Rigatoni with Broccoli Florets and Sausage is one of chef’s favorite pasta dishes and he has graciously shared his recipe so you can prepare it at home for family and friends.  Our fresh rigatoni is available at the Uptown Farmer’s Market on Saturdays or you may call to place an order for pick-up at our kitchen.  We’d love to hear from you so let us know how you enjoyed this recipe!

 

 

Serves 4 -6  

Ingredients: 

1-gallon purified water

1 tablespoon sea salt

1 # PASTA REA Rigatoni pasta

4 cups broccoli florets, raw

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 # sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon minced shallots

¼ tsp of red chili pepper

½ cup white wine

24 ounces PASTA REA VODKA CREAM SAUCE

2 teaspoon chopped parsley

4 tablespoon Romano Cheese

Sea Salt

Cracked Black Pepper  

  1. Bring water to a rolling boil, add salt and hold on medium simmer
  2. In a large heavy bottom pan heat olive oil, add sausage and sauté until just cooked, do not brown, break up sausage as it cooks to avoid large chunks
  3. Add garlic, shallots and chili pepper, finish sauté until garlic is tender
  4. Add white wine and bring to a boil to reduce alcohol
  5. Add PASTA REA VODKA CREAM sauce and simmer on low heat
  6. Return water to a rolling boil. Drop pasta in boiling water and cook to al dente about 3-5 minutes
  7. In the last 2 minutes of the pasta cook time add the broccoli florets to the pasta water and cook to al dente
  8. When pasta and broccoli are cooked drain, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water
  9. Add pasta, parsley, Romano cheese to the vodka sauce, toss well and adjust sauce consistency with pasta water as needed
  10. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper

 

 

ITALIAN FESTIVAL OF ARIZONA 2018

 

Serving fresh pasta bowls at the Italian Festival of Arizona for the third year proved to be another exciting experience!  Music, food, wine, beautiful weather. . . . all the ingredients for a great weekend!

Chef Tony serving pasta bowls

PASTA BOWLS

With such a great selection of Italian food, we were thrilled to sell hundreds of fresh pasta bowls: gigli, rigatoni, and lumache with a choice of bolognaise, alfredo, pesto, and marinara sauce.  And of course, our famous lasagna (both bolognaise and spinach mushroom) was on the menu as was our gluten free eggplant parmesan.  Oh, and meatballs too!!

PREPARATION

Needless to say, we were cranking out the fresh made pasta like crazy on Friday for we not only had the Italian Festival, but 3 Farmers’ markets as well.  We not only produced hundreds of pounds of fresh pasta, but also prepared 40 pans of lasagna and eggplant parmesan.  We are so pleased to be offering FRESH pasta here in Phoenix, and now have many loyal fans and clients who purchase Pasta Rea at the local markets or pre-order for pick-up at our kitchen.

Serving close to 1000 pasta bowls over the course of 2 days could be challenging for even the most experienced caterer, but with our 22 years of catering experience, we know how to prepare for events in terms of quantity, preparation, organization, and how to staff appropriately.  And, the Italian Festival was not the only event for us over the weekend.  We also catered an Awards Gala, a wedding, and a fundraiser.  We love the activity, our staff prepares and serves happily, and each event is a new experience.

Enjoying pasta bowls

 

ITALIAN CATERING

If you’re considering a catered event in the near future, we highly recommend an Italian menu with our fresh Pasta Rea pasta.  It’s a great way to introduce fresh pasta to friends or colleagues.  You might consider a pasta “bar” with a choice of pastas and sauces. We can create a unique menu sure to please and impress any Italians in attendance. . . even Aunt Maria!

Mangia bene’!

Pasta Fra Diavolo has enough “fire” to ignite the passion for Valentine’s Day!  Chef shares his recipe for Pasta Fra Diavolo.  Serve with our cured tomato, red beet, and chili tagliatelle or pasta of your choice.

