Savor: Great Food for a Greater Cause

We at Woman Around Town love a good party. We especially love a party for a great cause, which is why we are heading down to Gotham Hall this Monday night, March 8, when a high-profile crowd of taste makers, celebrated chefs, celebrities and philanthropists will gather for Gay Men’s Health Crisis’s (GMHC) annual gastronomic fundraiser, Savor.


Hosted and chaired by Ted Allen of Food Network’s hit show, Chopped, over 400 guests are expected to attend this prestigious event.  The evening will honor Dr. Yvette Burton, Senior Global Business Development Executive for IBM, and philanthropist and theatrical producer, Ted Snowdon, for their generous support of GMHC and ongoing commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The evening will kick-off with a glittering cocktail reception and silent auction, followed by a four course menu specially designed for the event by the world renowned star chefs of Food Network’s Chopped: Scott Conant of Scarpetta and Faustina at The Cooper Square Hotel, Amanda Freitag of The Harrison, Alex Guarnaschelli of Butter, Marc Murphy of Landmarc, Aaron Sanchez of Paladar, Chris Santos of Stanton Social and Geoffrey Zakarian of The Lambs Club.    Chef Guarnaschelli has graciously shared one of her recipes with Woman Around Town, which is included below.

One of the evening’s highlights will be Passing the Whisk, a fast-paced culinary spectacle, where each chef will show off their mastery of cooking. Starting with a basket of mystery ingredients, the chefs will race to create an extraordinarily delicious meal in record-breaking time.


“I am honored to have the chance to work again on Savor, and even more so because all seven Chopped judges have been so enthusiastic to sign on.  It is thrilling to join forces with my friends and colleagues to host such a glamorous evening, with exquisite food, in support of such an important cause,” said Ted Allen.

securedownload1GMHC ( is the nation’s oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention, treatment and care for those living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.  GMHC currently serves more than 15,000 men, women, and families in New York City.  In addition to community outreach and advocacy, GMHC provides warm meals, nutrition counseling, and a well-stocked food pantry for its clients.  GMHC’s mission is to fight to end the AIDS epidemic and uplift the lives of all affected.

Central to GMHC’s mission is the belief that proper nutrition and the experience of sharing a meal with others are fundamental to a healthy lifestyle—because food not only nourishes us—it brings us all closer together.

“We created Savor three years ago in order to celebrate and bring attention to our various food programs.  In 2009, we served over 100,000 hot meals in our dining room and distributed over 4,000 bags of food from our pantry to our clients in need.  Through this kind of programming we provide healthful foods in a safe environment so that our clients can prosper,” said Marjorie J. Hill, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of GMHC.

Tickets for Savor are available by calling 212.367.1389 or online at  Gotham Hall is at 1356 Broadway.  All proceeds from the evening will benefit GMHC’s prevention, support services, food programs and national advocacy in the fight against HIV/AIDS. If you are not able attend the dinner, or even if you do attend, check next week to see our photos of this fabulous event.

Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) is a not-for-profit, volunteer-supported and community-based organization committed to national leadership in the fight against AIDS. We provide prevention, treatment and care services to more than 15,000 men, women and families that are living with, or affected by, HIV/AIDS in New York City, and advocate for scientific, evidence-based public health solutions for hundreds of thousands worldwide. GMHC’s mission is to fight to end the AIDS epidemic and uplift the lives of all affected. For further information:

Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli’s Cavatappi Pasta Recipe


There are few American chefs, much less female chefs, that can boast staying power in Michelin-starred restaurants. Executive Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli (above) of Butter Restaurant (415 Lafayette St. 212.253.2828) can boast indeed—she embarked on a culinary journey in France, and ended up working in some of the country’s top restaurants including esteemed chef Guy Savoy’s eponymous three-star kitchen. She has generously provided Woman Around Town with one of her celebrated pasta dishes.

