If you ever need proof that eating well often means living well, look no further than Dan Pelosi…
Pelosi, known to most as Grossy Pelosi (the nickname is a riff on the main character in the movie Never Been Kissed), exploded on the scene during the pandemic when he chronicled his home-cooking escapades on Instagram, inviting everyone along to (virtually) join him. And it’s easy to see why so many did: His food is big, his world is technicolor, and his vibe is joyous. Overflowing pots of meatballs, stuffed-high Italian subs, messy birthday cakes and gooey cinnamon buns, cheesy breakfast sandwiches, rigatoni swimming in his famous vodka “sawce.” And now, I’m delighted to report, he’s captured all of that joy between two covers in his first book Let’s Eat.
The recipes in the book are classic Pelosi — comforting, approachable — but they’re offered through the lens of the Big Italian-American Family. “After a lifetime of talking about food with my grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and sister, you would think we had nothing more to say,” Pelosi writes. “But I spent even more time discussing recipes with every one of those people, soaking up all of our family knowledge, stories, and secrets.” You’ll meet the full cast of characters, including his parents, his 100-year-old grandpa Bimpy, his boyfriend Gus, and the recipes that connect them through the generations: Fritto Misto, Ribollita, Bimpy’s Pizza, Bimpy’s Escarole and Beans, Bimpy’s Pasta e Piselli, each accompanied by the most charming personal history. This cheesy Pastina for One was my favorite.
From Let’s Eat by Dan Pelosi
Says Pelosi: “Every Italian-American kid knows that pastina is the single most effective way to fix everything. Sick? Sad? Worst day of your life? Here’s a steamy-hot bowl of pastina just for you. Every family has some variation of this dish passed through the generations, and no offense to anyone’s ancestors, but my dad makes the strongest medicinal pastina I have ever had. His prescription includes the perfect combo of broth, eggs, and butter. This recipe intentionally only serves one: It’s just for you, whenever you need it.”
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup pastina
2 large eggs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese, plus more for serving
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper, for serving
In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Stir in the pastina and cook until al dente according to the package directions.
When the pasta is ready and has absorbed the broth, remove the pan from the heat. Crack the eggs into the pan, stirring quickly to incorporate them, then add the Parmesan and butter. Stir until the butter is completely melted.
Transfer the pastina to a bowl and top with more Parmesan and a few grinds of pepper. Eat up and watch all your troubles float away.
Thank you, Dan! We love your new cookbook.
P.S. Molly Baz’s Orzo al Limone and our favorite chicken parm meatballs.
(Photos by Andrew Bui for Let’s Eat.)