with Raw Sauce
This sauce was a specialty that when prepared by my brother-in-law, Giovanni Zenone, it tasted incomparable
Giovanni was the owner of La Focacceria on 13th Avenue in Brooklyn, and he called this sauce “alla
bagheriota“. Bagheria is a town a few miles outside Palermo, where Giovanni was born.
I made this sauce at Joe’s of Avenue U, and when my customers asked for the recipe, they would not believe I was
giving the accurate recipe, because the recipe has very few ingredients and requires little skill to
But -as Giovanni would brag- the secret to make this pasta dish was in having good ingredients at the right
temperature and in the timing putting this dish together; in fact, even though I never acknowledged this to
Giovanni, I must admit that he was accurate and if you follow his directions as I did for over 40 years, you will
make this dish that tastes delicious whether it’s served hot or cold, buffet style, at your next party for the
enjoyment of your guests.
In a large bowl mix the garlic with a few drops of olive oil and with a spoon pound the garlic and oil. Add the
tomatoes, chopped basil, the remaining oil, oregano, pepper and the crushed red pepper to taste. Mix well and taste
for salt. Set aside for a few hours to allow the ingredients to blend into a singular flavor. Do not
Bring to a boil 5 quarts of water with 2 tablespoon of salt, cook pasta al dente, following the package’s
At the same time, in a large sauté pan warm up the sauce and when pasta is cooked al dente, the sauce should be
Drain pasta and reserve some of the water.
Add pasta to the pan with the sauce; toss over a high flame until pasta and sauce are well combined. If it gets too
dry, add some of the reserved water.
Remove from the heat, add all the diced cheese and half of the grated cheese and serve immediately.
Sprinkle each dish with the remaining cheese and garnish with basil.
The Pasta for Your Party
To serve cold Pasta alla Carrettiera, do not heat the sauce. Cook pasta as per directions. Drain and pour it in the
bowl with the raw sauce. Add diced cheese and half of grated cheese. Toss gently and add some reserved water if
needed. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and garnish with basil.
Using fresh wine ripened tomatoes, 2 lb. are needed. Wash the tomatoes and plunge them into
boiling water for a minute. When you are able to handle them, remove the skin, cut them in half and eliminate as much
of the seeds as possible then cut into small pieces and follow above directions.