TODAY Food Editor
In this special weekly feature, TODAY food editor Phil Lempert brings you recipes “stolen” (with permission) from notable restaurants across America. See how much fun you can have (and money you can save) by cooking these dishes at home.
THIS WEEK: Whole Wheat Capellini with Shrimp and Lentils from Penne Restaurant & Wine Bar in Philadelphia
Mmmm ... freshly made pasta. But it's too much trouble to make it at home ... or is it? This detailed recipe "stolen" from Penne Restaurant & Wine Bar's Chef Roberta Adamo will make you wonder why you've never tried making your own pasta before. And not just any pasta ... but capellini, the type of pasta most suitable for light sauces so that none of that scrumptious freshness is masked. As an added bonus, the recipe is for whole wheat pasta so you'll get that extra fiber and texture. Don't have enough time or patience to make your own pasta? Skip right ahead to the Shrimp and Lentil topping and use store-bought pasta. It'll still taste fantastic.
About the chef: When the chef at her former husband's restaurant left unexpectedly, it was Roberta Adamo who jumped in to begin making pasta with childhood memories of making pasta at her grandmother's side. It was here that the happy accident of Adamo's pasta chef career began. When Adamo was growing up, she couldn’t understand why her grandmother always told her the secret behind her handmade pasta. After all, it was her grandmother’s sister who wanted to learn about making pasta, yet her grandmother would only share the secret with Adamo. “She’d always tell me, ‘Don’t overwork the dough. Once it comes together, it’s ready.’” Many years later, those words still ring in her ears as she combines the ingredients to make a plethora of pasta flavors and shapes.
Adamo's next stop was a position close to home at Catelli's Restaurant in Voorhees. It was at Catelli's that Roberta worked under Chef Louis Imbesi, who gave her the freedom to experiment and create uniquely delicious pastas such as orange and pink (raspberry and orange reduction) striped ravioli filled with duck, and cucumber and dill flavored pasta with salmon.
Then came a stint in downtown Philadelphia's Brasserie Perrier where the purist approach to pasta Adamo a chance to perfect the basic foundations of pasta making, followed by The Ritz Carlton, and finally Penne. After opening Penne as the Pasta Chef, Adamo recently accepted the position of Executive Chef, allowing her to continue spreading the philosophy that food "should sing and not scream any one note louder than the other. Balance is key, whether it's taste, texture, color or temperature. It is an art I adore and I am thrilled every day I have a chance to experience it."
Whole Wheat Capellini with Shrimp and Lentils is served at Penne Restaurant & Wine Bar for $21. The Shrimp and Lentils is for a restaurant serving size of four while the Whole Wheat Capellini is for a serving size of eight.
Penne Restaurant & Wine Bar
3600 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
Want to nominate your favorite restaurant dish for a "Steal This Recipe" feature? Just e-mail Phil at Phil.Lempert@nbc.com (or use the mail box below) with the name of the restaurant, city and state, and the dish you would like to have re-created. Want to know more about Phil and food? Visit his Web site at www.supermarketguru.com.