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Nunzio’s Ristorante Rustico, Chef Nunzio Patruno, Three Nonna’s Pasta Dishes, Vegetables

Nunzio's Ristorante Rustico, Chef Nunzio Patruno, Three Nonna's Pasta, Vegetables Cooking Class

Nunzio’s Ristorante Rustico, Chef Nunzio Patruno, Three Nonna’s Pasta, Vegetables Cooking Class

Last month on Spiced Peach Blog, I wrote about the Late Winter Cooking Classes offered by Chef Nunzio Patruno, a Chef I had written articles on years ago where at the time he served as Chef/Partner of the former exclusive Monte Carlo Living Room in Philadelphia.

Last Saturday, I joined in on the festive learn while having fun class at Nunzio’s Ristorante Rustico in Collingswood New Jersey. 

The half-day Nonna’s Pasta and Vegetables class including a luncheon tasting and wine inspired around thirty eager enthusiasts on making a variety of homemade pastas using the same dough base and then turning them into slight style variations. Each pasta then combined into simple, rustic dishes utilizing a variety of different vegetables.

The class, reflected the region of Puglia, Italy, the home of Chef Nunzio’s childhood where his mother, and, according to Nunzio, all of the mother’s in the region rapidly prepared a broad repertoire of homemade pastas each Sunday to offer at the family table.

Prepared homemade Pastas from Pasta Dough  included Lasagna Sheets, for the Lasagna with Eggplant, Tomato, and Basil shown above, Orecchiette Broccoli Rabe with Fried Mullica (an anchovy, breadcrumb topping), and, Tagliatelle with Cauliflower, Cannellini Beans, Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic and Olive Oil. Each of the dishes provided can easily be prepared in your home, even if you choose to use dry or frozen pasta and you can find each of the recipes below.

The Cooking Class format was Demonstration Style as Nunzio, rigged with microphone and his entertaining style of humor instructed each of the techniques while preparing.

Afterward guests were treated at the pre-set tables to the samples complete glasses of Nunzio’s homemade wine and small, crispy, cream filled cannoli’s for dessert. Really, it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon and add a few inspirational recipes to the repertoire.

What I find most helpful about attending a Cooking Class, and perhaps you will agree, is picking up some easy, new tips as compared to just reading a recipe and attempting duplication.

In my case, the new re-learned reminder of years past is creating a batter for dipping, as in this case, for eggplant, all into one bowl instead of separately dipping the eggs and flour.  For many people, the ease of presentation demystifies aspects of learning new cooking techniques and enables confidence to recreate and practice in one’s own home.

For those of you who are familiar with Nunzio in his Monte Carlo Living Room Days, you will probably remember besides his renown as a Chef he was also known for his congeniality, regularly coming out of the kitchen and welcoming diners from the city’s wealthiest regulars to the young couple enjoying a special anniversary dinner.

This writer also remembers his easy accessibility in article interviews or just checking in to verify cooking information. The reason I mention this is because it also relates to the Cooking Class last Saturday which hosted an astounding number of attendees who after all these years continue to follow Nunzio from the Monte Carlo Living Room, as well as the attached Primavera restaurant that provided fresh and simple Italian specialties.

One of the women at my table who attended with her longtime friend and former colleague are both former regulars of Primavera restaurant and she does not even cook. Imagine my surprise on that one. But she loves food, she loves to learn, and over the years, she has continued a friendship with Nunzio. He even still prepares the family birthday cakes for each of them as the occasions transpire.

As I made my way around the room there were a striking number of men in attendance, two of whom I remember from Nunzio’s Wild Game Night last month, along with families, women who had received the Cooking Class series as Valentine’s presents from spouses, and local friends and regulars all of whom are now part of the Nunzio Famiglia. Below are a few shots among the happy guests.

Friendly warmth and building familial relationships over the years and throughout the community within his restaurant business has paid off for Nunzio, and for his wife, Mirabel, who also possesses a beautiful spirit and good sense of humor.

The sustaining, straightforward and uncomplicated food at Nunzio’s Ristorante Rustico reflecting his childhood roots in Puglia, Italy is just the extra given.

One lovely Saturday afternoon shared by all at Nunzio’s Ristorante Rustico with Chef Nunzio Patruno, Three Nonna’s Pasta, Vegetables Cooking Class.

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