Primi/First Courses

Pasta alla Busara, Marcella Hazan’s Pasta with Lobster

April 5, 2014
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The recipe we’ve chosen is Pasta alla Busara, from Marcella Cucina. It exemplifies Marcella’s unaffected style: wonderfully pure, simple flavors, which are easy to put together creating something magnificently delicious.

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Potato Gnocchi are easier to make than you think

March 10, 2013
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Many people are so intimidated by gnocchi that they never try making them. Our students learned that gnocchi are not heavy dumplings, rather they are buoyant bits of dough that float to the surface of boiling water. What causes them to be too gluey, tough, or heavy is either the wrong potato or too much flour. The secret to making good gnocchi is in using the right potato, which should neither be too waxy nor too starchy.

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Fettuccine with Zucchini in a Saffron Cream Sauce and our new Ipad App

May 14, 2012
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The secret of Fettuccine with Zucchini and Saffron is to cut the zucchini into sticks thin enough and cook them long enough to release their rich sweet flavor. In the app, Giuliano shows in his video how and why this works so well.

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Artichoke Risotto: Risotto ai Carciofi

April 24, 2012
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Creating artichoke risotto can be a bit intimidating. The artichokes need to be trimmed properly and at first the technique can be a bit daunting. No worries, just a bit of practice is needed. We like to use the small artichokes that in our stores come in packets. They are more tender than the big globe artichokes and are easier to trim.

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Spaghetti with Melon: A Luscious Summer Pasta

June 29, 2011

My mother-in-law, Marcella Hazan, started making this cantaloupe pasta dish at home and now Giuliano often makes it when we have friends over. Once it is cooked, the melon is mostly unrecognizable and it’s great fun seeing if people can guess what the sauce’s “secret” ingredient is. The freshness of the dish is soothing on a hot evening and takes full advantage of the bounty of summer.

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Spaghetti alla Norma Recipe

May 13, 2011
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This is a recipe we have taught in our home cooking class and is delicious. This dish was named after Vincenzo Bellini’s opera, Norma. It is a typical Sicilian pasta recipe, flavorful, fresh, and even vegetarian. It is exceptional with fresh farmer’s market produce.

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Pesto: The Taste Of Spring

April 13, 2011
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The beauty of pesto is that it is easily freezable which makes it available at anytime. But to me, it is the quintessential spring dish. We tend to eat it in the traditional manner, just the pasta with a few boiled green beans and sliced potatoes; however, it is great as a primo, first dish, during an Easter Feast.

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Marcella Answers a Question about Risotto

March 4, 2011
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A recent letter to Marcella and her answer: Here is the recipe for squash risotto. Dear Marcella I thought of you watching Top Chef these last couple of weeks. One chef used cream in his risotto, to make it creamy, and clearly that would make any student of yours upset. Then Tom Colicchio said that […]

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Bolognese Lasagne

February 21, 2011
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Lasagne makers are often judged on how many layers than can create. Five or six layers are considered the minimum for acceptability. Ooh’s and ahh’s occur the higher they go. For my birthday celebration, Giuliano created a spectacular 9-layer lasagne!

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Classic Bolognese Meat Sauce

February 7, 2011
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In classic Bolognese, the sauce and the pasta are in symbiosis and enhance each other. This is one of those sauces that is best with homemade egg pasta, and is a delicacy that, in my family, we could eat weekly.

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Classic Tuscan Ribollita Soup

January 17, 2011
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Now when your local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm delivers a mountain of kale, you’ll know what to do with it. Both of our girls enjoyed this soup. In fact, our oldest, 11 year old Gabriella, brought it to school in her thermos for lunch and said that all of her friends were jealous. It is very easy to make and freezes well if you’ve made more than you need.

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Italian New Year’s Tortellini Recipe

January 3, 2011
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In the Italian region where our family is from, Emilia Romagnia, a traditional New Year’s dish is Tortellini or Cappelletti: small filled pasta that is shaped, according to some, like a Bishops hat. Cappelletti means little hats, and New Year’s, Capo di Anno, is the hat or head of the year so it is an obvious pairing. They are at their best in a homemade meat broth but they are also delicious served with a cream sauce. However you choose to enjoy them, they are a delicacy to look forward to all year long.

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How to Make Homemade Pasta

December 28, 2010
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Making pasta dough by hand is simple. Do not be discouraged by the length of my instructions. I have tried to describe as clearly as possible the method. With a little practice it will easily become second nature and you will have finished dough in less than 15 minutes.

