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Cookbook author, journalist and food historian Katie Parla

Katie’s second cookbook, Food of the Italian South, is out now and available where books are sold ($30). The book focuses on undiscovered regions of South Italy including Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, and Puglia.


Wednesday, March 20th – Pop-up at Lost Lake’s Stranger in Paradise (3154 W. Diversey Ave.)

  • Katie’s book features cocktails and liqueurs from Italy’s South and she’ll be showing five of them off at Lost Lake’s bar-within-a-bar Stranger in Paradise. The cocktails, $12 each, will feature ingredients such as Strega, Amaro, Ratafia (cherry vermouth), Nucillo (walnut liqueur) and others from the area.  Lost Lake’s Executive Chef Fred Noinaj will offer up a selection of small plates from the book too including: orecchiette with broccoli rabe and spicy pork sausage, trofie with mint pesto and tomatoes, and olive oil poached tuna, endive and olive, $12-15 for the dishes.
  • Books will also be available for purchase ($30).
  • Time: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Thursday, March 21st – a Pizza Happy Hour & Book Singing at Bonci Wicker Park (1566 N. Damen Ave.)

  • On her last Chicago top, Katie will be with her friends at Bonci’s Wicker Park location for a pizza happy hour and book signing. Guests will be able to chat with Katie, purchase a book ($30) and enjoy the Katie special pizza: ’Nduja, Potato, Red sauce, mozzarella, Pecorino Crotonese and basil, 15.99/lb. The pizza is actually available at both Bonci Chicago locations March 11-31st but will be able to learn more about the combination from Katie on the 21st.
  • Time: 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. 


Food of the Italiy South By Katie Parla

Sicchie d’a Munnezza

Spaghetti with Dried Fruits and Nuts

This is one of her favorite dishes from the book appropriately called garbage can pasta – a pasta dish with leftover nuts and dried fruit from the pantry that is typical of Campania.

Serves 4 to 6


1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

1/3 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped

1/3 cup pine nuts

1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

½ (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand

¼ cup Gaeta olives, rinsed and roughly chopped

¼ cup capers, rinsed and roughly chopped

¼ cup raisins

2 teaspoons dried oregano

Sea salt

1 pound spaghettoni or spaghetti


Sicchie d’a munnezza, which translates to “garbage can,” doesn’t exactly conjure thoughts of deliciousness, but I assure you this Christmas-season dish is super tasty. The ingredients, a potpourri of scraps like dried fruits and nuts that might be left over from the preparation of a savory and sweet feast, are simmered in oil and tossed with spaghetti in the town of Sant’Anastasia near Mount Vesuvius. It’s the signature dish at ‘E Curti, where cook Angela Ceriello prepares it in warped aluminum pans in her cavernous kitchen all year long. If you stop by, be sure to ask Angela for a peek at her collection of copper pots, and don’t forget to wrap up the meal with Nucillo, their homemade walnut liquor.


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the garlic and cook until it turns golden, about 5 minutes. Add the walnuts, hazelnuts, and pine nuts and cook until the pine nuts begin to color, about 5 minutes. Add the parsley and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes, olives, capers, and raisins. Simmer until the tomatoes have reduced slightly and lost their raw flavor, about 15 minutes, then add the oregano. Season with salt.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Salt the water so it tastes like the ocean. When the salt has dissolved, add the spaghettoni and cook until al dente.  Drain the spaghetti, reserving the pasta cooking water, and add the pasta and ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water to the sauce, stirring to coat. Add a bit more pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce as needed. Serve immediately.