Michael White is known as the master of pasta at his many restaurants like Marea or Ai Fiori, so it’s hard to imagine that he got his pasta start at home in the Midwest. But as a young child it was White’s father — an “avid home cook” — who influenced the chef. When the weather was cold they would “bake bread, make soups. He was in the kitchen before it was fashionable, when there weren’t a lot of dads in the kitchen.” And a staple on the White family home menu was in fact pasta, although not the kind he learned as a young chef at Chicago’s Spiaggia or on his sojourns to Italy. White says, “pasta at home was always something that was more meat-based, being landlocked in Wisconsin.”
We sat down with the chef to hear his story of how a child growing up in the Midwest could turn into one of New York’s most accomplished Italian chefs. Afterward, we got him to show us the recipe for a simple yet decadent dish: strozzapreti with crab and sea urchin. The homey dish from Emilia Romagna is as easy as it is crowd pleasing, and we learn it straight from White himself. So watch the video above to learn all about the early inspirations in White’s life as well as his pasta recipe.
Featured photo credit: Flickr/fugzu