Showing posts with label Baked Rigatoni with Eggplant and Sausage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Baked Rigatoni with Eggplant and Sausage. Show all posts

Monday, February 14, 2011

April Bloomfield’s Incredible Edible Scotch Eggs

Monte's Scotch Eggs courtesy Melissa Clark's recipe
       Yes, I was at The Breslin yet again.  This time I went for dinner with friends.  Because Ms. Bloomfield has just knocked everyone’s socks off at the new John Dory Oyster Bar, on the other side of the Ace Hotel Lobby from “The Breslin”, we were able to snag a table. (Neither The Breslin 16 West 29th Street (646-214-5788) nor the John Dory 1196 Braodway (212-792-9000) take reservations.)  We did however put our names in at 6:00 and we were all assembled, (no seating until all are there), by 6:30. 

The Breslin's Scotch Eggs
The “London Calling” Martini, a house specialty, started things off for two of us. But that was just the beginning of a truly impressive meal, although god knows it’s damn the calories and the fat count, full speed ahead.   Between the lamb ribs and the garlic sausage, the lamb burger looks positively dietetic.   And I think you could almost say the same thing about the Scotch Eggs…except of course, that they were fried.  And they were just flawless.  A gorgeous almost runny yolk is encased in egg white and then completely covered with a layer of sausage that’s breaded and, yes, fried.   I got quite a kick out a recent survey on language trends that said that ‘sauteed’ has basically replaced ‘fried’ on restaurant menus, at least north of the Mason Dixon line. But let’s face it, almost everything tastes better fried. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Baked Rigatoni with Eggplant and Sausage, Parmigiano Cheese Bread and a Honey and Pignoli Tart that’s to die for.

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 Last weekend we had a post Thanksgiving dinner party.  Since everyone was pretty well stuffed with Turkey, we wanted something completely different -- a crowd-pleaser on a cold night.  So we went for a dinner that's 'tutto italiano' from main course to desert.  Now baked pasta dishes are a risky business.  Those giant pans of baked ziti come to mind. I remember going to a long ago dinner party when one wag, seeing that very dish on the sideboard, described it as being “like having dinner at Riker’s” (New York City’s jail).  But the recipe for Baked Rigatoni was intriguing because its author, Tyler Florence, not only has a last name in common with Italy but a very deft hand at making wonderful Italian Food.  What’s nice about this dish, from Tyler’s Ultimate series, is the way the top gets completely crusty while what lies beneath is layers of pure flavor—of mozzarella, sausage and eggplant and the pasta itself moist and delicious.  Served with a really beautiful green salad, this dish was a big hit.
Keith's Green Salad was a big hit
Accompanying our Baked Rigatoni, I made Parmigiano Cheese Bread.  Now my version is not specifically an Italian creation.  Bruschetta may be its cousin but most people consider this wonderful garlic-y, buttery invention as strictly American.  It’s relatively easy to make and it is wildly popular—we literally had a guest microwave a piece on his way out the door. 
Finally, Andrew topped off the meal with a truly wonderful and very Italian dessert.  It’s a “Crostata di Miele e Pignoli”, a honey and pignoli nut tart that combines a sweet and slightly salty filling with honey and pine nuts. Now this recipe has a great pedigree.  It is from Gina di Palma, whose “Dolce Italiano” is a treasure trove.  Ms. di Palma is the pastry chef at “Babbo”, Chef Mario Batali’s first big hit restaurant in New York.  Her cookbook is described as being ‘for those home cooks who, like Gina, lie awake at night in bed dreaming of the perfect dessert’.   I haven’t noticed Andrew losing sleep over his desserts and this one is so good, you wouldn’t.   Andrew described it as a kind Italian pecan pie.   I adore pecan pie but I’d have to say, I actually liked this better.  And we got to use our fabulous “Bee’s Needs” honey that’s made in the Hamptons by my friend, Mary Woltz. This pie, topped with a tiny scoop of Vanilla Gelato, was completely devoured by our guests.  Not one slice was left.