Let’s Dish: Pazzi Pasta {Brooklyn, NY}

{photo credit: Salvatore DiBenedetto}

It’s been said that you can taste the love that goes into a meal, especially when it’s a hearty Italian dish. The Campanile family has brought their love, talent and passion for good food to Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, where Pazzi Pasta serves a variety of pastas in a unique way. Pazzi Pasta opens up the door to enjoy a classic Spaghetti and Meatballs, or switch it up with your own creation.

Pazzi’s uniqueness doesn’t stop at their story, in fact, that’s just where it begins. When you step into Pazzi, you’re greeted with a friendly face, one of which automatically creates the sense of home. You’re able to mix and match fresh pastas and ingredients, (see menu here) which makes this the perfect destination for any occasion. Pazzi also offers a variety of pasta making classes, a fun way to spend time catching up with family and/or friends.

Opened in 2013, Pazzi Pasta’s owners are husband and wife duo Executive Chef Dr. Sandra Campanile, matriarch of the family, an awarded adolescent psychiatrist and the inspiration behind Pazzi Pasta, and her husband Dr. Giovanni Campanile, Director of both the Dean Ornish Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation Program and the Integrative Nutrition and Integrative Cardiology at the Chambers Center for Well Being in Morristown, NJ.

Their two children manage the day-to-day operations at Pazzi Pasta where Danny Campanile is the manager, and his sister Francesca Campanile is the head pasta maker. Danny’s wife (also a physician) consults on design and décor, while his sister-in-law (an organic farmer) created the vertical garden in the restaurant’s outdoor space.

We got the inside scoop from Dr.Sandra Cammarata herself, and we can’t wait to hear about your Pazzi Pasta experiences, so tag us using the hashtag #BingeOnPazzi!

Pazzi Pasta_Mushrooms and Pasta

It’s so great to see that everyone in the family has a unique role in Pazzi, how was the experience brought you closer as a family?

It has been an interesting journey in which we had to confront many challenges as a family as new restaurateurs. It might sound strange to say, but every time we experience stress or conflicts, it has been the pasta that brings us back together, as it is impossible for any of us not to be able to sit down around a dinner table to share our favorite food and resolve any problem we’ve been confronted with.

Executive Chef Dr. Sandra Campanile and Dr. Giovanni Campanile, it’s safe to say you both wear a lot of hats! Has owning a restaurant always been something you looked forward to doing? What inspired the idea?

Yes, we do indeed wear a lot of hats. My husband, Giovanni, is an integrative cardiologist and Director of the Heart Disease Reversal Program, and he sees firsthand how lifestyle and diet can affect health. In his practice, he takes care of patients with very advanced heart disease and these patients are made better by improving their diets and other factors in their life choices. We try to bring these concepts into the principal ingredient selection of our dishes. Our philosophy is that taste is the first rule of good nutrition, because if people do not enjoy their food they cannot sustain a particular way of eating for any length of time. Then we pick particular ancient grains that have unique nutritional qualities, so that our customers not only get an exceptional flavor experience but they also get unique nutritional benefits that can only be obtained from these very particular high quality grains. This is why our tag line is “ingredients matter,” because they do.

I am a gourmet chef in addition to being a psychiatrist and I have an obsession with good food. We’ve always wanted to have a restaurant, because of our love of food that we all share as a family. When our children finished college, we all sat down and discussed moving forward with the idea. The idea was to create an exceptionally high quality menu served in a fast casual atmosphere at affordable prices.

Growing up I heard friends and family pushing and encouraging my mother to open a restaurant. She was a true gourmet cook, and she did it with passion and love.

Unfortunately, she never ended up opening the restaurant we all wanted. I was lucky enough to inherit my mother’s passion for cooking. With time, I too started to hear from our friends and family the same encouraging words spoken to my mother in the past, but opening a restaurant was a very hard thing to do with a full time medical practice and a family to raise.

One day, walking by of those yogurt chains that invite their customers to pick a flavor and add one more toppings, the idea of doing the same with pasta began to take place. It just made sense. A fast casual gourmet restaurant, focused on good nutrition, could become the perfect place for everyone to eat as if they were invited into my mother’s kitchen. Affordable, nutritious, healthy, gourmet food! It wasn’t hard to sell the idea to the rest of my family, because we always had the idea in our minds. With everyone on board the idea grew and expanded.

What went into choosing the perfect location?

We wanted to create the restaurant we would be happy to eat in and be a casual place to enjoy meals with family and friends. We researched the benefits of ancient grains we carefully selected the sauces and toppings for our pastas based on flavor and nutrition. Then we searched the secrets of the “blue zone,” thankful to have been part of that heritage (Sicily, Sardinia, Japan). Our goal was to create a small “blue zone” in the heart of Brooklyn. Our daughter, Francesca, traveled to Genoa, Italy to train at a pasta institute in the fine art of pasta making from renowned Italian master pasta chefs.

What is your favorite Pazzi Pasta combo?

My favorite Pazzi Pasta combo is Kamut pasta with the simple and refined San Marzano tomato sauce, topped with eggplant and zucchini and finished with a large sprinkle of ricotta salata. In Sicily this is called “pasta alla Norma” (Norma is a famous Vincenzo Bellini opera).
My husband, Giovanni, favorite is the classic Spaghetti and Meatball which brings him back to his Neapolitan Sunday dinners.

My son, Daniel, as a child fell in love with the spinach sauce and it appears to continue to be his first love. He likes it with our farro pasta, topped with lots of parmigiana cheese.
My daughter, Francesca, who, since she was a little girl, has been the most “food adventurous” of all of us, loves our gourmet Nero di Seppia (squid ink) pasta with the smoke salmon and gorgonzola sauce.

In July our son, Daniel, married Teresa and she has been a wonderful addition to the family. Teresa, also wears several hats in that she is physician at Columbia University and is an active part of the PAZZI PASTA team. She has amazing decorating talents and
is a food lover like the rest of us. Teresa’s favorite dish is Squash and Mushroom Ravioli with Cauliflower Sauce topped off with shaved toasted almonds and pecorino cheese.

Pazzi Pasta Family (1)


Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Highlighting: low gluten, high protein, high fiber pastas
Using ancient grains: spelt, kamut, buckwheat
Shaping pasta: maltagliati, tagliatelle, pizzoccheri, orecchiette, farfalle
Single ticket: $65
Couples ticket: $120
Tickets can be purchased here

Potato Gnocchi & Squash Gnocchi with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Class
Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Pazzi Pasta_ Cooking Class

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