The perfect Pomodoro? Or is it the Puttanesca?
April 17, 2009

The assistant news director called me in his office earlier this week, and asked would I like to do a cooking segment with Chazz Palminteri of A Bronx Tale Fame, at La Scala Restaurant in Little Italy. Ummmm….in a word…yes. (Airs on WBAL Sunday 9 AM)

Pasta with vodka sauce...come to mama...

Pasta with vodka sauce...come to mama...

We met at noon….Chef Nino Germano, the chef at  LaScala said, “So why have I never seen you at my restaurant?” I lamely said that you know how you get stuck in a rut with the restaurants you always go to…and…you know….yeah. But now that I’ve tasted his cooking…I will be drawn to his siren song. He makes maybe the perfect Pomodoro Sauce….simple, absolutely fresh, finished with fresh basil and a splash of Sicilian olive oil. Delish.

And Chazz Palminteri  is no slouch when it comes to Italian food….come on, he’s from the  Bronx!  He grew up with him Momma’s fresh tomato sauce, and he says he always orders a Pomodoro sauce when he first tries an Italian restaurant….”The simplest things are always the hardest to make….if someone makes that good…you know the rest of the food will be too.”  And Chazz was particularly fond of Chef Nino’s Puttanesca sauce….a sauce that comes from Naples,  and according to some it was a quick cheap meal that prostitutes could prepare between customers.  Truth or fiction? Who knows….but man….fresh tomatoes, black olives, capers, anchovy paste(gives it just the right zing, even if you’re not an anchovy fan)….plate that sucker. It’s done. Chazz loved it…said it was seriously the best puttanesca he’d ever had…”Yeah, really…most people just overdo it…it’s just too much you know? But this is …ummmm…just right.”

 I saw A Bronx Tale at the Hippodrome, a couple of nights ago. I will only say this….it blew me away. I’ve never seen the play, never saw the movie, so I came to it kind of a fresh slate…But Chazz gets on stage, and grips you for 90 minutes or so straight through….no breaks…all by himself.  Amazing stuff. Like a perfect pomodoro.

And we all sat down for an oh so brief respite during a busy Friday. and shared some plates of pasta, family style….and Chef Nino’s Mom brought out her homemade cannoli…chocolate and hazelnut. Does life get any better than this on a perfect spring day? I don’t think so.( And for those of you who love bocce ball…they have an indoor court at La Scala…how fun is that?)