Pasta 101

In the Kitchen with Stefano Picciocchi, Picciocchi’s Pasta, Clarks Summit, PA

Sponsored By Fidelity Bank, Dunmore, PA

What foods are served in an authentic Italian dinner? Pasta making with Stefano Picciocchi Picciocchi's Pasta gives you the information you need.
Featured Chefs from Around the World, a free service I offer to restaurants and chefs, highlights the culinary accomplishments of some of our finest and most creative cooks. Fidelity Bank, Dunmore, PA, and I teamed up to bring you this Pasta 101 feature with Stefano Picciocchi, Picciocchi’s Pasta. Scroll down to find important links.

What’s An Authentic Italian Dinner?

So you’ve invited guests for dinner. Congratulations. After more than a year of isolation, you’re finally able to share an authentic Italian dinner with some of the important people in your life.

What will you serve?

Pasta reigns as the go-to food in Italy and if you want to treat your friends and family to an authentic Italian dinner, pasta should be at center stage. But not just any pasta. Fresh pasta.

Fresh Pasta Rules!

Yes, forget the pizza for this meal. While pizza ranks high on American tables, you’ll be surprised to learn it’s not AS popular in Italy – at least it’s not as important as pasta.

According to Stefano Picciocchi, founder and owner of Picciocchi’s Pasta, Clarks Summit, PA.,

Throughout Italy, Stefano said, “We, Italians, eat pasta every day. I eat pasta every day.”

Stefano Picciocchi

But Is Pasta Healthy?

Like most other carbs, moderation is the key.

Try fresh pasta if you want to avoid that heavy feeling in your belly, Stefano said.

In fact, he swears by pasta made from simple fresh ingredients without additives as a healthy choice that won’t leave you feeling “stuffed.” Of course, that depends on how much you eat.

Inside Stefano’s Kitchen

In this Featured Chef from Around the World demo, Stefano takes you inside his commercial kitchen for a close-up view of his pasta room, (also known as his “bunker”) where he gives you pasta-making tips. He emigrated from Genoa, Italy, a few years ago and he and his wife, Kristy, set up their pasta business in a busy strip mall in the Abingtons where they offer a dine-in and take-out lunch and dinner menu. Customers can order entrees and side dishes throughout the day. But if you visit the store, I guarantee your mouth will water when you gaze at the selection of prepared lasagna (pesto lasagna caught my attention), pasta, parmigiana, and dessert displayed in the refrigerated section in the front of the store.

Ingredients Make the Difference

Although Stefano was trained to make pasta by hand, he relies on a variety of commercial machines to keep up with the demand for his products. He produces pounds and pounds of pasta every day with varieties that range from linguini to tagliatelle and ravioli. You’ll find his comment about one of my favorite varieties, angel hair, surprising.

Meanwhile, you might wonder if you can capture the flavor and texture commonly associated with handmade pasta with commercial machines. Stefano says, “Yes, you can. However, the ingredients are important.” He’ll demonstrate the process he uses.

Finest of Kitchen Memories

Throughout most of our video interview, his mixing machine was preparing the dough for the outrageously delicious focaccia bread he makes from scratch. I had a chance to sample a slice before he brought a small plate of spaghetti with his 4-Cheese Sauce for me to taste. I was in heaven with fleeting flashbacks from my childhood in my maternal grandmother’s home kitchen. She came to the U.S. from Avellino around 1917 and most of our family gatherings were centered on the homemade pasta she rolled with a broom handle. Fettucine and ravioli were her specialties. You can read more about my love for Italian food and culture in the first edition of my newsletter, “This and That & Whatever Strikes Me.”

Stefano Picciocchi’s spaghetti dressed with a 4-Cheese Sauce. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

Menu Guide

Kristy Picciocchi took the time to provide you with her guide to a traditional Italian dinner menu that will impress your guests and keep you on course as you plan your dinner.

“This is for a typical Italian dinner,” Kristy said. “All of these items come out one by one, in small portions and in this order. The menu will always stick strictly to either fish or meat.”

Antipasto is the first course of a traditional Italian meal
Begin your Italian meal with an Antipasto brimming with cured meats, olives, pepperoncini, mushrooms, anchovies, various cheeses, pickled meats, and vegetables. Oil and vinegar are most commonly used as a dressing.

What and When to Serve

  • Antipasto
  • Cold Antipasto platter consisting of mixed cold cuts such as prosciutto (cooked Italian ham), prosciutto crudo ( raw cured ham) mortadella, salami, etc, assorted cheeses, marinated vegetables, olives, etc
  • Primo piatto (first plate)
  • Plate of pasta or ravioli with sauce (70-100grams of pasta) 
  • Secondo piatto (Second plate)
  • A piece of chicken (roasted chicken or chicken cutlet) or meat (meatballs, pot roast, steak)
  • Contorno (side dish)
  • Salad or roasted, steamed, or fried vegetables 
  • Dolce (dessert)
  • Fresh fruit, pastries, or cake 
  • Espresso coffee 

What’s on Today’s Menu?

Picciocchi’s Pasta is located at 100 Old Lackawanna Trail, Clarks Summit, PA. Order your next meal by calling 570-319-5167 or visit their website for more information on authentic Italian food you can serve at your next gathering.

HOURS

Mon – Thur:  9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Fri –  Sat: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Many thanks to my sponsor, Fidelity Bank, and Stefano and Kristy Picciocchi for sharing their passion for Italian food.

Read more about Fidelity Bank in an exclusive feature.

Stefano Picciocchi and Pasta Making 101 – Featured Chefs from Around the World

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