Spaghetti Primavera

By Millicent K. Brody • Photography by Jason Varney

Who: Executive Chef Michael Cetrulo, Il Mondo Vecchio, 72 Main Street, (Central Ave.), Madison, 973.301.0024

What’s Cooking: Hearty, flavorful, creative spaghetti primavera with freshly picked spring vegetables, finished with toasted pignoli nuts.

Other Cetrulo Restaurants: Scalini Fedeli, Chatham; Scalini Fedeli, Tribecca; Porto Leggero, Jersey City (with Mark Marandola and partners); Piano Due, Midtown Manhattan; Sirena, Long Branch (with Ken Mansfield and brother Joe).

About Cetrulo: He credits his dad Joseph for influencing his culinary career. He began doing prep work at age 13. Bribed with a Honda MR 50 Motorcycle, he was required to put in kitchen hours before enjoying his first ride. On May 22, 1991, at age 22, he opened Il Mondo Vecchio in Madison. Cetrulo traveled to San Dominico, near Bologna, Italy to train with one of the world’s most respected chefs, Valentino. “The experience was most intense. The kitchen was highly disciplined,” he recalls. In December 1995 he opened Scalini Fedeli in Chatham. Five years later, in September, 1999, he launched Scalini Fedeli in Tribecca. The others followed.

Success Recipe: “The only way to keep food extremely fresh is to order it fresh every day,” he says.

Shining Moments: Il Mondo Vecchio receives continual accolades. It is one of Zagat Survey’s Most Popular Restaurants. In 1996, and within one month of each other, Scalini Fedeli in Chatham was voted Number 1 in Zagat Survey, and Number 2 in Gourmet magazine.

Spaghetti Primavera

1 lb dry spaghetti
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 tbsp of chopped garlic
2 tbsp of diced Spanish onion
1 tbsp of julienne prosciutto
1/4 cup of chopped mushroom
1/4 cup of chopped zucchini
1/4 cup of chopped blanched asparagus
1/4 cup of chopped cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup of Chablis
1 cup of chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 tbsp of butter
1/2 bunch of fresh basil cut in 1/4 strips
2 tbsp of grated parmigiano reggiano
salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp of toasted pignoli nuts

To Prepare

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and cook until golden and soft. Add salt and pepper and all vegetables and turn up heat. Cook the vegetables for 5 minutes while stirring continuously.

Add white wine and reduce by half. Then add chicken stock and turn heat to low and simmer for three minutes and reduce by half.

Cook spaghetti until al dente and strain and put in sauce and let simmer for two more minutes.

Add cheese, butter, toasted pignoli nuts, and fresh basil.

Divide into four pasta bowls and grate fresh parmigiano over each plate and serve.

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