If I can cook it, you can cook it And I'll travel the world to bring it back home to you.

Pino Luongo’s Spaghetti with Sausage alla Carbonara via Florence Fabricant

There was a time when Pino Luongo was at the top of the food chain in New York’s restaurant world.   He arrived here from his native Italy in 1981.  And after a brief stint working for other people, he opened Il Cantinori (Tel: 212 673 6044) 32 East 10thSt, New York NY 10003) in Greenwich Village.  He was basically responsible for introducing New Yorkers to Northern Italian cooking, specifically that of his native Tuscany.  And it took hold to such an extent, it looked for a time as if Red Sauce Italian cooking, the staple of Italian American Restaurants, was done for. 
Pino Luongo
I remember his Le Madre, long gone from 7th Avenue in Chelsea. It was staffed entirely by Italian women. Le Madre means The Mothers in Italian.  Whether they all were Mothers is questionable but the women brought homespun Italian home cooking to the table.  And it was wildly popular.  In working on this post, I read that over the years Pino has opened 16 restaurants.  But now, he is down to running one: Centolire (TEL: 212-734-7711) at 1167  Madison Avenue between 85th & 86th Streets. (I have a sneaking suspicion I know why: Years ago, I had a truly wretched experience at his Hamptons outpost for which we received neither an apology nor any acknowledgment. 
Nevertheless, when I saw a recipe that Florence Fabricant had adapted from a meal she’d had at Centolire, it looked intriguing enough to try. It combines the classic Carbonara replacing pancetta with enough sausage to make the dish hearty, and cheese and eggs to make it satisfyingly rich.   True to Mr. Luogo’s long-standing affinity for an Italian Grandmother’s unwritten recipes, Ms. Fabricant said she felt ‘at ease adjusting…to my taste.”  I, however, left her recipe intact. 

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