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Leek and Chickpea Pasta Soup

November 15, 2010
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The leeks give a soft, sweet taste to this hearty soup and the chickpeas add an earthy balance. The prosciutto lends a savory flavor and Gabriella, our oldest, picked out the pieces to eat them by themselves. It is a perfect comfort soup, it takes less than an hour to make from start to finish, and most of the dish can be made ahead of time.

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Radicchio Pasta: A Quick Fall Food

November 1, 2010
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One of our favorite methods is to make a pasta sauce with radicchio. When it is cooked, radicchio provides a rich deep flavor to a pasta sauce, and loses some of its bitter flavor.

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Fall Butternut Squash Risotto and the TODAY SHOW

October 25, 2010
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“How about making a risotto when I come in fall?” I suggested to my Today show producer.  “How about making two?” she replied.  Why not?  After all, if I’m lucky, I’ll have 4 whole minutes to do them in. Once, I was supposed to do two quick pastas and the time for the segment got […]

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Pasta e Fagioli: Comfort Soup

October 7, 2010
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In the Veneto, where the texture of the thick and creamy soup is achieved by mixing in some mashed potato, it is traditionally made with borlotti beans (also known as cranberry beans) and bits of egg pasta.

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Fusilli with Broccoflower

October 1, 2010
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When asked about her favorite food, our six-year-old daughter, Michela, invariably names broccoli. The broccoli she’s so fond of is the Romanesco variety. Although it’s fairly new to suburban supermarkets in the United States, Romanesco broccoli has been known in Italy since the 16th century. Grown in the region of Lazio, of which Rome is […]

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Fusilli with Butternut Squash

October 1, 2010
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In Italy pumpkin would be used for this sauce, but I’ve found that butternut squash more closely resembles the flavor of Italian pumpkin than American pumpkin does. This sauce has been a hit with kids. I made this one day when my daughters had playmates over, and the five-to-nine year old crowd unanimously approved it!

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Penne with Peppers, Fresh Tomato and Basil

October 1, 2010
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I often make a risotto with red and yellow peppers, tomatoes, and basil whose enticing colors and aroma make it one of my family’s favorites. The fresh and fragrant combination of flavors makes this dish a great light summer meal.

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Penne with Spinach and Ricotta

October 1, 2010
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It occurred to me that it would make a very nice pasta sauce, so I added a little cream to the mixture and it was delicious — so much so that I’ve been making it just to use as a pasta sauce.

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Tagliatelle with Peas

October 1, 2010
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One of our favorite recipes comes from a restaurant in the Veneto named Il Pompiere. The chef/owner Marco makes an egg pasta dish that is infused with the luscious pea flavor, but only when the peas from Peseggia are in season.

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Experience Rome with a Plate of Spaghetti alla Carbonara

August 17, 2010
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If you close your eyes while you are eating this, you can imagine yourself in Rome, perhaps sitting across the table from Julia Roberts.

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Home from Camp and a Recipe for Pappardelle with Peppers and Sausage

August 10, 2010
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This sauce is quick to make and is great comfort food. Gabriella perked right up and decided her father should teach cooking lessons at the camp because she wants to go again next year!

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Uncooked Sauce: A recipe for Spaghetti alla Checca

June 21, 2010
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This is a sauce for which you either harvest your own well loved tomatoes or purchase them from a local farmers market. No watery, flavorless tomatoes will do here.

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Recipe for Penne with Spinach and Ricotta and a Tip for Chopping Onions

June 6, 2010
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Photo by Joseph De Leo One of my favorite pasta dishes is tortelloni (the square ones, Romagna style) filled with Swiss chard and ricotta.  My fondness for the dish was evident from the time I was a small boy and my grandmother made them for me while my parents were away.  After polishing off a […]

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Mushroom Medley Risotto Recipe

May 26, 2010
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I sliced the king oyster mushrooms but just cut off the root of the others and used them whole. I sautéed them with olive oil, onions, garlic, and parsley, then cooked the risotto. It was a hit and thoroughly enjoyed by the entire family along with a Morellino di Scansano (for Lael and me, of course).

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Continuing the celebration: A recipe for white truffle risotto

November 29, 2009
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Usually truffles are eaten very simply. Either shaved over sunny side up eggs or egg pasta. They are often eaten only at special occasions like Christmas and New Year. Some people believe that truffles were the manna sent to the Israelites through Moses as they traveled through the desert for forty years.

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Timeless Rice, with a Recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto

October 6, 2009
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We have come to see the Gazzani rice mill. It has been in continuous operation since 1648 and still uses the mortar and pestle method that is found in only one other place in Italy.

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