Entertaining

Chef Michael White Shows Us How to Make Italian Essentials

Because there's nothing better than fresh mozzarella
Chef Michael White on Making Mozzarella
Photo: Sarah Bode Clark

There's an art to making mozzarella: The cheese needs to be stretched properly before getting formed into little balls or tied in knots, and it needs to stay warm during the process or it's game over. But that's easier said than done, which is why having a teacher on hand who knows what they're doing is a major bonus. Enter: Michael White.

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White, the chef and owner of New York Italian classics like Marea (pro tip: Order the octopus fusilli) and Osteria Morini, gave us a hands-on lesson at his seafood-focused spot, Due Mari, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, last Thursday at an exclusive Tasting Table event. White also showed the group how to make the perfect squash- and mascarpone-filled ravioli.  

Since one can't subsist on cheese alone (though we're willing to try), White's team passed around marinated mussels on the half shell, gnocchi dressed with tomatoes, meatballs made with prosciutto and mortadella, lightly grilled tuna with puttanesca sauce and more.

Cocktails like the Chumbawamba (vodka, Cocchi Americano Rosa, pomegranate, star anise and lemon) and the Blue Kilt (Monkey Shoulder Scotch, Herradura Reposado Tequila, Dolin Rouge Vermouth, Amaro Nonino, apple and cherry wood chips) kept the party going.

Italians know their way around desserts, too, so White whipped up a trio of bomboloni (doughnuts made with ricotta), bignè alla crema (cream puffs) and a chocolate buttermilk cake with ganache. It doesn't get any better than that.

  • Meatballs with prosciutto and mortadella are the perfect party starters.

    Photos: Sarah Bode Clark

  • Marinated mussels resting in their shells make for an elegant snack.

  • Throwing a party? An antipasti bar is always a good idea.

  • Ham, anyone?

  • Tuna and puttanesca are a match made in heaven.

  • Guests leave with a copy of White's cookbook, Classico e Moderno.

  • A cucumber limonata is perfect for the start of spring.

  • White hops into the open kitchen to make sure everything's just right.

  • The cocktail team at Due Mari take their drinks seriously.

  • Mozzarella in the making.

  • The open kitchen at Due Mari makes cooking a spectator sport.

  • Dinner's almost ready.

  • Checking out where the magic happens.

  • Pasta pro tip: Make sure your edges are closed firmly.

  • . . . And don't put too much filling inside or the pasta will break.

  • The pasta, prepped and ready to go.

  • White ends the evening on a sweet note.

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