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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Raffy and Raffy

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GIADA: Welcome to Florence, Italy...


...home of the Italian Renaissance

and a style of food that's hearty and rich.

[ Shouting in Italian ]


I'm here in Tuscany to meet up with family

and friends to cook...

Look at that baby!

Rota! Say "rota!"

Whoo, baby!

[ Women speaking Italian ]

[ Laughter ]


No, what are you doing?

...and share stories...

[ Speaking Italian ]


...all leading up to a big family dinner.

Join me for a special reunion

and a celebration of food, friendship, and family.

Right now, to being in Tuscany together.


Today, we're celebrating my great aunt, Zia Raffaella.

[ Speaking Italian ]

Zia Raffaella is the last

living sibling of my grandfather's.

She lives in Milan, she's in her early 90s,

and for years, my aunt Raffy

has been saying to me we have to go visit her.

[ Speaking Italian ]

As my aunt Raffy would say, "We're the young ones.

We go to her. She doesn't have to come to us."

So, I think it'll be really fun to reminisce

and talk about memories

and talk about great stories.

It's a very special moment.

[ Speaking Italian ]


There's a dish that she loves,

and that she'd love to make with my grandfather,

and she used to make for my aunt Raffy

and for my mom and different people.

And it's called Ziti Stufati.

This is not a very light dish.

So, I feel like it's the kitchen sink in a baked pasta dish.

There's specific ways to do it,

which my aunt has made very clear.

There is no reason. It's the recipe.

Mixing the ricotta just right with the tomato sauce.

You don't want to do it when its cold.

The meatballs have to be the right size...

They're little. They have to be teeny.

...putting the meatballs in the right place...

The meatballs on the top are more for decoration.

...the hard-boiled eggs have to be put in the right spot.

I'm still not sure I get the egg reason.

It's the way the recipe is.

There's a lot of rules to this particular dish.

So, we thought Raffy and I would make it

and then bring it up to Milan to go visit her.

And then we'll see and pray that she loves it.


So, what are you gonna do?

First of all, we're gonna make the sauce.

Okay, yes.

So, we're making a basic tomato sauce.

It's supposed to be made with the traditional Neapolitan Ragu.

I'm gonna put a whole red onion in there.

It's a baby.

Zia Raffaella said "If you make it with meat,

you put onion, carrot, and celery in it."


If you make it without meat,

just plain tomato sauce.

-Yes. -You do not put anything in it.

So, we are making it with no meat.

Let's see if she figures it out.

She probably will, but, you know --

so we're kind of cheating all ready.

But let see.

Okay, can I -- so, I didn't understand.

Can I put half of this in there?


I'm not even gonna chop it.

Can I put one whole garlic clove?

In theory, we shouldn't, but let's.

Now we're putting the onion, put the garlic.

Can I put a little salt to start sweating it so it doesn't burn?

-Not now. -Okay.

Okay, well, if there's a burning problem, yes.

-Okay. -So, this the other thing.

My grandmother,

your great grandmother Giuseppina --

-Here, let me help you. -I think it's okay.

That's it -- half a carrot? Okay.

She always used to grate the carrot.

So, I asked Zeatitina, who was the first-born.

She's the most spirited of all the sisters, I would think.


"Was," sorry. Yes, that's right.

'Cause Zia Raffaella is the last of my grandfather's siblings.

Oh, you're gonna put the celery in there?

I wanted to put the celery in there.

I'm gonna tell you that in Las Vegas,

this is how I make my sauce.

To go back to the carrot story...


I asked my aunt Titina, whose real name was Celeste,

"Why do you grate the carrot?"


And she said to me, "I have no idea.

I grate the carrot, because that's how my mother did it."


My guess is it makes it more sweet, but...


So, we're gonna add two jars of tomatoes passata,

which means they take the pelati,

which are the tomatoes that have been peeled already.

And they put it in a food mill,

and they crush the seeds because it changes the flavor.

And if you can't find it,

then you can used crushed tomatoes,

but you'll probably have to puree them somehow.

No, not crushed, not crushed. Use the the puree.

Pureed? Right.

Okay, now.

-Now you can put a little salt. -Wonderful.

Not a lot, because this already has salt in it.

