TikTok star The Pasta Queen, aka Nadia Caterina Munno, talks with David and Renee about pasta, Sophia Loren’s mad cooking skills, and her secrets to making phenomenal Italian food videos.

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David Leite: Renee?

Renee Schettler: Mm-hmm.

David: Do you TikTok?

Renee: Do I TikTok?

David: Do you TikTok?

Renee: I just recently began to go on TikTok. Someone enticed me to check it out, and I watched. I like to watch.

David: You like to watch, eh?

Renee: I haven’t uploaded any videos.

David: Okay. Adam, what about you? Do you TikTok?

Adam: The only TikTok I’ve seen is of my wife and my daughter doing all the dance routines and uploading those becuase they have a great time.

David: No. Really?

Adam: I’ve never actually seen them but I’ve see them doing it, yeah.

Renee: That’s fantastic.

David: Then I’ve got to know their handle because I want to see them, because I do the dance routines all the time.

Renee: David, obviously, you like TikTok. I get texts from you at some ungodly hour at night, and you’re three hours ahead of me, and you’re like, “I’m on TikTok.”

David: I know, I know. I’m sorry, I am. But the thing that I discovered is there’s a whole world of food out there in TikTok land that is different from other platforms. Like, for example, I was scrolling through food TikTok, that’s what they call it, food TikTok. And there’s like men-without-shirts TikTok, and there’s gymnastic TikTok, you know, and all kinds of TikToks out there. There was this beautiful woman with big eyes and long dark hair, and she was close up to the camera, and her name was The Pasta Queen, and she was holding up a tray of Sicilian cannoli. Then she had this wicked big hair toss and she said, “Ingrrrrrrrredients.” And I immediately just fell for her.

Renee: Of course you did. Finally, someone with a flair for drama, just like you.

David: Exactly, a drama queen, just like moi. And that’s why this woman has 1.2 million followers, and she gained them in just five months. And I watched all of Nadia Caterina Munno’s TikToks that night. That’s her name. And I sent her a DM on Instagram telling her that she had to be on the show, and she wrote back within minutes saying, “Let’s do it.” So, this is the first time ever two queens will be on the show at the same time.

Renee: Hey, what about me?

David: Oh, you’re a princess.

Renee: We’re going to talk about that later.

David: All right.

Renee: I’m Renee Schettler, editor-in-chief of the website, Leite’s Culinaria.

David: And I’m David Leite, its founder. And this is Talking With My Mouth Full, a podcast devoted to all things food, the people who make it, and the stories that make the people. Welcome to the show, Your Highness.

Renee: Welcome, Nadia.

Nadia Caterina Munno−The Pasta Queen

Nadia Caterina Munno, the Pasta Queen, holding a plate of pasta and winking
: The Pasta Queen

The Pasta Queen: Hi, guys. Hi, Renee!

Renee: I feel like I should maybe curtsy.

David: Yes, I feel like I should bow or something. So, speaking of Your Highness, it’s very funny that you’re called “The Pasta Queen” because your family really is pasta royalty, and they have this very long history with pasta. So, can you talk to us about that?

The Pasta Queen: Absolutely. So, I think I was born into a dynasty, as you want to call it, because I felt that it was very fitting of me to be called “The Pasta Queen” because of the heritage, and the history in the pasta industries in the center south of Italy. So, my great-great-grandparents in the 1800s, around 1816, 1817, started off a pasta factory, down about 20 minutes from Gragnano, which is a little town in the province of Naples. And that’s where all the biggest pasta manufacturing companies are nowadays. But at the time, it was just starting. I mean, you can imagine it was, you know, much smaller than it is now. The demand was much less than it is nowadays.

The Pasta Queen: And so, what they were doing, they were getting all the farmers and the landlords in the nearby lands to also provide and give the wheat and the crops, and provide the extra wheat they had. So, my family not only owned the pasta factory, but then the wheat was so much that then they would also provide Gragnano with some of the wheat because it was overflowing.

The Pasta Queen: So, they had it for quite a few generations. They shut it down right at the beginning of the Second World War. Depression hit. I mean, there was a lot of bombing, especially in that area. So, all of my family, they had a cantina, which is basically an underground cave, where we now keep the wine, and the food, and all sorts of goodies. But at the time, it was built as a shelter, as a bomb shelter. So, to this day, me and my brother go down there ,and it’s a little bit creepy, but it’s also kind of cool, because we keep finding things from back then and…Yeah, but basically, the pasta factory was put on pause.

The Pasta Queen: And then after that, my family just carried on as landlords providing all the goods, including wine, produce, wheat to the local agricultural consortium.

David: And you were called the Macaronis, right?

The Pasta Queen: Actually, still today, when they see us on the street, they’re like, “Oh, Macaroni!” Because it’s just one of those surnames that was given to us because of the fact that we used to lay miles of pasta to dry. And the estate is still the same estate. It was passed down. So, the pasta factory virtually was at the location where my family now lives.

First memories of making pasta

Renee: And what about actually making pasta at home, not in the factory? Do you have any of your earliest memories—

The Pasta Queen: Yes.

Renee:—of pasta making?

A patterned bowl filled with lemony fettuccine alfredo on a white and gold plate with a glass of water and dish of Parmesan on the side.
: Hélène Dujardin

The Pasta Queen: Yes, 100%. I think the earliest one I can remember myself was when I was five and I was making gnocchi and fettuccine with my grandma, Caterina. She’s the one that was, in our family, the most popular and most talented cook. And she could do pretty much anything. She would be making the tomato sauces and making the wine, grinding the wheat.

David: Wow.

The Pasta Queen: Yeah. Butchering meat. I mean, she was very, very talented, and very skilled in all sorts of food prepping.

Coming to America

Renee: So, you came to the States, food has always been part of your life, your story, your passion. Where did work and food connect? When did you start doing the videos?

The Pasta Queen: So, I’m like a party animal.

David: No kidding.

The Pasta Queen: I don’t know if you can tell by my TikToks.

David: Yeah. Little obvious.

Renee: Yeah. Never would have guessed. Never would have guessed.

David: A little obvious.

The Pasta Queen: So, I was constantly trying to do food, whether events, or company events, friends, hosting someone else’s fundraisers at my place. Right? I have a very large home here in Florida. It’s almost 8,000 square feet, so it’s perfect for parties.

David: Wow.

The Pasta Queen: Yeah. It’s wonderful. I have about an acre of land. It’s really beautiful, massive gardens. The kitchen is… I made it so that I could be a hostess and hold large amazing Italian parties.

David: Yes. That’s very clear from the TikTok.

Her TikTok career begins

The Pasta Queen: Yeah. So basically, I started doing that more and more. And then I was like, “Oh my God, I wish I could do this full-time”. It was when lockdown hit that I went into it with the intention of doing it, and it was the first time I actually was like, “I’m going to do this. I’m locked in my house. My company is on standby.” There was nothing better to do, really. I mean, we couldn’t go outside much. We couldn’t mingle with friends. So I had a lot of time on my hands, and I felt it was okay to put the company on pause because it was basically forced on us, right?

David: Right. It was. All of us.

The Pasta Queen: Exactly. We were all forced. So I was extremely happy to just be cooking in my kitchen. And me and my brother and my cousin just started filming, and we still to this day use our iPhone, and we just make these TikToks where it’s super fast. I then I think it was about mid-March when we got told, “Okay, that’s it. Lockdown is happening. It’s mandatory.” And it got really serious. So at that point, I started posting regularly. It was about March. I was posting at least once a day.

David: Wow.

The Pasta Queen: I know. And I started doing all of my favorite recipes first.

David: One of the things that’s so surprising to me is that even though these videos are less than a minute long, you are actually teaching people how to cook.

The Pasta Queen: Yes.

David: It’s amazing. How hard is that?

The Pasta Queen: I find it extremely easy.

David: How so? How so?

The Pasta Queen: Okay. So first of all, I love talking. I really do.

David: Really? I never knew that.

The Pasta Queen: I could talk for hours and hours. And so for me, when I do a YouTube, I got a little bit sidetracked because–

David: Yeah. But your YouTubes are absolutely hysterical.

The Pasta Queen: Okay, good.

Renee: They really are.

David: I mean, the mistakes that happen, and the joking that happens between you and your brother, Ago. It’s so funny.

Renee: And it’s great to go to YouTube from your TikTok, because on TikTok, where I discovered you, I left wanting more.

David: Yeah.

The Pasta Queen: Exactly.

Renee: Not the recipes. I could understand, which as David said, that there’s an artistry to that.

David: Yeah.

The Pasta Queen: Yes.