½ gallon purified water

½ tablespoon sea salt

2 each 6 ounce lobster tails

2 ounces olive oil

2 tablespoons shallot, garlic minced and combined

4 ounces white wine

2 tablespoons minced sundried tomatoes

6 ounces PASTA REA VODKA CREAM Sauce

1/4 teaspoon chili flakes

1/4 teaspoon chopped parsley

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Sea Salt

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

10 ounces PASTA REA Rigatoni, Tagliatelle or pasta of choice

Pasta Fra Diavolo

 

  1. Bring 1/2 gallon of water to a low simmer. Add 1/2 tablespoon of sea salt and hold

 

  1. With a sharp pair of scissors cut down the center of the bottom of the lobster tail. Separate shell with fingers and remove tail meat. Cut into ¼ pieces.

 

  1. In a heavy bottom sauté pan add oil and sauté the garlic and shallot mixture until soft, do not brown

 

4.         Add lobster meat and sauté lightly for 2 minutes. Deglaze pan with white wine, reduce by half

 

5.         Add all remaining ingredients except pasta to sauté pan, mix well and check for seasonings then reduce to a very low simmer

 

6.         Bring water back to a rolling boil add pasta and cook to desired texture, we suggest Al Dente

 

7 .        Drain well and add the pasta  to the sauce mixture. You may use a little of the pasta water if the sauce mixture has become too thick

 

8.         Toss until all ingredients are well incorporated

 

9.         Plate evenly in 2 portions, serve immediately.

 

Cured tomato, red beet and chili tagliatelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Gravy

Italian gravy on pasta with Italian sausage on top.

Every Italian American household has a version Sunday Gravy sauce and everyone will tell you theirs is the best. We all guard the recipe with our lives so don’t expect to see one here, but what I will give you is the story of one of the most treasured family traditions and a few tips on how to get it done. And if you don’t want to cook your own, PASTA REA sells it by the quart so just give us a call.

Sunday Gravy is more Italian American than Italian and features generous portions of beef or veal, pork, and sausage. Most Italian families who immigrated from the old country rarely prepared recipes with beef. Once they settled in the states and prospered financially, beef became more of a staple ingredient and you will often find beef braciola included in many recipes. Our family’s gravy relies on the flavors of the family meatball recipe which includes quality pork shoulder and handmade sausage.

Sunday Gravy is so much more than just another day’s meal. Typically the sauce was placed on a slow simmer for hours early in the day. The Sunday meal was usually served around 2:00 in the afternoon. While the gravy simmered on the stove various family members would arrive to the house in anticipation of the meal allowing us time to catch up on the past week’s activities. The house would fill with the aroma of garlic, garden fresh tomatoes and basil. Of course the gravy had to be tested for quality insurance. This process would include a small plate with a ladle of gravy mopped up with a generous portion of crusty Italian bread passed around to whoever was in the vicinity. On occasion a meatball might make it to the tasting plate but very rarely. If you were caught “tasting” on your own while Mom stepped away from the stove you would receive a swat from the same wooden spoon used to stir. God forbid we ran out and there was not enough to go around. But that was the funny thing about Sunday Gravy, there was always enough to go around for those invited and for those who just dropped in and usually there were leftovers.

Two or three times a month we would enjoy our meal and then head out to visit our aunts, uncles, and cousins. My mother’s father lived with us and her brother and sister would usually join us at our home.  My father was the youngest of 7 and being the youngest, he would show his respect by packing us into his car and making the 30-minute trip spending about 45 minutes at each home. No matter how full you were from your mom’s gravy you were still expected to eat more. Each of my father’s sisters married a man from a different part of Italy so each home had a different preparation. One was spicy, one had raisins and pine nuts in their meatballs, one preferred boxed pasta and one handmade and so on as traditions dictated. Our tradition on those visits was to always visit Auntie Ann’s home last because she was the baker in the family. To this day I have never seen a larger display of Italian cookies and pastries than the ones that were displayed at many cousins’ weddings.

