Chef Jacquie welcomes Stephanie Reitano, owner of Capogiro, to the community. Capogiro is one of the stops on our East Passyunk Avenue tour. Enjoy!
Last week when our farmers dropped off our weekly order to our big kitchen, I asked if they were able to plant seed in the ground. I glanced over at our order. Cream, eggs, yogurt, bags of thick cut bacon… not a single item of produce. They responded that this year’s Seven Weeks of Want has been never-ending, but they did hope to start planting soon. The Seven Weeks of Want is a term used in Lancaster County and its surrounding farm region to designate the time of year when there is nothing to harvest and the ground is too frozen to plant. Seven full weeks of wanting. Wanting and waiting. I find it poetic.
I think the changes in season are one of the most fun parts of making gelato. When Capogiro was a mere babe, the arrival of a new crop was always exciting. This has not changed. When the first strawberry arrives to announce the new season, we are practically rabid. Capogiristi freak out. It is a renewal of sorts. Unfortunately, this spring has been a long time coming for all. We are eager for the first rhubarb, tender strawberries and sweet honeysuckle blossoms. Using ingredients when they are good and ready, and by that I mean fully ripe with minimal interference, is the key to good gelato. Good food comes to those who wait.
I want to leave you with something to get through these last few weeks. In Italy, eating well is a birthright. It is more than a preference, it is an expectation. Italians eat seasonally because that is what they do. Right now, they are still eating those canned/tomatoes from the previous summer. The tomatoes are picked at their peak and preserved. Never shy away from canned tomatoes. This may keep you from losing your mind during these last days of the Seven Weeks of Want.
Put a large pot of water on the stove.
Heat a large sauté pan.
Add Spot of olive oil to hot pan.
Add a pinch of crushed hot pepper.
Add 3 garlic cloves that have been finely chopped, cook until golden and fragrant.
Add 1 can of high quality San Marzano tomatoes or 32 oz. of your own jarred tomatoes. I prefer Francesca brand best.
Let simmer a few minutes.
Crush tomatoes with a spoon or a masher. Mine is one big metal squiggle. Know what I mean?
Salt and pepper to taste.
Water should be boiling. Add ample salt. Water should be as salty as the sea.
Add 1 pound of pasta, a quick stir and cook until al dente.
At this point the natural oils should come out of the tomatoes. Your sauce is done by the time your pasta is complete.
Add pasta directly to sauce and thoroughly coat each strand.
Add some shredded fresh basil.
Serve with romano cheese.
About Stephanie Reitano, Co-owner/Capogiro
Stephanie started Capogiro in 2001, once a mom and pop shop, she now has 4 cafes in Philadelphia and are an operational dairy making traditionally authentic gelato. Named #1 in the World by National Geographic, featured in 500 Food Journeys of a Lifetime, #1 gelato in Serious Eats, Best of Philly, NY Times, NY Post, Oprah, Saveur, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, Organic Living, Town and Country and Philadelphia Magazine.