HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.
Showing posts with label Pasta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pasta. Show all posts

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Leftover Lessons: "Greek" Lamb with Orzo or Orecchiette

"Greek" Lamb with Orzo
"Greek" Lamb with Oricchiette
        
Amanda (l.) and Merrill (r.)
Food 52 is a food ‘community’ headed by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs.  Amanda is likely most famous from having edited the Essential New York Times Cookbook, the 2010 revision of the original New York Times Cookbook.  Since she was following in the footsteps of none other than Craig Clairborne, it was some task.  I personally was very pleased to see that Ms. Hesser included the recipe for Monte’s Ham, which first appeared in the Times in 1998.  Food52 has a vibrant on-line recipe share to which bloggers and home cooks from all over contribute.         

Some months ago, I was intrigued by a post for a Lamb dish which topped a bed of lemon-flavored Orzo.  The dish came from a Food52 contributer who signs herself ‘Fiveandspice’ (www.fiveandspice.com).  Along with the recipe came the story of its origins. Fiveandspice’s Mother had seen it in a magazine and incorporated it into her family’s bill of fare.  Since the family was good solid Norwegian stock living in Minnesota, the original "Greek" Lamb with Orzo provided quite a contrast to their usual Norwegian meatballs and fish cakes. I'm not sure my friend Phillip, whose background and cooking is authentically Greek, would attach a Greek flag to the original recipe, but in Minnesota it was positively Pelopponesian. And remained so until Fiveandspice encountered April Bloomfield’s recipe for lamb meatballs in a spicy sauce.  I can always endorse anything Chef Bloomfield does with lamb—see http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2010/04/visit-to-april-bloomfields-breslin-and.html.  What Fiveandspice did was to revisit her Mother’s recipe incorporating both Chef Bloomfield’s techniques and, I would say, ingredients.  I’d been waiting for the weather to call for heartier dishes and this winter has over delivered on cold, snow, ice and the overwhelming desire to stay indoors until, say, April.  So I set out to make Fiveandspice’s Lamb with Orzo.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Napoleon's Chicken Marengo Two Ways: A 30 Minute Dinner and a Pasta Sauce



I love a recipe with a past and this simple and satisfying Chicken dish is a prime example.  And it may be the only time when you can say you’re serving Chicken fit for an Emperor, in this case Napoleon.  There’s a myth attached to the dish:  It was first made in 1800 after Napoleon defeated the Austrian Army at the Battle of Marengo which was fought south of Turin, Italy.  The story goes that Napoleon’s Chef, a man named Dunand, foraged in the town for ingredients because his supply wagons were too far off.  Dunand was said to have created the dish with whatever he could find. Legend has it that Napoleon liked it so much that he had it served after every battle.  Napoleon was also superstitious because once Dunand was better supplied he substituted mushrooms for the crayfish he’d used in the original version and added wine as well.  Napoleon refused to eat it, believing the change would also change his luck.         

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Melissa Clark's Penne with Brussels Sprouts, Chile and Pancetta


        
Brussels Sprouts in Winter
on the North Fork of Long Island
As a boy, I cannot think of a vegetable I detested quite as much at the Brussels Sprout.  These nasty little cabbages were about as appealing to me as damp pair of socks. I called them every name in the book and insisted that they were a relic of rationing during the two wars that had preceeded my arrival on the planet.  I’m not sure if the cabbage-like smell was worse than the cabbage-like taste.  However, my vocal protests did not stop my mother from putting them on the table regularly during those months when Canada is a frozen tundra and there’s very little choice in fresh vegetables.  Since we were charter members of the Waste-Not-Want-Not Society, when we were served Brussels Sprouts, we ate Brussels Sprouts. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Two Ravioli Recipes so simple, I'm almost ashamed of myself: Lobster Ravioli with Creamy Tomato Sauce and Cheese Ravioli with Black Truffles and Mushroom Sauce

