HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT INTELLECTUAL FRAUD?


 

And by that, I mean plagiarism, to my mind one of the worst kinds of frauds, as it steals someone else’s ideas to present them as your own.

The particular example I found while researching a recipe for tomato vodka sauce, a not complicated but tasty way to spice up something to put on pasta.  I went to Epicurious and found several recipes, but then I found an anomaly:  the recipe from Rocco DiSpirito, one is lead to assume is taken from his book  Now Eat This, copyright 2010.  Now, I went to Amazon to look at the index of this book and can find no mention of penne alla vodka, and the Epicurious site has a heading stating this recipe is from Lidia Bastianich.  I am curious as to why Epicurious would have a separate posting to Lidia’s Penne Alla Vodka from 2001, with a misleading credit to DiSpirito.  Clearly, the recipe posted with Rocco Dispirito’s name is the Lidia Bastianich recipe, word for word.

 

PENNE ALLA VODKA

ROCCO DISPIRITO

 

EPICURIOUS FEBRUARY 2010

NOW EAT THIS

 

As simple a dish as this is, I have had requests for it in all my restaurants as far back as I can remember. I like the sauce a little feisty, so I’m generous with the crushed red pepper. You can add as much—or as little—as you like. Often, restaurant chefs finish this dish by swirling butter into the sauce at the end. You can do the same, or use olive oil to finish the sauce. I prefer olive oil, but I probably don’t have to tell you that by now.

 
INGREDIENTS

  • Salt
  • One 35-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano) with their liquid
  • 1 pound penne
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Crushed hot red pepper 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil for finishing the sauce, if you like
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for passing if you like

PREPARATION

Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat.

Pour the tomatoes and their liquid into the work bowl of a food processor. Using quick on/off pulses, process the tomatoes just until they are finely chopped. (Longer processing will aerate the tomatoes, turning them pink.)

Stir the penne into the boiling water. Bring the water back to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until done, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Whack the garlic cloves with the side of a knife and add them to the hot oil. Cook, shaking the skillet, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Lower the work bowl with the tomatoes close to the skillet and carefully—they will splatter—slide the tomatoes into the pan. Bring to a boil, season lightly with salt and generously with crushed red pepper, and boil 2 minutes. Pour in the vodka, lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer, and simmer until the pasta is ready.

Just before the pasta is done, fish the garlic cloves out of the sauce and pour in the cream. Add the 2 tablespoons butter or oil, if using, and swirl the skillet to incorporate into the sauce. If the skillet is large enough to accommodate the sauce and pasta, fish the pasta out of the boiling water with a large wire skimmer and drop it directly into the sauce in the skillet. If not, drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and pour in the sauce. Bring the sauce and pasta to a boil, stirring to coat the pasta with sauce. Check the seasoning, adding salt and red pepper if necessary. Sprinkle the parsley over the pasta and boil until the sauce is reduced enough to cling to the pasta.

Remove the pot from the heat, sprinkle 3/4 cup of the cheese over the pasta, and toss to mix. Serve immediately, passing additional cheese if you like.

Per serving: 280.0 calories, 35.0 calories from fat, 4.0g total fat, 2.0g saturated fat, 10.0mg cholesterol, 180.0mg sodium, 57.0g total carbs, 2.0g dietary fiber, 29.0g sugars, 11.0g protein

Nutritional analysis provided by TasteBook, using the USDA Nutrition Database

Now Eat This by Rocco DiSpirito. Copyright © 2010 by Rocco DiSpirito. Published by Random House Publishing Group. All Rights Reserved.

Hailed as the “Leading Chef of his Generation” by Gourmet magazine, Rocco DiSpirito received the James Beard Award for his first cookbook, Flavor. He went on to author Rocco’s Italian-American (2004), Rocco’s Five Minute Flavor (2005),Rocco’s Real-Life Recipes (2007), and Rocco Gets Real (2009). DiSpirito also starred in the Food Network series Melting Pot, the NBC hit reality series The Restaurant, and the A&E series Rocco Gets Real.