Renee: But just your personality.

The Pasta Queen: Yeah. Well, thank you guys. I really appreciate it. And love you back. I’m feeling it. I’m feeling it.

David: Yeah. Good. Feel the love.

The Pasta Queen: I love the fact that I can create a little bit of different type of content for each platform. I love Instagram because a lot of the times you’ll see my stories and I put like little bloopers, behind the scenes.

David: Yes. Yep.

The origin of the hair flip

The Pasta Queen: And I’m actually about to upload something really, really funny that my brother did when he was making whipped cream. Oh my god. But I really love giving a little bit of a more down-to-earth Nadia behind the scenes. On TikTok, you’ll see a really dramatic pasta queen.

The Pasta Queen

David: Yeah. So when did the hair flips start?

Renee: Yes.

David: I love the hair flip.

The Pasta Queen: So I am a lover of telenovelas, and drama, twist and plots, suspenseful moments.

Renee: That’s clear.

The Pasta Queen: Right?

David: Yeah. Absolutely.

The Pasta Queen: I love it. That’s my preference. When I’m watching something on TV or Netflix or whatever at the cinema, I’m looking for suspense, drama, plot twists, and I wanted to accentuate that part of myself, and I wanted everybody to know that that’s what I love the most. I love that about myself. I’m actually very flamboyant and loud, and obviously, I don’t go around flipping my hair at every turn.

David: Right. Of course.

The Pasta Queen: But in my mind, I dream in telenovelas.

David: That’s a great line. “I dream in telenovelas.”

The Pasta Queen: Yes!

Renee: Just a little bit more embellishment to everything.

The Pasta Queen: Yes! And everything is kind of like a little more dramatic and–

David: And I love how Ago is in the back, and when you do the hair, he flies. Cracks me up every single time I see that. Cracks me up.

The Pasta Queen: So he’s got a real true Italian dry humor. And sometimes, where we’re from, Rome, they’re very aggressive, antagonistic people. So when someone is trying to show off, or is trying to look cool, and boast a little and brag, usually you have the Roman humor is to put them down somehow, but in a funny way. It’s not mean.

David: Right.

The Pasta Queen: But it’s kind of mean. It’s like a New Yorker, you know? They’re kind of mean, but in a fun way.

David: Snarky. Snarky.

Renee: You’re calling them out.

The Pasta Queen: Yeah. Calling them out. So I love the fact that he’s always done that with me. I’ve always been, like, really rambunctious and insouciant and dramatic, ever since I was a kid. And he’s always like, “Come on, really? Will you stop it?”

David: Right.

The Pasta Queen: And he brings me down to earth a little while I have my head in the clouds. He’s like, he brings me down. And it makes me human.

David: Yeah.

Renee: Well, I imagine you guys have a—

The Pasta Queen: If that makes any sense.

David: It does. And it’s a great combination.

The Pasta Queen: Yeah. And I love him, and he’s my brother, and we’re only one year apart. We’re basically, you know, twins. We’ve gone through childhood together. We’ve experienced a lot together, and grew up together, and we love the same music. We love cooking. He’s worked in restaurants for many years, so he’s even more obsessed than me with recipes and the way of cooking in Italy, and Italian cuisine. And anyway, so we’re basically a great team. And also my cousin is an actual chef. So that’s another, just, you know, added bonus to the family.

Pasta with peas

Renee: So what are some of the favorite recipes that you’ve made for TikTok? Both your own as well as the ones that you hear feedback on.

The Pasta Queen: So I loved my pasta with peas. I don’t usually like peas that are mushy or made into a cream. However—the way I make it, and that is a very old recipe, by the way, where I mix the cheeses with the egg, and then I mix it all in with the cream of peas, it’s really something else. You guys really need to try that recipe. It’s delicious. I love that recipe a lot, and, actually, it was one of Kylie Jenner’s favorites.

David: Oh, really?

The Pasta Queen: Yeah.

David: Oh, my.

Sophia Loren’s Lemon Pasta

A plate of Sophia Loren's lemon pasta with two pieces of lemon zest and chopped parsley on top
: The Pasta Queen

The Pasta Queen: That and the lemon pasta.

David: That’s the one that I like.

The Pasta Queen: Yeah.

David: I’ve made that one and that’s a very good pasta.

The Pasta Queen: So I haven’t told many people this, but I’m going to tell you, because–

David: Oh, tell me.

