Easter is More Than Eggs

Every family has its own traditions for each holiday. Some are religious, and some are related to food. In my family, my grandparents go to church in the morning, and then yell at my parents and I for not going. I swear I am going to try to go this year, Grandma! When they get home, we always have dinner there. Every year we have the same food on Easter Sunday.


Meat Pie

Of all my friends and family, this is everyone’s favorite part of Easter. This took awhile for me to love this, and it is a very heavy dish. This year my love for ham pie is in full force. Some people call it ham pie or pizza rustica. Because I only have it once a year, I have never made it myself. This year I did copy my grandma’s recipe, so I look forward to testing it out for next year’s Easter dinner.

ham pie from http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/italian-easter-meat-pie-recipe

Rice Pie

If any type of food reminds me of my Grandma, it’s rice pie. It’s a sweet pie made of rice, eggs and ricotta. This is an EXTREMELY dense and creamy pie. It is another core staple of Easter Sunday. Sadly, I think this is my least favorite of all our food traditions , and I don’t think I will ever develop the love for it. We’ll see next weekend! Something about rice and sweetness just don’t mix well with me. However, don’t let me sway you. Many people absolutely love this dish, my family for example. This is definitely a favorite among many people, so I’m not sure why this is only served on Easter. I have never seen it made for any other holiday!

Rice Pie image from http://foodblogga.blogspot.com/2008/03/traditional-italian-easter-rice-pie.html

Sweet Bread

This is my favorite Easter treat! It’s something I actually love and enjoy. I like it best when it’s warm and with a little bit of butter. It is also really delicious toasted with apple butter. I’m sad that I only see this bread once a year for Easter, so I think this Sunday I will finally get the recipe from my Grandma’s giant box(es) of recipe cards. Some people refer to this as Easter bread, too.

Sweet Bread image from http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/1713492-Italian-Sweet-Bread

In addition to all these things, we sometimes have a whole honey-baked ham. I prefer the ham pie to an actual ham just because it has a little more flair to it. I can’t think of any other Easter traditions we have off the top of my head, but I will definitely carry on these traditions in the years to come. Even if not all of them are my favorite foods ever! If you’re bored with your usual Easter meals, this is a good way to spice things up a little and get creative in the kitchen! What do other cultures have for Easter dinner?

Here’s the Skinny

It is the Italian culture to eat. A lot. And often. Every gathering revolves around food! You eat when you’re celebrating; you eat when you’re mourning. The bottom line is that you’re always eating. It’s hard to remain skinny when this is your lifestyle.

Recently, I discovered a new website that I am slowly falling in love with. It’s called skinnytaste, and it has the skinny version of a lot of delicious recipes. There is a cool feature called the recipe box where you can mark recipes that you want to remember. It’s helpful and convenient for finding the recipes that sound tasty.

Tonight, I made the skinny baked mozzarella sticks. They were delicious and a fraction of the calories that are in restaurant mozzarella sticks! I’m not going to lie, I ate them all before I could manage to snap a picture! They came out exactly how they appear on the website, and the recipe was quick and easy.

There are also many cookbooks out there that have to do with losing weight. Specifically, there are some that contain reduced-calorie Italian recipes. Because I am a Real Housewives fanatic, Theresa Guidice’s cookbooks come to mind. She has two in stores and on her website and they are Skinny Italian and Fabulicious. I have not purchased the cookbooks or tried the recipes, but it’s something I want to do in the near future.

Happy Cooking!!

Christmas Eve Feast

The Italian Christmas Eve dinner is unlike any other culture. If you are a seafood lover, then you’ll enjoy it. If you are a little squeamish, it’s probably not for you. It is the feast of seven fishes. This celebration is mostly a Southern Italian tradition. Some families serve more than seven types of fish, and mine only does six. I remember my whole family fitting in my house to have this huge, special dinner. Within the last five years, my family stopped doing it. As much as my sense of smell appreciates not having to clean fish, I wish they still did this tradition! The fact of the matter is that my family has drastically shrunk in the last five years, and it’s just not worth the effort anymore. I am glad I still have the memories of this tradition, so I can pass it down to my children.

squid tentacles

To be entirely honest, I am not sure what the symbolism of seven fishes stands for. Some say it is for the seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church. Others say it is for the seven sins of the world. I just know we do not have meat at that meal.

The Fishes:

The first is baccala. This is a salted cod. It is salted for preservation purposes, and it’s basically dehydrated fish. You have to soak it for a couple days in water, and then squeeze it out. It is dipped in egg and breadcrumbs and fried.

