Recipe 1: Orecchiette Rapini:
1 pound orecchiette pasta
2 pounds fresh ground Italian sausage
3 heads of Andy Boy broccoli rabe
6 cloves of peeled garlic
4 ounces olive oil
1 teaspoon of chili flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
 
Cooking the Orecchiette properly and retaining some of the pasta water is the key to making a great dish of pasta.
 
Follow the instructions on the package for cooking orecchiette. I like to cook the pasta 30-45 seconds less than instructed to insure the pasta is al dente.
 
Once the orecchiette are cooked, drain the pasta and save two cups of pasta water if needed. 
 
We recommend hearty reds from Puglia’s bounty. Look for Santa Lucia’s Melograno, a dry red wine from local Uva or Nero Di Troia vines. These red grapes are among the last harvested in Italy. They are pleasantly tannic and age very well. Rivera also makes a very good one. Also from Puglia try Tormaresca Neprica. It is a tasty red based on indigenous Negroamaro and Primitivo grapes with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon. We are bullish on both the Negroamaro and the Primitivo of Conti Zecca from Leverano, close to Lecce, the Florence of Puglia. All of these wines are well made and offer superb value. 
 
Recipe 2: Vic’s Personal Pesto Recipe
One key to perfect pesto is chopping all the ingredients by hand, preferably with a sharp knife. This pesto will keep a bit in the refrigerator, but it really hits its peak when served soon after it is made. 
 
The technique here is: chop a bit, add some ingredients, chop some more. The reason I do it this way (instead of chopping everything all at once) is because some things get chopped into oblivion, while some are not chopped as small. This technique allows for a spectrum of cut sizes throughout the pesto, contributing to the overall texture. 
 
You'll notice this recipe doesn't have any added salt (just the saltiness from the cheese). Make sure your pasta water is well salted if you are going to use this pesto on pasta or the overall flavor profile will fall flat. Also, be sure to adjust for seasoning before serving. With food this simple, you need to get the seasoning correct.
 
1 large bunch of basil, leaves only, washed and dried
3 medium cloves of garlic
4 ounces of raw pignoli nuts
6 ounces of fresh grated Reggiano Parmigiano, 
4 ounces of extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound of your favorite pasta
 
Start chopping the garlic along with about 1/3 of the basil leaves. Once this is loosely chopped, add more basil, chop some more, add the rest of the basil, chop some more. I scrape and chop, gather and chop. At this point the basil and garlic should be a very fine mince. Add about half the pine nuts, chop. Add the rest of the pine nuts, chop. Add half of the Parmigiano, chop. Add the rest of the Parmigiano, and chop. 
 
Various pestos are produced throughout Italy. In Trapani, Sicily for example, you can find an exquisite sauce made from pounded almonds, other nuts, herbs and olive oil. But pesto with a capital “P” usually refers to Pesto Genovese; that is, basil sauce from Liguria. The sweet basil, king of all herbs, came to the Mediterranean from ancient Persia. The basil from Liguria is regarded by many as the sweetest and most aromatic on the planet. It is at its best when pounded with a mortar and pestle to release its precious oils and juices, but today blenders and food processors have taken the place of mortal and pestle. Recipes vary, but olive oil added drop by drop, pignoli, grated cheeses, either parmigiano or pecorino, garlic, and sea salt maybe added depending on local traditions. 
 
Trofie, Trenette or Piccage are the local pasta cuts of choice. We risk being sacrilegious by stating that you can substitute other pasta shapes, but you can if you want. In Genoa it is traditional to add string beans and sliced boiled potatoes to the pesto and pasta. It is a good idea to reserve a little pasta water to smooth out the pesto sauce prior to serving, if necessary. Pesto is also used as a flavoring ingredient in minestrone and other soups. 

It may be difficult to track down a good Vermentino or local red DOC Rossese Di Dolceaqua. Wine production in Liguria is small and most of the wine is consumed locally. We recommend a fragrant, clean, dry, complex Arneis from an excellent Piemontese producer such as Vietti or Damilano as a perfect substitute.