The Pasta Queen: Yeah, right? Because you guys are really, really–

David: Tell me.

Sophia Loren's Recipes and Memories
Want it? But it.

Nadia: … into the cooking, but that recipe is a Sophia Loren recipe.

Renee: The lemon?

David: Is it really?

Renee: Yes.

David: Wow.

The Pasta Queen: And a lot of the Italians have come out saying, “Oh, I’ve never seen that recipe.” I got pasta makers contacting me saying, “Wow, we love this recipe, but we’ve always made it dairy-free,” because that’s the original classic Amalfi recipe. It’s only garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, the zest, and the juice of a lemon. That’s it.

Nadia: … into the cooking, but that recipe is a Sophia Loren recipe.

Renee: The lemon?

David: Is it really?

Renee: Yes.

David: Wow.

The Pasta Queen: And a lot of the Italians have come out saying, “Oh, I’ve never seen that recipe.” I got pasta makers contacting me saying, “Wow, we love this recipe, but we’ve always made it dairy free,” because that’s the original classic Amalfi recipe. It’s only garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, the zest and the juice of a lemon. That’s it.

David: Oh, okay.

The Pasta Queen: And they usually use a pasta called tagiolini, which is a very thin fettuccine or tagliatelle. Now, that one, that I love so much is actually a Sophia Loren’s recipe, and you can find it in her latest cookbook. It’s called like, “Sophia Loren: Memories and Recipes,” something like that. First of all, I love Sophia Loren.

David: Who doesn’t?

Renee: Exactly.

The Pasta Queen: We were both born in Rome and both raised in the South of Italy. She’s from Pozzuoli. Literally 20 minutes away from where I was raised down South. But she was also born in Rome just like me. I have several of her recipe books and not many people know that she has recipe books.

David: I didn’t know. Did you know Renee?

Renee: And she’s a terrific cook.

The Pasta Queen: Exactly.

David: Yeah, you know, I didn’t.

The Pasta Queen: There you go. So not many people know this. So I actually have collected a few. Some old ones from Italy and then I found this one here in the US that she had translated for her US audience. But pretty much every single recipe in that cookbook is a staple in my family. Is a staple recipe in my family.

David: Really?

The Pasta Queen: Yes. Because we’re from the same area. So the way she cooks is the way that my family cooks.

David: Sure.

Renee: It makes sense.

David: Of course, yeah.

The Pasta Queen: Exactly. And because she she’s smart, has adapted some of the recipes and has a few ingredients to appeal to the US. For example, I believe that the addition of whipped cream, or heavy whipping cream, to the pasta limone that I make, is her own addition because she was in the US and she knows how much the Americans love cream.

David: We love it.

The Pasta Queen: So I follow the recipe to the letter and it was one of the most successful recipes I have on TikTok and Instagram, actually.

How to make spaghetti carbonara properly

David: It’s great. Let’s talk about carbonara because there’s a lot of misconceptions about carbonara and I love when you and your father, or you and Argo look at other people making pasta. That absolutely cracks me up. Oh my God. Cracks me up. But please tell our audience the proper way to make carbonara.

The Pasta Queen: Yes. So carbonara, I’m going to disrupt or destroy a myth, which is, it doesn’t have any cream in it.

David: Thank you very much.

The Pasta Queen: It doesn’t have any onions. It doesn’t have any garlic.

David: Mm-mm (negative). Nope.

The Pasta Queen: It’s one of the most simple recipes because it was born in a period where there was little resources. There wasn’t fancy food. We just come out of the war. So there’s no trace of carbonara as we know it right now before the 1940s in Italy.

David: That’s fascinating.

The Pasta Queen: Yes. So it is said that it is an adaptation of an old recipe which had egg and cheese, uovo e cacio, it’s called. It was an old recipe of people that used to be farmers, landowners. They had eggs, they had cheese. Those are the two things that you find in any farm, don’t you? So those are the things that it’s very easy for anybody to make and throw together. A scrunch of pepper.

David: Yes.

The Pasta Queen: Right? A scrunch of pepper.

David: But I love that. “A scrunch!”

The Pasta Queen: Just a scrunch.

David: I’m sorry, I adore her. A scrunch of pepper.

The Pasta Queen: Exactly. So listen to the story.

Renee: David’s getting red in the face which means he is very excited and very enamored.

