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A Father's Day Dish

Chef Frank Rossitto's Portofino Features Fine, Fresh Ingredients Highlighted By Perfectly Cooked Pasta And Seafood

Allegro Bistro’s Executive Chef Frank Rossitto isn’t just the star of the famed Venice eatery’s kitchen, he’s also family. Married to Maria, the sister of Allegro Bistro’s owner Nella Valenti, for almost 40 years, Frank grew up cooking since age 14—his father owned the Paradiso Restaurant in their native Hartford, Connecticut.

“Maria worked at a pastry shop and I used to go in there and she always would smile,” Frank says. “So one day I asked her, ‘Do you like me?’ And she said, ‘Yeah.’ I asked her if she wanted to go out, and that was it. We were both 16. We got married at 19.” The couple have two adult sons, Antonio and Michael. Chef Frank has the same passion for cooking as he had when he began his career. “It’s all about creating great food and seeing people enjoy it.”

Shrimp And Scallops Portofino 

Ingredients:

Butter

Onions

Mushrooms

Scallops

Shrimp

White wine

Tomato sauce

Cream 

Parmesan cheese

Garlic

Salt

Pepper

Garlic Powder

Oregano

Parsley

Directions:

"I start with a pan at medium heat," Chef Frank says. "Melt a little bit of butter in there. Then cook the onions and the mushrooms until they are sautéed. Throw in the shrimp and scallops and sautée them as well. Put in a bit of fresh chopped garlic, salt, pepper, garlic powder and a little bit of oregano. Add some white wine. Reduce the sauce a bit. Hit it with fresh tomato sauce, a little cream, a scoop of grated cheese, let it cook. Then toss it with some freshly made al dente spaghetti. Finish with grated cheese and chopped parsley. People just love it."

Chef Frank's tips on cooking pasta al dente, i.e. properly: “You have to have hot water; salty water like seawater," Chef Frank says. "Let the water come to a hot, rolling boil, and then put in the pasta. It has to be a really hot boil, never a simmer. If you cook your pasta in a simmer, it will come out like goo and stick all together. It will look like murky water filled with starch. It won’t even taste good, you’ll have to throw it away. When you have your pasta in that rolling boil, stir it every couple of minutes so it doesn’t clump up. Too much water isn’t bad, too little water is the worst. Taste your pasta and when it still has a little bite to it, dump it into a colander, drain it and it's ready to serve.”

1740 E. Venice Ave., Venice. 941.484.1889, Allegro-Bistro.com.

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