Chef Bartolotta learned how to make this sauce while he was apprenticing in a restaurant in Palermo in the 1980s. He says, “Before opening Bartolotta, Ristorante di Mare I never once made this dish in nearly 20 years of cooking in the United States and I cannot tell you why. What I can tell you is that as soon as I got my first shipment of Italian-speaking fish from the Mediterranean, a big-eyed spotted red bream called Occhiona winked at me and was begging me to bake him ‘alla Palermitana,’ in the style of Palermo, because even that fish had nostalgia for his homeland. Sautéed garlic, rich green Sicilian olive oil, briny capers and olives, tomatoes, fresh oregano, lemon juice and lemon oil from the lemon all belong together, like cousins.” The combination creates a true flavor explosion that’s as wonderful on pasta as it is on grilled or roasted fish.
Get the Recipe: Salsa Palermitana
Award-winning author Giuliano Hazan runs a cooking school with his wife in Northern Italy. His most recent book is Giuliano Hazan's Thirty Minute Pasta (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, September 2009).
This is a version of the famous meat sauce of Emilia Romagna, of which Bologna is the capital. Giuliano Hazan’s family is from Emilia Romagna and he says, “Practically everyone from this region makes their own version with subtle changes from one generation to another.” He learned to make Bolognese sauce from his mother, Marcella, who learned it from her grandmother, Mary. Its classic pairing is with homemade tagliatelle or pappardelle but it’s also very good with rigatoni, shells or any substantial pasta shape, preferably one with ridges, that has nooks and cavities to trap the sauce.
Get the Recipe: Ragù alla Bolognese
New York Times bestselling author and James Beard Award winner Ellie Krieger is a registered dietitian and host of The Food Network show Healthy Appetite. Her next book is So Easy (Wiley, October 2009). She lives in Manhattan.
Ellie Krieger says this pesto was inspired by a dish at her neighborhood Italian restaurant called Regional. She says, “I was so enchanted by it I had to recreate it at home. The almonds give the sauce a delightful richness and make it a perfect partner for nutty whole-wheat pasta. It’s also delicious spread on grilled chicken. It always gets raves when I make it, and everyone asks for the recipe when I reveal how easy it is to whip up.”
Get the Recipe: Roasted Tomato & Almond Pesto
Cookbook author and founder of Aidells Sausage Company Bruce Aidells is working on a new cookbook that focuses on issues of sustainability around meat. He does weekly TV cooking segments on the Bay Area show View From the Bay.
Bruce Aidells told us that this recipe was inspired by a fabulous stew of Spanish chorizo and other meats that he had in a small cafe in Toledo when he was traveling in Spain. He said, “When I went home to California I attempted to reproduce it. Since Spanish chorizo is hard to come by I substituted Portuguese linguisa and instead of serving the stew along with potatoes, as they did in Toledo, I started serving it over pasta to enthusiastic response from my friends and fellow diners. Because of the dual Portuguese and Spanish influences I decided to call my ragù Iberianinspired, after the peninsula these two nations share.” Garnish with grated sheep’s-milk cheese, such as Manchego.
Get the Recipe: Iberian-Style Sausage & Chicken Ragù
Lidia Matticchio Bastianich hosts a cooking show on PBS and she's also a restaurateur, an award-winning chef and a cookbook author. She wrote her most recent book, Lidia Cooks From The Heart of Italy (Knopf, October 2009), with her daughter Tanya.
This is a beautifully simple, but full-flavored sauce from Lidia Bastianich. She told us, “This is a variation of one of the sauces from my jarred-sauce line, Lidia’s. Whenever we make a new batch, I go to the production facility, lab coat, hairnet and all, and oversee its production. It’s easy to make a big batch at home, then freeze some in pint containers for that day when unexpected guests arrive or you had a rough day at work.” Serve over spaghetti or linguine, tossing the cooked pasta with half the sauce and some Grana Padano cheese, serving the rest of the sauce on top and passing more cheese.
Get the Recipe: Salsa alla Capricciosa