Here are a few tips when preparing Sunday Gravy which is a very simple recipe to create. Be sure to use only fresh ingredients. Brown the meat, (but never the meatballs) in a quality olive oil, allow simmering for hours until the pork is fork tender and then add the meatballs and sausage until just done. That is a very important step because the flavors imparted from those meats during the simmer make the sauce. The final product should be thicker than marinara so a little paste is ok if you like but the slow reduction will help with consistency. Be sure to have lots of quality bread, grandpa’s wine and of course PASTA REA pasta. I don’t know why they call it gravy instead of sauce but that is a great topic to debate while it simmers.

Mangia Bene!!

Chef Tony

 

Roasted Beet Pasta With Chevre Cream, Garlic & Chive is a beautifully colored Fall pasta dish and it is equally delicious!  We particularly like the chèvre cream, garlic,  and chive sauce to enhance the flavor of the ever so subtle beet flavor of the pasta.  Our fresh Pasta Rea pasta cooks in only 3-4 minutes so this is a quick and easy dish for busy week nights or it’s impressive as a dish for entertaining guests.  A simple salad and a crusty loaf of bread is the perfect accompaniment to Roasted Beet Pasta.

Roast beef pasta on a white plate.

And if you want to get fancy, mimic the chive “spikes” in our photo! 

Roasted Beet Pasta Recipe:

4 servings

½ gallon water

1 tbsp sea salt

10 ounces PASTA REA Roasted Purple Beet pasta

4 each cloves of roasted garlic, mashed into a paste

2 tsp olive oil

3 ounces white wine

6 ounces heavy cream

5 ounces of a quality soft chevre cheese

2 tbsp. fine grated Romano cheese

2 tbsp. chive, chopped

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Sea Salt

Cracked Black Pepper

Preparation:

Bring the water to a rolling boil and add sea salt.

In a medium sauté pan, add the olive oil and garlic. Sauté stirring constantly so not to burn for about 1 minute.

Add white wine and reduce by half.

Add heavy cream and reduce to thicken, add cheese and stir to a smooth consistency.

Cook pasta to al dente and strain, reserving some pasta water. Add strained pasta, salt, lemon juice and chives to the cream and cheese mixture stirring with a large pasta fork until well coated with sauce. You may use some of the pasta water to adjust sauce consistency if needed.

Season to taste with Sea Salt.

Portion pasta evenly on four plates and top with a generous portion of cracked pepper. Serve immediately.

Pasta Puttanesca  is an Italian pasta dish invented in Naples in the mid-20th century. Its ingredients typically include tomatoes, olive oil, anchovies, olives, capers and garlic making it a very cost-effective dish.  Chef Tony has created a “twist” on the Italian favorite with this delicious version which includes smoked shrimp, capers, and Kalamata olives.  This Pasta Puttanesca version with shrimp is also cost-effective and prepared with our fresh Pasta Rea pasta, it is sure to please.  As pictured here, the dish was prepared with Pasta Rea fiore but any of our fresh pasta will work, including long noodles such as spaghetti.   Our fresh pasta cooks in 3-4 minutes so be sure to not overcook, preparing it to al dente.

Fiore Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca With Shrimp

Serve Pasta Puttanesca with a simple green salad or Caesar salad and focaccia or crusty Italian bread.

Recipe:

1 tbsp.   sea salt

1 gallon purified water

3 tbsp.   olive oil

1 tbsp.   shallots, minced

6 med.   garlic cloves, minced

½ tsp.   red-pepper flakes, crushed

1 can      Italian plum tomatoes, drained and reserved juice, seeded then rough chop

12 oz.    smoked shrimp, chopped

3 tbs.     capers, drained

½ cup   Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

2 tbs.     fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

1 lb.        Pasta Rea fresh pasta

Bring 1 gallon of water to a rolling boil, add 1 tablespoon sea salt.

Heat oil on medium heat in a large skillet. Add shallots, garlic, red-pepper flakes. Cook, stirring 1 to 2 minutes. Do not brown or char pepper. Add tomatoes, reserved juice, capers, and olives. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 5- 8 minutes or until sauce slightly thickens. Add shrimp and simmer until shrimp is firm.

Add salt and pasta to boiling water and cook until fresh pasta is al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain well.

Stir pasta into sauce. Cook, stirring, until sauce clings to pasta, about 2 minutes. Stir in parsley and serve.

