Recipe from chefs Roberto Bernardoni and Patrizia Branchi

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Recipe from chefs Roberto Bernardoni and Patrizia Branchi


835 Fouth Ave., downtown


Operacaffe is the culinary creation of husband and wife team Patrizia Branchi and Roberto Bernardoni. Bernardoni, a prominent Italian Florentine chef and food enthusiast, ran San Diego’s La Strada for 16 years. Now he and his wife Patrizia invite you to enjoy their newest venture, Operacaffe, to experience their passion for the love of food. The latest from the culinary couple is their Quartetto Fiorentino lunch menu featuring four tastes for $10.95.


Named after the Ligurian town of Portofino, where the rich and famous dock their yachts and take vacations, this sultry shrimp pasta is laced with vodka and crushed red pepper. Of course, the chefs make their own tomato sauce, but you can substitute your favorite.


Operacaffe’s Pennette Portofino

Serves 4

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
10 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/3 cup vodka
2 cups tomato sauce (your favorite)
¼ cup heavy cream
1 pound pennette rigate

  • In a sauté pan large enough to accommodate the pennette later, heat the olive oil and sauté the shrimp until they just turn pink, about 2 minutes over medium-high heat.

  • Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper, and cook for 1 minute.

  • Pour in the vodka and light a match to the pan, keeping your hair and clothes away from the flame. As soon as the flame dies down, add the tomato sauce and cook for three more minutes. 

  • Stir in the cream, bring to a gentle boil and cook 2 more minutes.

  • Meanwhile, bring 5 quarts of water to a boil. Add the pennette and salt, and cook until they are al dente.

  • Drain and sauté with the sauce for 1 minute, adjusting the salt if needed. Serve immediately.



Categories: Food & Drink