Several of Schenectady’s Italian families who have been satisfying our taste buds for years are joining together to raise money for victims of the earthquake last week in Amatrice, Italy.
The fundraiser, called “Schenectady Loves Italy,” will be held on Thursday and will feature $5 pasta dishes from the Mallozzis and the Mazzones. Perreca’s will supply bread and DeCrescente will provide beverages.
Nearly 300 people were killed and thousands displaced after a powerful earthquake devastated the town, located in central Italy, on Aug. 24. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward earthquake relief.
Proctors’ CEO Philip Morris organized the fundraiser. The event will be held from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on State Street outside of the theater.
Morris said he came up with the idea after reading about the influence Amatrice has had on the restaurant world.
The mountain town is home to Bucatini all’Amatriciana. The pasta dish is named for the town, which is considered by many Italians to be the birthplace of the country’s best cooks.
Bobby Mallozzi and Matt Mazzone, whose family businesses are competitors, are joining together to make hundreds of pounds of pasta for the fundraiser.
They both plan to make the town’s signature Bucatini all’Amatriciana dish.
Mallozzi said restaurants around the world are donating money from the purchase of the dish to the town to aid victims and to help rebuild.
He said with Schenectady’s strong Italian community they thought it would be a good idea for the city to do the same.
Mallozzi said pasta all’Amatriciana is made with pork, pecorino cheese and tomato in red sauce.
“The plan on our side is we’ll be doing red, white and green pasta,” he said. “We’ll have a green pesto pasta, white alfredo pasta and red all’Amatriciana pasta. We’ll start making it [Tuesday].”
Mazzone said his staff is planning to make some cavatelli (small pasta shells) and rigatoni pomodoro along with all’Amatriciana. The Mazzones will also prepare a Caesar salad.
“It is interesting to see a lot of the Italian families in our region jump in to make this work out,” he said. “We wanted to do something great to get people to downtown Schenectady and for people to donate to this cause.”
The Mallozzis and Mazzones plan to make a combined total of about 700 pounds of pasta and 80 gallons of sauce to feed around 2,500 people.
All proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward the Italian Red Cross, Morris said. Mallozzi and Mazzone said it would be $5 for a small plate, along with options for bread, salad and a drink.
Tickets will be sold at the corner of Jay and State streets by Johnny’s restaurant, Morris said. Morris said he is hoping to get a liquor license by Thursday to also serve beer and wine.
Other sponsors of the event include the city of Schenectady, the Daily Gazette and Fundabilities.
Fundabilities started an online campaign to raise money for the cause at Fundabilities.com/Schenectady-Loves-Italy. The goal is to raise a total of $10,000.
The fundraiser came together rather quickly. Morris emailed Mallozzi and Mazzone on Thursday and met on Friday to discuss specifics.
“We chose to do it quickly because of Labor Day weekend and the following weekend is the Greek festival and we didn’t want to compete with that,” Morris said. “I think the community will come out for this.”
Morris said he asked the city to close a portion of State Street for the event, but it is unclear if that would be possible by Thursday.
Mayor Gary McCarthy said if the street cannot be closed tables would be set up on the sidewalk and possibly in blocked-off parking spaces on State Street.
“We won’t have a lot of tables, just some tables with chairs, and we’ll use whatever Proctors has,” Morris said. “It’s largely a standing event with music. Two groups have already said yes to provide music.”
Mallozzi said he believes the event will highlight Schenectady’s Italian culture while helping to contribute to relief efforts in Italy.
“It’s devastating,” he said. “My father’s town is about an hour and a half away. So many of those beautiful thousand-year-old buildings lasted for so long and are now gone.”
Reach Gazette reporter Haley Viccaro at 395-3114, [email protected] or @HRViccaro on Twitter.