Info

"It's so beautifully arranged on the the plate – you know someone's fingers have been all over it." – Julia Child

Posts from the Italian Category

Skillet PizzaSkillet PizzaSkillet Pizza

 

This is one of our easiest recipes to date (just like those cheater doughnuts). It’s a non-recipe of sorts, casual and simple. Store-bought pizza dough, a raging hot skillet, and your choice of cheese and toppings — done.

SKILLET PIZZA
Makes 3 personal pizzas

We prefer to use fresh mozzarella or burrata (similar to mozzarella, but with a creamy center) and picholine olives, but feel free to substitute the olives with your favorite variety; hit up the olive bar at your grocer and skip the canned, water-logged variety.  Look for good quality anchovies – boquerones are sweet and plump, not the bristly, über-salty cadavers you tend to see distressing pizza-eaters.

1 (1-pound) fresh pizza dough, sitting at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes
All-purpose flour for work surface
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 (8-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella or burrata, torn into pueces
4 ounces full-fat ricotta
4 ounces ricotta salata, crumbled
Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup picholine olives, pitted and lightly crushed with the back of a knife
½ cup boquerones  (marinated anchovies) or pickled anchovies

- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 475°F. Place a large (10- to 12-inch) cast-iron skillet or large heavy-bottomed, oven-safe skillet on the rack.

- Cut the dough into three pieces.  Lightly dust a clean, dry, work surface with flour. Using a flour-coated rolling pin or empty wine bottle to roll out each piece of dough into an circle about 10-inches in diameter. The circle doesn’t have to be perfect.

- Place the hot skillet (keep a kitchen rack or oven mitt on the handle so you never forget it’s hot!) on the stovetop and turn the flame to medium.  Place one pizza round on the skillet and drizzle generously with oil. Top with some of the mozzarella, ricotta, and ricotta salata. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and return the skillet to the oven.

- Bake until the cheese is melted and the dough is puffed and golden, 12 to 15 minutes.  Repeat with remaining dough and cheese.

- Once the last pizza is finished, heat a small amount of oil in the skillet, add the olives and cook them over high heat until blistered and browned. Sprinkle the olives on the pizzas and top them with the boquerones.

- Serve with a chilled white wine or rosé.

Homemade Tagliatelle

We like to indulge in food, drink, and good company. This post is a glimpse into what fuels our friendships, our work, our lives. Here are chef Jessica O’Brien and interior and prop stylist Emily Rickard, helping in the kitchen, giving our gathering ambience, and making sure everyone’s glass and forks are full.

Ingredients

TAGLIATELLE WITH VANILLA BEAN LOBSTER AND MAITAKE MUSHROOMS

For the Lobster

2 (2 ½ to 3 pound) live lobsters

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.

Set one lobster on a cutting board. Hold the tail down, and, with a chef’s knife, cut down the line on the head, lengthwise and firmly (you should feel the tip of the knife touching the cutting board) until you hit the horizontal line where the tail begins. The lobster will die instantly, and I much prefer this method to dumping it into a pot of boiling water. It will continue to move a bit, but trust me, it is no longer. Repeat with second lobster.  Remove elastic bands from claws.

Cook the lobsters about 6 minutes. They will turn bright red. Remove them from the pot with tongs and run under cold water briefly. Tear the claws off, then, tear the tail off. Discard the head, unless you’re planning on making stock.

Lobster 101

Use shears to cut vertically down the tail on both sides – this will make it easy to remove the shell and the meat in a single, clean piece.

Cover the claws with a dish towel and tap them with a mallet to crack them. Pry off some of the shell, and pull out the meat.

Chop the lobster into bite-sized pieces.

Tagliatelle with Lobster & Mushrooms

For the Pasta

Note: Vanilla bean accentuates lobster’s sweetness, while the maitake mushrooms beefiness rounds out and anchors the dish.

1 recipe fresh pasts (see our previous post)

6 to 8 tablespoons salted butter

2 shallots, finely chopped

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Chopped lobster from recipe above

8 ounces maitake (hen of the woods) mushrooms, chopped

3 vanilla beans, seeds scraped out, pods reserved for other use

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 small bunch chives, chopped (about ¼ cup)

Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl it in the pan until it begins to turn golden and aroma is nutty. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add vinegar and allow to evaporate, about 1 minute.

Add the lobster, mushrooms, and vanilla bean and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until they are golden. Add more butter if desired.

Toss mixture with pasta and chives. Serve immediately. Mangia!

Time to Eat!!

Supple and full, biting into fresh pasta is like biting into a bottom lip. Sold? Yes, it’s a bit of an effort, but pressing palms into soft dough as you push and extend is an addictive release.

This is how we like to do it.

FRESH PASTA

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Note: You can use equal parts semolina and all-purpose flour in this recipe.

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for work surface and adjustment

5 large eggs, at room temperature

Salt

Extra-virgin olive oil

On a clean, dry work surface, combine the flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Form the flour into a hill, then create a well in its center. Add the eggs and a drizzle of oil to the well and begin vigorously stirring them, breaking the yolks and mixing them with the whites.