The second fish is fried smelt. This Dipped in flour then egg and fried in oil. Some people eat the bones in them.  Others do not have to, but at least the heads are cut off!

The third fish is calamari, also known as squid.  This kind is used in two different ways. In the first way, the heads are turned inside out and cleaned. Then they are stuffed and baked. The second way involves the rest of the squid. It is important to take out the poisonous ink gland in this part. The squid tentacles are fried first, and then they are cooked in the sauce for the pasta.

The fourth fish is eel. It is put in a roasting pan with seasonings and oils. It is baked in a dish then served by itself.

The fifth fish is anchovies. We have a pasta aioli. This is olive oil and anchovies over pasta.

The sixth fish is octopus. This can be either fried or baked. Like the eel, it is served on its own.

The seventh fish some families use is a clam sauce. As I said, my family only had six.

Traditions:

At six p.m. and midnight, the angels pass over and bless you for the year. It is my family’s tradition that you had to be eating food at this time or they would not bless you for the year. This being said, dinner had to be served by six to make sure you were blessed!

For dinner beverages, homemade wine is in abundance naturally.

For dessert, we always have Torrones. These Italian nougat candies come in different flavors like orange, chocolate and vanilla.torrone

My mother’s side of the family always had ribbon candy as well. I am not sure if this has anything to do with being Italian, or if they just really like them.ribbon candy

Lastly, orange slices drizzled with olive oil and black olives were eaten to soothe the stomach from all the overeating!

The Italian Christmas Eve dinner is unlike anything else. Most people probably think it is weird and disgusting and wonder, “Why don’t you just make a ham?” That is just not the way things are done. So, if you are bored with your usual Christmas meal, try something fishy and new!

All of this information was passed down to me by my parents.

Olive Garden Issues

Olive Garden image from http://www.gardendesignddd.com/tag/garden-place/

Most Italians deeply despise the restaurant Olive Garden because they think it is unauthentic fast food. I do not hate it. I know that is shocking to hear. Even stranger, none of my best friends, who are also Italian, hate it either. I do not necessarily think it is completely authentic or better than my families food, but if I’m out shopping and someone wants to go there I’m okay with it. I do not go out of my way to eat it, and I probably only go once or twice a year. However, I don’t think I have ever seen my parents eat there, and I know my grandparents wouldn’t be caught dead there. Maybe it is more of a generational thing.

As a PR professional, I hear a lot of news about the industry. That being said Olive Garden recently encountered a PR crisis. An Olive Garden in Oxford, Alabama refused to let a Kiwanis Club include the American flag at a banquet held in the restaurant. An 80-year-old woman was stopped while carrying it in to the restaurant (the members say the Pledge of Allegiance at each meeting).

After the public caught wind of the incident, Olive Garden tried to explain themselves out of the situation by saying “to be fair to everyone and avoid disrupting the dining experience for all other guests, (the restaurant is) unable to accommodate flags or banners of any type in the dining room.”

The first step in public relations is to ALWAYS apologize first. The public will beat you in any battle. They are not looking for a debate, they’re looking for you to make them feel better and win them back over. Threats of boycotting the restaurant began, and Olive Garden knew it had to do something more to reconcile with the public.

Olive Garden vice president called the woman and personally apologized to her. He also promised to fly to Alabama to apologize to the whole Kiwanis Club involved. Lucky for Olive Garden, it changed its original statement and added an apology that was included on its Facebook page.

After thinking over its first crappy apology, Olive Garden issued a much better statement. According to Mark Ragan’s blog, it said, “Some of our staff were misinformed by our corporate office. As a company we take responsibility for that, and we regret it. We take pride in how we communicate to our restaurants, and we are correcting this so it doesn’t happen again.”

This second statement was much more appropriate. It admitted the company was wrong, apologized, said it regretted it and told how it would correct it in the future. I’m not sure who is running Olive Garden’s PR team, but they could use a refresher course and PR crisis tips.

 

More than Pasta

Although it has delicious treats, Italy has a lot more to offer than food. There are many famous Italian artists and architects as well. The Colloseum, the Pantheon, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Duomo, the Vatican, the Statue of David, the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper are just a few things that may ring a bell.

The most well known Italian artist is the Renaissance man himself, Leonardo da Vinci. He was born in 1452 and died in 1519. He is most famous for the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper. Da Vinci also developed many technical skills and drawings along with his artist skills, which deemed him an ultimate Renaissance Man.