Right, and I think that was one of the things

that Zia Raffaella said.

And, of course, I put red pepper in everything,

but she wouldn't.

We're gonna cook this for 40 minutes

until all the veg is soft,

and this is really cooked through.

And there's one more thing I forgot to add.

Then we'll take the veggies out, so she doesn't know we put --

oh, that's always good to do.

This is always gonna make it better.

Not that big -- too much.

Why? I like...

The more cheese, in my book, the better.

We can break it, so we don't break the actual knife.

-Mm-hmm. -So this is all you want?

Yeah, yeah, it's a little part.

There we go.

I cut mine and put it in the freezer.

That's it?

That's so small!

-I don't know. -Okay, fine.

We forgot the basil!

Wait, Raffy, we just forgot one thing, a big part.

And this she did say.

But that's the only thing she wanted us

to put in there, and we forgot it.

And we almost forgot it. I'm just gonna put it in this.

She said 4 or 5 leaves.

I'm putting a ton.

The basil's so good here.

Okay, so, cook away.

All right, lid on, 40 minutes.

-Yes. -Let this baby cook.

Okay, so this is the sauce right here, 40 minutes later.

But I was wondering if before we add anything

I take all this stuff out. -Yes.

This I'm gonna have for lunch.

This is my lunch right here. -That's the best part.

I love the Parmesan cheese rind.

Okay, where are the basil leaves,

'cause I got to get those out.

There's the garlic.

So, we're basically just taking all the vegetables,

all the flavorings, the basil --

you know what, I'm gonna need this for the basil.

We're taking everything out of the sauce

that we added to flavor it.

You want to look for it, and I'll just kind of pinch it out?

There should be an onion.

[ Speaking Italian ]

This one? Okay.

So, we're gonna add some ricotta cheese,

and you want to do it when the sauce is warm.

You don't want to do it when its cold.

-In any event. -Get it in there while it's hot!

-You stir. -Okay, I stir.

And ricotta melts,

and it creates this really creamy texture,

which is something that her aunt, Zia Raffaella,

told us is a big, a big sort of important step in this.

You want to use room-temperature ricotta,

as well, 'cause it melts easier.

Okay, go. Go, go, go.

Oh, now you're gonna eat it?

Are you gonna give me some Parmesan cheese, or no?

Are we gonna wait on the Parmesan cheese?

We're gonna wait.

That is the color of the sauce that you want.

Do you want to make meatballs, or no?

-Sure. -Meatballs next.



They have to be perfect.

GIADA: My aunt Raffy's joining me in our Florentine kitchen today

to make a pasta dish that's very special to our family.

They make this dish for baptism, funerals...

-Weddings -...weddings.

GIADA: And it's called Ziti Stufati --

layers of tomato sauce

and pasta, meatballs, cheese.

We're making it for my great aunt Raffaella...

Aww. grandfather's last living sibling.

It's like saying that she's the last of the Mohicans,

because there is nobody else to carry on that torch

after her in that generation, obviously.

And so, she should be cherished.

My mom, Raffy, Jade, and I

are gonna take the dish to her in Milan

and enjoy it together.

Four generations of De Laurentiis women

eating Ziti Stufati around a table.

It's a very special moment.

Now time for the meatballs.

You're gonna beat the egg into the milk.

That's what makes the meatballs nice and light,

is the bread and the milk mixed together,

plus an egg to hold the meatballs together.

You want a whisk? -Yes, please.

All right, can I use all this parsley?

-No. -Little bit of green.

You can use a little bit, because you like the green.

But at home, they don't need to put it on.

I like a little parsley.

I think it's nice.

I think it's --

it adds nice touch, a little herby flavor.

I likely. I likely.

But I don't want that knife.

[ Speaking Italian ]


We got the oil heating up,

'cause we're gonna fry up these little meatballs.

Would you like some salt?

Okay, I'll get you the salt.

A little pepper, and a lot of Parmesan cheese.

Salt -- do you want some more salt,

or are you done with the salt?

I'm gonna do this the old-fashioned way.

Yeah, get in there, Raffy!

Okay, added the Parsley.

Okay, next, what do you want?

Ah, so much easier.

Glorious cheese.