Cavatappi Pasta with Yellow Tomato Sauce and Lamb Sausage

5 yellow beefsteak tomatoes, washed, core removed and a small “x” drawn on the bottom of each with a knife

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

10 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin

3 large shallots, peeled and sliced

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

kosher salt

freshly ground white pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

¼ cup canola oil

½ cup water

1 pound dry pasta, such as penne or cavatappi

14 ounces fresh, spicy lamb sausage, casing removed

25-30 basil leaves, stemmed, washed and dried

grated parmesan cheese to taste

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and salt the water generously. Prepare an ice bath for the tomatoes by filling a medium bowl with cold water and some ice cubes. Use a slotted spoon to plunge the tomatoes into the boiling water for about 1-2 minutes. The skin should show evidence of peeling away (slightly) from the flesh of the tomatoes). Remove them from the water and plunge them into the ice bath. Allow the tomatoes to sit in the cool water so they “stop” cooking.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat a tablespoon of the olive oil and add the garlic, shallots and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the oregano and sugar. Stir to blend. Allow to cook, over low heat, until the shallots and garlic become tender and translucent.
  3. Meanwhile, remove the tomatoes from the ice bath and peel off and discard the skin from each. Place them on a flat surface, quarter them and scoop out the seeds and “jelly” from each pieces. Gather all the seeds in a strainer and push through the liquid that naturally surrounds the seeds. Discard the seeds. Reserve the liquid and tomato flesh.
  4. Add the tomato and liquid to the shallot mixture and stir in about 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 teaspoon ground pepper. Turn the heat down to medium and cook until the tomato flesh starts to lose shape, 8-10 minutes. Add the water and simmer for 15-20 minutes. The tomato sauce, at this point, should be mushy and blender-ready. If there are still some hard pieces, add a little more water and cook for a few more minutes. Taste for seasoning.
  5. In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add a generous amount of salt. The pasta water should taste like sea water. Add the pasta to the pot and stir so it doesn’t stick to the bottom as it cooks. Cook the pasta until “al dente”, chewy but not hard or raw tasting, 8-10 minutes, and drain the pasta in a colander until the sauce is finished. Reserve a little of the pasta cooking liquid in case you need it later.
  6. Put the tomato sauce in the blender and puree until smooth. Slowly add the vinegar through the top of the blender as the sauce is blending. Next, pour the remaining olive oil through the top in a slow, steady stream. Blend in another cup of water then remove the sauce from the blender and taste for seasoning.
  7. Heat a large skillet and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. When the oil begins to smoke, add the lamb sausage, breaking it into small pieces as it falls into the skillet. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the sausage becomes brown and crispy.
  8. Pour most of the sauce into a large skillet and add the pasta. Toss to blend with a wooden spoon. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the pasta liquid to thin it out. Drain any excess grease from the sausage and stir it into the pasta. Taste for seasoning. Add the basil leaves and sprinkle with cheese.

Guarnaschelli is currently the host of The Cooking Loft on Food Network. On The Cooking Loft, this successful restaurant chef invites four students into her cooking loft to learn her secrets and ask the kinds of questions at-home viewers would want to know the answers to. The Cooking Loft airs on Food Network on Saturdays at 9:30 AM EST. She also is a regular judge on “Chopped”, a new Food Network prime time show and will be featured in the upcoming series ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”

About Charlene Giannetti (824 Articles)
Charlene Giannetti, editor of Woman Around Town, is the recipient of seven awards from the New York Press Club for articles that have appeared on the website. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Charlene began her career working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania, then wrote for several publications in Washington covering environment and energy policy. In New York, she was an editor at Business Week magazine and her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines including the New York Times. She is the author of 12 non-fiction books, eight for parents of young adolescents written with Margaret Sagarese, including "The Roller-Coaster Years," "Cliques," and "Boy Crazy." She and Margaret have been keynote speakers at many events and have appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. Her new book, "The Plantations of Virginia," written with Jai Williams, was published by Globe Pequot Press in February, 2017. Charlene divides her time between homes in Manhattan and Alexandria, Virginia.