Page 1 Sidebar: When selecting dried pasta, I love brands with minimal ingredients. First, I look at the ingredients label. All I want to see is “flour and/or semolina and water.” Brands with these ingredients tend to have more starch content, which helps create the sauce. For me, picking pasta brands with minimal ingredients really makes a difference with any pasta dish!
Food stylist and culinary producer, Michele Figliuolo, is one of those chefs who adds a touch of creativity to everything that comes out of her kitchen.
The Johnson and Wales graduate worked for "Chopped" and "The Chew.” "On the Chew, I styled the food for television and print," she says. "I was part of the back-of-the-house team that ensured that all of the dishes looked beautiful. We worked with celebrity chefs, tested recipes, and catered food for the show's guests in the green room. It was a crazy, fun, high-energy job."
Michele's career history also included a position at a content production company that styles food brands such as Godiva, Dove Chocolate, and M&M Mars for social media and advertising photoshoots. She also hosted luxury cooking events that featured the product lines of an exclusive appliance dealer in Manhattan.
Michele plans to open up a local café in 2021, offering delicious food that's delightful to the eye. The café will feature Montreal-style bagels, hand-rolled, boiled in honey water, and baked in a wood-fired oven. The menu will also offer breakfast sandwiches, salad options, soups, and freshly baked goods. “We want to make it beautiful and different than a typical bagel shop,” she says.
(Northwest Bergen Lifestyle will keep you updated on when and where)
Michele's Valentine's Day Spaghetti:
1 lb. Spaghetti
1/4 C plus 2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (4.5-ounce) tube tomato paste
1/3 C heavy cream
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced
1/2 C fresh breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs
1/2 C fresh basil, torn
1 Tsp red-pepper flakes (optional)
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to garnish
Kosher salt to taste
Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil.
In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and sauté until crisp and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, set aside.
In the same pan over medium heat, add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté until just golden.
Add salt to the boiling water and cook spaghetti 2-3 minutes less than the package's cook time. Reserve 1 ½ cups of the cooking water.
Once the shallots and garlic are golden, add the tomato paste. Cook for another 3-5 minutes or until the paste starts to get rust-colored. Add the reserved pasta water to the tomato sauce, and mix. Add the heavy cream, mix, and add salt.
Over medium heat, add the strained pasta to the sauce and continue cooking until the pasta is evenly coated and the sauce starts to thicken; about 2-3 minutes.
Shut off the heat and add the diced butter; mix until butter is melted. Top with toasted breadcrumbs, fresh basil, red pepper flakes, and freshly grated cheese.