Simple yet satisfying, few things compare to Spaghetti with Clams. A dish that’s taste takes me to the gorgeous alfresco veranda perched above the sea in Porto Ercole at the iconic Hotel Pellicano. One of my favorite places to enjoy this light yet flavorful pasta. The clams are much smaller in Italy, and I find using Littleneck Clams is a suitable substitution. I like to add some tomatoes for color, but in “bianco,” white/plain, is also amazing! I like to pair this pasta dish with a crisp, high acidity wine like Valente Emozione No.1 100% Montonico from Abruzzo.

One of the greatest marvels in the world is how the Italians can create the most outstanding pasta sauce using only a few simple ingredients…Enter Amatriciana…an epic Roman recipe that takes about the same time to prepare as it does to cook the bucatini. In Rome this dish is prepared with sweet and savory Guanciale, which is the pork cheek. I have the darnest time finding it in the market so I use a good quality Pancetta instead. The secret is sautéing the onions in the rendered Guanciale or Pancetta fat.  This is one of my all time favorites! I highly suggest pairing it with Le Senate Cacinello! OUTSTANDING!!!!!

September and October are my favorite months to visit Italy! White Truffles and Harvest!! Need I say more?? If you cannot make it to Italy during those months, you can still savor the flavor of precious white truffles through mail order websites, like Urbani and Savini. I always like the shaved truffles to take center stage when I am lucky enough to have them. This simple pasta with truffle-infused butter, freshly grated Parmesan and a mound of sliced truffles on top is one of the most heavenly tastes on earth. You need to pair this outstanding dish with a structured and robust red wine. I suggest a gorgeous Brunello di Montalcino by Scopeto del Cavalli. Y-U-M!

Lentil Bolognese is a delicious alternative to the classic meat-laden sauce. I especially enjoy this tasty vegan ragu over roasted spaghetti squash for a healthy, low carb meatless meal. Pair this lovely dish with a glass of fine Italian wine. I suggest a bottle of Lumavite Devay from Marche.

I enjoy using spicy organic chicken sausage to create this robust and savory pasta sauce. Add some healthy whole wheat penne, and dinner is served. I like adding Garbanzo beans, but any bean is delicious. Don’t fret on ingredients with this recipe; toss in whatever is in the crisper drawer in the fridge. Be sure to serve this outstanding pasta dish with a well-structured, elegant Sangiovese like Madonna Nera Rosso di Montalcino, Brunello’s sexy brother.

One thing I dearly miss about living in Italy is the ability to buy several varieties of fresh truffles and mushrooms throughout the year. At home in California, I sometimes have to resort to imported White Truffle Butter, available at gourmet grocers. It is an excellent alternative to the real deal when you just have to have something truffle. I love to pair anything truffle with a big, bold glass of Sangiovese.  Try Poggio Grande’s Piano, exclusively available in the US through Yours Truly Wine.

Savory baked eggs are a dish I can eat at any meal, but I think Uovi Sformatini are incredibly scrumptious when paired with a bubbly chilled glass of Valente 100% Montonico Millesimato Brut for an elegant and easy brunch.

Crispy pancetta sauteed with shallots then gently mixed together with imported Italian tomato pasta, and Mascarpone cheese was one of my daughter’s favorite pasta dishes growing up. I had all but forgotten about this quick and simple pasta sauce until one evening when I had a bare refrigerator ad no motivation to go to the market. I always keep a lot of Italian cheeses on hand, along with pancetta, all of which have a hefty shelf span. Some imported tomato paste and al dente pasta, BAM, dinner is served! A beautiful Madonna Nera Rosso di Montalcino takes this exquisite pasta dish to another level.

I love to smother a heap of piping hot Polenta with slices of Fontina cheese and savory sauteed mushrooms. It is utterly comforting and not at all complicated to make. Enjoy this northern Italian classic dish with a bottle of Podere Albiano Tribolo Orcia, a Tuscan gem!

Growing up, we always had Spaghetti and meatballs; it was a dinner staple. As I grew older and began to cook for myself, I drifted away from our family’s traditional meat blend of beef, veal, and pork and started using turkey. I also add a few tablespoons of homemade pesto sauce to the turkey mixture, which I always have on hand in the freezer to give it an extra garlicky kick. And last but not least, I sneak in some healthy organic greens, which my family would typically refuse to eat. Then I turn on some Italian music, open a bottle of Le Senate Cacinello wine from Marche and pretend I am in Italy for dinner, no luggage required.

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