Northern Italian Cuisine: Recipes from Alberto’s on Fifth

Italian native Executive Chef Alberto Varetto, owner of Alberto’s on Fifth in Naples, shares recipes for pasta and risotto.

For our interview with Chef Varetto, click here.


Chef Alberto Varetto making pasta - Alberto's on Fifth - recipesPlain Pasta Dough

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 1 lb flour triple 00 (or all-purpose)
  • 1/4 oz. fine salt
  • 4 to 5 whole eggs
  • 1/2 oz. extra virgin olive oil


Place flour on work surface, make a well in the center of the flour. In the well, mix the eggs, oil and salt. Start to incorporate the flour in to the wet ingredients slowly and work until you can make a ball. Let the dough rest for one hour, before rolling the pasta into sheets.

For Flavored Pasta Dough

It’s possible to prepare different colors and flavors of pasta, but depending on the ingredient you add, you will need to adjust the number of the eggs. The time to add any flavoring ingredient is when you mix the eggs with the oil and the salt.

  • Spinach pasta: 1 oz. fresh spinach puree
  • Tomato pasta: 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • Saffron pasta: 1 pinch of saffron in 2 Tbsp. of warm water
  • Beet pasta: 1 oz. fresh beet puree

Homemade pasta with Alberto's on Fifth, Naples - recipe for home made pasta

For Different Shapes

It is possible to make pasta of different shapes and filled pasta. To start, you always need to make sheets of pasta 10 inches long and 5 inches wide.

The thickness depends on what you need to prepare ; usually for filled pasta you use thinner sheets. 

If you are making regular pasta, cut it lenghtwise:

  • 1 inch wide for pappardelle
  • ½ inch wide for fettuccine
  • ¼ inch wide for tagliolini

If you are making filled pasta, you need 2 sheets:

Brush the bottom sheet with egg. Arrange filling on top. Place second sheet over the bottom sheet and press around the filling with your fingers. Use a pasta cutter to cut out the filled pasta.


Risotto al Barolo

  Serves 4

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

  • 12 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 3 cups Carnaroli rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup Barolo wine
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano cheese


  1. Bring chicken stock to a boil in a large saucepan; reduce to a simmer and hold at that temperature while preparing risotto.
  2. Heat olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan. Add onion and sauté over medium-low heat until it is soft and translucent but not at all browned. Add rice and continue to sauté, coating rice with the oil, until grains are lightly toasted, about 4–6 minutes. Adjust heat as necessary to keep pan temperature relatively constant. Add white wine and stir until it is almost completely absorbed.
  3. Begin adding simmering stock to rice, one ladleful at a time, stirring the rice constantly and continuing to cook at a constant low simmer. Add more stock each time the last addition is nearly, but not completely, absorbed.
  4. About 15 minutes after you begin adding stock, test the rice by biting into a grain. It is done when it is almost cooked but still al dente, you should be able to feel a little “bite” in the middle of the grain, but it should not taste uncooked or gritty. Don’t worry if you have not used all the stock. Stir in the Barolo wine as the last addition of stock, adding a little additional stock, if needed, to make a creamy risotto that is slightly loose.
  5. Remove risotto from heat and stir in butter and cheese until melted. Adjust seasoning as necessary with salt and pepper. Cover for two or three minutes, then transfer to a warmed platter or individual, warmed shallow bowls. Serve immediately.

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