Latest Posts

Holidays, Secondi

Lentils and Sausage

On New Year’s in some parts of Italy, lentils are traditionally eaten for luck and prosperity (maybe because they resemble coins?). The dish is typically made with a fat sausage called a cotechino, which I don’t think I’ve ever had. I make due with regular sausage. Still, I tend to think of lentils as more […]

Oil-based, Primi

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

This is another wonderfully simple dish—but it’s also very easy to screw up. It used to be standard fare at any self-respecting Italian restaurant, but nowadays, it’s hard to find. That’s partly because it’s made with raw eggs, and our health inspectors probably make it hard to cook in the traditional way. But also, as […]

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 […]