Serving size: 4

 

 

 

A pomodoro sauce is the perfect light tomato sauce for a side pasta dish to accompany a protein such as steak, chicken, fish (particularly “meatier” fish such as swordfish), or pork.  Prepared in just 15 minutes, and with ingredients you most likely have in your kitchen pantry and refrigerator, pomodoro sauce is a wonderful quick, simple, and delicious sauce that the entire family will enjoy.  It will work well with any shape pasta, and please remember that anytime you “sauce” a pasta to toss the pasta lightly in the sauce, coating it well, but not “drenching” the pasta in sauce!  And lastly, our Pasta Rea fresh pasta only takes 3-4 minutes to cook and be sure to cook it al dente’ to appreciate the texture and flavor.

Serving Size:  2 (consider doubling or tripling the recipe and freezing excess sauce for later use)

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

2 oz. olive oil

2 carrrots, peeled and cut in large pieces, about 2″ long and 1/4 thick thick

2 celery stalks, cut in large pieces, about 2″ long

3 tbsp. shallots, fine mince

3 garlic cloves, minced to paste

2 oz.white wine

2 cups tomatoes (peeled and seeded) chopped

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 pinch red pepper flakes

2 basil leaves, ripped

1 tsp.parsley, finely chopped

6 oz.PASTA REA PASTA

 

Cooking Directions

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pot.

Caramelize carrots and onions.

Reduce heat and add shallots and garlic, and saute’ until translucent.

Add white wine and reduce.

Add tomato, salt, and red chili flakes. Bring to a slow simmer until carrots and celery are fork tender.

Remove carrots and celery, discard or serve on the side with the pasta.

Add basil and parsley. Season to taste with sea salt, chili flakes or cracked pepper if desired.

Cook pasta to al dente, (3-4 minutes for fresh pasta), coat well with sauce and garnish with romano or parmesan cheese.

MANGIA BENE’!

 

 

The Italian adventure has come to an end for the Rea family.  The final week of the trip was in Gorga about 60 kilometers southeast of Rome.  One of the highlights was attending the large festival honoring the patron saint of Gorga, San Domenico, who lived during the 10th and 11th centuries.  A large feast was eaten with family at 1:00a.m. after the festival!

Enjoying food after San Domenico festival 

Chef’s maternal grandparents emigrated from Gorga in 1906 and he still has distant cousins living in Gorga.  The Rea’s spent time with family and enjoyed the beauty of the area. In spite of all the great food some of the family did have to indulge in McDonald’s! (not Chef of course!)   You will see from the picture that the Italian McDonald’s are automated and state-of-the-art!

Italian McDonalds

 

On their last night in Italy, the Rea’s reminisced about their favorite meal while on this extended trip. Each of them shared food experiences that were really memorable… the tiramisu and the wild boar at the Argitourismo, the rigatoni and pizza at Zia Rosa’s, cousin Maddalena’s pastries in Casarea, the fettuccine with truffles that Matteo’s grandfather gathered, (see prior blog posts) the prosciutto hanging in cousin Franco’s cellar, or Cousin Anna’s stuffed zucchini in Gorga… all reinforcing the fact that food brings people together. There’s practically no such thing as a “to go” cup in Italy and eating is almost always an event! The highlight of the trip was eating together, sharing family history, and creating memories.

Prosciutto in cellar

Prosciutto from cellar and wheel of cheese

Fresh cannelloni in Italy

And finally when they returned home, they had a big “homecoming” meal with Chef’s mom and relatives who had been staying with her while Chef and family were away, again reinforcing the love and joy of family. . . . .particularly gathered around the dining table!

 

The children will have great stories to share with friends for years to come and of course chef returns to work inspired by generations of family who have a love of food and serving others!

Chef enjoying dinner at home with family

Casarea, Italy has been a highlight of the Italian adventure thus far. The Rea’s had a wonderful time last weekend in Casarea, a neighborhood of Casalnuovo di Napoli about 20 minutes east of Naples and in the shadow of Mount Vesuvias.

