In My Kitchen: Antonio Laudisio, Laudisio Ristorante Italiano

Antonio Laudisio, owner of Laudisio Ristorante Italiano in Boulder, has been serving up carefully crafted Italian food since 1989. He and his wife, Patricia, keep the same standards for their home kitchen.

August 2007

Kitchen Cred
As a first-generation American, Antonio Laudisio's Italian immigrant parents put him to work in their mom-and-pop restaurant in Miami. That is, until the family learned about U.S. child labor laws. "I got busted on child labor," he says. But that didn't stop him from loving the kitchen: Antonio studied philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris, immersing himself in French food culture, before returning to the States and opening Laudisio Ristorante Italiano in 1989. The Boulder spot recently moved to its current location in Boulder's new 29th Street Mall.

Super Shopper
"I like to go shopping right before I cook. I just go to the market and see what turns me on at the time. Maybe I'll see a really fresh fish and just build around that."

Back to Basics
"Bread is the touchstone, the constant throughout the meal. It's no mystery why bread and wine became the sacraments."

Be Grate
"I found this cheese grater at the Old Market in Rome," says Antonio. "It's really primitive, just a spike and a drum, but it's really effective."

Flour Power
Antonio loves this Urbani white truffle flour. "I add this to sauces for complexity. It gives us another range of flavor." Urbani's Farini con Aroma di Tartufo Bianco, $19 for an .875 ounce jar, available through www.amazon.com.

Mondo Vino
One of the couple's favorite white wines is the 2005 "Colli di Lapio" Fiano di Avellino by Clelia Romano in southern Italy. "This is made by one of the few women winemakers in Italy," he says. An added bonus: The wine is imported by his son, Tavio Laudisio, who is a partner in Giuliana Imports, an Italian wine import business.

Favorite Tool
Antonio loves his 30-inch rolling pin made by Marty Hine. "It's a piece of purple heart dragonwood. It's dense and heavy, and impervious to anything."

Culinary Wisdom
"I like to break rules. It's OK to wash your mushrooms, especially in this dry climate. It adds a little moisture."

Quick Tip
For the best flavor use only the outside of the tomato. "It has all the sweetness from where the sun has been kissing it."

RECIPE: Coconut Pineapple Tart (Serves 6)

For Sweet Dough

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 9 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom

For Coconut-Pineapple Filling

  • 1/2 cup diced pineapple
  • 1 tart shell
  • 7 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups dried unsweetened coconut
  • 2 eggs

For Sweet Dough: Sift together sugar, flour, salt, and cardamom. Place butter in a food processor and process until smooth. Add flour mixture and the egg, and continue to process until a dough forms. Remove the dough and wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes remove the dough and roll to 1/4 inch thick. Place dough into a greased and floured tart shell. Refrigerate to the point of freezing.

For Coconut-Pineapple Filling: Scatter diced pineapple over the bottom of the refrigerated tart shell, slightly pressing the fruit into the crust. Place the shell into the freezer for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix butter and sugar until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Add coconut.

Remove tart from freezer. Pour butter mixture evenly into the shell. Bake at 350° until the top is golden brown and the center of the tart is fully baked. Allow to cool before slicing. Garnish with powdered sugar and your favorite scoop of gelato.