Abbondanza! Pasta fund-raiser cooks up $ for Italy earthquake victims

Spaghetti and meatballs for a cause: Gianna and Gabriella Piccirillo with Ava Alario enjoy the pasta dishes at “Pasta Palooza,” a benefit for the victims of the earthquake that rocked a region in Italy.
Brooklyn Daily
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Now that’s using your noodle!

More than 300 people stuffed their faces with Italian fare at St. Bernard Parish Hall in Bergen Beach on Sept. 18 to raise thousands of dollars for the victims of the earthquake that devastated Amatrice, Italy, last month. The food was so delicious that everyone wiped their plates clean, but the tastiest part for one organizer was reaching his fund-raising goal, he said.

“We raised $4,295. The goal was one dollar for each mile between Brooklyn and Amatrice,” said Joe Gillette. “Everybody had a great time. We had a tremendous turnout.”

A massive earthquake rocked Amatrice on Aug. 24, killing at least 295 people and laying waste to the town, which is about an hour outside of Rome (and 4,290 miles from Brooklyn).

Fifteen Brooklyn restaurants donated 45 trays piled high with their best dishes, so everyone had an opportunity to sample them all, Gillette said.

There was way more than just noodles and red sauce to be had, and every bite was good to the last drop — but one dish knocked the others out of the park, he said.

“There was a fresh gnocchi, it was fresh and delicious you didn’t even have to chew, you just had to wiggle your tongue a bit and it just melted in your mouth,” Gillette said. “This was not spaghetti-and-meatballs donations. There was seafood, crab pasta, shrimp pasta — everything you could possibly think of.”

And choosing the best dish was too difficult a task, according to one Bergen Beacher, who attended with her husband and daughters and sampled a hometown favorite from Amatrice.

“Pasta with lobster sauce and lobster, and pasta all’Amatriciana. Those two really stood out for me,” said Maria Piccirillo.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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