Tag Archives: Francine Segan recipe

Not Your Usual Carbonara

A very special version of pasta carbonara.

A very special version of pasta carbonara.


Yes, this one’s quite different.

And sure to become an instant classic.

“Pumpkin Carbonara with Paccheri” has no bacon. But you won’t miss it. Honest.

That’s because thin slices of onion are slowly caramelized until their golden char takes on a smokiness that almost mimics that of bacon.

Take your time cooking the onions. Don’t rush them. Be patient, because they are key to this simple, exquisite pasta dish.

The recipe is from the clever new cookbook, “Pasta Modern” (Stewart Tabori & Chang), which was gifted to me by its author, food historian and Italian food expert, Francine Segan, whom I’ve been fortunate enough to become friends with after doing some writing for her.

The book includes 100 recipes, many of them quite unusual ones that will open your eyes to the uses pasta can have if you let your imagination go wild. How about “Pasta Sushi”? Yes, big shells, the kind usually stuffed with ricotta and spinach, but here filled with raw fish, sea urchin or salmon roe. Or consider the method of boiling pasta in a pot of water mixed with cocoa powder for “Instant Chocolate Pasta with Orange-Basil Cream,” in which the noodles turn deep brown and take on an earthy flavor? Or “Pasta Pretzel Sticks” made from cooked, long strands of pasta that are coated in butter before being baked until golden and crisp?

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Cantaloupe in Cake? You Bet!

Yes, you can bake with cantaloupe. Who knew!

I’ve enjoyed berries, peaches, plums and all manner of other fruit in baked treats.

But cantaloupe?

Not until now.

Don’t get me wrong. I love that beautiful netted fruit with its sunny orange flesh. But cantaloupe in a cake seemed as farfetched to me as watermelon or honeydew in one.

That is until I spied a recipe for “Cantaloupe Cake (Torta di Melone)” in “Dolci: Italy’s Sweets” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), of which I received a review copy. The book is by Francine Segan, a food historian and New York City cookbook author. The cookbook boasts more than 125 recipes for Italian specialties such as sweet ricotta crepes, rosemary semifreddo, angel hair pasta pie, and even an unlikely chocolate eggplant dish.

Because the melon chunks are soaked in Asti Spumante, a glass of the Italian sparkler makes a nice accompaniment to the cake.

I couldn’t let a chance to bake with cantaloupe pass by, so I gave it a whirl.

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