During the Spring 2012 I taught one of many interdisciplinary undergraduate seminars in the Experimental Study Group at MIT. Each class is based on the preparation of a simple delicious dish and on the bite-sized acquisition of parts of the Italian language and culture.
Videography by Graham Gordon Ramsay.

Click here to watch the videos in full resolution.
Buon divertimento!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Orecchiette alla caprese

For the complete video of this class click here.


La caprese è un antipasto with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and good olive oil. This is a variation for a quick and easy summery pasta sauce.


- pomodorini (cherry tomatoes), you can also use other kinds of tomatoes
- mozzarella fresca (fresh mozzarella, if you like it you can use mozzarella di bufala)
- foglie di basilico fresco (leaves of fresh basil)
- olio extravergine di oliva
- sale, pepe, peperoncino
- optional: capperi (capers). If you use capers in salt, rinse them well before use
- optional: percorino romano grattuggiato (grated)

If you do not like to cook a occhio, by eye, then for 4 people consider about 1 lb of pomodorini and 1 large mozzarella (7-8 oz).


- lava e taglia (wash and cut) i pomodorini in quarters
- taglia la mozzarella a cubetti
- in una ciotola grande (in  a large bowl) mescola (mix) i pomodorini, la mozzarella, few (washed) leaves of basil (whole, or broken in pieces, using your hands), olive oil, salt, pepper and red crushed pepper.
- If you like them, add a bunch of capperi and percorino romano.
- Your pasta sauce is ready, you do not need to cook anything! When the pasta is cooked and drained, mix all together in the bowl or in the pot.

Buon appetito =)


Le orecchiette sono un tipo di pasta originario della regione Puglia
Orecchietta lit. means little cute ear (orecchio or orecchia= ear).

Ingredienti (per 4 persone):

- 400 g di farina di grano duro (lit.flour of hard wheat -> durum flour, or sifted semolina flour - about 3 cups)
- un pizzico di sale
- acqua tiepida (warm water, as much as needed)


- Impasta (knead) forcefully for at least 10 minutes. You want the dough to be hard, smooth and elastic. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for about 30 minutes. If you do not have the patience (la pazienza) to wait it's ok ;)
- Roll pieces of dough into ropes as thin as a pens, and with a knife cut pieces of  about 1/4". With your hands, or with the help of a knife, give these pieces the characteristic orecchietta shape.
Watch our videos or check out this link for visual help
- If you are not starving , let the orecchiette dry for a few hours. 
Else skip this step.
- Cook your  orecchiette in boiling salty water for about 10 minutes or until al dente. 

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