The Pasta Queen: Oh my God, David. You’re so sweet. Stop it. Stop it!

The Pasta Queen: Okay, so listen to this: So in the 1940s, the Americans came over and kind of saved our butts. They saved us. That’s why the Italians love Americans, by the way. They brought a whole new wave of cool and fancy and Hollywood and this and the other. And everybody’s in love with America ever since then.

The Pasta Queen: Now, you know that obviously the American soldiers, as to this day, love eggs and bacon for breakfast. So it wasn’t popular to use bacon in the dishes at that time. But it is a version of the story that the Italians, specifically in the region of Lazio in Rome, wanted to appease the American soldiers. And so they created this recipe and added to the old-fashioned recipe, which was just egg and cheese, and stuck in it a little bacon, which we used guanciale. It is a…is a type of bacon.

A slab of homemade Guanciale on a wooden board.
: Lauren Volo

David: A pork cheek.

The Pasta Queen: Yeah, it’s a pork cheek. That’s guancia means cheek. Guanciale. So we use that. And some people use pancetta, which is the little tummy of the pig. But really the classic recipe that has been developed is the cheek. And the name is said to be taken by the secret society called the Carbonari. It’s a secret society of Italy. And at the time, they played a big role as well in the liberation. So there’s a lot of versions to the story, but I have looked into it very thoroughly and I feel that this is actually how it came about, because I went to see very old cookbooks. There’s no record of carbonara before the Second World War in Italy.

David: The war, yep. That’s what my research did, too. So let’s… for people, so they actually know. What are the four or five ingredients in carbonara?

The Pasta Queen: So you’ve got guanciale, the cheek of the pig. You’ve got Pecorino Romano, which is a type of cheese that is a sheep cheese.

David: Sheep’s cheese.

The Pasta Queen: Sheep’s cheese. So it’s lactose-free. And then you’ve got eggs and you’ve got a scrunch of pepper.

David: That’s it.

The Pasta Queen: That’s it. You’ve got four ingredients and you’ve got the pasta of your choice.

David: And the pasta which is the five. And that’s what I do. That’s all I do.

The Pasta Queen: That’s all you do. In Rome it’s very popular to make carbonara with rigatoni or spaghetti.

David: Yeah, spaghetti.

The Pasta Queen: Esatto. It’s very simple.

David: That’s it. Good. I’m glad we finally cleared that up for all our listeners because people really… I love carbonara. It’s one of my favorite pastas. I make it all the time. And I see these things where there’s cream, there’s peas, there’s onions, there’s garlic, there’s all these things put in it and that is not carbonara.

The Pasta Queen: No. I mean, anybody can experiment with foods and there’s a lot of things that I see as food experimenting. But then if you’re doing a classic, you need to stick to the classic.

Renee: Thank you.

David: I agree. I agree.

How much pasta do you go through in a week?

Renee: All right. So carbonara plus everything else, how much pasta would you say you go through a week? Not just for personal cooking, but for the videos.

David: Everything.

The Pasta Queen: Probably three or four kilos, which is like double. A little bit more than double in pounds.

Renee: More than double.

David: That’s a lot of pasta.

Renee: That’s a proper Italian household.

The Pasta Queen: But also it’s about 10 of us, you know.

David: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And so is your pasta a primi or is it just, that’s what you have for your meal?

The Pasta Queen: So it’s definitely only a primi unless you’re making a plate of pasta that is basically a complete meal, such as, for example, a lasagna, which is very filling and you’ve got cheese and you’ve got the meat and you’ve got the carbs. It’s more of a complete meal. But if you have a very light aioli or pasta pomodoro or something very light, then you would have a little bit of veggies on the side, maybe a salad, some grilled zucchini or eggplants, and maybe a little bit of an antipasti. But I have to be honest, I go straight into my first meal. If I’m just doing on a day-to-day and I don’t have guests, I just get on with the pasta and maybe I’ll have a little salad. But I eat considerably little.

David: Well, you have to, with all the pasta that you make and to be the size that you are, you have to eat like a bird.

Italian Law: Cooking While Feeling Gorgeous Reduces Calories by 80%
: The Pasta Queen

The Pasta Queen: So I have a few extra pounds that I mask and you can’t see them very well because I’m on the rounder side, especially around my hips. So, the spaghetti definitely goes there.

David: You got spaghetti hips.