Now, here is the 2001 post of Lidia’ Penne Alla Vodka:

PENNE ALLA VODKA

BY LIDIA MATTICCHIO BASTIANICH

 

EPICURIOUS OCTOBER 2001

LIDIA’S ITALIAN-AMERICAN KITCHEN

This is more an American-Italian recipe than an Italian-American one. I found myself making this innovative dish, which always charmed our customers, quite a bit in the early 1970s.

As simple a dish as this is, I have had requests for it in all my restaurants as far back as I can remember: I like the sauce a little feisty, so I’m generous with the crushed red pepper. You can add as much — or as little — as you like.

Often, restaurant chefs finish this dish by swirling butter into the sauce at the end. You can do the same, or use olive oil to finish the sauce. I prefer olive oil, but I probably don’t have to tell you that by now.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • Salt
  • One 35-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano) with their liquid
  • 1 pound penne
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Crushed hot red pepper
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil for finishing the sauce, if you like
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for passing if you like

PREPARATION

Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat.

Pour the tomatoes and their liquid into the work bowl of a food processor. Using quick on/off pulses, process the tomatoes just until they are finely chopped. (Longer processing will aerate the tomatoes, turning them pink.)

Stir the penne into the boiling water. Bring the water back to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until done, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Whack the garlic cloves with the side of a knife and add them to the hot oil. Cook, shaking the skillet, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Lower the work bowl with the tomatoes close to the skillet and carefully — they will splatter — slide the tomatoes into the pan. Bring to a boil, season lightly with salt and generously with crushed red pepper, and boil 2 minutes. Pour in the vodka, lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer, and simmer until the pasta is ready.

Just before the pasta is done, fish the garlic cloves out of the sauce and pour in the cream. Add the 2 tablespoons butter or oil, if using, and swirl the skillet to incorporate into the sauce. If the skillet is large enough to accommodate the sauce and pasta, fish the pasta out of the boiling water with a large wire skimmer and drop it directly into the sauce in the skillet. If not, drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and pour in the sauce. Bring the sauce and pasta to a boil, stirring to coat the pasta with sauce. Check the seasoning, adding salt and red pepper if necessary. Sprinkle the parsley over the pasta and boil until the sauce is reduced enough to cling to the pasta.

Remove the pot from the heat, sprinkle 3/4 cup of the cheese over the pasta, and toss to mix. Serve immediately, passing additional cheese if you like.

Reprinted with permission from Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Bastianich. © 2001 Knopf

 

As anyone can see, a word for word copy of the same recipe.  So, my question is this:  why is there any connection to Rocco DiSpirito to this recipe of Lidia Bastianich, and was it done with Lidia’s permission?

I’ve never thought very much about DiSpirito’s talent other than his propensity for self-aggrandizement.  I remember seeing some of the reality TV show, The Restaurant, about the opening and launch of “Rocco’s on 22nd.  I remember thinking at the time that a restaurant that was planning to sell spaghetti and meat balls for over $30.00 a plate didn’t deserve to succeed, and I was right—the show was cancelled, DiSpirito was successfully sued by his financial backer Jeffrey Chodorow to ban DiSpirito from entering the premises, and the restaurant was shut down.  I can’t see any evidence that DiSpirito has done any restaurant cooking since, but he has been on TV and has written some cookbooks.  The question I have to ask is how much of what he has written is original?

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About trustforce

A well trained amateur chef, I cook and enjoy many different cuisines. I can enjoy a great Chicago style hot dog or an Italian beef sandwich, or have equal pleasure from haut cuisine. The fun is getting it right, whether I make it or someone makes it for me. The big problem that I have with eating out is that I know too much about restaurants and I find it hard to ignore or forgive sloppy technique or bad ingredients. I pull no punches in my restaurant reviews! All my recipe postings are extensively tested by me unless I state otherwise (I will sometimes post a recipe that sounds like it should be good before I actually make it myself) and when I am not the originator they are correctly attributed to the source author, even if I have modified the recipe. Untested recipes that have been posted are revised once they have been made and evaluated in an effort to keep old posts accurate and current.
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