Lobster Ravioli with Creamy Tomato Sauce  
Cheese Ravioli with Black Truffles and Mushroom Sauce
Eataly's selection of fresh, stuffed pasta
is hard to beat.
One day I hope I’ll become wildly proficient in making my own Raviolis.  For the time being however, I keep thinking back to my Mother.  On the subject of store-bought substitutes for anything she didn’t have to make herself, she was wildly enthusiastic.  If you knew my mother, if only on this blog, you will remember that her philosophy was to spend the barest amount of time in the kitchen to maximize the time she could spend at the cocktail hour.  She was bold-faced about this and prone to saying things like: “If that little man at the Italian market makes ravioli, why on earth would I?  I mean, he would go out of business if all of sudden everyone started making ravioli.  And I would never want to be a party to that.”  So she kept the Italian market in business.  I suppose all I am doing here is picking up her torch, so to speak.   Besides, I very much doubt I can do raviolis better than the ones I’ve bought.  No surprise that the raviolis at Eataly, the massive Italian food market at Fifth Avenue and 23rd St., are ne plus ultra.  But I don’t turn up my nose at the Fresh raviolis at Fairway. The cheese ravioli featured in today’s post came fresh from King Kullen in Bridgehampton.  The lobster ravioli came from the shelves of Trader Joe’s.  Now you do have to make a sauce, which would have unnerved my mother.  But as I have long since given up two martinis before dinner, I find the sauce about as easy it gets when you’re getting dinner on the table.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Orechiette with Sausage and Spicy Tomato Broccolini Sauce


         Cutting down on carbs is likely the fastest way to lose weight. Candidly, cutting down on alcohol is likely even faster but since that is not going to happen, I’ll stick with cutting carbs.  But anyone who has ever lived in Italy--never mind lived, set foot in Italy is more like it-- cannot envision life without pasta.  But recently, I’ve discovered that if you cut down on pasta portions, you won’t feel the least bit deprived.  You’ll likely enjoy the flavor of the sauce even more simply because there’s more of it and less of pasta.  Most recipes for 4 servings call for one pound of pasta.  Cut that back to 3/4 cup of dried pasta per person and you’ll have more than enough.  Then there’s the magic of the pasta water.  Without adding more oil or cream, pasta water adds creaminess to any sauce without adding a fraction of the calories.  And finally, if you amp up the flavor of the sauce, you’ll feel satisfied with a smaller portion.  All of which I did in this terrific, quick pasta that you can have on the table in about 30 minutes.   

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Passion for Ramps and a recipe for Bucatini with Andouille Sausage, Pan Grattato and, of course, Ramps





If foraging for ramps, make sure you're not
mistaking day lilies for the real deal.
Photo: Courtesy of Kerry Heffernan

         Ramp season is upon us and we’re off.  Every other foodie in New York will race to their local greenmarket in search of these tender, yet pungent, harbingers of Spring.  In fact, the interest is so intense that the only comparable event that comes to mind is to the running of the Bulls in Pamplona.  They attract that kind of crowd. Fortunately, the only real danger you’ll encounter is the distinct possibly that you’ll be run over by a ramp-crazed Chef at the Union Square Greenmarket. What’s all the excitement about?  Well, after the kind of winter we’ve had in the East, the mere sight of these woodland wild leeks, with their bright green leaves, is more than welcome.  And the fact that this year the asparagus is late rising from its beds only makes the leeks even more appealing.  There are said to be people who view the ramp as a mere “meh” on the menu.  And then there are those who haven’t a clue what a ramp is.   Not that that’s all that surprising.  They may be wild in the East and the South but they don’t even exist west of the Dakotas.   But they do grow here and picking your own may be an option.  But be careful.  My friend Kerry Heffernan mistook the day lilies growing near his house in Sag Harbor for ramps.  As you can see from his photo, it’s not a hard mistake to make.  Since I am not the forager that Kerry is, dutifully, I went to Union Square solely for the purpose of buying the first ramps of the season.  And then I was faced with what to do with them once I got home.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Gemelli Pasta with Lamb Ragu adapted from Michael Mina




         For all its popularity, ordinary supermarkets carry surprisingly few pasta shapes.  Granted, they do have a good representation of the types of pasta the home cook needs. But they never come close to the staggering number of varieties you’ll find at a pasta emporium like New York’s Eataly which is just across the street from Madison Square Park at 23rd and 5th Avenue.  The picture at left shows just one aisle of the store’s enormous pasta section!  How I took this picture with virtually no one in that aisle is something of a miracle.  Eataly, featured in this post (http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2010/11/visit-to-eataly-yields-delicious-veal.html), celebrated its second anniversary just last week.  And there was a lot to celebrate. The 58,000 square foot store was on track to net $85 million in one year, which works out to $1700 a square foot!  That’s a lot of pasta!  And Eataly would be a good place look for the Strozzapreti pasta that Chef Michael Mina called for in his original recipe.  We were nowhere near Eataly when we decided to cook this meat-y pasta dish with its spicy overlay of cumin and fennel and red pepper.  So we substituted Gemelli, which are easy to find almost anywhere. They’re also an approved substitute for Strozzapreti, which translates, from Italian into English as “Priest Strangler”.  Gemelli means ‘twins’ in Italian, so much less violent than ‘priest strangler’ don’t you think?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