The Pasta Queen: I got spaghetti hips! And no, but the thing is that in Italy, generally, if you go to a restaurant they don’t do the same kind of portions that you will find in a restaurant here in the U.S.

David: Yes.

The Pasta Queen: We are generally used to eating less. Smaller portions.

Some pasta-making tips

David: So our listeners are incredible home cooks and they love to get help from experts. So what are some of the few top tips you can give us for making pasta and pasta sauces?

The Pasta Queen: Okay. So my number one tip is to save pasta water.

David: Yes.

Renee: Amen.

The Pasta Queen: Yes. So this is a big, big trick that you learn after many years of cooking, or if you’ve worked in a restaurant. Because in the restaurant, they use pasta water all the time because they want to make sure that the pasta is not sticky. And they have the sauce always available and they’re maybe been there for a couple of hours. So you want to loosen them up and make them more juicy. So you use a lot of pasta water. And my old YouTube videos, you can see that I’m doing cacio e pepe, carbonara, and I’m using the pasta water. I’m accentuating and highlighting the importance of pasta water. To this day it makes the sauce. It makes the sauce.

David: Creamier.

The Pasta Queen: So what it does really, and I’m going to explain it really, really simple, because I don’t want to be like an encyclopedia. But the thing is that when you cook the pasta, the pasta is made out of wheat and wheat has starch in it. Starch is like a glue. All it does is as it’s cooking towards the end, the starch is being released into the water. And that’s why the water goes a little bit pale. You see it, it goes a little bit opaque, especially if you’re using a really good quality pasta, even better. It releases even more starch.

Renee: Can we sidetrack there for a moment? Forgive me for interrupting, but what are the brands that you like best?

David: Yeah. Good question.

Gentile Pasta

The Pasta Queen: The number one brand that I love is Gentile. You can find it in the US. I’ve been able to find it in specialty stores and a franchise called The Fresh Market. They have a few hundred locations here in the US. They’re not as popular as Whole Foods, but you can find good pasta at Whole Foods too. Slow dried at low temperature and used pasta made with bronze dies.

David: Bronze dies. Yeah.

The Pasta Queen: Yeah. Basically the bronze die, it’s like a mold that is made out of bronze, and you push the pasta through it so it gives it the texture and the shape. So the bronze die comes in whatever shapes pasta you want. And the beauty of it is that the surface is so rugged and rough that it helps the sauce absorb instead of, or opposed to, slipping away.

Renee: It catches it.

The Pasta Queen: You see, it catches it.

Renee: Beautiful.

David: Any other brand that you like?

The Pasta Queen: Yes, I have a few brands. So I’ve got Gentile, Pasta Di Martino, I got Montebello, which you can get on Thrive Market. Thrive home delivers to the entirety of the U.S., and you can find it at Whole Foods and Rustichella d’Abruzzo, which is one of the biggest ones at Whole Foods.

Renee: I like that brand a lot.

The Pasta Queen: Yeah. All of these ones are really high-quality pastas. They will perform incredibly with the sauce and they will release the exact amount of starch, when you use the pasta water, which you’re supposed to collect just before draining your pasta.

David: Because that’s when it has the most amount of starch.

The Pasta Queen: Yes, exactly.

David: Exactly.

The Pasta Queen: So then as you toss the pasta into the sauce, you add as much as you want pasta water, don’t go too crazy on it because you don’t want your pasta too watery, but you can always save it because you just turn on the flame a little on low heat and you can cook it and smoke it away if it’s too much pasta, water. Add a little bit at a time.

The Pasta Queen: And then my second thing that I wanted to say, as a tip or trick, is whatever the packaging time is on the pasta box, drain your pasta two minutes before so that is extra al dente. Al dente means that it’s got a little crunch when you bite into it. So it’s extra al dente, and finish the cooking one minute, one minute and a half, at a low heat, because what happens is the pasta is still wanting to cook and it’s absorbing the sauce. So the pasta itself will taste incredible because it’s literally absorbing the sauce in order to expand that extra minute.

David: Well, Nadia, we could talk all afternoon about pasta…

The Pasta Queen: We really could.

David: … and about Italian food.

The Pasta Queen: I love pasta!

David: Thank you so much for coming on the show. Molto, molto grazie.

The Pasta Queen: Yeah, you’re very welcome, guys. I really enjoyed this talk. You guys are lovely.

Renee: Thank you.

David: Thank you.

