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Rocco DiSpirito

Rocco DiSpirito
Did you know?

Rocco is so certain that no one can cook like his Italian mother that he hired her as "head meatball maker" at his former restaurant, Rocco's 22nd Street.

Rocco DiSpirito
Rocco's Featured Recipe
Jambon de Bayonne, Baby Artichokes and Arugula

Click here for recipe

Rocco DiSpirito was born and raised in Jamaica, Queens, New York, where his culinary experience began at age eleven in his mother Nicolina's kitchen. By the age of 16, Rocco entered the Culinary Institute of America and then he studied abroad at Jardin de Cygne in France with Dominique Cecillon and Gray Kunz.

 

Upon his return to New York, he worked at Adrienne and then at Aujourd'hui in Boston. Rocco then joined Lespinasse's opening team and in 1997, he opened Union Pacific in New York City's Gramercy Park as chef and owner. In 1999, Rocco was named Food & Wine's Best New Chef, and in 2000, Gourmet magazine called him "America's Most Exciting Young Chef." Rocco opened Rocco's 22nd Street in the summer of 2003 while cameras for NBC's The Restaurant rolled. Later that summer, more than nine million viewers a week tuned in to see the ups and downs of Rocco's family-inspired eatery. The second series aired in the spring of 2004.

 

Rocco is the author of five cookbooks, including Flavor; Rocco’s Italian-American; Rocco's Five-Minute Flavor: Fabulous Meals with 5 Ingredients in 5 Minutes; Rocco’s Real Life Recipes; and Rocco Gets Real: Cook at Home Every Day. He currently stars in the A&E reality television program Rocco Gets Real, in which he comes to the rescue of home cooks facing a wide variety of everyday cooking dilemmas.

Latest Recipes

Flash-Fried Finger-Lickin Chicken

Everyone loves a good fried chicken, crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. This Flash-Fried Finger-Lickin Chicken gives you all the taste of your typical fried chicken recipe but with less calories and fat! Other "healthy" fried chicken recipes used an oven baking technique, which doesn't have quite the same effect as frying it. By flash frying the chicken, you don't have to sacrifice anything in order to get the chicken you love without the grease! The flash frying technique can even be modified to be used in your other easy chicken recipes, too - it'd be delicious for chicken and waffles.

(1 Votes)

Roasted Miso Salmon with Cubanelle Peppers

Looking for a new way to prepare your salmon? Here is a new twist for your upcoming dinner party. Roasted Miso Salmon with Pineapple is an incredibly flavorful dish that your guests will find impressive. The wonderful thing about miso is it never spoils. You can keep it in your refrigerator for a long, long time and you know it will be ready for you when you need it. The pineapple also also adds a sweet touch to your salmon and freshens it up for you and your guests.

(1 Votes)

Jambon de Bayonne, Baby Artichokes and Arugula

If you are looking for a touch of Spanish cuisine on your next menu, here is a dish that is sure to please. Jambon de Bayonne, Baby Artichokes and Arugula is a great starter dish for any dinner party you are planning. This arugula salad is simply over the top once the Jambon de Bayonne is added. If you are not able to get that ingredient, prosciutto is a worthy substitute. This salad also features black peppercorn, fennel seeds, onion and garlic. It is just the opening dish you need for your next exciting dinner event.

(1 Votes)

Beef Shabu-Shabu

Shabu-shabu is one of the more popular Japanese dishes and it usually involves boiling thinly-sliced beef in hot water to cook it. Its name comes from the sound that the pot of water makes as you stir the dish, and it's usually cooked and eaten with a group of people for a fun social activity. This Beef Shabu-Shabu recipe takes the popular Japanese food and turns it into a delicious, savory soup. You won't want to go back to your typical shabu-shabu recipe once you taste how delicious this Asian soup turns out to be!

(1 Votes)

Au Poivre Sauce

This rich French sauce made of pepper, Cognac, and cream is traditionally served on steak, but its equally good on pork or salmon. Inste...

(1 Votes)

Prawns with Handkerchief Pasta

For all the variety of pasta shapes stocked by the average American grocery store, one type Ive never been able to find here is the squ...

(1 Votes)

Grilled Turkey Salisbury Steaks with Tomatoes and Provolone Sauce

Classic salisbury steak is a patty made of ground beef and seasonings that is fried in butter or oil and smothered in a brown sauce. Alth...

(1 Votes)

Grilled Turkey Kebabs a la King

This was originally a rich chicken dish made with lots of cream and sherry, peas, and pimientos, and served on hot buttered toast points ...

(1 Votes)

Nutella Sandwiches

On visits to Rome, my family usually stayed with my fathers sister Elena, a nun. Breakfast at the convent was almost always day-old brea...

(1 Votes)

Striped Bass with Lemon Zest

Once the TV Food Network invited me, an hour before airtime, to be on the program In Food Today. Sure, I said, no problem. The produ...

(1 Votes)

Quick Miso Chicken

Miso is a seasoning commonly found in Japanese recipes. With this Quick Miso Chicken, a burst of miso flavor and a taste of sweet orange marmalade come together to take a plain chicken breast to the next level. If you're looking for easy chicken breast recipes that the whole family will enjoy, this one's for you - it's quick enough to make any night of the week! This is a great way to incorporate a little Japanese flair to your cooking without venturing too far outside your family's comfort zone.

