Thursday, September 15, 2016

Gemelli with Broccolini, Sriracha and Sweet Sausage

         There are times when all I crave for dinner is a big bowl of pasta and the infinite possibilities it presents.  First of all there are the almost unlimited varieties of pasta spanning all shapes and sizes and textures.  From tiny orzo all the way through to sheets of lasagna, your options are wide open.   Equally limitless, there is almost nothing you cannot make into a sauce, as this recipe proves.  It combines the familiar – sweet Italian Sausage, Broccolini, Garlic and Reggiano Parmigiano—with an adventurous use of completely un-Italian Sriracha Hot Sauce and Smoked Paprika.  The result is an intensely flavorful sauce -- not overly spicy just richer and more interesting. These ingredients may be completely out of context with Italian Pasta, but they add a layer of flavor that lifts the dish from everyday to extraordinary. And pasta with Sriracha and Smoked Paprika make for a great guessing game at the dinner table. Ah, the joy of pasta!  

Monday, September 12, 2016

Thomas Keller's Vinaigrette and Two Great Ways to use it: In Mixed Vegetable Salad and a Layered Chicken Salad in a Mason Jar.

Chef Keller in the Vegetable Garden
For years I’ve relied on Julia Child’s “Screw Top Jar” method for making a basic vinaigrette which I’ve enhanced with Dijon mustard and a little Garlic.  It’s a good salad dressing and I like to keep it on hand at all times.  But herein lies the problem. Inevitably I refrigerate the dressing and when I need to serve it, I find it congealed and unusable.  I then put it in the microwave which does swift work to liquefy the dressing.  But it also serves to heat it which means it needs time to cool.  A vicious cycle if there ever was one.  So the minute I saw Thomas Keller’s recipe for his Vinaigrette in Food and Wine Magazine, I was hooked.