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Fabio Trabocchi’s “Braised” Pasta with Tomatoes and Spring Onions

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We here at WOT have tried many pasta dishes, but the technique of this recipe will turn you into a five-star chef at home!

We are delighted to feature Michelin Star Chef, Fabio Trabocchi (pronounced “Truh BOH kee”) and his delicious recipe for “Braised” Pasta with Tomatoes and Spring Onions — also known as, Penne al Pomodoro e Cipollotti —  on our International Chef Series!

Chef Trabocchi has many credits to his name including restaurateur to six restaurants. Be sure to check our Chef Trabocchi’s website and his Instagram account as well as his amazing restaurants: Fiola DC, Sfoglina Pasta House, Del Mar de Fabio Trabocchi, Fiola Mare  and Fiola at Dopolavoro Venezia.

What makes this recipe special is the unusual method of cooking pasta. It is similar to the way the liquid is added when making a risotto, and works beautifully with small shapes like penne or orecchiette. A really good imported pasta will be quite porous, which allows it to soak up the liquid bit by bit, just as rice does in risotto. But slow-dried artisanal pasta also has enough of a finish that it maintains its shape as it becomes perfectly al dente.

Adding the liquid to the pasta a little at a time as it cooks means some of the starch in the pasta gradually seeps out, making for a rich creaminess in the sauce.

Tip: For this dish to shine, be sure to use a high-quality extra virgin olive oil, as well as slow-dried pasta from Italy.

This braising technique works with many sauces… You can even use it for carbonara (then fold in the eggs at the end). And in the summer, you can make this dish with red ripe tomatoes and lots of basil, omitting the onions. If you can find them, ramps are a delicious substitute for the spring onions during their short season.

Fabio Trabocch's “Braised” Pasta with Tomatoes and Spring Onions | Penne al Pomodoro e Cipollotti

Servings 6


  • 6 spring onions
  • 3 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as Verdicchio or Pinot Grigio
  • 3 cups tomato sauce
  • 12 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut into large chunks or 12 canned plum tomatoes, halved, seeded and cut into chunks
  • freshly ground white pepper
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces


  • Rinse the spring onions in cool water and pat dry. Trim the root ends. Separate the stems and leaves, and slice the stems into 3 pieces each. Cut the leaves into pieces roughly the same size as the penne. Place the stems and leaves in a bowl, cover with a damp paper towel, and refrigerate.
  • Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Season lightly with salt, and keep warm.
  • Heat ½ cup of the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and sweat until soft and translucent, about 3minutes. Add the penne and toast for 1 minute, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula or spoon.
  • Add the white wine and bring to a simmer, stirring. Simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Add 1 ½ cups chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, then add the sauce. Bring back to a simmer, stirring gently from time to time. Slowly add the remaining chicken stock, ½ cup at a tie, cooking and stirring occasionally, as you would risotto, until the penne is al dente and there is still a little cooking liquid in the pan, about 10 minutes total.
  • Meanwhile, combine the remaining ½ cup olive oil and the thinly sliced garlic in a large sauté pan and heat over medium-high heat. When the garlic begins to sizzle add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, andsauté for 3 minutes. Add the spring onions and cook for 1 minute more.
  • Add the tomatoes and spring onions to the penne. Adjust the heat to medium-high and cook for 2 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb some of the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the basil, and serve immediately.
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More about Fabio Trabocchi — Italian chef and restaurateur:

Originally from the Marche region on Italy’s Adriatic coast, Fabio Trabocchi is widely celebrated among the world’s leading restaurateurs.  A Food & Wine Magazine Best New Chef and recipient of the esteemed James Beard Award, Trabocchi has passionately pursued the goal of creating a world class hospitality organization offering the finest dining experiences in the world. His growing restaurant group, with properties in Washington DC, Northern Virginia, Miami, and Venice, Italy, has brought him many accolades, yet his inspiration remains grounded in family traditions from Italy, Spain, and the United States.

Whether at his Michelin-starred fine-dining flagship, Fiola; the Spanish seafood and tapas mecca, Del Mar; the glamorous destination for Italian coastal cuisine, Fiola Mare; or the three locations of his neighborhood pasta house, Sfoglina – Trabocchi’s signature remains an uncompromising commitment to quality and making guests feel special at every visit.

Since 2009, Trabocchi has built Fabio Trabocchi Restaurants into one of the preeminent restaurant groups in the world.  Trabocchi has received acclaim from media including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Food & Wine, Esquire, Departures, GQ, CBS, NBC, Washingtonian, and dozens of others.

by Camila Alves McConaughey