Cooking Italian at home is such a unique and satisfying experience, it even has its own Spotify playlist. Few pleasures in life rival the heavenly aromas of a kitchen stove sauteeing traditional Italian ingredients like garlic, onion, and tomato. And if you’re like me, you consider artisanal sauces and pastas a form of currency, and a cupboard full of such items a virtual treasure chest. Don’t even get me started on the wine. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the Bitcoin of the realm.
I especially love when my culinary goods are curated by professionals who know exactly what to look for (my expertise is merely the enjoying of it). Fortunately for me, and you by extension, I’ve discovered a local company that knows exactly what I want, even before I do and at reasonable prices. ElevenTwelve is the team of four former football players: Paolo Tempo, Giorgio Tavecchio, Davide Merlo, and Vincenzo D’Amato. This feasting foursome seeks out the best local artisans and Old World vintners who share their passion for quality.
ElevenTwelve imports their wines from the most prestigious vineyards of Italy’s Langhe region, an area synonymous with world-renowned food and wine culture. It’s from here that they carefully select award-winning wines to share with their customers. Among them: Barolo DOCG, Barbaresco DOCG, Barbera D’Alba DOC, Dogliani DOCG, Langhe DOC Nebbiolo, and Dedicato Langhe DOC Rosato (in Italian wine law, a DOC or DOCG Denominazione di Origine Controllata, or Denominazione di origine controllata e garantita, respectively, are the highest designation of quality among Italian wines; the latter even being guaranteed by the government.)
The team sources their pasta from family-owned pasta makers using only the finest ingredients. Among the varieties are classics such as tagliatelle al tartufo and pappardelle all’ uovo, or contemporary favorites such as organic multigrain rigatoni and pasta al football (remember, they’re football players).
The company’s sauces and spreads are made by family-owned shops. They include everything from bruschetta for toasted bread to gourmet fruit jams to truffle honey, which will perfect any cheese plate. And because we all have a sweet tooth, they even have a selection of dessert custards.
I got a recommendation from Tavecchio, who, by the way, is a former NFL placekicker (hence, the thumbnail image!) and had one of the greatest nicknames in the history of the sport: “Italian Ice.” So, he suggests the organic trecce pasta — al dente, of course — topped with the Ligurian basil pesto. And to complement it, the Dogliani DOCG, with its fruit-forward palate and crisp but smooth finish. To top it off, he suggested the zabajone al marsala, a sweet spread that can be smoothed atop a crepe for a delicious treat.