Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food

Archive for the tag “pasta”

Alessandra Palotti

My new and dear friend, Alessandra Palotti is a great tattoo artist and a great cook! Alexandra is Italian from Bologna, Italy where she has been tattooing for over 6 years. Alessandra and her husband, Koji Ichimaru, run their private studio in Bologna, what a beautiful place to live, definitely on my go-to list!


Alessandra and I got to cook together one day. I made beef Milanese and she made Bolognese sauce. I had never had traditional, authentic Bolognese before and had a completely different idea in my head on how it is made. I learned so much from her that day.


Here is a mix of Alessandra’s tattoo photos, her recipe and photos of the process. Please enjoy and try out her recipe, it will become a staple in your culinary repertoire!


Alessandra’s Bolognese Sauce

makes about 4 servings

To be served with pasta of your choice and garnished with a good grated parmesan cheese!

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

2 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

1/4-1/2c olive oil

1 pound ground beef

1/2 tsp sugar

salt and pepper if desired

26-27 oz crushed tomatoes

15-26 oz water

2-3 TBLS butter

Brown carrots, celery, onion over medium heat in the olive oil for about 10 minutes.


Add the ground beef and cook until the beef is cooked. Then add the basil, salt and pepper (if desired) and sugar. Let it simmer for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes and 1/2 the water.


Let the sauce lightly simmer for about 2-3 hours. If the water starts to evaporate too much, add more water little by little.


You will want to end up with a very thick sauce, you want most of the water to be reduced in the cooking process. Add the butter at the end, before serving. Eat with pasta and parmesan. Enjoy!!



Grazie Mille, Ale!!  Thank you for coming out to visit and for showing us all this amazing recipe!!!!!!!! We can’t wait till you come out next time!

You can catch more of Alessandra on her Instagram, @ale1126

If you are a tattooed chef or foodie tattooer and want to be featured on this blog or Instagram, email us at





Well October has arrived and what better way to start the scariest month of the year than to bring up the creepy, scary tomato. What do you mean the scary tomato, you ask? Well for over 200 hundred years the tomato was considered an inedible and poisonous plant. The tomato was dangerous food to eat as many people wound up sick after eating the fruit. This was because at that time aristocrats ate off of mostly pewter plates with pewter utensils. Lead in the pewter broke down and leeched into the highly acidic tomatoes.  This obviously led to lead poisoning (ba da bum ching!). The tomato was considered a Solanceae plant in Europe, the same category as the mandrake or the deadly nightshade (deadly and ominous plants). Tomatoes did not shed its infamous rep until around the 1800’s around the time the pizza was invented in Italy.

The plump veggie/fruit had a much better reputation in Mesoamerica, where they originated. Ironically, Tomatoes were brought to Europe by early explorers and brought back to the Americas with the Italians who paid little attention to their reputation and regularly enjoyed eating them. Thus the pizza, thank you Italy!

The name, tomato, comes from the Aztec word, tomatl. And In German history, the tomato was thought to conjure werewolves and was integral in lycanology. Creepy!

Nutritionally tomatoes are the ‘renaissance man’ of nutrition. Tomatoes are jam-packed with Vitamins A, C, K, B6, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and potassium. They help fight sun damage to your hair, skin, improve bone mass, and are a natural cancer fighter.  The tomato also regulates blood sugar and is an anti-inflammatory. What a talented food!

Lastly, there are many varieties of tomatoes. Many, many, many, many varieties. There are literally too many to name! Here is a good resource to read up on the different varieites,  You will be surprised on how many there actually are! Choosing ripe tomatoes is not that difficult. Make sure the skin is unbroken and intact and the tomato should be plump yet firm not squishy or too juicy. The squishy ones will be good for cooking sauces or soups with, however.

One more note: the acid from tomatoes and the lining of cans (BPA or Bisphenal-A ) are not a good mix. It is more of a health risk with fetuses, infants and small children. So buy glass canned tomatoes whenever possible!!

Her is my recipe for basic tomato sauce, it never fails to impress people! And you can freeze it!

1- 1 1/4c olive oil

10 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

4 yellow onions, roughly chopped

4-6 fresh Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped

4 TBLS dried oregano

1 tsp dried chili flakes

1/4c red wine

4 16oz jars of glass jarred tomatoes (I found them at Costco of all places!)

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1/2c of the olive oil in a large sauce pan on medium-high. Add the garlic, onions, fresh tomatoes, and chili flakes. Let the onions sweat until they are starting to turn translucent and become soft. Add the wine and cook off the alcohol, about 2-3 minutes. When the alcohol is cooked off, add the jarred tomatoes and bring the sauce to a very slow simmer. It should bubble every 2-3 seconds, not a full rolling simmer. Turn the heat down and let slowly simmer for about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, transfer to a blender or use a hand blender and puree the sauce smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Now let the sauce cool and then divide it into plastic containers in portions you will eat later and place in the freezer. Enjoy!!

Get out and buys some tomatoes today and enoy this amazing food!!


Photo by the lovely Michelle Roberts!!

If you have a recipe or tattoo you would like to share, contact us at

Adam of Bright Side Chef Catering


Brynne recently conducted this fun interview with a super talented chef, Adam of Bright Side Chef Catering! Check it out and don’t miss his mouth-watering recipe at the end : )

Brynne: So Adam, tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been a chef?

Adam: I live in Phoenix, Arizona and have been living here for 18 years. I have been cooking and working in kitchens for about 16 years. I went to culinary school about three years ago and haven’t taken it seriously (as a career) until then.  I got a job as an executive chef right out of culinary school.  I was lucky because that is rarely the case.