(1 Votes)

Warm Chocolate Cake

By now, certainly everyone has tried a version of this popular chocolate cake in a restaurant. The exterior is solid yet the interior is ...

(1 Votes)

Indian Beef Curry

This Indian Beef Curry recipe is chock-full of savory beef and sauteed vegetables, creating a dish that's full of flavor. Greek yogurt lends the curry a creamy consistency without adding a lot of fat, while garlic and basil give the curry powder a little extra kick. Unlike some other Indian curry recipes, this one doesn't take long to make - it cooks up in less than 30 minutes, making it a perfect last-minute dinner dish! Bring it to a dinner party for a surefire conversation starter.

(1 Votes)

Orecchiette with Pesto Rosso

This Orecchiette with Pesto Rosso uses a tomato-based pesto recipe rather than one that requires pine nuts, but this version is actually easier and has a more unique flavor. Orecchiette pasta and savory fish combine to make this one of those easy dinner ideas that's not hard to make, but is still something different than your usual pasta dishes. It has that authentic Italian food taste without making you spend too much time in front of the stove - it cooks up in under an hour!

(1 Votes)

Chicken Piccata

This easy chicken piccata recipe will help you bring the taste of an Italian restaurant into your own kitchen. To make Chicken Piccata, seasoned chicken is dredged in flour and egg before getting sauteed in butter. The residual butter and drippings are then transformed into a velvety sauce. Garlic, lemon juice, and flour are added to the sauce for additional flavor and thickness. Capers are stirred into the sauce right before it gets spooned over the tender, juicy chicken. This Italian-American recipe will become a staple in your recipe box once you taste the bright and tangy chicken.

(0 Votes)

Pepper and Basil Frittata

Editor's Note This Pepper and Basil Frittata is chock-full of healthy vegetables and low-fat ingredients that make it one of the most guilt-free breakfast ideas out there. Cauliflower, zucchini, and (of course) red peppers combine with the flavors of basil and garlic to bring you a vegetable frittata recipe that is truly out of this world. The recipe serves six, so it's perfect for Sunday brunch or a big family breakfast - and with the delicious low-fat adjustments in this healthy frittata recipe, you won't have to sacrifice nutrition for taste!

(1 Votes)

Fettuccine Alfredo

Who doesn't love a cheesy, rich Fettuccine Alfredo recipe? It feels great to indulge in a dish like that, but not so great if you're trying to diet. This whole-wheat pasta alfredo, however, can be consumed guilt-free the alfredo sauce recipe uses low-fat Greek yogurt instead of cream for a much healthier alternative. This way, you cut out some of the fat while maintaining the flavor and creamy texture of the alfredo. Your kids will never know the difference, and you might even find you enjoy the texture of the whole-wheat pasta better than its white flour alternative!

(1 Votes)

Real Chicken Marsala

This Real Chicken Marsala recipe tosses out the less-than-healthy ingredients usually found in marsala sauce, such as butter and white flour, and instead relies on the natural flavors of the ingredients involved for an authentic Italian taste. Greek yogurt is the key to maintaining the creaminess of the dish without adding a lot of fat, and keeping things simpler than in other chicken marsala recipes allows the true stars of the dish - the mushrooms, chicken, and garlic - to shine. This is an easy chicken recipe to throw together for dinner any night of the week.

(1 Votes)

No Cream-No Cry Penne alla Vodka

Vodka sauce is the perfect marriage of tomato and cream, but No Cream-No Cry Penne alla Vodka is one pasta recipe you don't have to feel guilty about indulging in. If you've been wondering how to make vodka sauce that's not heavy on the calories, here it is this low-fat vodka sauce recipe swaps out the cream for Greek yogurt, maintaining the rich flavor of the sauce while cutting the fat and calories. Pair it with whole-wheat penne for a penne alla vodka recipe that you can really feel good about.

(1 Votes)

Pepper Steak

If there's one steak recipe you should have in your repertoire, it's Pepper Steak. Charred peppers and a thick, rich sauce lend their flavor to beef tenderloin in this pepper steak recipe which is quick enough to make for a weeknight dinner. It's an easy but flavorful dish that packs a peppery punch! This is a classic steak recipe that's popular at restaurants, but with this recipe you'll learn how to make pepper steak on the stove at home, filling the house with a wonderful aroma that will have your family drooling.

(1 Votes)

Mama-Approved Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs is one of those classic dinner ideas you make again and again. These Mama-Approved Spaghetti and Meatballs uses a low-fat marinara sauce and lean turkey, among other low-fat ingredients such as eggplant, to create homemade meatballs that are much healthier than a traditional meatball recipe! The meatballs are tender and bursting with flavor but with a fraction of the calories and fat. Whole-wheat spaghetti is the final component to this low-calorie pasta recipe. Adults can indulge guilt-free in this waistline-friendly dinner and kids will never know the difference.

