2014 Sun Winefest

This weekend marked the 11th annual Mohegan Sun Winefest, where I was invited to demo my Orecchiette and Broccoli Rabe and pass out Mama’s meatballs at the Chef Dine Around.

celebrity chefs sun winefest

We kicked off Friday night at Jasper White’s Summer Shack, where Jasper himself served an abundance of fresh fish: mussels, fried clams, catfish, lobster… you name it, we ate it! He is the most gracious host and SUCH  a nice guy!

jasper white and donatella arpaia sun winefest

I was so excited to stay in a hotel for a weekend-looking forward to a good night’s sleep and a day at the spa! But first things first: I had a chef demo to get to, where I made orecchiette and cavatelli accompanied with  broccoli rabe and sausage.

how to make cavatelli pasta

During the demo, I got the audience involved in a cocktail competition. Our sponsors, Reyka Vodka and Hendrick’s Gin were kind enough to provide the booze, mixers, and garnishes. My two gracious volunteers mixed up some seriously strong drinks and the winner was lucky enough to take home my Spicy Arrabbiatta sauce from my HSN collection.

cocktail competition sun winefest donatella arpaia

At the Chef Dine Around, I served up my award-winning meatballs with basic marinara and spicy arrabbiata sauces. We couldn’t pump them out fast enough, and the line was never-ending!

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Head over to Facebook to see the rest of my pictures, and check out my recipes from Sun Winefest here:

Orecchiette & Broccoli Rabe


(Serves 4)

  • 2 ¼ cups “OO” flour
  • 1 cup semolina
  • 1 cup warm salted water


  • Siv flour and mix with semolina. Create a well
  • Slowly pour water into the well, using a spoon to incorporate it into the flour.
  • Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth in texture. Let the dough rest for ½ hour in a warm damp cloth or some plastic wrap.
  • Roll the dough out using a rolling pin. Cut in to strips 1” thick and use your hands to roll them into tubes. Cut them into 1” sections and use the tip of a knife or your thumb to form them into “little ears.”


(Serves 4)

  • 4 sweet Italian sausages (about 1 pound), casing removed and crumbled
  • 1 pound broccoli rabe, washed, trimmed, and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


  • Place sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a bowl; set sausage and skillet aside.
  • Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt, return to a boil and add broccoli rabe. Cook 1 minute and drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid; set aside.
  • Bring a second large pot of water to a boil. Add salt, return to a boil and add pasta. Cook until al dente, 5 to 8 minutes; drain.
  • Place reserved skillet over medium-high heat and add oil, broccoli rabe, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, about 30 seconds. Return sausage to the skillet along with the orecchiette. Stir to combine, adding reserved cooking liquid if pasta seems too dry; sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.

cavatelli with broccoli rabe recipe

Donatella’s Basic Marinara & Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 (28-ounce) cans whole, peeled, tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme,
  • 1 small bunch fresh basil, leaves chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped parsley


  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes with about half of their juices (discarding the rest), the herb sprigs and basil and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for about 25 to 30 minutes or until thickened.
  • Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Stir in the salt and season with pepper, to taste. Serve or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

recipe for simple marinara sauce donatella arpaia


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