B: You own a business called Bright Side Chef? What do you guys do?

A: I own Brightside Chef Catering.  We do your typical catering jobs; weddings, parties, private dining, office luncheons, etc. I also own a food truck “frank.”, in which we specialize in gourmet hot dogs. Who doesn’t like hot dogs? These are more what I do on the side. My “day job” is I am the executive chef for two restaurants in Scottsdale and Chandler. The Skeptical Chymist and Fibber Magees, both under the same ownership. I try to stay busy J


B: What was your first tattoo, and how old were you when you got it?

A: My first tattoo was a music note on my left wrist. My sister got it for me for a birthday present.

B: What initially drew you to tattoos?

A: I grew up listening to punk rock.  I eventually played in a punk rock band. Most people who listen or play punk rock have tattoos. So I grew up seeing all my music idols with tattoos. I thought it was rad.


B: Why do you think tattooing is so prevalent in the culinary industry?

A: Being a chef you are very expressive in what you do. You create something, put it on a plate in your own style, and serve it to someone. It’s a common trend with artistic professions. I say artistic because I believe the culinary world is as artistic as the music world or art world. You see musicians, chefs, artists with tattoos. All of those express themselves in someway, they wear their heart on their sleeve and tattoos are just that. A visual way to express yourself.


B: Do you have a favorite tattoo? Who did it?

A: It’s hard to pick a favorite, it is kind of like picking your favorite child. However the most meaningful one is of an “A” I have tattooed on my bicep.  “A” standing for my last name and I got it tattooed at the same time with my brother. He got the same “A” on his back. Family is a big deal to me, if not the most important thing.  We are still waiting on my sister however to gather the courage to get it.

B: Do you have any especially memorable tattoo experiences? For example, something funny that happened while getting tattooed or a meaningful experience?

A: One of the people I look up to is Johnny Cupcakes. If you don’t know him he is a tshirt designer.  You can check him out at  He has multiple stores as well as his online store. But I don’t respect him for the shirts he designs but for the journey he took to get there. Long story short he created his tshirt business plan as a school project and failed. Dropped out of school, created his tshirt company, is now a millionaire and has stores all over the world. Not that money is everything but just showing that if you really want to do something, and you really put your mind to it, you can do it. I sent him an email asking some questions about starting a business and he actually responded with a lengthy email answering my questions. I was actually really surprised he actually responded let alone one in such detail. He also tours around the US doing lectures at Universities about business as well as going to stores himself and selling tshirts. I went to one here and Phoenix and met him. His logo is a cupcake with crossbones and I got that on me after he drew it on me.


B: What, if any, are your future tattoo plans?

A: I have a couple in mind. I have been wanting to get a Boba Fett tattoo for a while now. I am a huge Star Wars fan and he has always been my favorite character. I also recently broke my ankle in a mosh pit (I know I’m too old for that), however I now have a gnarly scar where they put a plate in. I want to get a steam punk tattoo on my ankle since I am now part robot. J

B: Any advice for a novice in the kithcen?

A: Don’t get frustrated. Like anything it takes practice. If you mess up try it again. Also, as we call it in the culinary world, “mice en place”, meaning “putting in place”. Basically it means have everything ready and prepped before you start cooking.  That way you can concentrate on cooking and not be like “Oh crap, I forgot to cut up the onions, now the garlic is burning”.  Also read the recipe before you start doing anything. Its all about being in control.


B: Do you have a recipe you’d like to share with our readers?

A: I usually don’t make vegetarian dishes but I made this one the other day and it was actually really good


 Eggplant Cannelloni with Romesco sauce and herb oil

For Romesco sauce

1         1/2 medium tomato

2         2 slices French bread

3         2 medium garlic cloves, peeled

4         1/4 cup whole raw almonds

5         1 ½ cup roasted red peppers

6         2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

7         1/4 cup olive oil

8         1 teaspoon kosher salt

9         1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1. Heat the oven to 450°F and arrange a rack in the middle.

2. Arrange the tomato, garlic, bread, and almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until the bread and almonds are lightly toasted, about 5 to 7 minutes.

3. Transfer the roasted ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse to coarsely chop. Add the roasted red peppers, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and paprika and pulse again until well combined and relatively smooth.  Check for seasoning

For the Herb Oil

1 bunch of fresh parsley

1 bunch of cilantro

4 ounces basil

3 cloves garlic

1 cup olive oil

1.      Add ingredients in a blender and puree until well blended.

For Cannelloni

1 Eggplant (medium)

1 2 cups cremini mushrooms, sauteed

1 pint ricotta

1 bag spinach, sauteed

1 cup enoki mushrooms, sauteed

Micro greens – to garnish

Salt and pepper

Cooking spray

1.      Set oven on low broil

2.      Slice eggplant lengthwise in ½ inch slices

3.      Place eggplant on sheet pan. On both sides, season with salt and pepper, and spray with cooking spray.

4.      Place in oven and cook on both sides for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown.

5.      Remove from oven and on one side add a couple tablespoons of ricotta, cremini mushrooms and spinach. Roll up into the cannelloni and place back on the sheet pan with the “seam” side down.

6.      Set oven to bake at 350.

7.      Bake in oven for 5-6 minutes or until the cheese is warm through.

8.      Spoon romesco sauce on plate, place cannelloni on top, and garnish with micro greens and herb oil.


Thank you Adam, this sounds amazing!!

Here is some contact info for Adam

Contact info:


If you have a recipe or food tattoo you would like to share let us promote you and your work inside the studio or kitchen!! Send it to us at

Thank you and enjoy!!

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