Ciao'd with the AC on full blast.


Two classic summer flavors, zucchini and tomato, pair together in this light, vibrant, quick-cooking sauce. Marcella Hazan suggests, "The taste comes through even more explicitly if you can obtain vine-ripened, fresh, firm tomatoes." And she shares another secret: "An important component of the light, bright flavor is the way the garlic is handled. It is sliced very thin and aside from a brief, preliminary contact with hot oil, it is simmered in the juices of the tomato so that what emerges of its aroma is the sweetness rather than the pungency."  While Marcella calls for scooping away the tomato seeds, I left most of them intact as I like the flavor the seeds impart.

Suggested pasta: Spaghetti or spaghettini

Enough sauce for 1 pound of pasta,
making 4 large or 6 small servings

4 to 6 medium zucchini, about 1 pound, trimmed
3 to 4 garlic cloves (enough to yield 2 tablespoons sliced garlic), peeled and sliced very, very thin
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups fresh ripe, firm tomatoes (about 4 whole), peeled and seeds scooped away*, chopped rather coarse OR drained canned Italian plum tomatoes, chopped rather coarse
Freshly ground black pepper
A dozen basil leaves, cut into thin shreds

Cut the zucchini into fine julienne strips.

Put the garlic and olive oil in a skillet, turn on the heat to medium, and cook, stirring two or three times, just until the garlic becomes colored a very pale blond.

Add the chopped tomatoes, turn the heat up to high, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, or slightly longer if the tomato is watery.

Add the zucchini, salt, black pepper, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning the ingredients over from time to time. The zucchini should be quite firm - al dente - but not raw. 

Cook and drain the pasta and toss it immediately and thoroughly with the sauce, mixing into it the basil shreds. Serve promptly. Marcella Cucina, Marcella Hazan, Harper Collins, 1997.

*How to peel and seed a tomato: Core the tomato. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop the tomato into the boiling water (you can add several tomatoes at a time). Remove the tomato when the skin begins to peel, 15 to 30 seconds, and put in a blow of ice water to cool. The skin will slip off easily. Cut the tomato in half crosswise and scoop out the seeds. 


Ciao'd with a white sangria.


In Italy, this tart green sauce is always served with boiled meats and often with fish. It pairs wonderfully with grilled foods, too. If making the sauce for fish, use lemon juice. If you plan to serve it with meat, add red wine vinegar instead. 

For 4 servings

2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped capers
6 flat anchovy fillets, mashed in a mortar or a bowl, or 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1/2 teaspoon very finely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon strong mustard, Dijon or German
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar (for meat) or 1 tablespoon strained lemon juice (for fish)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste

Put the parsley, capers, mashed anchovy fillets, garlic, and mustard in a bowl and stir, mixing thoroughly. Add the vinegar or lemon juice and stir again. Add the olive oil, beating it vigorously into the other ingredients. Taste for salt and for piquancy. (Add vinegar or lemon juice if you want it tarter, but add very small amounts at a time.) Recipe by Marcella Hazan, The Classic Italian Cookbook, Ballantine Books, 1973.

Note: This sauce can be refrigerated for up to a week. Stir it well again before serving. 


Ciao'd watching the CMA awards. Cue the beer and BBQ. With the pasta. 

Bolognese sauce is a rich, soul-satisfying cloak for pasta, best with fettuccine or pappardelle as they are wide and long and thus, perfect vehicles for ferrying the bulky, unctuous sauce from plate to palate. This is a simple recipe but it's not quick. Make it on a weekend when you have time for it to simmer and infuse your kitchen with its rich, pungent aroma. And then enjoy it with a glass of robust red wine. #dolcevitadelish.

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons butter plus 1 tablespoon for tossing the pasta
½ cup chopped onion
⅔ cup chopped celery
⅔ cup chopped carrot
¾ pound ground beef chuck (or you can use 1 part pork to 2 parts beef)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup whole milk
Ground nutmeg
1 cup dry white wine
1 ½ cups canned Italian plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, cut up, with their juice
1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds pasta
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving at the table 

In a large, deep skillet over medium heat, combine the oil, butter and chopped onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion becomes translucent. Add the celery and carrot and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring to coat the vegetables. Add the ground beef, a large pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper. Stir well and cook until the beef is just coke through. 

Add the milk and let it simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has bubbled away completely. Add a tiny dash of nutmeg, and stir.

Add the wine, let it simmer until it has evaporated, then add the tomatoes and stir to coat all ingredients well. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, turn the heat down so that the sauce cooks at the laziest of simmers, with just an intermittent bubble breaking through to the surface. Cook, uncovered, for 3 hours or more, stirring from time to time. While the sauce is cooking, you are likely to find that it begins to dry out and the fat separates from the meat. To keep it from sticking, add 1/2 cup of water whenever necessary. At the end, however, no water at all must be left and the fat must separate from the sauce. Taste and correct for salt.

Toss with cooked, drained pasta, adding the tablespoon of butter, and serve with freshly grated Parmesan on the side. Marcella Hazan, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, Alfred A. Knopf, 1982.