Cooking Sauces

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!

Continue reading "Tagliatelle Bolognese (Recipe)" »

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.

Continue reading "Penne alla Vodka (Recipe)" »

Fettucini Alfredo Recipe - Fettuccini at Alfredo's in Rome, Italy (Recipe)


Fettuccini at Alfredo's, originally uploaded by photop0t.




Here is a classic Alfredo recipe everyone needs to master!

Let me know if you have made the classic version or the cream version and which one you prefer!

Basically Fettuccine Alfredo is a pasta dish made from freshly boiled Fettuccine Pasta tossed with Imported Parmesan Cheese and Whole Unsalted Sweet Butter.  It was named by an Italian restaurateur, Alfredo di Lelio, at Alfredo alla Scrofa Restaurant in Rome.

According to Wikipedia the story goes like this, the dish was invented by di Lelio in 1914 as a variation of Fettuccine al Burro. When butter was added both before and after fettuccine was put in the serving bowl, the butter was known as doppio burro (double butter).

Di Lelio's original contribution was to double the amount of butter in the bowl before the Fettuccine would be poured in, thus a triplo burro (triple butter) effect instead of double.


He started doing this for his pregnant wife, who was having difficulty keeping food down.

When his wife began eating again, Alfredo added the new dish to his restaurant's menu.

A long-time customer recounted that di Lelio's restaurant became famous when Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks stopped into his restaurant and fell in love with the dish while on their honeymoon in 1927.

 To express their gratitude, they gave him a golden fork and spoon along with a photo of them eating in his restaurant. He proudly displayed the photo on the wall of his small restaurant.

When Pickford and Fairbanks returned to Hollywood, they served his dish to their friends and associates. Word about that new meal quickly spread.

Alfredo di Lelio finally retired in 1938 and sold his restaurant, photos and all, to Mario Mozzetti's grandfather. He kept the restaurant's name, menu, and everything else. That restaurant is still in business today, run by Mario Mozzetti.

When Rome prepared for a large religious celebration in 1959, some local businessmen tracked down Alfredo di Lelio and offered to build him a new restaurant.

 He was retired, but he agreed to show up and act as a greeter there. When the religious holiday arrived, old customers showed up and had their photos taken for the walls of the "new" restaurant located at 30 Piazza Augusto Imperatore, a few blocks north of his original location.

That expansion continued in 1977 when Alfredo II and Guido Bellanca opened a new "Alfredo's" by Rockefeller Center in New York City to serve it.

 The walls of that restaurant are plastered with drawings by Al Hirschfeld - including the rest rooms. Another Alfredo's opened in the Epcot at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista. As of September 2007, the Epcot branch is closed.



Continue reading "Fettucini Alfredo Recipe - Fettuccini at Alfredo's in Rome, Italy (Recipe)" »

Arrabiata Sauce (Recipe)


Penne Rigate Arrabiata


Here is another great sauce for the abundant tomatoes you may have in your garden.

A you will notice there is similarity between this recipe and Amatriciana Sauce

 With Arrabiata Sauce there is more heat but there is no Pancetta.  Arrabiata Sauce is a simple straightforward flavorful sauce with flames of heat earning its name Arrabiata or the "Angry Sauce" 


The classic Arrabiata Sauce is found served in Lazio, Abruzzo, Moliese and elsewhere in the south. This classic version uses "peperoncino rosso" Crushed Red Pepper and is in the same family as the other preparations that have heat like, Carbonara, Amatriciana and Shrimp Fra Diavolo.

 Because of the simplicity of Arrabiata Sauce use only the best ingredients. If using canned tomatoes make sure you use imported San Marzano tomatoes for the most of authentic tasting sauce.

The preferred pasta for this sauce is Penne Rigate, the Penne Pasta with lines that are designed to catch more of the sauce.

Continue reading "Arrabiata Sauce (Recipe)" »