(1 Votes)

Mamas Meatballs

Traditional Italian food is hard to come by, but once you find a recipe like this Mamas Meatballs recipe that's been in the family for generations, you know you've found a keeper. Mamas Meatballs is a meatball recipe like none you've ever tried before. The meatballs are tender and full of flavor - you'll like these better than the spaghetti you serve them with! They're great over pasta, on sandwiches, or even on their own. You'll never go back to frozen meatballs once you've tried this delicious Italian dish.

(1 Votes)

Bucatini with Summer Vegetables & A Tomato-Anise Broth

Bucatini is a long, thick pasta with a hole through the middle that allows it to pick up more sauce. This Bucatini with Summer Vegetables and A Tomato-Anise Broth is sure to become one of your favorite quick dinner ideas. The sauce is light and, when paired with fresh vegetables like zucchini and tomatoes, helps to make this dish one of those classic summer pasta recipes you'll make again and again.

(1 Votes)

Steak au Poivre

Steak au Poivre is one of those classics that immediately comes to mind when you think of French recipes. Peppercorn-crusted steak combines with a creamy brandy or cognac sauce to create this rich, delicious French steak recipe that's a favorite the world over. This version is a healthier alternative to the typical steak au poivre recipe as it calls for skim milk rather than heavy cream, making for a lighter sauce that tastes just as good. No one will know that you made the substitution!

(1 Votes)

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

The Italian name for this salad is insalata caprese, and it’s a shining example of the brilliance of Italian cuisine: a few fresh, simple...

(1 Votes)

Seared Tuna with Green Beans, Lemon, and Wasabi

This dish isn’t a makeover, per se. But there are so many beloved--and believe it or not, unhealthy--seared tuna dishes out there in the ...

(1 Votes)

Rocco’s How Low Can You Go Low-Fat Marinara Sauce

There are some high-quality, great-tasting low-fat tomato sauces available on the store shelves these days, so if you don’t want to make ...

(1 Votes)

Barbecue Ribs

I love these ribs--they’re better than real BBO for two reasons: (1) They ring in at one-third the calories and fat of the original, and ...

(1 Votes)

Creamed Spinach

Here’s a great steakhouse side dish that can do more harm than the red meat itself. Standard preparations make a bad boy out of an otherw...

(1 Votes)

Sweet Potato Fries

French fries are maddeningly delicious, but consider that a large order of McDonald’s French fries contains about 500 calories and 25 gra...

(1 Votes)

Not So Basic Vinaigrette

I first learned how to make a real French vinaigrette when I was eighteen years old and living with a very generous chef in Paris. It was...

(1 Votes)

Creamy Parmigiano-Reggiano Sauce

Toss this creamy sauce with hot cooked pasta, or drizzle it over steamed broccoli or roasted Brussels sprouts.

(1 Votes)

Onion-Garlic Puree

This aromatic puree is designed to be a base ingredient and is a great way to build flavor and texture without adding fat. You can stir i...

(1 Votes)

Mama’s Marinara

In culinary school, I learned the term Mother Sauce, which refers to a sauce that is the base for other sauces. When I opened Rocco’s and...

(1 Votes)

Clams Oreganata

This is an Italian-American restaurant favorite. Be sure to preheat your broiler as soon as you begin, because the key to golden, crunchy...

(1 Votes)

Fried Shrimp

If you prefer small shrimp, don’t worry about deveining them. I like to use large shrimp for frying, though. Leave the shell on for a re...

(1 Votes)

Taylor Bay Scallops with Uni & Mustard Oil

No dish encapsulates the theme of this book better than this one does. It’s the result of inspiration from great ingredients (the sweetes...

(1 Votes)

Tuna Tartare with Yuzu & Wasabi

This may come as a surprise: the best-tasting tuna is not colored solid ruby red, but is rippled with white swaths of fat—a fact that has...

(1 Votes)

Crushed Potatoes with Parsley & Thyme

An über-side dish! Not only does this simple, neutral potato dish go with just about any entrée, it’s very easy to make—you don’t even h...

(1 Votes)

Clams with Green Onions, Nori & Sesame

I’ve been eating clams all my life. They were brought home on Fridays for pasta sauce and eaten raw with lemon juice at holiday feasts a...

(1 Votes)

Scallops with Beets and Mache

Make this dish if only to pick up a new technique. It’s a good one. Here’s the technique: brown a little butter, then roll the scallops a...

(1 Votes)

Char with Pea Sprouts and Forest Mushrooms

People either love or hate mushrooms. Personally, I can’t figure out what there is to hate about them. But somehow, adding vinegar to mu...

(1 Votes)

Onion Soubise

Onion soubise is a My Fair Lady of cooking. Long, gentle cooking mellows brash onions into an unrecognizably suave, sweet side dish. The...

(1 Votes)

Yam Purée

I don’t know how to improve upon traditional mashed sweet potatoes, so I haven’t tried. This is an unadulterated classic–you might recogn...

(1 Votes)

Slow-Cooked Salt-Crust Salmon with Endive

From steadying oyster shells to breaking in new cast-iron pans, salt has an almost endless number of uses in the kitchen. Baking foods in...

(1 Votes)
Cookbooks, etc

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