Recipe: Tonnarelli with Chef Vic Casanova

Tonnarelli by Vic Casanova

Tonnarelli with Chef Vic Casanova

WHEW! This week has been busy, and next week will be even busier. I still have Tacolandia to report on, and a lot of mouth-watering features on the horizon, so keep a lookout! So, in a previous life (career) I was a nanny, and much like the might garden weed, children grow up, as mine have. Today, the youngest of a family I nannied for turned 16. I’m ecstatic to still be part of their lives, even if they are (nearly) grown-up and able to take care of themselves. Now, I’m off to again to assist bride Steffie with some last-minute DIY assemblage for her gift bags, then back home to prepare for my own birthday festivities. July has always been my busiest month of the year!

Chef Vic Casanova

Let’s give a warm welcome to guest Vic Casanova, Executive Chef and Owner of West Hollywood’s Italian eatery, Gusto, has always been committed to using the best of ingredients and hand-making each of Gusto’s six pastas for eight hours every day. As a chef and businessman, being a father always takes precedent in his life, and in the midst of preparing to open his second restaurant this summer and experiencing the warm months with his 3-year-old daughter and newborn son, Chef Casanova loves being able to cook and spend time with his family simultaneously. As a perfect summer dish, and his daughter’s favorite meal, Chef Casanova would love to share his recipe for Gusto’s infamous Tonnarelli, complete with parmigiano reggiano and the summer months’ freshest tomatoes and basil.

with Tomatoes, Basil, & Parmigiano Reggiano

Courtesy of owner/executive chef Vic Casanova


San Marzano Tomato Sauce

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely minced
6 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
2 t chopped fresh oregano
½ medium carrot, finely minced
2 28-ounce cans peeled san marzano whole tomatoes, passed thru a food mill
20 basil leaves, hand torn
¾ c parmigiano reggiano, grated
¼ c extra virgin olive oil, high quality finishing oil
Kosher salt to taste

Fresh Tonnarelli

2 cups caputo “00” pasta flour, plus more as needed
4 large eggs
⅓ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water


San Marzano Tomato Sauce

1.In a 3 quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the onion, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and cook until translucent.

2. Add the oregano and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often.

3. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt.

Fresh Tonnarelli

1. Measure 2 full cups of unsifted flour and add it all in the bowl of a food processor; process for a few seconds to aerate.

2. Mix the eggs with the salt in a separate bowl.

3. With the food processor running, quickly pour in all the eggs through the feed tube. Process continuously, as a dough forms and gathers on the blade and cleans the side of the bowl. If the dough does not come together or clean the bowl after 30 seconds or so, stop the machine, scrape down the sides, and sprinkle in a couple of tablespoons more flour.

4. Process for a few more seconds – and add more flour if necessary – until a fairly firm ball of dough forms.

5. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface, and knead by hand for a minute or more, until it is smooth and firm. If it’s at all sticky, incorporate more flour as you knead. Press the dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for at least 1/2 hour. Cut the dough in four equal pieces.

6. Roll each piece through a pasta machine at progressively narrower settings, to form long wide strips, about 1/8 inch thick (no thinner) and as wide as your machine allows. If the strip grows longer than the strings of your tonnarelli, cut it crosswise into two shorter strips.

7. To cut the tonnarelli, lay a strip of dough over the strings of a chitarra. Using gentle but constant pressure, roll your pin lengthwise up and down the pasta, so the strings cut it cleanly into strands of tonnarelli that fall onto the tray of the chitarra. Dust the freshly cut strands with flour, and gather them into a loose nest on a floured tray. Cut all the strips into tonnarelli, and collect them in floured nests.

8. Leave the tray uncovered at room temperature until you are ready to cook the pasta. To cook, bring to boiling a large pot of well-salted water (at least 6 quarts with a tablespoon or more of salt). Using your hand or a colander, shake excess flour off the nests of tonnarelli and drop them into the pot. Stir and separate the strands as the water returns to a rolling boil, then cook the pasta for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just before al dente.


Finishing Touches:

1. Add cooked pasta & ½ c water from the pot that cooked the pasta to the 3 qt. pot with cooked tomato sauce.

2. With the heat on medium, keep moving the pasta in the pot to ensure it absorbs the sauce. When sauce is clinging to the pasta turn off the heat.

