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Rach makes a few of her favorite cicchetti (Italian snacks) for a cozy New Year's night at home.

"These are a couple of small snacks to serve with cocktails, olives, nuts, chips, and small bar bites. There are endless recipes for cicchetti, but these are a couple of our favorites." –Rach 

To complete the menu for your New Year's Eve night in, check out Rach's Grandpa's Stuffed ArtichokesTruffle Oil Popcorn, Grilled Cheese Bites and John's Italian 75 cocktail made with Champagne


For the Eggplant Croquettes:
  • About 2 pounds firm eggplant, peeled and finely diced, then salted and drained on towels 30 minutes to remove excess water 
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)  
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated 
  • 3 tablespoons currants, plumped in warm water and drained
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, chopped
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano and/or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 whole eggs and 3 whites
  • Frying oil, such as safflower or peanut
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • About ⅛ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon wedges or warm tomato sauce, to serve
For the Fried Stuffed Sage Leaves:
  • Large sage leaves
  • Small pieces Taleggio, soft Fontina or Gorgonzola Dolce cheese
  • Flour
  • Beaten egg
  • About 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • Grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
  • ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Frying oil, such as safflower or peanut
  • Lemon wedges, to serve


For the eggplant croquettes, sauté the eggplant 7 to 8 minutes in EVOO over medium heat and add red pepper, oregano and garlic, stir another minute or so, remove from heat and add currants and nuts, cool and combine with half the cheese and 2 beaten egg whites.     

Heat ½ inch frying oil over medium to medium-high heat. 

Place flour in shallow dish and whisk up 2 eggs and 1 egg white in another dish. Combine breadcrumbs with remaining cheese, nutmeg, zest, and parsley in a third dish.    

Form 24 croquettes or small eggplant patties and coat in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs, then fry to deep golden, drain and serve with lemon wedges or warm tomato sauce.     

For the fried sage leaves, match up large sage leaves and sandwich a small piece of ripe Taleggio, soft Fontina or Gorgonzola Dolce between 2 leaves and take care to seal the leaves at edges. Toss the stuffed leaves lightly in flour, then turn in beaten egg and bread in breadcrumbs mixed with a little nutmeg, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley, and ½ cup Pecorino or Parm, per 1 cup breadcrumbs. Fry in 1 inch of safflower or peanut oil over medium to medium-high heat to golden, then drain and serve with lemon wedges.