Okay, here we go.

Now, I usually put, like, for a pound of meat,

about 1/2 a cup of Parmesan cheese.

Are you good with that?

Grata, grata, grata, grata.

Grate some cheese.

She loves this right now.

This is like her heaven -- the fact that I'm grating.

Actually, I'm getting good work out on my right arm,

so I'm actually pretty happy about it.

You have a...

[ Speaking Italian ]

Look at this.

All right, I'm gonna get you a plate.

Hold on.

All right, so here's a plate to put them on,

and here's the water, because I know you want water.

Well, just sometimes to...

To what? -...wet my hands.

To wet your hands, okay.

Oh, wow.

We're talking little meatballs.

And it's the recipe. They're little.

They have to be teeny.

If you were, like, wanting to go a little faster on this,

you could make them a little bit bigger.

Yeah, you would also --

again, you're trying to reinvent the wheel.

The meatballs are small.

I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel!

I'm trying to save people time.

These little guys are really cute, actually.

Raffy, I think they're really sweet,

and they're gonna cook super fast.

All right, so, once the meatballs are done,

then we can put everything together.

I think that spoon's a little small.

Yes, I agree.

All right, here we go.

Now, time to take them out. -That one looks good.

This one's cute. Look how pretty it is.

Yeah, look -- nice, and golden brown,

you little nuggets.

They're perfect. They're beautiful.

There's so little!

They're like little gems.

The great thing is, too, that the meatballs

don't have to be perfect,

because you're gonna layer them --

What do you mean, "They don't have to be perfect"?

They are perfect.

If your meatballs aren't perfect, it's okay,

'cause you can just layer it, and it all looks fine.

It's all covered under cheese and sauce.

They have to be perfect.

All right, Raffy. We're on a roll, baby.

-Yes. -Look at me.

I'm taking these suckers out.

Look at me, I'm rolling the suckers in.

[ Laughs ]

This dish is all about teamwork.

All right, we're almost done with the meatballs.

Up next -- assembly time!

Ah, fun time.

Maybe we can get the kids to help us if they're back.


GIADA: Today is very special.

Four generations of De Laurentiis women --

my great aunt Zia Raffaella,

my mom, Raffy, Jade, and me.

We're gathering at my great aunt's apartment in Milan

to share stories, create memories,

and dig into one of our family's favorite pasta dishes.

-Ziti Stufati. -Yes.

It's not difficult, it's just time consuming.

So, you want to make it with a group of people

so that it can go a little faster.

But I got to say, once it's done --

so exciting and so yummy and pretty impressive.

This is a real zito from Torre Annunziata

where your great grandfather was born.

It's outside of Naples.

Remember we visited that factory, Jade, last year?

-Yeah. -Okay, good.

This is the best quality pasta in the world.

You break them about this long.


That's what you hear on Sundays all over Naples.

Can I have another one?


They're cool. They have a big --

Now, you can buy them already broken,

but it's not the same thing.

Yes, but that's not as much fun.

And this is the one shot

we have at impressing Zia Raffaella.

Yeah, that's true. You need another one, baby?

-Grazie. -There you go.

[ Chuckles ]

I got the last one!

It's always the last one that's difficult to do.

We're gonna get this thing going.


So... this is Zia Raffaella.

Okay, this is Dino and Silvana.

They had just been married. -Aww.

And I think she was just pregnant with your mom there.

And I think this is the day of Zia Raffaella's wedding.

Oh, this is her wedding?

-So, we should take this back... -For sure.

-...and give it to her. -I think she's gonna love it.

Come on.

Let's get back to finishing off our dish here.

All right, the sauce is nice. look at that.

The pasta is cooked. Now time to assemble.

Are you chopping the egg? -I'm chopping the eggs.

So, we have two hard-boiled eggs.

Actually I should probably get going on the mozzarella.

Look how beautiful this mozzarella is.

Just gently and gingerly...

I've never seen anybody cut mozzarella like that.

Well, you've seen it now.

I like the head.

Yeah, well, can you not eat the mozzarella?

We need all these little bits and pieces.

I'm still not sure I get the egg reason.

It's the way the recipe is,

so we can ask Zia Raffaella when we see her.

