Pasta Paradiso: Dinner and a Movie


Staying in? We've got you covered -- both on the culinary and entertainment fronts. Now presenting Dinner and a Movie -- a guide to a do it yourself evening of food and film.

In this age of consensual voyeurism through sites like Facebook, Twitter and personal blogs, we are often bombarded by images of our friends and acquaintances on vacation this time of year. 

For those of us who are stuck at the office in the heat of summer it might be easier to smirk at our vacationing friends then to be truly happy for them, especially when you see them traipsing around Italy, posing in front of classic art, or with a dish of authentic pasta, a little tipsy on wine and rest. This week's film and feast helps to fight the green waves of envy with an ode to Italy.

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​One of the best features of Italian food is its freshness and simplicity. This week's recipe combines Arizona grown Campari tomatoes with a few basic techniques to make a pasta dish any Nona would allow on her table. The film Cinema Paradiso, written and directed by Guiseppe Tornatore, shares a nostalgia of Italy and of film and is practically a love letter to both.

Film: Cinema Paradiso (1988)
Entrée: Pasta with Campari Tomatoes, Artichokes, and Breadcrumbs
Popcorn: Rosemary Scented Popcorn with Parmesan and Black Pepper
Beverage: Red Wine

Get the breakdown after the jump.


Film: Successful film director, Salvatore (Toto), returns home to the small village of Giancaldo, Italy, after he receives a message that someone named Alfredo has died. Through flashback sequences we learn that Alfredo was the projectionist in the village movie house, and that Toto, obsessed with film even as a child, becomes his protégée. 

The village of Toto's youth has changed to reflect a more modern Italy, and his beloved movie house is being torn down to make room for parking lots. During Toto's visit to the village for Alfredo's funeral, his first in over thirty years, he learns why Alfredo sent him away to begin with, and discovers a present the old man had been saving for him since his childhood.


Pasta with Campari Tomatoes, Artichokes, and Breadcrumbs

We used a recipe by Mario Batali that appeared in a recent issue of Bon Appétit and altered it by substituting Arizona grown Campari tomatoes for the SunGold variety he uses. We also add artichokes to the sauce and garnish with fresh basil. The key to the sauce is to use some of the startchy pasta water and to finish cooking the pasta in the sauce in a skillet.


​Like the Batali recipe we also garnish ours with breadcrumbs. This gives it extra flavor and texture.

Rosemary Scented Popcorn with Parmesan and Black Pepper

1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup popcorn kernels
Pinch of rosemary
Melted butter
Olive oil 

Cracked pepper


​In the pan, put a pinch of rosemary and sea salt in the oil. Heat and then add popcorn kernels. Keep the lid on until and shake pan gently over medium high heat until the popping slows. Remove from heat. While the popcorn is still in the pan, drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 tablespoons of melted butter over the popcorn and toss. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs, parmesan, cracked pepper, and salt.

Are you a food and film lover too? Got suggestions for Dinner and a Movie? Leave a comment below.
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