Michelangelo Buonarroti is another highly regarded artist from the Renaissance time. His two most well known statues are the Pieta and the David. He was especially trained in frescoes, and his work on the Sistine Chapel proves it.

 

 

Botticelli is another Italian Renaissance painter. He is most well-known for a series of mythological paintings such as the Birth of Venus and Mars & Venus. The Renaissance was a period that reflected classical Roman roots, and his work shows that.

 

St. Peter’s Basilica of Rome is in Vatican City. It was built with Michelangelo’s help during the Italian Renaissance era. It is the largest Christian church in the world. St. Peter was one of Jesus’ 12 Disciples and his tomb is said to be located under the alter, making it a destination for many pilgrimages. Its huge dome can be seen throughout the whole Roman skyline.



The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a monument that piques curiosity in people. During construction, the tower started leaning at a 10-degree angle. It is commonly referred to as the bell tower or campanile. It is eight stories and constructed with white marble. The top of the tower is off 17-feet because of its lean. People could not walk its staircases for a long time for fear it would fall over, but it is open to the public again.

I am a huge art and architecture lover. It was my minor before I changed it to marketing. I wish it was something I was still involved with because I truly enjoy it. The Italian Renaissance is my favorite era of architecture.

Jersey Drama

There are many stereotypes about Italians. In my opinion, stereotypes do not just come out of thin air they are based in reality. I think a lot of stereotypes are exaggerated truths. Television shows are guilty of portraying Italian-Americans in a certain way.

The popularity of shows such as Jersey Shore, Mob Wives, Jerseylicious and The Real Housewives of New Jersey feature Italian-Americans living a certain lifestyle. A lot of people assume Italians are always dark-haired, have Mob ties and act like the people they see on television.

A large Italian-American service organization said, “Jersey Shore relies on crude stereotypes and highlights cursing, bad behavior and violence in depicting renters at a beach house.” An MTV promotion before it aired said the show’s cast “kept their hair high, their muscles juiced and their fists pumping all summer long.”

I think the content in these shows is taken out of context. The words that are used to describe them also add to the drama. Jersey Shore uses the words Guido and Guidette in its promotion for the show. Some people consider these ethnic slurs and are offended by the use of them, which led to a PR issue for MTV.

MTV responded by saying “the Italian-American cast takes pride in their ethnicity. We understand that this show is not intended for every audience and depicts just one aspect of youth culture.” The company eventually replaced the word with roommates to satisfy the complaints. Although the slur was taken off commercials, the roommates still say it and are not offended by its use. This situation seemed to go over smoothly without becoming a full-on PR crisis.

Another PR issue revolving around the Jersey Shore had to do with the retail store Abercrombie & Fitch. The company reportedly tried to pay-off cast member Mike Sorrentino to not wear its clothing. The company was concerned that Sorrentino wearing its clothing could damage the brand. Abercrombie didn’t think this through all the way, because it created clothes that displayed the cast members’ signature sayings. One shirt said “The Fituation” and others quoted the signature phrase “Gym, Tan, Laundry.”

The Jersey Shore created a lot of problems, but it had the most watched season premier, ever. Personally, I am not offended by any of these shows, and I watch them all. However, I am a complete stereotype myself. Yes, I have thick, dark, curly hair. Yes, I am obsessed with leopard print. Yes, I think the higher your hair the closer you are to heaven. Yes, I love big jewelry and majority of the things I own are sparkly. I also have a very short-fused temper and naturally have no inside voice. But, just because these things describe me does not mean it is true for everyone. It is never safe to assume! Just because things have a root in reality doesn’t mean they are entirely true.

Mambo Italiano

Italian music is a genre all on its own. It is something I’ve always loved. Even as I write this, I’m listening to it. It was made in a time where love was sung about, instead of the topics in today’s music. It reminds me of when times were simple. Specifically it reminds me of the happy background music to holiday parties and family dinners. There were many great Italian musicians and singers, but I’m only going to talk about a few of my favorites.

Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra was born on Dec. 12, 1915, in Hoboken, New Jersey. He was an Italian-American singer and actor. His real name was Francis Albert Sinatra, and he died in May of 1998. Sinatra’s career began in 1935. In 1941, he was one of the top male singers in the country, and girls loved him. He was still a hit in the swing era of the ‘50s. Sinatra was part of the 1960s Rat Pack along with Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop and originally Humphrey Bogart. Sinatra’s music is still used in movie soundtracks today like Elf and Ocean’s Thirteen. As difficult as it was, I chose ten of my favorite songs of his to link to:

  1. Come Fly With Me
  2. Fly Me to the Moon
  3. New York, New York
  4. I’ve Got You Under My Skin
  5. The Best is Yet to Come
  6. The Lady is a Tramp
  7. The Way You Look Tonight
  8. Almost Like Being in Love
  9. I’ll Be Seeing You
  10. I’ve Got the World on a String

More information about Frank Sinatra.

Dean Martin

Dean Martin was born on June 7, 1917 in Steubenville, Ohio. His was also an Italian-American singer and actor. His real name was Dino Paul Crocetti.  Martin died on Christmas Day in 1995. He was known as “The King of Cool,” and was also a member of the Rat Pack. Martin began touring in 1938, and he changed his name in 1940. He also worked with Jerry Lewis for ten years. Martin was married three times and served in World War II. There were some tough decisions made, but my top choices of his songs are:

  1. That’s Amore
  2. Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime
  3. Ain’t That a Kick in the Head
  4. You’re Nobody Til Somebody Loves You
  5. Mambo Italiano
  6. Pennies From Heaven
  7. Volare
  8. You Belong to Me
  9. Under the Bridges of Paris
  10. Sway

More information about Dean Martin.

Frankie Valli

Frankie Valli was born in May of 1934, in Newark, New Jersey. He is an Italian-American singer and is still alive today. His real name is Francis Stephen Castelluccio, and he was the lead singer of the Four Seasons. “Jersey Boys” the musical chronicles his life with the group. My all time favorite song is my number one choice in his category.

  1. Sherry
  2. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You
  3. Rag Doll
  4. Let’s Hang On
  5. Big Girls Don’t Cry
  6. Stay
  7. Candy Girl
  8. Dawn
  9. Will You Love Me Tomorrow
  10. Bye Bye Baby

More information about Frankie Valli.

This does not include all of their Christmas songs that are some of my favorites, either! I went back and forth debating which songs to choose, and this was a very difficult decision. Other Italian singers I really enjoy are Pavoratti, Perry Como, and Andrea Bocelli. Italian music is perfect for a day of homework, cooking, cleaning, dancing or just relaxing. The next time you get sick of the same music on your iTunes, try something new, or old I guess I should say.

Holy Cannoli

Dessert is the best part of a meal, right? Wrong. Not in Italian culture, but it is pretty good! I’m not going to lie and say I like the dessert better than the food. However, it is a delicious end to an Italian dinner. Italy produces some of the world’s best desserts, and as I see it, France is the only close runner-up. Because I have told you how to make a variety of sauces, now I will share some of my favorite desserts too. Making one of these will be the perfect end to your next Sunday dinner!

Recipe: Chocolate-Pistachio Biscotti

As I mentioned in my previous post, these Italian cookies are perfect for dipping in coffee, espresso or wine. This recipe makes about 30 cookies.

1 cup shelled unsalted pistachio nuts
1 stick of softened unsalted butter
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup of orange juice
2 cups of flour
1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the nuts on a cookie sheet, and toast them for about 10 minutes. Cool the nuts, then coarsely chop them. Use a mixer to blend the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg and orange juice. In another bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gradually beat the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Stir in the nuts.  Divide the dough in half. Cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Grease two cookie sheets, and form both halves of the dough into logs. Place one log on each cookie sheet. Bake it for 20-25 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and let them cool for 15 minutes. Do not shut off the oven. Cut the logs on a diagonal into 3/4-inch slices. Place the slices cut side down onto the cookie sheets, and bake them again for 10-12 minutes. Let them cool and enjoy! This recipe is from http://www.mangiabenepasta.com/biscotti.html.

Recipe: Pizzelles

These cookies are flat and waffle-like with a pattern on them. My Grandma always used to make them for Christmas celebrations, among other times. For this recipe you need a pizzelle maker, which resembles a waffle iron. This makes about 30 pizzelles.

3 eggs
1 3/4 cups of flour
½ teaspoon of anise seed
1/2 cup of butter
2 teaspoons of baking powder
3/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Directions:

Beat the eggs and sugar. Add cooled melted butter, vanilla and anise. Sift flour and baking powder and add to egg mixture. Once mixed, use the pizzelle maker as if you’re making waffles. This recipe is from http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1918,156170-236204,00.html

Recipe: Panna Cotta

This recipe is fairly easy and can be altered. Instead of using fruit, there can be carmel, chocolate or any type of sauce on top. This is a basic fruit recipe, but you can tailor it to your favorite toppings.

1 cup of whole milk

1 tablespoon of unflavored powdered gelatin

3 cups of whipping cream

1/3 cup of honey

1 tablespoon of sugar

Pinch of salt

2 cups of fresh berries

Directions

Place the milk in a bowl, and sprinkle the gelatin in. Let it stand for three to five minutes to soften the gelatin. Pour it into a saucepan and stir over medium heat, just until the gelatin dissolves but the milk does not boil. Add the cream, honey, sugar and salt. Stir it until the sugar dissolves. Remove it from the heat. Pour it into six glasses or bowls so they are half full.  Refrigerate the glasses until they are set, which is at least 6 hours. Before serving, put the berries on top and enjoy! This recipe is from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/panna-cotta-with-fresh-berries-recipe/index.html.

Recipe: Tiramisu

6 egg yolks

3 tablespoons of sugar

1 pound of mascarpone cheese

1 1/2 cups of strong espresso, cooled

2 teaspoons of dark rum

24 packaged ladyfingers

Directions:

Use an electric mixer to beat egg yolks and sugar together for about five minutes. Add the mascarpone cheese, and beat it until it’s smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of espresso and thoroughly mix it. In another bowl, add the remaining espresso and rum. Dip each ladyfinger into the espresso for only five seconds. You don’t want them to fall apart. Place the soaked ladyfingers on the bottom of a baking dish.

Spread half of the mascarpone mixture evenly over the ladyfingers. Arrange another layer of soaked ladyfingers, and top it with the remaining mascarpone mixture. Cover the tiramisu with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least two hours. You can garnisih it with cocoa powder on top. This recipe is from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/tiramisu-recipe/index.html.

These are only some of my favorite desserts. There are many, many more delicious Italian desserts out there. Other recipes I favor are Cannolis, Cassata Cake, Kolaches, Gelato and Zeppole.

Sunday Dinner

The importance of Sunday dinner is huge in Italian culture. It is a day to relax and see all your family members, while enjoying delicious food. When I was growing up, I could never hang out with friends on Sunday’s, because I had to go to dinner at two p.m. As soon as we pulled in the driveway at my Grandma and Grandpa’s, I could smell the garlic and sauce. Slowly, as I got older, the tradition did not happen every Sunday. When I was in high school I worked on Sunday’s, and it ruined dinner for me every week. Most Italians are Roman-Catholics, and dinner usually takes place after mass. When I say dinner, what I really mean is a feast. These dinners are not just one dish; there are multiple courses. Of course, there is also an abundance of my Grandpa’s homemade wine!

Course One: Pasta with sauce, meatballs and bread

Recipe: Sauce

2 (28 ounce) cans tomato puree

1 (28 ounce) can peeled plum tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

1 onion, diced

1-teaspoon basil

1-teaspoon kosher salt

¼-teaspoon fresh ground pepper

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

Sauté the diced onion and minced garlic in olive oil. Empty the plum tomatoes into a large bowl, and squash it with your hands. Add all the ingredients (including any meatballs or sausage you want to add) to pot and simmer for 3 hours. This recipe is from http://www.food.com/recipe/authentic-italian-tomato-sauce-92096. This is not my family’s sauce recipe. I refuse to give that away on the Internet!

Recipe: Meatballs

1 ½ pounds of lean beef or pork (or use a mixture of both)
¼ cup parmesan cheese
1 large slightly beaten egg
½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
2 teaspoons of salt (can use less)
1 teaspoon of black pepper
½ cup of milk
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons of dried parsley

Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients into a large bowl. Shape the mixture into small-medium sized meatballs.  Simmer the meatballs in pasta sauce for about 40 minutes.

Again, this is not my family’s recipe this is from http://blogchef.net/italian-meatball-recipe/

Course Two: Salad

In my house, this usually consists of lettuce, black olives, cucumber, parmesan and Italian dressing. Sometimes there are variations depending on what we can pick from the garden that day.

Course Three: Main dish

This is an interchangeable course. Baked chicken of some sort is common. We also have stuffed peppers, wedding soup or polenta. We like to mix this up!

Course Four: Dessert

For this course, coffee is always necessary. It does not matter what time of day it is, my family will have coffee or espresso with their dessert. There will always be homemade biscotti with it too. In addition to that, we have love cake, rum cake, pizzelles or rice pudding. Those are the most common things on my Sunday’s, but there are many more.

