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Chef Vic Casanova Celebrates Summer with Daughter's Favorite Tonnarelli Recipe

Matt Sayles

Vic Casanova, Executive Chef and Owner of West Hollywood’s Italian eatery, Gusto, has always been committed to using the best of ingredients and hand-making each of Gusto’s six pastas for eight hours every day. As a chef and businessman, being a father always takes precedent in his life, and in the midst of preparing to open his second restaurant this summer and experiencing the warm months with his 3-year-old daughter and newborn son, Chef Casanova loves being able to cook and spend time with his family simultaneously. As a perfect summer dish, and his daughter’s favorite meal, Chef Casanova would love to share his recipe for Gusto’s infamous Tonnarelli, complete with parmigiano reggiano and the summer months’ freshest tomatoes and basil. Please find the recipe below.

Tonnarelli w/ Tomatoes, Basil, & Parmigiano Reggiano

Courtesy of Owner/Executive Chef Vic Casanova


San Marzano Tomato Sauce

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, finely minced

6 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 t crushed red pepper flakes

2 t chopped fresh oregano

½ medium carrot, finely minced

2 28-ounce cans peeled san marzano whole tomatoes, passed thru a food mill

20 basil leaves, hand torn

¾ c parmigiano reggiano, grated

¼ c extra virgin olive oil, high quality finishing oil

Kosher salt to taste

Fresh Tonnarelli

2 cups caputo “00” pasta flour, plus more as needed

4 large eggs

⅓ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water


San Marzano Tomato Sauce

1. In a 3 - quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the onion, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and cook until translucent.

2. Add the oregano and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often.

3. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt.

Fresh Tonnarelli

1. Measure 2 full cups of unsifted flour and add it all in the bowl of a food processor; process for a few seconds to aerate.

2. Mix the eggs with the salt in a separate bowl.

3. With the food processor running, quickly pour in all the eggs through the feed tube. Process continuously, as a dough forms and gathers on the blade and cleans the side of the bowl. If the dough does not come together or clean the bowl after 30 seconds or so, stop the machine, scrape down the sides, and sprinkle in a couple of tablespoons more flour.

4. Process for a few more seconds - and add more flour if necessary - until a fairly firm ball of dough forms.

5. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface, and knead by hand for a minute or more, until it is smooth and firm. If it's at all sticky, incorporate more flour as you knead. Press the dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for at least 1/2 hour. Cut the dough in four equal pieces.

6. Roll each piece through a pasta machine at progressively narrower settings, to form long wide strips, about 1/8 inch thick (no thinner) and as wide as your machine allows. If the strip grows longer than the strings of your tonnarelli, cut it crosswise into two shorter strips.

7. To cut the tonnarelli, lay a strip of dough over the strings of a chitarra. Using gentle but constant pressure, roll your pin lengthwise up and down the pasta, so the strings cut it cleanly into strands of tonnarelli that fall onto the tray of the chitarra. Dust the freshly cut strands with flour, and gather them into a loose nest on a floured tray. Cut all the strips into tonnarelli, and collect them in floured nests.

8. Leave the tray uncovered at room temperature until you are ready to cook the pasta. To cook, bring to boiling a large pot of well-salted water (at least 6 quarts with a tablespoon or more of salt). Using your hand or a colander, shake excess flour off the nests of tonnarelli and drop them into the pot. Stir and separate the strands as the water returns to a rolling boil, then cook the pasta for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just before al dente.

Finishing Touches:

1. Add cooked pasta & ½ c water from the pot that cooked the pasta to the 3 qt. pot with cooked tomato sauce.

2. With the heat on medium, keep moving the pasta in the pot to ensure it absorbs the sauce. When sauce is clinging to the pasta turn off the heat.

3. Add basil, parmigiano reggiano and mix well while slowly adding extra virgin olive oil. Then season to taste. Buon appetito!

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