Patricia Russo empowers women to lead


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Patricia Russo, Executive Director of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale, is all things politics in this state. If you’re a woman and want to run for political office, Russo is your gal. Her life long mission is to empower women to lead.

She says she had an interesting childhood, and jokes her parents were in a mixed marriage, her mom from Naples her dad from Sicily.

“I remember my mother telling the story of when she met my father on a blind date and she came home and she said, ‘this is the man of my dreams, I’m going to marry him,’ and the first question that my grandmother asked was, ‘what part of Italy is he from?’ and she said, “he’s from Palermo, Sicily,'” said Russo. “‘ Sicily that’s not Italian, absolutely not, not happening!’ not like, you know, Naples was the center of the universe, which was pretty hilarious.”

“Italian-American household, how important was food?” we asked.

“It was everything, everything,” Russo said. “My friends would come over for a snack, a snack would be a meal in a normal household. M y mother would just start pulling out things from the refrigerator, mozzarella balls, prosciutto, salami, a million things to drink, and then cookies, and this was at 3:30 when we got home.”

“My Mother is the quintessential networker,” she said. “I got my skills, I talk to everybody, and I am the quintessential networker. I love helping women get somewhere, because men, it’s an art form, you know men do it for one another, women not so much.”More Italian in Connecticut:

Patti Russo’s So Simple Linguine Vongole

  • 2 dozen little neck clams in their shell, rinsed and soaked in cold water for about an hour
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 cloves smashed garlic
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped basil
  • a kiss of red pepper flakes, right before serving
  1. Heat water in a large pot for pasta.
  2. While water is heating, add the olive oil to a heavy frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Add 10 cloves smashed garlic.
  4. Add the rinsed clams in their shell to the hot oil/garlic. Toss the clams so that they are coated with olive oil.
  5. Cover for 10 minutes. Lift the cover and toss. The clams will begin to open. Keep cooking over medium heat until all the clams have opened, then turn heat off.
  6. Take the al dente pasta out of the boiling water and strain. Do not rinse.
  7. Add the pasta to a large bowl that will accommodate the clams and other ingredients.
  8. Add the olive oil mixture and clams right over the pasta. Add the parsley and basil and toss again.
  9. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
  10. Enjoy!

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