Linnea and Massimo Gallo met at cooking school in Paris and fell in love. He was from Italy and she was from Seattle.
They blended their backgrounds and opened The Fat Hen, a breakfast and lunch favorite in Ballard. Linnea makes the pastries, Massimo makes the savory sauces and dishes, and they're home by mid-day.
"We primarily made that choice because of our children," Linnea said. "We wanted to choose a restaurant service that would mesh with being parents."
Their hands are full with 2-year-old Aurelio and 5-year-old Eugenio, so quick and easy dishes work best. But you'll never find boxed macaroni and cheese in their kitchen.
"There are many, many recipes from Italy that are absolutely easy and fast to do and require just a few ingredients," Massimo said.
One of them is cacio e uova - cheese and eggs.
"It's essentially carbonara for babies," Linnea said. "Our nephews and nieces eat things like pasta with squash or risotto or seafood, and they're all clamoring for these things."
She and Massimo are trying to raise their boys in a similar manner. Rather than making separate meals for them, they find dishes everyone in the family can enjoy.
Cacio e uova is also easy to make and only takes about 15 minutes from start to finish.
Massmio adds olive oil and parsley stems to water and brings it to a boil. The cooking water becomes a broth. When the pasta is added, it thickens into a sauce. It's a traditional cooking technique from Naples, where Massimo was born and raised.
When the pasta is done cooking, Massimo adds beaten eggs, grated cheese, and chopped parsley. His two favorite customers can't wait to dig in.
"They can feel involved and then they see the result and actually eat it," he said.
It's a fresh replacement for processed meals. The only possible drawback is forgetting to make enough for second helpings.
"Hopefully they're going to save some for me," Linnea said.
Cacio e uova
by Linnea and Massimo Gallo of The Fat Hen
2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup stems of parsley
1/4 cup chopped parsley
One beaten egg for every person eating the dish
1 cup grated parmigiano
6 oz orecchiette pasta
Salt and pepper to taste
Fill cooking pot with water, add salt, olive oil and parsley stems, and bring to boil.
Remove the parley stems add pasta. Cook for about 8/9 minutes. When pasta is al dente, add beaten eggs.
Remove pot from burner and stir to cook eggs gently. Then add grated cheese, chopped parsley and fresh ground pepper to taste.