On Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel, senior correspondent Charles Gasparino is always on the hunt for the next big scoop at the intersection of finance, business and politics.
But when he’s not on such shows as FBN’s “Countdown to the Closing Bell” or FNC’s “Cashin’ In,” the Bronx native can often be found in his kitchen, whipping up recipes that reflect his Neapolitan Italian heritage.
“I cook a lot,” he says. “I used to work in a restaurant when I was young. My dad was a bartender at this Italian restaurant in town, and he got me a job washing dishes. I must have been in the 11th grade. And I’ve been cooking ever since.
“When you wash dishes, you do all the prep work for the chef. That’s why a lot of these dishwashers become chefs.”
Gasparino says he makes a great lasagna – which is what he had last Thanksgiving in place of turkey – as well as braciola.
“You take flank steak,” he says, “and you roll it up. Depending on the filling, you can do a lot with it. The Sicilian way, you often put in hard-boiled eggs. You roll it, add salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, and you can put whatever else you want in it.
“Sicilians put hard-boiled eggs. Neapolitans will put, like I do, Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. I’ll put in raisins; they give it a really good kick. You saute it, put it in the (tomato) sauce, for, like, an hour.”
As to who is the chief cook in his household, Gasparino says, “Me. Not even close. My wife didn’t even know how to turn on her oven when she met me.”
But he doesn’t chow down on Italian cuisine every day.
“I must admit it,” says Gasparino, “I watch what I eat. I do protein shakes for breakfast, salads for lunch, and I’ll have fish or chicken for dinner, generally. If I have Italian food on the weekend, I’ll do farro pasta, which is pretty good. It’s very healthy. I make my own sauce; not much oil in it. I stay away from red meat, although I will have some during the holidays.
“By the way, working in that kitchen, I learned to make stuff where you could substitute ingredients. I also learned how to make fish. I can make really good oreganato – swordfish oreganato, cod oreganato.”
While Gasparino has no problem using commercially made pasta or breadcrumbs – he says he learned the best brands from Italians – he won’t stand for sauce in a jar.
“I never eat it,” he says. “It’s so easy to make your own. It takes five minutes. If you’re just looking for a decent spaghetti sauce, you saute garlic, maybe onions if you want. You throw in a can of tomatoes.
“You put in salt and pepper, parsley and basil, and maybe some red wine, and maybe a little more olive oil. You’re done.”