Tradition

Americans are extremely busy these days. They barely have time to sit down for a meal, let alone take hours and hours to prepare it. I fully plan to keep these traditions alive when I have my own family. I am very old school and traditional. I want my children to have the same memories I have that they can pass along to their children. Come back soon for my post all about desserts!

Get Saucy

The average person probably doesn’t think about sauce on a daily basis like I do. Most people only think of red and alfredo sauce, but there are many more. This post will provide insight to those left in the dark about the wonderful world of sauces. After reading it, I hope you are inspired to try something new!

Pesto

After overhearing a conversation about pesto in the mall, I decided I needed to share what it is with the world. Three women discussing it asked each other if there was basil in it, and one replied “No, I think it’s just green spaghetti sauce!” Appalled at hearing this, I felt obligated to inform you all. Pesto originated in Genoa, Italy. This sauce may look daunting to those who are unaware of it because of its vibrant green color. In fact, it rather resembles baby food. Don’t be fooled though, it is very quick and easy to make. Pesto is my favorite sauce (other than my Grandmother’s red sauce of course), and I like it over tortellini the best. Many people use a food processor to make it, but it is more authentic if it is hand-chopped. Either way is delicious, but hand chopping allows the flavors to burst individually.

image from http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/cheese-tortellini-with-walnut-pesto

Ingredients:

1 giant bunch of fresh basil

¼ cup of pine nuts

2-3 cloves of garlic

½ cup of olive oil

½ cup of Pecorino cheese

Recipe:

Blend or chop basil, pine nuts and garlic together. Add in the olive oil and continue blending. Finally, mix in the cheese. If you don’t have Pecorino cheese, Parmesan will do. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce is too thick, you can add some of the starchy water the pasta was cooked in. Another twist I like is mixing a little pesto sauce and alfredo sauce together for a completely unique dish!

Aioli

This sauce translates to ai, garlic and oli, oil. It literally means garlic and oil, which is basically all it consists of. Again, a very simple recipe tastes great on linguine.

image from http://www.ciaoitalia.com/seasons/18/1801/garlic-and-oil-sauce

Ingredients:

2-3 cloves of garlic

1 room temperature egg yolk

½ lemon juiced

1 cup of olive oil & extra virgin olive oil mixed together

Recipe:

Mince garlic and salt in a food processor. Add the egg yolk and the juice of half of a lemon, and continue pulsing. Pour in the olive oil mixture in a slow stream. Add pepper to taste. If it is too thick, thin it out with a little water.

Puttanesca

This sauce has a lot of zest. It is spicier than most and is a bit tangy. In Italian, Puttanesca means prostitute, and it is known as “a whore’s favorite meal.” This is a tweaked recipe from www.foodandwine.com.

image from http://armidacooks.blogspot.com/2007/05/spaghetti-alla-puttanesca.html

Ingredients:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, peeled

6 anchovy filets, smashed

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

35 oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes with juice, hand-crushed

Pinch of sugar

2 basil sprigs

Small handful of parsley

¼ cup chopped kalamata olives

1 tablespoon of drained capers

Recipe:

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add garlic, crushed red pepper and smashed anchovies. Cook over moderate heat stirring occasionally for five minutes. Add tomato paste and cook for one minute. Add the can of tomatoes, and stir in the sugar, capers, olives, parsley and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Simmer sauce on low heat until it thickens, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes. Remove the sprigs and garlic before serving.

Carbonara

No one really knows where carbonara originated. There are many different stories regarding its origin, so it is a mystery. However, it is one delicious mystery because I love anything with pancetta, which is Italian bacon.

image from http://www.wizardrecipes.com/recipes/spaghetti+carbonara.html

Ingredients:

½ pound of diced pancetta

½ cup pecorino or parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 clove of garlic

4 eggs

Recipe:

Toss fettuccini with olive oil. Sauté pancetta for five minutes. Sauté garlic in pancetta fat. Return pancetta to the pan and add the cooked pasta. Add the beaten eggs and cheese and toss again continuously. If it is too thick, add the starchy pasta water. Some people also add peas to the dish.

These are just a few sauces to spice up your pasta dishes! There are many more out there such as bolognese, pomodoro, marinara, vodka and béchamel. I hope I have inspired you to step away from alfredo and red sauce, and enter a whole new world of sauce.