Craving Italian in Downtown Bellingham? You probably already know that Storia Cucina and Bar Cicotti are two of the city’s most authentic eateries. This is thanks to the vision of Owner and Chef Jonathan Cicotti, whose approach to cooking is heavily inspired by his own Italian roots.
When dining at either restaurant, you can expect fresh and seasonal dishes, big flavors, and pasta just like Nonna used to make (especially if your nonna was a nationally-recognized chef). Italian food varies heavily by region, but high-quality ingredients are always a standby– and this is showcased best in simple-yet-delicious dishes like Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (spaghetti with garlic and oil).
“This recipe is one of my favorites that every Italian makes at home, or their mothers cooked for them growing up,” says Cicotti. “Sometimes I do a spin-off of the classic and add marinated white anchovies and capers as well. This really is a beautiful, simple pasta that makes me so happy every time I make it.”
As with all authentically Italian dishes, the key to deliciousness is to use good ingredients. We recommend forgoing the pre-grated parm and opting instead for high-quality oils and cheeses.
Fresh pasta is on the menu at both Storia Cucina and Bar Cicotti, but if you’d like to whip some up at home, Cicotti’s recipe will guide you through the process. Pair yours with a glass of vino, top with all the cheese your heart desires, e buon appetito!
Meet the Chef
Cicotti opened the slow-food restaurant Hillside Supper Club in San Francisco in 2012. He has received national attention in publications such as Star Chefs, Food & Wine, Zagat, as well as cooking in the famous James Beard House in NYC. Cicotti has recipes from his Italian famiglia and couldn’t be more excited to share them with his home community in the Pacific Northwest.
Recipe: Fresh Pasta
- 1 pound (450 grams) sifted all-purpose flour (farina 00)
- 5 medium eggs
- Extra flour for dusting and adjusting
- Pour flour onto a clean surface and create a “well” in the middle. Add egg to the well, then carefully knead together flour and eggs to form a dough.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and rest for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Roll out your pasta on a floured surface, then cut into spaghetti by hand or by using a pasta maker.
Recipe: Spaghetti Aglio e Oglio
- 500 grams spaghetti pasta, preferably homemade (see above)
- 50 milliliters extra virgin olive oil
- 20 grams parmesan or pecorino cheese
- 3 garlic cloves (15 grams)
- Handful of chopped parsley (10 grams)
- 1 chopped red chili
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Start by placing a large pan of generously salted water on the heat. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook about one to two minutes, until pasta floats to top and is al
- Meanwhile, pour the extra virgin olive in a large pan (skillet). Add the finely sliced or chopped garlic and the chopped chili, then place on a gentle heat.
- When the garlic is golden in color, remove from the heat to avoid burning.
- Once the spaghetti is cooked, use tongs to transfer it into the sauce, taking care to add a bit of the cooking water.
- Place back on the heat and stir the pasta for a minute in the sauce. This will emulsify the oil, creating a creamier and thicker sauce.
- Remove from the heat and add the chopped parsley.
- If desired, add a little bit of parmesan shavings for more flavor.