crimes on paper and a woman who returns home to write about her roots and finds murder victims is brilliant. The fourth Italian Kitchen Mystery contains themes especially relevant today, from stalking, social media, privacy, and more. Though at times heavy, the book is peppered with humor, especially from Sofia, and I enjoyed many a laugh.
MINESTRONE MISCHIEF is a complex mystery for several reasons. What is the actual crime? Is there one crime or two? How many culprits could there be? The timing seems near impossible. Someone must be lying. Right? The victim becomes such a villain, isn't it good someone got rid of him? Should they be pursued, especially to the detriment of your own relationships? Moral dilemmas abound here making this an especially captivating and emotional mystery.
I like the emotional baggage Vic has with her relationship with Tim. It makes things more real. Life isn't easy and their relationship is complex. Readers unfamiliar with the characters may prefer things go more smoothly for them, but the reasoning behind this is more evident if you've read the previous books in the series, which I highly recommend. All of Victoria's relationships are impacted by the murders she discovers and I find that the victim in this fourth Italian Kitchen Mystery quite telling.
MINESTRONE MISCHIEF brings complex characters and comforting food together with an intricately plotted crime against a fun Jersey backdrop to create a delectable mystery to savor.
Minestrone Mischief: A Culinary Cozy (The Italian Kitchen Mysteries) by Rosie Genova
About Minestrone Mischief
Cozy Mystery 4th in Series
Setting - New Jersey
Two Roses Books (September 28, 2022)
Paperback: 309 pages
When a Halloween stalker shows up on Mischief Night, Vic encounters lots of tricks, no treats, and one murder …
It’s the post-summer season in Oceanside Park, and mystery writer Victoria Rienzi’s hometown is preparing for one last blast on the boardwalk—its annual Mischief Night parade, held the evening before Halloween. While Nonna keeps her busy making treat bags full of Italian candy, Vic dreams up the perfect costumes for herself and Tim: Nick and Nora Charles, the famed detective pair from The Thin Man movies. Completing their look is a canine scamp, Willie, borrowed to play the part of Nora’s pet terrier.
But Victoria’s excitement is dimmed by the presence of a stalker, Edward Millman, who’s seen lurking around the Rienzi family restaurant. And who shows up at the Mischief Night parade dressed as Victoria’s book sleuth, Bernardo Vitali. But halfway through the parade, Willie sniffs out trouble, leading Vic and Tim on a not-so-merry chase that brings them to a dead body—Victoria’s stalker, Edward Millman. And in a scene straight out of Victoria’s latest book, Millman is found with a knife sticking from his chest, along with a nasty note: You deserved this.
As Vic digs into the details of the victim’s life, she wonders: Is it life imitating art? Or is there a more deadly form of mischief at work this Halloween?
About Rosie Genova
Bestselling and award-winning author Rosie Genova left her heart at the shore, which serves as the setting for much of her work. The inspiration for her cozy series, the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, comes from her deep appreciation for Italian food, her affinity for the New Jersey seaside, and her love of classic mysteries from Nancy Drew to Miss Marple. A former journalist and teacher, Rosie also writes women’s fiction and suspense. The proud mama of three grown sons, she still lives in her favorite state with her husband and a charming mutt named Lucy.
Purchase Link - Amazon