The Rea Family and Casarea

Casarea is the birthplace of Chef’s paternal grandfather. It was in 1906 that his grandparents, Salvatore and Nancy (de Falco) Rea, immigrated to the US.  They settled in Mount Kisco, New York and had seven children.  Chef has many first cousins in New York, but all other relatives are still in Casarea which derived its name from his ancestors.

While true for most Italian families, in Casarea it is abundantly clear that cooking with fresh ingredients and love of family is in Chef’s genes!  He has so been enjoying meeting family and learning about their business ventures, predominantly in the food industry.  Antonio Rea (yes, many relatives with that name!) who is a nephew of Chef’s grandfather, was a produce purveyor. His daughter, Felicia, still works a patch of land in the communal gardens.  In addition, Chef and family have also met a cousin (another Antonio Rea), who operates the family pizzeria, Pizzeria da Rosa.  Antonio’s sister, Maria Maddelena manages Magda Cakes, a fabulous cake and pastry shop.   Can you imagine keeping all the Anthony’s, Antonio’s and Tony’s straight on this trip?

In the photo gallery below you will see Chef with his cousin at Pizzeria da Rosa, images of the fantastic pizza at Pizzeria da Rosa, and Maria Maddelena serving a pastry from Magda Cakes.

Magda Cakes , Chef with Cousin, pizza whole and by the slice, and (below) Chef in front of pizza oven

 

For information on Pizzeria da Rosa please visit www.facebook.com/pizzeriadarosa.

The family has been in Rome and enjoying another week of Italian adventures before heading home.  Stay tuned for updates and follow on Facebook!

As the Italian adventure continues, Chef Tony and family are staying at an agriturismo, Il Selvatico, in Poggi del Sasso, a hilltop town near Grosetto in the Maremma region of Tuscany. The owner of Il Selvatico, Guilin, restored and expanded his grandfather’s original farmhouse by himself over a 6-7 year period. It’s quite extensive and includes a vineyard, olive farm, garden and more. Guilin and his mother are hosts, caretakers, hunters, farmers, and chefs. The agriturismo is half-board with breakfast & dinner included with everything coming from the land. The Rea’s first meal was antipasto with polenta & ragu (From a mix of meats including fallow deer) bruschetta with portabellos, housemade pasta, wild boar, tiramisu, espresso & grappa. Yesterday they visited a sheep farm and enjoyed an assortment of cheeses.

About Il Selvatico – A Restored Farmhouse & Vineyard

The owner of Il Selvatico, Guilin, restored and expanded his grandfather’s original farmhouse by himself over a 6-7 year period. It’s quite extensive and includes a vineyard, olive farm, garden and more. Guilin and his mother are hosts, caretakers, hunters, farmers, and chefs. The agriturismo is half-board with breakfast & dinner included with everything coming from the land. The Rea’s first meal was antipasto with polenta & ragu (From a mix of meats including fallow deer) bruschetta with portabellos, housemade pasta, wild boar, tiramisu, espresso & grappa. Yesterday they visited a sheep farm and enjoyed an assortment of cheeses.

Antipasto at Il Selvatico

Antipasto at Il Selvatico

Six month old Harper enjoying pasta with her father!

Six month old Harper enjoying pasta with her father!

A refrigerator case with a selection of Italian cheeses

Selection of Italian cheeses

Enjoying the Wines of Tuscany

Chef and family are also enjoying wines that are becoming quite well known from this southern region of Tuscany, Montecucco. The wines in Montecucco are primarily made from the sangiovese grape as in many other Tuscan regions.  Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Chianti Classico are all made from the Sangiovese grape and yet they are all unique.

Sangiovese is an impressionable grape variety that easily takes on characters from the specific soil or terroir so although most of the wines from Tuscany have this grape as a base there is a never ending flow of different styles, flavours and aromas. Sangiovese is one of Italy’s most widely grown grapes but it is in Tuscany that it is most prominent. The conditions are right to make really excellent wines unlike any others in the country of Italy.

In Montecucco you can still find excellent wines at a very reasonable prices but as the wines from the region become better known, no doubt prices will increase.