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Francine Segan, one of America’s foremost experts on Italian cuisine, is an engaging public speaker, author, TV personality and consultant. A noted food historian and James Beard-nominated author of six books including "Dolci: Italy's Sweets" and "Pasta Modern: New & Inspired Recipes from Italy" (both published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang).

Her many TV appearances include "Today" and "Early Show," and she has been featured on numerous specials for PBS, the Food Network and the History, Sundance and Discovery channels.

She is the U.S. spokesperson for several distinguished Italian companies including Lavazza, Felicetti, Amedei and Garofalo. As spokesperson for Carrabba's Italian Grill, a chain of 350 restaurants, she is featured in their La Pasta Vita video series.

Francine co-edited "Entertaining from Ancient Rome to the Super Bowl," a 2-volume encyclopedia, which was a finalist for the coveted Gourmand World Cookbook Award given each year in Paris. She contributed the chapter on Ruth Reichl for the book "Icons Of American Cooking" and translated two books -- "Nutella Passion" and "The Pleasures of Espresso" -- from Italian into English for Giunti, Italy's largest privately owned publisher.

Segan writes for several magazines including Epicurious, Food Arts and Gastronomica. She writes extensively about chocolate and authored several chapters of Rutgers University’s catalogue "Bitter Sweet: The Chocolate Show" and contributed the chapter "Italian Chocolate" for the upcoming Oxford Encyclopedia of Sweets. She lectures across the country for the prestigious speaker's bureau Cassidy & Fishman and is a frequent guest speaker at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., Virginia Fine Arts Museum and Museum of Natural History in New York.

Three Italian cookies. Credit: "Dolci: Italy’s Sweets" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang)

Holidays often mean cookies. Here are three unusual Italian cookies that you can make ahead for the holidays, each with a special featured ingredient.

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Cantucci are easy to make and last for months, so they are terrific cookies for the holidays, both to serve or give as a special homemade gift. Credit: Corsini Biscotti Company

Cantucci, crunchy almond biscotti, are a Tuscan classic. Created in Siena, they are popular throughout Italy. While in the United States we sometimes dunk

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Salmon in pastry is an alternative Thanksgiving dish. Credit: "Shakespeare’s Kitchen" by Francine Segan (Random House)

Lots of our traditional Thanksgiving dishes come from the English. Food we think of as American, like apple pie and turkey with stuffing, originated

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A slice of fried spaghetti makes the perfect finger food. Credit: Giovanni Castiello, Maistri Pastai

Want a new way to serve pasta? Ditch the fork and try these handheld pasta snacks. They're delicious and fun to eat. Pasta has branched

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Torta al testo, a thin dough, cooks quickly on a heated stone. Credit: Francine Segan

Torta al Testo, a sort of pita bread from Umbria in Italy, is baked on a wood-fire-heated stone, in a dying art that dates

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Galleggiante

You can order espresso in dozens of ways: corto, a shot made with just a little water, or lungo, a shot made with more

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Celebrate World Pasta Day with some pasta sushi. Credit: "Pasta Modern: New & Inspired Recipes from Italy."

Although pasta may seem simple -- just boil, right? -- you might find that you've been doing some things wrong. Since Oct. 25 is

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Bucatini Dome

Dried pasta can cost anywhere from $1 to $7 or more per pound. Pasta is just flour and water, so what, if anything, makes

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