Archive for ‘Italian’

September 3, 2011

Extra Time on Saturday | Pasta and Focaccia

The quick and dirty version of a Saturday dinner:

Because I made a veal stock today (with lovely bones from Bluescreek Farm Meats), it meant that there was quite a bit of tasty meat left on the bones after the stock was all said and done.  It was dropped into the quick tomato sauce, that I seem to make quite a bit here in the summer.  (It’s just now about time for the last of those tasty orbs.  Get them fresh while you still can.)  This was poured over some homemade tagliatelle.

Served alongside for sopping up all the extra tomato-y goodness was a bit of rosemary focaccia: (1 1/4 c all purpose flour, 1 large sprig fresh rosemary finely chopped, 3/4 t salt, 1 package dried yeast, 1/2 c water all dumped into a bread machine for kneading, then allowed to rise in a covered and very generously olive-oiled bowl for about an hour an a half; punched down on a baking tray and allowed to rise once again for about 30 minutes and then drizzled with more olive oil and torn rosemary, salt and grated parm; baked at 400F for about 25 minutes).  A simpler, no knead version is here.

Playlist included Misery, by New Jersey’s Big Troubles.  How is it that My Bloody Valentine is now retro?  Are we that old?  Le sigh.

July 14, 2011

Summer Produce | Short Ribs Braised in Tomato

This is a Saturday meal.  Not because it’s hard.  (It’s not.)  Not because it takes a long time.  (It could.)   But because if you head to a farmer’s market Saturday morning, or happen to run across some really fabulous tomatoes while you’re doing your weekly grocery shopping, this is what you should make.  This time, I used some beautifully imperfect farmstand tomatoes from an unscheduled stop at a roadside market.

This is, without question, the easiest way to make a fresh tomato sauce.  And perhaps one of the tastiest.  What follows is not so much of a recipe, as a way of cooking.  Let your heart (and perhaps your tummy) lead you.

Braised Short Ribs in Tomatoes, Serves 4, inspired by Scott Conant

2 pounds of really lovely ripe tomatoes, cored

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January 17, 2011

Winter Kitchen | Fritto Misto, Crudités and Bagna Càuda

Traditionally fritto misto is a dish of fried seafood and vegetables.  Last night, I lightened it up by leaving the vegetables uncooked for dipping into a luxurious sauce flavored with garlic and anchovies.  Bagna càuda loosely translates as hot bath.  Intensely flavored, it heightens the fresh crunch of vegetables that have gone for a quick swim around the bowl.  This is sophisticated but familiar game day food:  bite-sized pieces of fried fish and shellfish along with crispy, seasonal crudités and a warm, creamy dip.   A nibble here, a bite here and you’ll be satisfied without having gone around the bend.

Fritto Misto and Bagna Càuda, serves 2 to 3

For the Bagna Càuda:

c whole milk or half and half

6 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled and minced

8 anchovies

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January 13, 2011

Winter Kitchen | Zuppa di Cavoli

Every winter kitchen needs a good, sturdy soup.  This zuppa, made with lacinato kale, pancetta and fennel, is amazingly versatile.  The leftovers even result in perfect little hors d’oeuvres.  Who knew?

While this recipe contains the classic French base (i.e., carrot, onion, celery), the ingredients are cooked slightly differently than most other soups I make resulting in a surprisingly different flavor.  Regional and cultural differences in cooking techniques really get me going.  This is because I am a food nerd, but again, you all know this.  You don’t have to be, though, to enjoy this truly delicious Italian soup.

Zuppa di Cavoli, Four Ways, Inspired by Flavors of Tuscany

1 c dried canneloni beans (you could use canned, but I wouldn’t recommend it)

Small bunch of thyme

3 oz pancetta chopped (you could substitute bacon)

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1 carrot, scrubbed and chopped

1 rib of celery chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small bulb of fennel, trimmed of  stalks and root end, thinly sliced

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