Pasta salad with heirloom tomatoes, pan-roasted zucchini, fresh corn and goat-milk feta

This cold pasta is a summer festival in a bowl: delicious, crunchy sweet corn, earthy pan-roasted zucchini, refreshing fresh herbs, salty feta cheese… and most of all, the amazingly flavorful heirlooms. The Black Russian, Pruden’s Purple or any red heirloom beefsteak tomatoes will be marvelous in this dish.

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Food and Style - Trofie with arugula pesto and flash-sautéed cherry tomatoes with garlic scapes

For years, my fashion career would take me on annual trips to Florence. My husband would tag along and, once business had been taken care of, we’d escape to the hills of Tuscany for a few restorative days. The place we headed for was a remote, enchanting medieval hamlet called Borgo Pretale, now an exquisite hotel.

Before long, Borgo Pretale and the charming people who run the place had become good friends and even part of our “summer” family. One evening, Daniele Rizzardini, the brilliant and endearing manager of the hotel, joined us for dinner on the lavender-lined terrace. On the menu that night were trofie, handmade little pasta squiggles.

Do you know about “sexy pasta”? Daniele said. [read more…]

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Linguini with roasted beets and carawayNow and then I create a recipe that looks as delicious as it tastes.

This linguini with roasted beets is indeed incredibly delicious, but I can’t help being totally mesmerized by the way the dish looks once plated.

I’ve made this recipe many times for special dinners or holiday parties and the conversation at the table always comes to a halt the minute I bring out these colorful plates – a rewarding moment for any cook.

The recipe is simple enough, but the flavors are intense. The julienned beets are sautéed at high heat with the caraway seeds. Beets have a lot of moisture in them, so it takes several minutes for the slices to caramelize. But when they do, they acquire a deep, rich, earthy flavor that’s irresistible. To take that up a notch, I add some balsamic vinegar just before adding the pasta and reduce it until it glazes the beets.

The last touch is the fresh tarragon that’s tossed with the pasta. It picks up on the flavor of the caraway seeds and brightens the dish with its exquisite, fresh aromas.

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Orzo is light and delicious, and makes for a versatile side dish. But add a refreshing, minty pesto and earthy, grilled corn to orzo… and it becomes a sublime summer pasta!

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Mac and Cheese with braised leeks and asiago

The first time I tasted macaroni and cheese, I was well into my twenties. The experience was entirely new — and entirely pleasing. How could it not be? After all, pasta and cheese is one of those superb pairings that delight just about everyone, regardless of their age, gender or background.

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