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Cooking 101: Joe Cicala’s pasta con le zucche

This week’s PW features the debut of a new semi-regular series: “Cooking 101,” which sees 25-year-old Nicole Finkbiner persuading professional chefs from Philadelphia’s great restaurants to please teach her, for the love of god, how to cook—one dish at a time. She starts with Joe Cicala of Le Virtu:

JOE: So what do you like to eat?
ME: Candy.
JOE: What kind of pasta do you make at home?
ME: Is that a trick question? The kind that comes in a box.


Cicala convinces Nicole to expand her horizons and make a simple but tasty dish that takes full advantage of fresh pasta. And you can too! Here’s the recipe:

Pasta con le zucche
(serves 2-4 people)

Homemade pasta (optional—or buy fresh pasta)
3 large eggs
2 cups double zero or AP flour
1 pinch of salt
1. Make a “well” of flour; add eggs to center.
2. Mix eggs, incorporating outside rim of flour until homogenous.
3. Knead dough for 5 minutes until smooth.
4. Let rest for 1-2 hours until soft/pliable.
5. Pass through pasta machine until desired thickness.
6. Cut into obtuse quadrilaterals.

Zucchini sauce
4 baby green zucchini (sliced thin)
6 zucchini flours (pistils removed)
1.5 oz. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic sliced
1Ž/4 cup parmigiano reggiano
1. In a cold 12-inch skillet, add olive oil and garlic.
2. Turn heat to high and “toast” garlic in oil.
3. Add sliced zucchini and sauté for about a minute.
4. Add 4 oz. of pasta water to stop cooking process. (Make sure to take pan off the fire when adding water.)
5. Bring to a simmer to cook zucchini through.
6. Drop pasta in boiling salted water. When pasta floats (about 3 minutes), give it an additional minute.
7. Remove pasta from water and add to sauce. Add cheese. Toss.



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