Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Last Taste of Summer--From Titina's Kitchen

Chef Titina is famous for her pesto.  She makes jars to freeze for winter, and to sell in the Capri Flavors retail store.  And while Summer may officially end tonight--there's still time to enjoy this classic flavor in a great pasta recipe from Titina's kitchen.

Pesto is a  speciality of Genoa,  the famous seaport and garden spot on Italy's West coast.   Here it is combined with green beans, potatoes and just a dab of butter to make a creamy,  fresh tasting pasta dish.  

You can make your own pesto, or bypass that step and use a jar of the excellent Polli Pesto sold at Capri Flavors. 

This dish works well with linguine type pastas or try one of the great new, organic whole wheat pastas from Capri Flavors' expanded selection--the largest in the US.   Don't forget to save some of the cooking water to bring the dish together. 


Pasta alla Genovese (Pasta with Pesto)


2 bunches basil

5 tbsp. pine nuts

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp. Pecorino Romano; grated

1 tbsp. Parmesan; grated

1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 potatoes; cut into pieces

5 oz. green beans; cut into pieces

1 pound pasta

1 tbsp. butter

Serves 4; Preparation: 15 minutes; Cooking Time: 15 minutes; Level of difficulty:


Wash and dry the basil. Put the basil, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor and work until it is a paste consistency. While the food processor is still running, add the cheese and oil a little at a time until everything is smooth.

About 10 minutes before cooking the pasta, cook the potatoes and green beans in slightly salted water until tender. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Before draining the pasta, stir the butter and a little bit of the pastas cooking water into the pesto to dilute it and give it a creamier consistency. Drain the pasta and vegetables, dress with the pesto, and serve.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Busy Days in Titina's Kitchen

August was a banner month for Titina's popular cooking classes.  An  accomplished Italian chef and native of Capri, she set a record--bringing more students into her Morrisville, NC  kitchen than ever before.

Private classes were the the tipping point.  As sales and projects pick up, local companies are once again using "Let's cook with Titina" as a fun way to build teams, energize staff and clients. 

When the busy chef needs a burst of energy between classes, Titina reaches for one of the fine whole wheat Italian pastas Capri Flavors sells and makes this quick and easy sauce.  Sciue-Sciue has long been a staple in her kitchen. 

The version below is reprinted from the recipe book  “Red ,White and Greens” by Faith Willinger who learned to make this dish in Titina's Capri Kitchen. 

Titina's Move It! (Sciue'- Sciue') Pasta

For 4-6 Servings First Course

Titina and Costanzo Vuotto own the Restaurant Le Sirene on Capri and Titina is one of the island's best cooks. She prepares lunch next to the sea in the summer and taught me to make sciue'-sciue' pasta, easier to prepare than pronounce (say shoo-AYE shoo-AYE). It's regional dialect, a slang expression to accelerate movement in an area known for its languid Mediterranean pace. Local cherry tomatoes packed with flavor called pomodorini di spugnito are hurried into a sauce with garlic, cooked with al dente spaghetti, sprinkled with a fistful of fragrant basil. A cerasiéllo, red hot cherry pepper, sometimes makes sciue'sciue' pasta even livelier.

5-6 quarts water

2-3 tablespoons salt plus fine sea salt

14-16 ounces spaghetti “La Caprese” 2 garlic cloves

1 small hot red pepper or chili pepper flakes to taste

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil “La Caprese”

1 pound cherry tomatoes “La Caprese” 3-4 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil
1 Bring 5-6 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add 2-3 tablespoons salt and the spaghetti and cook until it still offers considerable resistance to the tooth, about three quarters of the cooking time.
2 While the pasta is cooking, sauté the garlic cloves and hot pepper in the oil over moderate heat in a large nonstick skillet. When the garlic barely begins to color add the cherry tomatoes and season lightly with the sea salt. Cook over high heat until the tomatoes loose their shape.

3 Drain the spaghetti and add it to the skillet along with 1 cup of pasta cooking water.
Cook over high heat, stirring frequently, to amalgamate the tomatoes and pasta and to complete cooking. Add more pasta water if the sauce gets too dry.

4 Sprinkle with chopped basil before saving.

--If you'd like to join one of Titina's classes, book on-line or call 919 462-9255 for more information or to discuss private classes.