Cooking with Love

with Gianna Conte (Jan)

Cooking with Love

with Gianna Conte (Jan)

Happy New Year!!!

As a child growing up in a multi cultural tenament in The Bronx,  the holidays were very special and exciting. 

My first New Year's in America was a little foreign, as my American Uncle Joe took out pots and pans and banged on them at 12 o'clock midnight. He was screaming Happy New Year and it was embarrassing.

Little did I know, the neighbors were doing the same thing. My Uncle threw a pair of old shoes out the window, too. I was told "out with the old, in with the new. "

After a big dinner on the eve, my mother started mixing dough at about 9 o'clock in the evening. About 11 o'clock, she woke up from her nap on the couch, sprinkled some cold water on her face and started frying zeppoles. She made spaghetti aioli olio with anchovies. What a feast. When the new year arrived, pouring the champagne, eating, coffee and pastries.....what a food fest. The Italians feel that you should stay up and bring in the New year.

Spaghetti Alioi Olio


1 16 oz box of your favorite spaghetti

5-6 cloves of garlic

Good olive oil

1 tin of anchovies

Hot pepper flakes

Salt for the pasta water

Capers (optional)


In large pot, fill with cold water and 2 tsp salt

On medium heat, in a large skillet, add enough olive oil to cover surface (about 1/4 cup)

Slice the fresh garlic and let saute slowly in the oil till soft. Carefully add the hot pepper flakes to the garlic (stand back, it may crackle and spit)

Add as many anchovies you desire (2-3)

Watch the anchovies break down into the sauce. Add a 1/2 ladle of pasta water to the skillet, stirring to blend.

Drain the spaghetti well. Add to the cooked sauce and toss very well.

Twirl the coated spaghetti with your fork and spoon. Yum!

Top with chopped fresh Italian parsley.

Here we are with good friends and my American aunt and cousin in The Bronx, Edgewater Park in 1956.

Zeppoles can be dusted with powdered sugar, or just plain. Serve and eat hot!

Start boiling the water for the spaghetti, the sauce only takes a few minutes.