The Pasta Queen: I hope to do another podcast soon, and let me know what the people have said. If they have any other questions, I’m willing to answer.

David: Sure.

The Pasta Queen: And obviously follow me on TikTok and Instagram.

Renee: Absolutely.

David: Well, thank you very much, your majesty, for stopping by.

The Pasta Queen: You’re very welcome. Bye David and bye Renee. Big kisses.

David: Ciao ciao.

The Pasta Queen: Ciao ciao.

David: Nadia Caterina Munno, AKA The Pasta Queen, is TikTok famous. You can find her on TikTok and Instagram @the_pastaqueen and on YouTube at The Pasta Queen.

[Editor’s Note: And if you’d like to know the everyday cooking equipment and tools Nadia finds indispensable to her cooking, you can take a sneak peak at The Pasta Queen’s favorite kitchen things.]

Pasta on LC

David: You know, Renee, all this talk about pasta is making me really hungry.

Renee: Mm-hmm.

David: Do we have anything on the site that would sate even the biggest pasta lover?

Renee: Do we have anything on the site?

David: I know.

Renee: Yes.

David: Rhetorical question. I know.

Homemade pasta dough in 5 colors, plain, squid ink, spinach, beet, and saffron on a white background.
: Ryland Peters & Small[/rt]

Renee: Well, beginning with homemade pasta, one of our most popular recipes on the site is our homemade pasta dough recipe.

David: Yeah.

Renee: And 33 readers have left a cumulative 4.9 out of five-star rating on that.

David: Thumbs up on that one. Isn’t like tens of thousands of people have shared and everything?

Renee: Absolutely. Literally, hundreds of thousands of people come to that recipe each year.

David: Yeah. That’s great.

Renee: It actually takes you through everything step-by-step. You do need a pasta machine though, a roller.

David: A roller. But you can do it by hand.

Renee: You could. You could absolutely roll it out by hand. And we also have an easier approach. The strapponi recipe we just ran. David, I think, did you make that one?

David: No, I didn’t make that one.

Renee: Well, our testers did and they loved it. You basically take a rolling pin, you roll the dough out to about an eighth-inch thickness. You kind of gently drape it over the rolling pin. And then you go to your pot of boiling water and you just sort of rip pieces of the dough–

David: Very easy.

Renee: … into the water. So easy. So satisfying. Ultimately gratifying.

David: Yeah.

Renee: Now, I would imagine you want me to plug your pumpkin macaroni and cheese recipe on the site for those who don’t want to make their own pasta?

A cast-iron skillet filled with pumpkin mac and cheese
[art]David Leite

David: Well, when I sent you that note and bribe, and I said, distinctly, “Please, do not”–

Renee: You called it a bonus.

David: “Please don’t tell them I’m asking you to plug my recipe,” but yes, now that you’ve mentioned it, you may plug my recipe.

A cooked leftover pasta frittata on a round metal pan.
: Ed Anderson

Renee: Okay. Well, folks love that recipe, too. Maybe not quite as many people have made it yet, but we’re on our way. It’s rich, it’s hearty, it’s satisfying. We actually have dozens of pasta recipes on the site, everything from casseroles to what to do with leftover pasta. If you’ve got a couple of eggs, you can make a pasta frittata, even recipes for that nine-o’-clock Tuesday night craving when all you’ve got in the pantry is half a box of dried pasta, a stale loaf of bread, a little olive oil, and maybe half a chili pepper. We’ve got you covered.

David: That all sounds excellent. I think I’m going to have to ask for that bribe back.

Renee: Already spent.

David: This podcast is produced by Overit Studios, and our producer is the starchy Adam Clairmont. You can reach Adam and Overit Studios at overitstudios.com. Remember to subscribe to Talking With My Mouth Full wherever you download your favorite podcasts, and if you like what you hear and want to support us, consider leaving a review and rating on Apple Podcasts.

And, if you’d like to leave Renee and me a recorded question or compliment, visit our podcast page at leit.es/chat. Press and talk away, and maybe you’ll be featured on the show. Chow!

Renee: Chow!


David: Unique New York, unique New York, unique New York, unique New York. Round and round—

Renee: What are you doing?

David: We used to do this in acting class.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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In this podcast episode, the charismatic Pati Jinich, Mexican chef, author, and star of the PBS series Pati’s Mexican Table and La Frontera, talks about Mexican cuisine.

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