Dal Pasta

Dal Pasta is a man not a dish.
His lovely wife is Patti Pie.
These are of course not their real names but they are the nicknames given to them by the people they love.  Nicknames so appropriate because Dal is the master of pasta and Patti is the queen of pie.
Upon meeting them, you understand that the reason their food is so tasty is because they pour their spirit into everything they do.

I first met Dal Pasta in Carpinteria at the stupendously gorgeous Rose Story Farm.  We were invited for dinner by Dal’s daughter, who happens to be the beautiful proprietor of the farm along with her equally beautiful husband.  Dal was, no surprise here, making a pasta course to serve at dinner that night with family and friends.  Dal had brought the sauce with him.  He had made it at home earlier that day so I didn’t get to see how it was prepared.  It was a sauce that gave him great pride, and rightly so.  It was the sauce that you dream of, the sauce that can only be achieved by the diligent and tireless hands of someone who learned it from a generation prior and who never succumbs to any shortcuts.

I sidled up to Dal and offered to help.  Dal looked at me with his impossibly adorable smile and, dare I say it, was a bit of a flirt.  He charmed me from day one.  Over the years I discovered that I was not the only apple of Dal’s eye and he had quite a harem of ladies like me who found him irresistibly cute.  His daughter, my friend, seemed to find it amusing that her grumpy old dad had the ability to charm us women who were thirty-plus years his junior.

That first night, Dal confided in me as I helped him serve up his legendary pasta.  He whispered, “This is the secret.”  On top of each bowl of pasta, before adding the steaming hot sauce, he put two pats of butter.  And he looked at me with a twinkle in his eye.

One and Only Son ate three bowls of pasta.  He was a rather small child at the time so Dal Pasta was happy at bowl two and positively beaming at bowl three.  He said he had never seen a little boy eat so much pasta.  I assured him that it was indeed the most pasta my son had ever eaten.

But the pats of butter were not the only secret Dal Pasta had.  Arriving to dinner at his house one evening not long after our first meeting, I smelled his special sauce simmering on the stove and I started asking questions.  He quite amiably began telling me what he had done.  But really all I got was that he started that morning with sixty fresh tomatoes which he blanched, peeled and seeded to make his sauce which had been simmering for hours.

That’s all I got.
I had hopes of getting a full recipe out of him one day, but I didn’t want to push too hard.
I wish I had asked more questions.  I wish I could see that twinkle in his eye one more time.
Dal Pasta passed away on a beautiful March day in 2014.
I will always put two pats of butter on the pasta before adding a sauce,
but sadly it won’t be Dal Pasta’s sauce.

RIP Lorenzo Dall'Armi

RIP Lorenzo Dall’Armi


Dal Pasta

6 servings of cooked pasta
6 T butter
6 cups of your favorite tomato sauce

Fill six bowls with pasta.
Add 1 T of butter cut in half to the top of each bowl of pasta.
Top with steaming hot sauce and serve.




  1. hollyejacobs873 · · Reply

    Beautiful story! xoxo h

    Hollye Jacobs, RN, MS, MSW http://www.thesilverpen.com twitter @hollyejacobs instagram @thesilverpen [cid:A82AC503-8403-4D37-8E9D-39F3B97EBAC1]

    On Mar 16, 2014, at 5:38 PM, The Water Is Smiling <comment-reply@wordpress.com> wrote:


  2. Thank Hollye! Dal was a beautiful man ❤


  3. What a lovely story, and I wish I’d known him but sure feel lucky knowing the beautiful daughter and knowing the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – nor, more aptly perhaps, the tomato from the vine. Adding butter at the end is a great tip and I can’t wait to try it. I’ve been doing it to my soft scrambled eggs, but didn’t think of it for pasta – love it!


  4. Buttery soft scrambled eggs…yum Frances! Yes, Dani is as beautiful as Dal. I am blessed to know them and their delectable food.


  5. Thank you so very much for this beautiful piece, Cynthia…and the lovely comments.. Right back at you girlfriends! How my life is more beautiful, enriched, and fun for knowing you!

    And here’s the famous recipe … shhhh!

    Dal Pasta’s Simple Fresh Tomato Sauce
    (PS ‘Simple’ does not always mean ‘quick’ and according to Dad, you cannot take any short cuts.. )

    A bushel of the sweetest tomatoes you can find (or grow)
    Olive Oil, Butter, Sweet Onion (or Shallot) finely chopped
    Fresh Basil chopped
    Butter pats & Freshly grated Parmesan (get the best you can find)
    Blanch, Peel & Seed the tomatoes (he caught me (just once) when I had only blanched & peeled)
    Drop the tomatoes into boiling water and let them simmer for a minute or two, remove, peel
    and squeeze the seeds out.. this takes a while!!
    chop the tomatoes
    In a large skillet, saute the onion (or shallot) in the olive oil and butter (I use half and half) until transclucent
    Add the tomatoes and cook for as long as you want but at least until most of the juice is gone and the sauce is nice and thick.. this can be for as little as 30 min or as long as 2 hours depending on how you like the sauce.. it becomes more intense the longer it is cooked.. he always cooked it forever.. I’m a bit impatient but I think it’s good either way.
    Add the basil and cook for a minute or two more
    Cook 1 lb of angel air pasta per directions and drain (and heavens, don’t over (or under) cook the pasta
    Dad was a stickler about pasta .. only dried and only angel air for this sauce. He liked De Cecco and Barilla which you can find in just about any grocery store (thought my fancy pants brands were ‘for the birds’)
    Everyone needed to be seated by this time because ‘pasta isn’t good unless it is steaming hot’ said DP
    The pasta goes into individual low rimmed bowls .. the pats of butter next, then the sauce & finally the grated parmesan.. an assembly line works great at this point! AND pass the extra parmesan!!

    Every summer as the tomatoes come on in our garden we try to make several batches and freeze in different size containers. We enjoy it all winter long, I even send to my son, Geoffrey in NYC for a midwinter treat!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: