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Posted 02/02/2014

Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca

So the story is there was a brothel, and everybody was hungry after working and getting tired. It’s a pick-up for a brothel, so they made pasta with whatever they had in the cabinet, and I guess in this brothel all they had were tomatoes and olives and some spices. Puttanesca means “of the whore,” and this is the legend I was told about how this dish came to be. It works, it’s absolutely fabulous, and it’s definitely a pick-up after working hard.

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Posted 12/02/2013

Tagliatelle with Boar Ragu

The Tuscan country in this season offers quite an effervescent landscape. Farmers and land owners are harvesting olives together and delivering them to the local presses; the brand new Extra Virgin Olive Oil is pouring through shiny stainless steel spouts all over the region. Tractors are roaming the fields carrying loads of fruit, thin grey strings of smoke are rising toward the sky while fronds and little tree branches are piled up together and burned, and a sense of calm and gratitude toward the land is widespread and easily recognized while strolling through the olive orchards.  Continue Reading…

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Posted 08/11/2013

Linguine with Santa Barbara Spot Prawns

I grew up in a mixed Jewish/Catholic family, no big deal really… At least unless you had the fortune of sitting at the table with us for a holiday celebration. Because of my father’s Kosher’s restrictions our menus have always been kind of unconventional, especially at Christmas: no Cotechino, no cold cuts, no seafood, no lasagne… I know, it sounds a bit depressing. As I think about my youth, when my grandfather (he was jewish too) was alive and performing his duties of “Master of Ceremony” during our family’s Christmas Lunch, a few details pop straight to my head: his salmon appetizer station, his smile getting bigger and bigger as he opened one bottle of champagne after the other, and my aunt teasing my father with pork jokes… and my father always getting bent about it. Continue Reading…

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Posted 02/12/2013

Pairing Sauce With Pasta

If you live in Italy, the best way to get the neighbors to gossip about you is by serving pasta with the wrong sauce. Sure, there are over 600 different types of Italian pasta, but without the sauce nobody will want to eat the dish. While food naturally pairs better with certain wines, so too certain pastas pair better with certain sauces. Pici wants ragù, for example and that’s how Italians see it. Basta. Continue Reading…

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Posted 10/15/2012

Debi’s Yellow Tomato Lumaconi

This is one of Deb’s favorite recipes to prepare and one of my favorite dishes to eat.  It is the singular dish I always expect to be ready and waiting for me whenever I return from a business trip or long motorcycle ride. Always one for fashion, I personally think the thing that attracts Deb to this dish more than its simplicity and taste is its aesthetic appeal. In other words, with those bright yellow tomatoes it is just so pretty. Light, fresh, perfect for a party or barbecue and it can be served warm or at room temp.

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Posted 08/04/2012

Orecchiette al Ragu di Braciole: Pasta with Beef Ragu and Braciole

This is the very first recipe that was birthed out of my recipe hunter project. Because I haven’t developed the show yet, I thought I would design an episode for Season 2 of Extra Virgin. The idea is to reconnect people to their family history through their families’ traditional dishes.

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Posted 07/30/2012

Duck Ragu

This is something I always ate in the small trattorias around Tuscany while growing up. When my dad, brother and I went for motorcycle rides on the weekends, we would always end the day with a pitstop in one of these tiny eateries and indulge in a hearty bowl of duck ragu. I personally never made it until I moved to the US. I can credit learning how to make it from Gino Angellini here in Los Angeles. He showed me the proper way and I tailored it to my tastes.

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Posted 07/20/2012

Tortelli with Raveggiolo and Mixed Greens

This s a traditional dish of my area. Raveggiolo is a cheese produced locally in a farm ten miles from my home in Tuscany. My father, brother and me would always stop at the farm on our way home from our motorcycle rides and bring cheese back to my mom. It is a fresh cheese, very similar to ricotta, but slightly denser and the perfect consistency for stuffing pasta. Continue Reading…

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Posted 02/09/2012

Penne ai Quattro Formaggi (Super Tuscan Mac ‘N’ Cheese)

It is interesting how different cultures have very similar recipes that fall into the category of “Comfort Food“: Mashed Potatoes, Meatballs, Mac ‘n’ Cheese just to name a few.

Each and every family that I know has a few recipes that are executed “on demand” whenever it might feel appropriate: if somebody is sick, if the kids are driving you nuts, if grandma is coming for a Sunday dinner. We are no different! Continue Reading…

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Posted 01/20/2012

Homemade Pasta

Making fresh home made pasta is easy but a little lengthy. For the most part, in hour house we use regular dry pasta for all of our recipes however, when the right ingredients like a fresh hunted duck or a succulent chunk of Boar come around, nothing better than prepare some fresh pasta to go with it, on the spot!

When I learned to make my very own fresh pasta from my grandmother we never used a scale, a measuring cup or a pasta rolling machine. She used to have a metal spoon, like the ones you used to find in groceries stores that sold beans, lentils and other dried goods… Continue Reading…

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