Big Night (1996), photo: Album / Alamy Stock Photo. Hand-rolled cavatelli, photo: The Wheel. Chrissy Antenucci, photo: Yashira Afanador

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SECOND SCREENS: Foodie Edition Serves Up “Big Night” and Handmade Pasta

Posted on February 25, 2021


Hand-rolled cavatelli from Chef Chrissy Antenucci of The Wheel and Stanley Tucci’s beloved 1996 film Big Night, coming soon—or whenever you choose—to a living room near you.


A do-it-mostly-yourself take on a film festival for the stay-at-home era, SECOND SCREENS: Foodie Edition pairs a classic, widely available film with interactive—and edible!—elements for a dinner-and-a-movie experience done on your time.


February may feel like it lasts forever, but alas, it does not. And with it, SECOND SCREENS: Foodie Edition‘s first course—the Stanley Tucci classic Big Night—has finished. But fear not, pasta people: You can recreate it all on-demand, with the recipe (plus chef guidance!), film info, and more right here.

I. The Film

Big Night is the story of two brothers, Primo (Tony Shalhoub) and Secondo (Stanley Tucci), who run a small authentic Italian restaurant on the Jersey Shore in the mid-1950s. While one brother is lured by the ritz and glam of a neighboring restaurant, the other is unwilling to compromise authentic cuisine in order to entice American customers, who are drawn to simplified meals and style over substance.

Stream, rent, or buy Big Night.


II. The Food

Chef Chrissy Antenucci of The Wheel developed a delicious—and surprisingly simple—hand-rolled cavatelli recipe to pair with Big Night.

FotoFocus visited Antenucci in her restaurant kitchen to get her take on the movie Big Night and what life is like in a real-life Italian take-out restaurant in Cincinnati, Ohio, while walking us through her hand-rolled cavatelli recipe:

First-time cavatelli maker? Heed a couple of Antenucci’s essential tips:

  1. Don’t add water to the flour mixture, even if you think the dough is not coming together — it will.
  2. When rolling your dough along the tines of a fork, it is easiest to start at the top.

III. The Fun

Make it a Big Night for your taste buds, not just your TV screen. If you’re in the Cincinnati area and would rather have the chef serve up the pasta, swing by The Wheel. (During February, Antenucci created a FotoFocus-specific risotto special, but anything on her menu will treat you well.) Pair it with wine and cheese from Oakley Wines while you’re in the area (or cut down to The Rhined) to grab a cheese and charcuterie mini and a bottle of vino recommended by owner Stephanie Webster for pairing with take-out from The Wheel—for whites, the Terre Nere Etna Bianco at The Rhined or Taupenot-Merme Aligote at Oakley Wines, and for reds, the Matteo Corregia Nebbiolo at The Rhined or Produttori Langhe Nebbiolo at Oakley Wines.


Put that pasta on a plate, queue up Big Night, settle in for an evening of couch, cheese, carbs, and clinking glasses—and check back for three more courses of SECOND SCREENS: Foodie Edition.


FotoFocus collaborates—locally, nationally, and internationally—to present and support photography and lens-based projects that are accessible, enriching, and engaging to a diverse public. FotoFocus inspires conversations about the world through the art of photography and film, via its partnerships and signature programming including the FotoFocus Biennial, FotoFocus Symposium, FotoFocus Film Program, and FotoFocus Lecture and Visiting Artist Series.

As the Covid-19 pandemic reshaped our world, FotoFocus had to pivot. First, by pledging part of its 2020 Biennial budget to financially support more than 100 Participating Venues and Partners in the region’s art community through FotoFocus Emergency Art Grants, and further, by enhancing other pathways to support lens-based art and engage the public in accordance with its mission. The Lens—the FotoFocus editorial arm—is one such avenue.