Best Italian Pasta Recipes

Carbonara Spaghetti


Spaghetti Carbonara

This version is one with cream.  The classic Carbonara is made with egg, pancetta and Parmesan.  You may substitute red pepper flakes if you like instead of the black pepper.

If your not into the pancetta then try using a great smoked bacon.  Some recipes I came across use sweet peas as well.  Not classic but still great.  Click on the image and it will take your to another site Sunset which has the cream free version.

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Tagliatelle Bolognese (Recipe)


Tagliatelle Bolognese


I have to omit that growing up I had no clue what Bolognese sauce was!

  It makes sense since my family’s origin was from the Naples region.  The main difference between Naples and Bologna's version is how the meats in the sauce are used as well as the amount of tomato in the sauce.

The Bolognese version uses very finely chopped or ground meat while our family’s version uses meats like Pork, Braciole made with flank steak Sausages and Meatballs.  With the flavor marrying into the sauce and the meats served on the side.

In my sauce I replace white wine with a red wine, and use lard or olive oil, and lots of fresh basil leaves.  It seemed weird to me to add milk or cream to a "gravy" only exposed to this later in my cooking career. With that said I never really had the opportunity to have a real Bolognese sauce!

In all the restaurants our family went to the menu would say Spaghetti alla Bolognese.  I would get it and be hugely disappointed thinking that these guys don’t know how to cook, but that’s the way it is made most of the time in America not like we Naples style at home!   In Bologna you will find that this is served with  tagliatelle,  a fresh egg pasta.

The Naples version would be mostly served with Spaghetti, Bucatini, and Ziti.

My friend David swears to Marcella Hazans version from "The Classic Italian Cookbook" and says he leaves it cooking for at least 5 hours!

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Penne alla Vodka (Recipe)

Penne Ala Vodka


Penne alla Vodka is one of my Aunt Toni's favorite pastas so I though that I would honor her with this recipe and a bit of history that I learned about this popular pasta dish!

According to Pasquale Bruno, Jr., From Chicago, author of "The Ultimate Pasta Cookbook," Penne alla Vodka was invented at Dante, a restaurant in Bologna, Italy.

Others credit James Doty, a graduate of Columbia University, as the inventor of Penne a la Vodka.

Paula Franzese, a law professor, claims that her father Luigi Franzese, born in Naples, Italy in 1931, devised the first incarnation of Penne alla Vodka, which he called Penne alla Russia because of the addition of the vodka to his tomato and cream sauce.

He first prepared the dish table side for patrons at New York City's Orsini's restaurant in the early 1970s.

 Orsini's, owned by Armando and Elio Orsini, was one of the most acclaimed restaurants of its time, hosting regulars that included Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Sammy Davis, Jr, Mick Jagger and scores of literary, entertainment and business icons.

Word of Penne alla Russia quickly spread, and soon it began appearing on other menus throughout the New York region.

The Williams Sonoma Essentials of Italian cookbook says that it was invented in the 1980s by a Roman chef for a vodka company that wanted to popularize its product in Italy. So the debate is on on who created it!

I looked at the recipe and it is basically a rosa sauce with vodka.  Here is my version.

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Lasagna Napolitana (Recipe)


Lasagna Napolitana

Lasagna brings about images of indulgent layers of mozzarella and ricotta cheeses and sauce!

It doesn’t mater whether it is Lasagna Bolognaise, Lasagna Napolitana or your own spin on the classics, Lasagna is sure to please your family, guests and friends.

  Flashback:  The table was set with hand crochet table cloth and the "special" china that was passed on from generation to generation.  Seated at the table were every relative that you knew and some that you never knew you had!

  On the table was a gallon of Piasno or it could have been some  Dago Red that grandpa made? Copious glasses of  wine being drunk from fancy wine glasses which I now know as Murano glass from Venice.

The room was packed, the table and its guests were too large for the room, and three people would have to get up in order for you to leave the table.

  We were all called to sit down; there was a level of anticipation!  I knew it was time to eat because all the adults died out their cigarettes! 


Here, entering the room as if it was a royal procession was my grandmother Selvaggio beaming as if she just painted the Sistine Chapel.

  I looked over to my father and could see the excitement on his face because he knew what was about to come!  Grandma had a pan of Lasagna!

My eyes gazed on the pan that seemed at least a foot thick and full of pasta and what every child loves, cheese! She set the pan onto the table, the aroma of the melted "Scmotz", and Romano was intoxicating as if I was in some Italian Shaman's spiritual ritual.

  She cut into the Lasagna and lifted the mile high slice of joy!  There was so much cheese that it stretched and would not let go as if it was in defiance of being eaten!


Wait, what is that inside, there are tiny mini meatballs!  As if the cheese, ricotta "gravy" and pasta layers were not enough!

 Each tiny meatball was rolled by hand and fried in lard till its crusty goodness came thru! I took a sip of my "Wine mixed with 7up"(Italian Benadryl) smiled and realized that I do have a Guardian Angel!

The recipe I chose to share with you is one I personally make for my family. It uses many of the recipes that are found on!


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