Latest Posts

Oil-based, Primi, Tomato-based

Spaghetti Puttanesca

After college, I worked one summer in an Italian restaurant, earning enough money to take a trip to Europe. I had no experience, but the restaurant was new (in fact, it hadn’t even opened yet), and they needed bodies. Also, when I met the chef/owner, Pasquale, I spoke a bit of Italian with him (though […]

Oil-based, Primi

Orrechiette with Broccoli Rabe

This is another sauce in the olive oil and garlic family. Broccoli rabe (aka rapini) is sort of a wild cousin to broccoli, or a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. It used to be hard to find, but now you can get it in any supermarket. I used to grow all three in my garden, […]

Butter-based, Primi

Tortellini in Panna

Pasta sauces can be divided into two categories: those that start from a base of olive oil and garlic, and those that start from a base of butter and cream. This is the most basic version of the butter and cream sauces. Years ago, tortellini was a very special thing. You had to get it […]

Oil-based, Primi

Spaghetti alle Vongole

Spaghetti with clam sauce. If you can manage to make the basic spaghetti agli’olio, you can make this—it’s not much harder. I originally made this with clams in a can—and if that’s all you have, that’s fine. But it’s of course much better with fresh, whole clams. I made this when you kids were very […]


Spaghetti agli’olio

Spaghetti with garlic and oil: This is perhaps the first thing I ever learned to cook from scratch. It’s about as simple as you can get (unless you count plain pasta with butter and grated cheese), but as with all Italian cooking, simplicity is an art. My parents felt that as long as I could […]