La Cucina Italiana’s Spaghettini in Little Neck Clam Broth with Cherry Tomatoes or “Umido di vongole con spaghettini e pomodorini”


Clamming, about as Long Island as you can get
         I am big fan of Linguine with Clam Sauce as our recipe search feature will confirm.  So when I saw this recipe for a variation on the theme in the July 2012 issue of La Cucina Italiana, I had to try it.  After all, the Little Neck clam, with which this lovely, light dish is made, is about as local as you can get out here on the East End of Long Island.  It’s especially appealing too because, unlike Linguine with Clam sauce, the recipe includes some great fresh vegetables --  carrots, leeks and tomatoes – and it’s light on the pasta.  In true Italian fashion, La Cucina lists it as a “Primo” or appetizer which is generally the role pasta plays in the Italian menu.  I served it as our main course.  It is a perfect summer pasta dish especially with those bite-sized morsels of heaven, the littlenecks.       
A Clamming Rake is as essential to digging
Little Necks as the beer which generally accompanies
Clamming on Long Island 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vegetarian Lasagna adapted from Saveur’s “New Comfort Food”




A few years ago, I got a call from a guest who was about two hours away from coming to dinner.  He’d called to tell me that he and his new wife had become vegetarian.   Quite frankly, my initial impulse was to continue cooking the dinner I’d planned and let the two of them survive on the baked potatoes I was cooking. They were the only completely vegetarian item on the menu that night.   I managed to control myself, eliminated the pancetta in the spinach and forgot the pie with its Crisco crust and served the berries for the filling all by their lonesome. Inside, I seethed.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pino Luongo’s Spaghetti with Sausage alla Carbonara via Florence Fabricant



There was a time when Pino Luongo was at the top of the food chain in New York’s restaurant world.   He arrived here from his native Italy in 1981.  And after a brief stint working for other people, he opened Il Cantinori (Tel: 212 673 6044) 32 East 10th St, New York NY 10003) in Greenwich Village.  He was basically responsible for introducing New Yorkers to Northern Italian cooking, specifically that of his native Tuscany.  And it took hold to such an extent, it looked for a time as if Red Sauce Italian cooking, the staple of Italian American Restaurants, was done for. 
Pino Luongo
I remember his Le Madre, long gone from 7th Avenue in Chelsea. It was staffed entirely by Italian women. Le Madre means The Mothers in Italian.  Whether they all were Mothers is questionable but the women brought homespun Italian home cooking to the table.  And it was wildly popular.  In working on this post, I read that over the years Pino has opened 16 restaurants.  But now, he is down to running one: Centolire (TEL: 212-734-7711) at 1167  Madison Avenue between 85th & 86th Streets. (I have a sneaking suspicion I know why: Years ago, I had a truly wretched experience at his Hamptons outpost for which we received neither an apology nor any acknowledgment. 
Nevertheless, when I saw a recipe that Florence Fabricant had adapted from a meal she’d had at Centolire, it looked intriguing enough to try. It combines the classic Carbonara replacing pancetta with enough sausage to make the dish hearty, and cheese and eggs to make it satisfyingly rich.   True to Mr. Luogo’s long-standing affinity for an Italian Grandmother’s unwritten recipes, Ms. Fabricant said she felt ‘at ease adjusting…to my taste.”  I, however, left her recipe intact. 
Recipe for Spaghetti with Sausage alla Carbonara, courtesy of Florence Fabricant.
Time: 45 minutes
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 1/2teaspoons pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt 1 pound spaghetti
3 large eggs
1/4 cup pecorino Romano.


1. Remove casings from sausage. Using a knife, a fork or your hands on a cutting board, break meat into small pieces. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet. Add onion and cook on medium-low just until translucent.



2. Add sausage, mashing and breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it is uniformly crumbly and has lost its pinkness. Stir in the pepper and bay leaves. Add wine and cook until it has nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and discard bay leaves. Season meat to taste with salt.

3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti until al dente, 6 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a large serving bowl with hot water or warm it in a low oven. Lightly beat the eggs in a small dish. Just before pasta is done, return pan with sausage to low heat. When pasta is done, slowly beat about a tablespoon of pasta water into eggs. Then drain the pasta.
4. Transfer sausage to warm serving bowl. Pour spaghetti on top and toss it with the sausage, slowly adding the beaten eggs. Add salt to taste and fold in the pecorino.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.