I don't get it. I guess nobody asks questions.

They just follow, and they don't ask why.

Why do I have to go make hard-boiled eggs?

Texture, texture.

So, she actually texts?

No. It's for the texture.

Oh, "Texture." I thought you said "Text her."

Okay, ready? -She does text.

-She does? -Mm-hmm.

Okay, so 1 1/2?

In theory, this should be before we put the ricotta.


We got to put some -- okay, so hold on a second.

Leave that there.

Leave me a ladle and 1/2, maybe more.

Oh, we need to toss.

You want to toss while I do this?

You want a wooden spoon? -Yes, please.

Beautiful. And then we can pull it out with that.

You want two? -Yes.

There you go.

There we go, and now we are tossing the cooked ziti.

They're very, very al dente,

and they'll finish cooking in the dish.

But you got to make sure there's enough liquid

otherwise they won't cook,

'cause they won't have enough moisture.

I'm gonna grab the Parmesan cheese just to have it.

I think --

Okay, don't put too much, 'cause we need some for the top.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's fine.

Okay, some meatballs.

It's a sandwich of pasta.

The meatballs on the top are more for decoration.

Okay, so we're only gonna save a few then.

Okay, all the egg's gonna go in the center here?

-Yes. -Okay.

You're so lucky that I'm doing it this time.

That Parmesan cheese is...

Is what? What's wrong with the Parmesan cheese?

...waiting for you to grate.

Yeah, you're just lucky this time around.

Go, go. Grate, grate.

Oh, I'm fine grating. I like to grate.

Look, I'll even cover every little nook and cranny.

Enough. Enough.

Oh, okay, okay. Next.

[ Speaking Italian ]

But save me for the top.

But you told me it was just for the top.

I know, but it's --

So you're just cheating right now, 'cause...

-That's what I -- -But we have enough.

We have enough. We're good. We're good.

That's what I was struggling about, that I was --

No, we're good.

Okay, so, I think that's good though.

We got to save some.

Let's taste.

It's good.

And meatballs.

All right, here we go.

Here we go, Madame.


Do you want me to cover every meatball?

Yes, and I want you to cover everything.

Scrape the bottom.

Okay, here we go.

It's starting to look right.

Ah, whew!


We did good.

We are gonna take this gingerly and carefully

to Milano.

Do you have any paper?

To Milan where we see my great aunt,

and we bake it in her oven,

and then we'll see and pray that she loves it.

And then we see what she has to say.



[ Indistinct conversations ]

GIADA: There's a dish that my great aunt loves

that she loved to make for my aunt Raffy

and for my mom, and it's called Ziti Stufati.

So, we thought Raffy

and I would make it and then bring it up to Milan.

-Cin cin! -Cin cin!

Cin cin! Cin cin!

ZIA: [ Speaking Italian ]

[ Laughter ]

It's a very special moment.

[ Speaking Italian ]


She says, "It looks beautiful."

[ Speaking Italian ]

Fingers crossed!

[ All speaking Italian ]

She said the meatballs are too big.

[ All speaking Italian ]

ZIA: Ziti Stufati -- Buon appetito.

Buon appetito!

[ Speaking Italian ]

RAFFY: They're good. Yes, they are.

-Mom? -Very good.

Mom says it's good.

The little meatballs were even better.

No! No!

That's what I answered.

[ Speaking Italian ]

There's eggs, there's hard-boiled eggs.

We had to put them in. -That's the dish.

Because Raffy said it's the dish,

and Zia Raffaella says it's the dish.

So, I'm like, "Yeah, but there's -- what's the reason?"

And they said there's no reason.

It's the dish. Did you hear Jade?

She goes, "Mom, why do you always think

there's a reason for everything?"

[ Laughs ]

The longest pieces are the ones I did.

The long ones?

RAFFY: Yes, because you couldn't get to the end.

Because Jade wasn't able to cut them small enough,

because it's hard on her hands.

I'm gonna steal Giada's meatball.

[ Speaking Italian ]

[ Speaking Italian ]


Grab it.



[ Speaking Italian ]



Okay, okay.

-Okay. -Ciao.


GIADA: Ciao!

Ciao, ciao, ciao.


The Description of Raffy and Raffy