Today, I spent some time in the kitchen assembling refreshing pasta dishes meant to be enjoyed cold.
Pasta salads have gained popularity through the years and are a great way to appreciate quality pasta. Unfortunately, in my opinion they have also become very dull, boring, and even abused :(
Often, pasta salad is associated with an image of mushy tri-colored noodles and vegetables that have been sitting in the deli for days.
*** Please, don't let this spoil your appetite for something that has potential to be so good!
Let me explain this a little further. You see, Talluto's loves to celebrate the tradition of bringing family and friends together. At Easter time, each of our Talluto brand retail stores gives away one 10 lb chocolate Easter egg hoping that the winners will enjoy sharing it with their family and friends. It is something that we look forward to doing each year because it gives us an opportunity to say "thank you" to you, our loyal customers. This tradition began for us 4 years ago when Cento Fine Foods gifted my father, Joe Talluto, one of these enormous dark chocolate Easter eggs. He in turn began a new family tradition with his wife, his children and his grandchildren.
Some of you may have memories of mothers and grandmothers hard at work making fresh pasta from scratch in your home kitchens. Often, they labored for hours on end, creating tender and delicate noodles to be devoured in just minutes at the dinner table. You may have a favorite "cut" of pasta like angel hair, spaghetti, linguine, fettucine, or you may just love them all.
In our Talluto brand retail stores, we make fresh pasta sheets. We will cut them for you any way that you desire. You can literally enjoy homemade capellini, spaghettini, linguine, fettucine, and pappardelle on demand. Not too bad, huh?
But, have you ever thought to use the fresh pasta sheets for other applications? If you buy the pasta sheets whole and uncut, you will find that there are many other ways to use them. Have a look, won't you?
One of my favorite things to do in the spring and summer time is to visit local farms and take advantage of the abundance of freshly grown produce. To me, there is nothing better than cooking and eating the tender vegetables and sweet fruits that were picked only a short time ago. Once I get home from the farm, I often assemble my collection and admire the vision for a moment.
Then, the wheels in my mind begin turning...broccoli, spinach, swiss chard, kale, squash, asparagus, tomatoes, leeks, artichokes, sweet onions, and garlic.
Then, my mind shifts to beautiful fresh cut egg pasta: linguine, fettucine, pappardelle, rigatoni, fusilli, ziti...
Shall I continue?
Have you ever tried fresh homemade mozzarella cheese?
This morning, I cut a braid of mozzarella that we had made less than an hour earlier. I bit into a slice and my heart instantly melted as I savored the delicate flavors. I quickly snapped a picture with my phone and couldn't wait to talk about it with you.
If you have never tried homemade fresh mozzarella, I can only say that the taste is like no other. First of all, the temperature of the cheese is tepid and almost slightly warm. At first bite, you will taste the sweet, milky, goodness that sets it apart from all other mass produced mozzarella cheese. Fresh mozzarella is tender and yet a tiny bit chewy. It melts in your mouth and when you slice it, you can see the milk pool together at the bottom of the dish.
I personally like it dipped in a salt brine because I like the contrasting taste between the salt and the sweet cream. YUM!
la tavola di Pasqua- The Easter Table
It is tradition at Talluto's to fill our Easter table with all sorts of scrumptious foods. Our retail stores offer a selection of our family favorites. Easter is a time to celebrate all of the wonderful foods that the season has to offer. Buona Pasqua and welcome to our Easter table!
Talluto's impastata ricotta is very unique. This ricotta is made to our very own specifications. It is a whole milk cheese that is made without whey added. Whey is a natural by-product during the cheese making process. During ricotta production, the whey is often added back into the ricotta to reduce costs however, Talluto's does not do this and this is why our ricotta is so thick and creamy. Talluto's impastata ricotta is ideal as an ingredient for making pasta or baking Italian Easter specialties. It is also delicious when it is enjoyed alone or spread on top of toasted Italian bread.
About 20 years ago, like my brother and sisters, I had graduated from college and was beginning my full-time career in our family's business. I remember there was a point when my father came to us with a newspaper clipping of an article entitled "The generations of family businesses". The article talked about business dynamics and how family businesses evolve through the different generations of the family. The article gave statistics of successful companies and how the company survival rate decreased through the passing of generations. My father passed on the article for us to read and simply said "Don't become a statistic."
I often have customers tell me that they remember seeing "Mrs. Talluto" in the store when they came in to buy their ravioli. They say things like "She was such a sweet woman and would give me great cooking tips and advice." or "She always had wonderful stories to share about her family. Mrs. Talluto was a very special woman." My grandmother was indeed "a very special woman". In fact, saying that, was an understatement.
She could whip up an Italian dish in the blink of an eye. Grandmom put love and passion into all of the recipes that were created and sold in our original store. But, the truth is, Grandmom learned how to cook Italian food. Genevieve "Bednar" was actually of Czechoslovakian descent. She was born to 'Slovakian immigrants and was raised with her family in Reading, PA. Grandmom had light blonde hair and fair skin. My oldest cousin Rich and I revel in the fact that we are the only grandkids who inherited her hazel eyes.