3. Add basil, parmigiano reggiano and mix well while slowly adding extra virgin olive oil. Then season to taste.

Buon appetito!

High-Five Friday

1. Anime Expo

I’ve not glanced at the largest anime convention in North America since 2008, when I attended for one day to co-host the Jrock Events in honor of one of my favorite musicians. Over the last 10 months, though, my momentum and interest in what was once an annual tradition for me kept gaining speed until finally I solidified plans to attend on Saturday. That doesn’t mean I haven’t already been down there – twice – to accompany friends and pick up a badge for a friend meeting me tomorrow. Anime Expo has always been large, but this year is reminiscent of Comic-Con 2006, the last SDCC I attended due to overbearing crowds and little to no progress in getting to the events I wanted to get to. I have to wake up at the ass-crack of dawn tomorrow just to give myself ample time for the line of the Sailor Moon panel. Not something I am looking forward to, but a small price to pay to capture a bit of nostalgia.


Tomorrow is the world debut of Sailormoon Crystal, the official re-boot anime of the classic magical girl anime. While Sailormoon was not my first anime by any means, it was the anime that made me propel myself head-first into the world of Japanese pop culture. Words can’t even begin to capture what Sailor Moon means to me and how infinite my love for her world is and will always be.

3. Central Air Conditioning

Enough said.

4. Trying new things

Ever since starting Glass of Win and getting into my kitchen to really learn how to cook, I’ve broadened my palate by leaps and bounds. Still, there are certain foods I’ve yet to try, either out of wariness or lack of opportunity. Last week I had the opportunity to try chicken feet – something I never had the desire to try. I’ll be honest, I disliked it, but better I try and know then wonder if I am missing out on something.

5. Mushy, junky TV

As much as I love to tackle big reading during the summer, I also like to let my brain rest and turn a bit to mush with the worst kind of television imaginable. I only binge a couple of times a year on crap like this (honestly, shows I am too shamed to even name here!), and am only sorry I am not sorry about it!

A Taste of Summer

Summer is for

August Sunset over the San Gabriel Valley
Sunsets that look like paintings…

A Morning in Highland Park
Discovering a new summer drink…

Highland Park
Midweek movie deals…

Home Grown
Fresh fruit off the vine…

My Parasol and I

Bee on Rose
Stopping to smell the roses…

Birthday Kebabs
Backyard barbecues…

Going Cukoo
Flea markets…

White Sangria
Mother effing sangria!

What does summer mean to you?

High-Five Friday

This week has been a roller-coaster of highs and lows. There is a lot of preparation for my upcoming surgery, including an out-patient procedure on the 24th of July just to get a better idea of how my heart and liver pressures are doing, and that pre-op running around has me running ragged and frazzled. As this is all happening less than one year of another surgery, and less than 3 years from another surgery that took 7 months to heal from due to complications, you can guess exactly how thrilled I am and how difficult it may be for me to come up with another list of positives. The point is to try, though!



Tacolandia and the LA Street Food Festival wound up being scheduled on the same day. I received a media ticket to both, so I had to make a Sophie’s Choice with a good, old fashioned and impartial coin flip. Then a pro/con list, because I am not neurotic enough. Tacolandia won out because I’d already attended LASFF three times, and it isn’t as easily accessible by public transit. If I’m in town during LASFF next year, though, I’ll be sure to make that event my priority. Whichever event you choose, I hope you have a fabulously delicious time! I can’t wait for the taco-laden fiesta.


Is it cheating if I mentioned this last week? …No. Dog and house-sitting is going well so far, and I’ve already fired up the grill twice and had both Evan and my sister in law over (separately) for a nice summer dinner. Having to care for the dog gives me a new appreciation for my slightly more independent cats, although I relish the fact that I can leave food and cords out without worrying about an animal leaping up and mercilessly devouring both.


I kept it fairly under wraps, but at the end of last summer, I had a decent sized heartbreak. I’ll not go into details, but suffice to say, I felt no desire to date for a while. I tried again a couple of nights ago, and while I don’t think I’ll be pursuing the gentleman I went out with, the point is I went out there and did it. Woot, vulnerability.


