Campanelle and Italian Sausage – Best Blogger Italian Recipe Winner
There were countless mouth-watering recipe submissions in our “Best Blogger Italian Recipe Contest” but one dish stood out from the crowd. Congratulations to David Dial on his award-winning “Campanelle with Italian Sausage, Peas and Parmigiano-Reggiano Cream Sauce!”
Remember, our monthly blogger contest winners not only walk away with $1,000, they also receive a full-page feature in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine! This “Italian” themed magazine is on newsstands now through March 11th. Pick up a copy and turn to page 5 to see the Better Recipes winner!
David is the voice behind his blog “Spiced.” I encourage all of you to check out this original post featuring this winning recipe. It is filled with information about his background, his adventures abroad, and even an authentic Italian love story. A must read!
What made you decide to enter the BetterRecipes.com “Best Blogger Ever” contest?
I stumbled across the contest site at BetterRecipes.com and noticed that the theme was Best Italian Recipe. I have always been a huge fan of everything Italian, including history, culture, and of course the food. In college, I majored in Classical Studies and had the opportunity to study in Rome for a summer. When I was there, I got the chance to spend time in an Italian kitchen learning some of the secrets of this delicious cuisine. Ever since then, I’ve been using these tricks and lessons in the kitchen to make tasty Italian food.
How did you come up with your winning recipe?
This recipe was kind of a mashup of several different recipes that I’ve made over time. I absolutely love a good cream sauce, so I knew I wanted that to be the base. I also love the slight bite that peas contribute to a dish, so I threw in some of those. Of course, I needed to add a bit of Italian sausage for depth of flavor. And finally I finished the dish with a healthy amount of Parmigiano-Reggiano because it is absolutely delicious and does wonders to any Italian dish!
Do you have any recipe development or photography tips to share with our readers?
As far as recipe development, my best advice is don’t be afraid to experiment. I’ve made plenty of recipes that just don’t work. They aren’t awful, but they just aren’t blog-post worthy…and that’s ok. I actually have fun taking a recipe that slightly misses it’s mark and trying to figure out how to tweak it to make it delicious. So get into the kitchen and play around…have fun!
In terms of photography, I am definitely still learning. A good camera (i.e. DSLR) is the first step. After that, just look at lots of pictures that other people have taken. Take notes on what you like and don’t like, and then try to recreate that yourself. I’m also always on the lookout for fun and unique food-styling props. For instance, an old rolling pin faded into the background of a picture of freshly baked bread will do wonders to your picture. It’s all about adding the additional elements associated with that recipe…but in a subtle way that doesn’t overpower the actual dish.
Would you encourage other bloggers to enter recipe contests?
Absolutely! But don’t enter contests just for the sake of the contest. Be consistent and post good recipes to your blog. Over time, you’ll build up a nice collection of recipes that you can draw upon for contests.
When did you start the blog?
Spiced actually began as a different blog called The Bakery Spot back in 2011. I loved to bake, and my sister and I went in together in creating this site. We had fun with it, but it never really became what we thought it would. So in 2012, I decided to rename the blog to Spiced and broaden the perspective a bit. Since then, I’ve really enjoyed creating new recipes for the blog…every day is an adventure!
Why did you start writing a food blog? What motivates you to write and create new recipes for your audience?
Well, I grew up in a Southern kitchen which meant fresh biscuits and homemade desserts were always around. Once I graduated from college, I took an interest in making my own food (partly to save money). I enjoyed spending time trying to create delicious foods that I could serve to friends and family…so the blog was a natural extension of this. And as far as sharing with an audience, I love to teach. (I taught high-school Latin for 3 years.) There is something rewarding about seeing someone else learn the techniques and tools needed to make a delicious dish. When I first moved into my current neighborhood several years ago, I invited my neighbor’s daughter over to learn how to make cheesecake. (I can’t remember how it came up, but somehow she mentioned wanting to learn how to bake a cheesecake.) Now she regularly makes cheesecake for her family…and I love that I introduced her to a new kitchen skill!
Do you focus on a particular angle or subject matter?
I try to focus and dishes that are relatively easy and approachable. Easy doesn’t necessarily mean fast (i.e. bread baking can take hours), but it does mean that almost anyone can make the recipe. I do include a Southern element in a lot of my dishes as I grew up in a Southern kitchen. I also spent time in south Louisiana, and Cajun cuisine holds a special place in my heart. Ultimately, though, I tend to stick to seasonal subjects simply because that is what I am craving at the time!
Do you have any tips for readers interested in starting their own blog?
Have fun! Blogging is a wonderful way to share your experiences and eventually meet new e-friends. I love seeing what others come up with as well as sharing my own creations. Blogging can take as little or as much time as you are willing to give it based on what you want your blog to become. Additionally, I’ve found that it’s important to be patient if you want your blog to grow. My sister is also in the blog world, and she taught me that you need to be patient and post good content consistently. And you know what? She’s right! (As difficult as that is to admit that my little sister is right…haha!)
Follow these links to learn more about David and his blog “Spiced!”
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