This my adaptation of Marcella Hazen’s infamous recipe, and it is the epitome of Italian food, few ingredients of the utmost quality. I like to chop the onion and then I saute them with a little white wine. Speaking of wine, pair this pasta with a bottle of Poggio Grande Piano 100% Sangiovese, and you will feel transported to the gorgeous countryside of Italy.

Every time I see the classic Penne alla Vodka on a menu in Italy I wonder how it came about to have a tomato sauce laced with Vodka and cream. One story goes that a Roman chef was bribed by a Russian importer to create a dish to include his Vodka. However it came to be, this sauce is smooth and savory. Pop open a beautiful Brunello di Montalcino from Madonna Nera and that’s Amore!

This easy and impressive sauce is delicious with gnocchi, ravioli, and I especially like it with roasted squash. Try it on top of scallops, fish, or chicken. Since this sauce only has two ingredients it is important to use high-quality grass-fed butter and fragrant fresh sage. Enjoy a glass of Grechetto wine with this sauce no matter what I drizzle or toss with it. Madrevite Elve’ Grechetto is one of Umbria’s best expressions of this grape.

Hot Giardiniera is a spicy pickled vegetable condiment I use often. It is delicious drizzled over grilled meats and fish. It is said this Italian-American relish was invented in Chicago, where my father was born. It is served with Italian beef sandwiches, Chicago style. I love to spoon Giardiniera on spicy Italian sausages and drink a robust glass of Madonna Nera Rosso di Montalcino to help put out the fire!

Arrabbiata, which means Angry, makes me very happy. It is one of my favorite sauces, the spicier, the better!

This recipe is basically my Sugo di Pomodoro, Homemade Tomato Sauce, recipe spiced up with peperoncino, red chili flakes, and parsley. It also makes me very happy to drink a glass of Poggio Grande Sesterzo with this angry sauce.

I was watching Chef Massimo Battura’s Master Class the other day. He was making an American style hamburger with an Italian twist. One of the condiments he made for this burger was Balsamic Mayonnaise, using his aged balsamic vinegar, Villa Manodori, my favorite. My mouth was watering, so I whipped some up. It is not only delicious on a burger but also with fresh-cut veggies, steamed artichokes, as a sandwich spread, the list goes on and on. This tangy Mayonaise is elevated with a glass of Poggio Grande Sesterzo.

Sugo di Pomodoro, Homemade Tomato Sauce, is the foundation for so many different recipes. You can add a can of drained tuna and a few capers to create a quick and sublime fish-based sauce. I steam mussels in this classic sauce to make Mussels Affogato. Use it as pizza sauce. The ideas are endless, which is why  I triple this recipe, so I have plenty on hand when needed.

Only the Italians can take just a few fresh ingredients and transform them into a satisfying, vibrant, raw sauce. I use a pestle and mortar to make my pesto sauce because the smell is so intoxicating as I mash everything together. Feel free to dump all the ingredients, except the cheeses, into a blender or food processor. Stir in the Parmesan and Pecorino.

To make it Ligurian style, add steamed potatoes and green beans! Serve with a chilled bottle of Madrevite Elve Grechetto.


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