Not really something in and of itself I’d like to give a hefty high-five to, but I did make an appointment with him under the guise of checking out my still healing finger, when in reality, I plan to say goodbye. Most people, as in people not chronically ill, list their GP as their primary physician, whereas all of my GP’s have kind of been the doctor I see the least. Dr. H has always been a god sport, and taken care of all of the run-of-the-mill ailments that luckily do not plague me as often as my more pressing health issues do. I’m sad he is retiring, and a bit more than nervous about having to break in a new GP (I’ll probably see one of his partners, who is my mom’s GP, since she’ll have some notion of my health from having undoubtedly heard it from my mom), but I want to give the man my thanks before he settles into retirement for good.

Shrimp Bhuna - Electric Lotus
Shrimp Bhuna from Electric Lotus


Monday was bad. Very bad. After a breakdown at the doctors, mom took me to dinner and I finally had the wherewithal to remember that one of my favorite Indian restaurants, Electric Lotus, is on the way home. My sister and I went there years ago and have been singing its praise ever since. It moved to a neighboring spot last year, but it still serves up some of the finest Indian cuisine Los Angeles has to offer. I stuck with my same old, shrimp bhuna, while mom went balls to the wall with garlic chicken tikka, lentils and bhindi masala (okra) – plus garlic naan, rice and vegetarian samosa. It was an all out feast, and judging by the way she is still going on about the food, it won’t be long before we’re back.

How was your week? What are you looking forward to in the coming days?

High-Five Friday!

I have been trying to get my shit together to start this series for, oooohhh, about two months now. This is sort of a mash-up between “Things I love Thursday” and “The Friday Five”, which after a little research, seems to be fairly open to interpretation. Sometimes it’s always really easy to micro-focus on the negatives and obsess over the stressors in our lives, but I’m hoping High-Five Friday will help teach me how to stay focused on the positive. Five reasons I’m looking forward to the future rather than dreading it.

Ready? Here we go:

1. Steffie’s Hen Party in San Diego

An event I’ve been both dreading (financially, alcohol-themed shenanigans, the stress of co-piloting an event) and looking forward to at the same time. We leave in a couple of hours, and I know I am going to have a good time if I allow myself to have a good time. Tonight will kick things off the right way, with a reservation at Lips San Diego dinner and drag show. Nothing will perk up my mood more than a fabulously bawdy drag queen possibly embarrassing the hell out of my best friend.

2. Cleaning

Cleaning is very cathartic, and this week I tackled my room once more. Having a floor I can actually see and walk on without tripping over piles of clean clothes I was too lazy to put away is awesome. Now if I can tackle all of the little piles of clutter, THEN I’d feel super powered.

3. Cool Summer Haircut

My sister, shortly after becoming my sister, turned to me one summer and asked, “Hey, do you wanna buzzcut?” To which I replied, “Sure, why not?” What followed was a series of undercuts I received for several summers to help thin out my luxuriously thick locks, to help keep the summer heat off of me. I decided to embrace the long hair undercut again and have had no regrets.

4. House/Dog Sitting Adventure

Next week I embark on my annual dog/house-sitting adventure, which means I get to play house and enjoy cable TV, a stocked fridge and a grill any master chef would be proud to barbecue on. It’s going to be awesome.

5. Summer Cook-Outs!

Piggy-backing off #4, I am looking forward to tackling many new dishes this summer and mastering all of them. Among them: Grilled octopus, Boiling Crab dupe recipe for “The Whole She-Bang” shrimp, pizza on the grill, and the perfect potato salad.

Do you have anything to high-five about? Share in the comments!

Sunday Social

Don’t ask about this week. Just…don’t. All I can say is that I am ever so pleased May is officially behind me. Time for another episode Sunday Social ~ as hosted by Neely and the gang.

1. Introduce yourself and your blog to us: My name is Rachael. I’m a big geeky dork and Glass of Win is my ode to all of my adventures in food & travel – with a splash of lifestyle topics thrown in for good measure.

2. What is your favorite form of Social Media and why? Twitter. I’ve met SO many excellent friends on Twitter. All of my friends in Ireland were met via Twitter; I participate in fabulous food blogger chats; I find the best links there…It’s a constant conversation, and that is my medium.

3. What made you start a blog? Well, Glass of Win is not my first venture in operating my own website. It is, however, the most public and dedicated I have been to a single website, and for that I’ll take a slight bow. What inspired the inception of Glass of Win? My desire to talk about all of the things I held dear: food, travel, fashion, geeky shit and my life with a congenital heart defect. Some topics have fallen by the wayside over the years, but where inspiration strikes, I shall follow it.

4. What do you feel the most meaningful/special post you’ve written is? I’ve stopped doling out advice, but 7 Steps to Evaluate Energy Vampires & Eliminate Bad Relationships is something I stand by as being one of the best pieces I’ve written simply because I practice every word I preached in it.

That’s all I’ve got. As I’ve said, this week was pure hell and I am looking to tomorrow – A new month, a new episode of Welcome to Night Vale, a new planetary alignment, the works. I hope June brings each and every one of us the peace and serenity we all deserve.

Geek Girl Life: Mangled Finger Edition

One week ago I had the kitchen mishap nobody ever wants to publicly admit to. I’ll admit to it because that, along with five painful stitches and the disuse of my right-hand index finger, is the punishment I must adhere to for this level of careless stupidity. Without going into gory details, I’ll say two words: hand blender.
You can fill in the rest.

This is my first time receiving surface stitches awake. I’m used to the deeply placed kind that come after major surgery – the kind that dissolve like magic only the miracle of science can provide. Not so with these. The final (hopefully) punishment will be having them removed. Everyone says it’s worse going in, but we’ll see come Saturday morning.

I’m left-handed, so my life isn’t impeded too much, but I am still hampered and cannot accomplish basic tasks like washing dishes, chopping, making my bed; even typing has to be tweaked.

Anyway, enough of that. I decided to go with another “Old School Blogging” meme, as found on Miss Elaineous Life, so please enjoy and feel free to keep up the meme going.

What is the last thing you watched on TV? RuPaul’s Drag Race Season Finale. I won’t say who won, just that I am very pleased with the winner.

When did you last step outside? What were you doing? My mother and I walked to Twohey’s, a local restaurant that serves pretty darn great American diner food. She indulged my love for sitting at the counter and didn’t give me shit for ordering a chicken fried steak and a mini hot fudge sundae. With the day I had, I needed it.

What is on the walls of the room you are in? Nine framed photos of my food photography, plus a framed published article of mine. After 28 years, I finally received a wall of pride in my mother’s home. My grandfather and brother have had their artwork proudly displayed in our home my whole life, so this is a personal definition of success for me.

If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy? Health-insurance, I suppose. After that, a nice California bungalow for my mom (or a condo), a quaint house for myself in the same town, a car for my brother, a honeymoon for KD & Guille, and a year-long trip around the world for myself. I’d take various friends when their schedules permitted to join me.

Tell me something about you that most people don’t know. The first item I ever sold on eBay was a Sega Game Gear – complete with its case, a magnifying screen and The Lion King game.

I got over $100 for it.

Who made the last incoming call on your phone? Mommy.

If you could change something about your home, without worry about expense or mess, what would you do? Uproot the carpeting and put in faux hardwood flooring. I’d also like to paint, but the flooring is more of a big deal to me because I am not a big fan of carpet anymore.

What was the last thing you bought? Chili Con Queso Dip from Bristol Farms. It was too delicious to resist.

Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving? Hm. I’d prefer hang-gliding, but since that isn’t an option, I suppose sky diving.

If you could eat lunch with one famous person, who would it be? Anthony & Ottavia Bourdain. Though I’d rather dine with friends I rarely see, like KD and Evin and Liz and Zuzu and Spicy and Fiona.

Anthony & Ottavia Bourdain

Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? – WHAT? IT’S A STORE.

Is the glass half empty or half full? Neither. I drank it all.

What’s the farthest-away place you’ve been? Sydney, Australia.

wtf, mate?

What’s under your bed? Containers to organize my files, craft and artwork supplies. Some boxes and my Disneyland Fantasyland tea set.

What is your favorite time of the day? Eatin’ time.

What inspires you? Depends on what the inspiration is for. If it’s for writing, anything from music to a random spurt of energy inspires me. If it’s life overall, the crushing fear of failure inspires me to get off my ass and create, create, create!

Well, that was a nice break! OK, back to serious blogging soon.