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A True Taste of Italy

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a Mano’s chef Joshua Smith’s Italian cuisine is the real thing

Where are you from?
St. Joseph, Missouri

Which culinary school did you attend?
Delgado Culinary School

What inspired you to become a chef?
Love of food and cooking.

What do you cook most often at home?
Farmers market vegetables.

What was your most memorable meal?
The best ones have involved a lot of wine…thus negating their memorability.

What’s your favorite comfort food?
Pizza or cheap Mexican food.

What’s your favorite ingredient to work with?
Produce at its seasonal peak; the flavor is  unbeatable and it isn’t around long enough to get bored with.

Define your culinary style.
Simple, ingredient-focused, driven by what is local and in season…Italian.

Who is your favorite chef (besides those at your restaurant)?
Jamie Oliver

What does the Gulf mean to you?
The same thing that nature in general means: endless bounty, provided that balance is maintained and we humans don’t ruin it with greedy over-consumption (in every form).

A Mano’s Orecchiette Pugliese

Courtesy of Chef Joshua Smith and A Mano

  • 16 ounces broccoli florets or broccoli rabe, chopped
  • 16 ounces orecchiette pasta, uncooked
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces Italian sausage, casings removed and crumbled
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped?1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, julienned
  • 1/2 cup white wine?Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup ricotta salata, grated

Cook broccoli in boiling, salted water until tender but firm to bite. Cook orecchiette in large pot of boiling, salted water as well, until pasta is tender but firm to bite. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.??In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, add the crumbled Italian sausage and garlic, and cook through.??Add the red pepper flakes, sundried tomatoes and white wine to the pan and continue cooking until most of the wine has evaporated. Add the broccoli, orecchiette and reserved pasta water to the pan and toss it all together. ??Remove pan from heat and stir in 4 tablespoons olive oil and salt to taste. Transfer to a large bowl and serve topped with ricotta salata.

Serves 4 – 6 ???Smith recommends pairing this dish with an Italian red wine from the Puglia region; a Salice Salentino or a Primitivo offers the bright acidity to contrast the richness of the Italian sausage and the ricotta’s saltiness.