Email Us

Rocco DiSpirito: Rocco’s Road

December 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Celebrity

Rocco DiSpiritoThere’s a sizzle of spirit spilling through a Vaughan Chapters, and of its endless rows and stacked tables of literature, the open book is Rocco DiSpirito. He’s walking in brown leather shoes and fitted in an olive zip-up, weaving through a fidgeting crowd. A woman brazenly shouts out a dinner invitation to him, and he presses a mic to his mouth. “Buy a book or give me a hug,” he deadpans. A shameless grin spreads across her face as he wraps his arms around her. The audience inches close.

The American celebrity chef and bestselling author from New York City is in town to promote his latest cookbook, and while expounding the virtues of healthy food, he’s unabashed when confessing an erstwhile sweet tooth for saccharine cinnamon rolls. “I had an addiction to Cinnabon — it was harder to break than my crystal meth habit,” he jokes, the crowd doubling over in a fit of laughter. Continuing to quip and cajole and lightheartedly lecture on Japanese kale and kamut, he concludes his visit with personalized autographs and photos that stream through the Twitterverse.

However comfortable he appears to be in his own skin, DiSpirito surprisingly had difficulties achieving a level of assuredness that leaves audiences enraptured.

A few meals before, at Alimento Fine Food Emporium in Toronto, he’s sipping on espresso at a table tucked away from the lunch crowd. Vividly recalling his early days, the cordon bleu cook, food show host and former culinary judge was once gripped by self-consciousness. “I have to tell you of the days I was frightened over my own shadow. I used to practise Today segments in the private dining area of my restaurant: a host would play Matt Lauer and a hostess would play Katie Couric. When you have to be yourself on TV, the anxiety of worrying whether that self is the self everyone will like just gets to you.” He moderates the disclosure with a bon mot, his modus operandi. “I take medication now, so it’s much better.” At 46, his charm braises in a drum of alacrity.

Read more

Red Snapper Puttanesca Recipe

December 2, 2012 by  
Filed under Food

Red Snapper Puttanesca RecipeIngredients:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
32 grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons nonpareil capers
12 oil-cured black olives, pitted
6 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
4 (5-ounce) boneless red snapper fillets
freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
2. Heat the olive oil with the garlic in a large, nonstick, ovenproof skillet and cook until the garlic is golden brown, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and cook until they blister and soften, about 3 minutes. You can help the tomatoes pop by gently pressing them with a fork. Add the capers, olives and parsley to the sauce and bring to a simmer.
3. Season the snapper with salt and pepper and place on top of the tomato sauce skin-side up. Place in the oven and cook until the fillets are warmed through, about 5 minutes.
4. Remove the fillets and place them on 4 plates. Using the small holes of a box grater or a Microplane zester, grate ¼ tablespoon lemon zest and add it to the sauce, then cut the lemon in half and add a squeeze of juice. Spoon the sauce over the fish.

The Red Snapper Puttanesca dish found in Rocco DiSpirito’s latest cookbook, Now Eat This! Italian: Favorite Dishes From the Real Mamas of Italy, is one of over 90 recipes under 350 calories