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Posted 02/10/2015

Baked Pasta with Tomato and Chard Sauce

Debi and I were truly impressed with our girls eating attitude when we started traveling to Italy to visit family. In their early years, Evelina and Giulia were absolutely fantastic eaters, they would try everything without showing any sign of fear… but things have changed. My daughters are growing older and have discovered soon enough that food emancipation is a wonderful conquest, and that debating (and refusing) their parents’ taste of certain foods is actually a battle they can sometimes win. Continue Reading…

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Posted 02/02/2015

Spinach and Potato Gnocchi with Creamy Cheese Sauce

I remember a Sunday, long long time ago. I was about 8 years old, standing on a chair in my Nonna Lola’s kitchen, I don’t really remember what we were getting ready to celebrate, but all the farmers’ wives were in the kitchen as well.

All counters had been cleaned properly and then dusted with some flour, next thing I knew my grandmother placed a ball of green marbleized dough in front of me and went straight to the point :”Make me some Gnocchi!”.  It took me a few moments to process her request, then the obvious response  just poured out of my mouth: “Gnocchi? Nonna, I have no idea!”

“You don’t need to know much about it, all I need is your little hands, just start rolling!”  Continue Reading…

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Posted 01/27/2015

Spaghetti all’ Amatriciana

Today’s recipe is a classic of Roman cooking: the name comes from Amatrice, a town in Lazio; from here the farmers that travelled down to Rome with their produce, including fresh ewe’s milk cheese (pecorino) and mountain pigs, also imported this way of cooking maccheroni and bucatini. In our house this is in absolute our favorite sauce! Continue Reading…

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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 12/15/2013

Pasta al Vino (with Sausage and Saffron)

My wife described this pasta last week, as we were testing the recipe, as “very feminine”… to me it means that this dish makes a perfect lunch!
As much as this sauce is rich in flavor, it is not an aggressive recipe for your palate, it has no kick, so to speak, but more a very round and politically correct aroma that you can feel on the back of your palate… you can smell it from the “inside”… balsamic, yes, that’s the right word. Never described a pasta dish as balsamic in my life though… I guess try the recipe and let me know if you understand what I mean. Continue Reading…

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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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