Born and raised in Northern Italy, where he learned his cooking skills from his mother and grandmother, Massimo Tenino came to the United States in 1993 and spent the next years developing his culinary style in Los Angeles and San Francisco. In 2003, he moved to Tucson where he opened Tavolino Ristorante Italiano the following year. Since then, Chef Tenino has received consistently rave reviews and the restaurant continues to be one of Tucson’s favorite places for lunch, dinner or happy hour.
Was your mother a good cook? What memories do you have of cooking with your mother or grandmother?
Both my mother and grandmother were very good cooks. I remember making fresh pasta with my mom for special occasions. She would let me take a small bite of the uncooked pasta such as ravioli or gnocchi and I thought it was such a great treat.
What ingredients are you excited about working with this spring?
Fresh pastas. We are ordering an Italian extruder pasta machine that will allow us to make new shapes where the pasta itself is the “prima donna” and the sauce is a compliment to the al dente pasta.
What did you have for dinner last night?
I made a frittata with fresh artichokes, sautéed onions and potatoes, served with a salad. For dessert I made a crostata, a tart with fresh apples and apricot jam. The tart came out so nice that we took a photo.
TAVOLINO RISTORANTE ITALIANO
2890 E. Skyline Drive. 531-1913. tavolinoristorante.com. Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Happy hour daily 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Featuring fresh pastas, pizzas from the wood-burning oven, rotisserie meats and more, complemented by wines offered by the glass and bottle. Patio dining, chef’s table and private dining room with separate patio access available.