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Sugo alla marinara

You've all seen the video of Lidia's recipe by now. Here's the one from "Sauces & Shapes."

For the condimento:

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound (450 grams) very high quality canned peeled tomatoes with their juice or red, ripe sauce tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, peeled and seeded
at least ½ teaspoon salt
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Minestra di fave

Here's a nice winter recipe from "Sauces & Shapes" (page 258):

MINESTRA DI FAVE (dried fava bean and pasta soup)

for the soup:
1 pound 10 ounces (750 g) dried fava beans soaked 24-48 hours (depends on age)
1 large white onion, finely chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Before serving:
8 ounces (225 g), or less according to taste, small  Read More 
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More about the timballo

In I think 2004, or maybe ought-three, I was working on a book about Rome for Williams-Sonoma. They wanted a baked pasta and the first thing that came into my head was bechamel-mushrooms-prosciutto-peas, why I don't know. Then I said, oh no that's too retro, but by then they had said they loved the idea  Read More 
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Il timballo di San Silvestro

For some years now Franco and I have been inviting friends, and their friends, to come on December 31 for a buffet supper. As New Year’s bashes go, it’s pretty tame, but we pop the midnight corks on our roof terrace just opposite the Colosseum and watch the fireworks that successive city administrations,  Read More 
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What's "the Italian way"? 1

I've been in the US for a couple of weeks now mostly launching the book I wrote with Oretta Zanini De Vita, Sauces & Shapes: Pasta the Italian Way, published last month by W. W. Norton.

So what do we mean by the Italian way? Here are a few of its elements. More to come in future posts.

- Don't overdo it on the sauce. The pasta is the main attraction. The sauce is the condimento. The pasta is not an excuse to eat sauce. Just get a spoon.

- Don't get into a substitution mentality. To lower the cholesterol of recipes you deem unhealthy, simply look up broccoli or beans in the index, don't mess with the carbonara formula. When we call for pork fat, it's usually necessary. If you can't get salt-packed capers locally, order them on the Internet.

- On the other hand, you can almost always substitute tomato puree for pelati or vice versa, for example, or eliminate the garlic if you don't like it. You can substitute a yellow onion for a white or vegetable broth for meat broth. But don't imagine you can substitute water-packed supermarket tunafish for good Italian or Spanish tuna packed in olive oil. Clear? The key to the apparent paradox can be found in the Italian word "snaturare" -- to radically change the nature of something. You don't want to snaturare the sauce recipe.

- Use enough salt in the pasta water. The metric formula is 1 liter of water to 10 grams of coarse salt to 100 grams of pasta. Add the salt before adding the pasta to the boiling water. You cannot "always add it later" -- it won't taste right. Read More 
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