Cooking With John DeSieno, Jr.
By Kathleen Purvis | Photography by Jeff Willhelm
Posted: Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010
When you make your first visit to Derados Italian Gourmet Market in Cornelius, make sure youre hungry.
Owner John DeSieno Jr. makes first-timers sample pretty much everything in the store, handing you pieces of the fresh Italian bread (his grandfathers recipe), pizza with tomato sauce (his grandmothers recipe), sliced Italian deli meats and any other dish he sees you eyeing.
Thats what weve always done, he says. When my grandparents opened their first store in 1949, Nanny always said the food will speak for itself if you treat the customers like family.
DeSieno (say it Dee Cee No) says the family had five Italian stores in upstate New York before he closed them all to move to the Charlotte area last year. The migration started when his brother moved down, bringing his baby. His mother couldnt stand being away from her grandchild, so she followed three years ago. But she kept telling DeSieno she couldnt find Italian food.
She had me bringing foods down twice a month. Finally, I said, Ma, I cant keep doing this. Thats when we made the decision to bring the family foods down to North Carolina.
The shop is close to another popular Italian market, Ferruccis. DeSieno says they complement each other and he sends customers over there for cuts of meat. Hes more the Italian butcher. Were more the true, authentic Italian market.
Derados Italian Gourmet Market, 8301 Magnolia Estates Drive, in Magnolia Plaza in Cornelius. Closed Monday. 704-237-3382. www.derados.com.
Italian Mac N Cheese
From John DeSieno Jr. of Derados in Cornelius. DeSieno says his familys Italian macaroni and cheese isnt baked like Southern versions. If you have any questions about putting it together, give him a call.
16 ounces elbow pasta, cooked, drained and rinsed
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
15 ounces whole-milk ricotta cheese (see note)
Grated Peccorini Romano cheese to taste
1/2 cup bacon bits or crumbled cooked bacon
1/2 cup diced roasted red peppers
Combine cream, mozzarella and cheddar in a medium saucepan. Stirring continuously to keep the cheese from burning, bring to a boil or until hot enough to melt cheese. Remove from heat.
Stir in the bacon and red pepper. Pour over the cooked, drained pasta and mix throughly. Top with ricotta and fold in gently. (Make sure you dont add it when the pastas too hot or the ricotta will lose its texture.) Sprinkle with Peccorini to taste and serve. Garnish with bay leaf.
Note: DeSienos ricotta is seasoned with oregano, parsley, crushed red pepper, garlic powder, salt and pepper.