With the fork, quickly and steadily begin pulling the flour into the eggs, making sure no lumps remain – remember, steady.  Continue doing this until the flour and eggs are completely incorporated. Use a bench scraper to gather any scraps and press them into the dough.

Begin kneading: use your palm to gather the dough towards you, press it into the table, rotate, and repeat. Essentially, you want to shape the dough into a ball as you knead.

Making pasta, like making pie dough and bread, is highly tactile. The more you make it, the more you’ll understand its texture. It will start smooth and pliable, then begin to get sticky (add a bit more flour at this point – you want to keep the surface dry enough to be able to knead,  but don’t go crazy), then a bit rough and tough, like a muscle after you’ve been on the stairmill for a few minutes, then it’ll become smooth and terse like Hollywood starlet’s well-trained bum.  The whole process will take about 15 minutes.

Set the dough aside and cover it with a dish rag that has been dampened and extremely wrung out. Allow it to rest at room temperature 30 to 45 minutes.

Set up your pasta roller (I use a traditional hand-cranked one) and adjust the knob to the widest opening. Cut the dough into 4 pieces and pat each one into a rectangle about ¾-inch thick. Crank the dough through the machine twice. Adjust the knob one setting down and repeat the process. All you’re doing is thinning it out, one level at a time. Eventually, your dough will be a long, thin sheet.

At this point, you can use the attachment on your pasta maker to cut the dough into fettuccine strands, but I prefer a thicker noodle. To make the tagliatelle, fold the dough onto itself, almost as if you were making a wide jelly roll, then cut it crosswise with a knife into 1-inch thick ribbons. Unspool them and set them aside on a lightly floured sheet pan.

Store the pasta, refrigerated and tightly wrapped in plastic, for 2 to 3 days, or eat immediately.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook pasta about 4 minutes until all dente. Drain. Serve with a drizzle of good olive oil or a knob of good butter and Maldon salt.

Thank you to Emily Rickard & Jessica O’Brien for their amazing work on this post.

Stay tuned for our lobster tagliatelle recipe in the coming weeks!

Pillowy but with a density that gives a deeply satisfying bite, potato gnocchi is one of our favorite dishes. Simple food at its most glorious, these bite-sized dumplings are made with baked starchy potatoes, all-purpose flour, eggs, and in this edition, crumbly ricotta cheese. Somehow, in the brief time it takes to combine these ingredients into a cohesive mixture, alchemy occurs. The dough is rolled out into an Italian nonna’s finger’s thickness, cut into pieces, then pressed onto the tines of a fork to create the signature, plow track-like ridges on their plump behinds that will later serve to capture sauce.

For the sauce, we’ve opted for the classic pairing of brown butter and sage. Melted butter cooks until the milk solids transform into mahogany bits that exude an impossible to resist nutty aroma. Fragrant fresh sage leaves perfume this liquid, gold-flecked sheen. Buon appetito! 

Equipment: strainer, large bowl, microwave (optional) large rimmed baking sheet, pastry cutter or chef’s knife, large pot, dinner fork, slotted spoon or spider, large stainless steel skillet

Servings: 4

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
2 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour (about 5 ounces), plus extra for dusting counter
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh sage leaves

- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

- Place ricotta in strainer set over bowl and allow to drain while you prepare potatoes.

- Poke potatoes all over with fork. Place potatoes directly on oven rack and bake until a fork easily pierces them, about 40 minutes. For shorter oven baking, arrange potatoes on large plate and microwave for 10 minutes, turning over once halfway through cooking. Transfer to oven rack and bake for about 20 minutes.

- With oven mitts or clean dish rag, transfer potatoes to baking sheet. When cool enough to handle, peel potatoes and discard skin.

- Place potatoes in ricer or food mill and process directly onto baking sheet. Spread out onto even layer and cool to room temperature, 5 to 7 minutes.

- Bring water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt.

- Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and drained ricotta. With fork, stir in 3 ½ cups potatoes (if there are leftovers, reserve for different use), then, flour, mixing just to combine.

- Lightly dust a clean, dry work surface with flour. Transfer dough onto surface, then gently combine into a ball. Knead about 30 seconds just to combine.

- With a pastry cutter or chef’s knife, cut dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece out into a rope about ½-inch thick. Cut each rope into ¾- to 1-inch pieces.

- Press each piece against the back of the tines of a dinner fork, pressing down and rolling gently to create the signature gnocchi indentations.

- Drop gnocchi into boiling water and cook until gnocchi float to the top, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer gnocchi to baking sheet with slotted spoon or spider.

- Melt butter in large stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Butter will foam, and, once foam subsides, brown particles will settle to the bottom of the pan. Immediately add lemon juice, gnocchi, and sage and cook until gnocchi begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Serve.

The weather turned cold and brisk from one day to the next; without warning we went from wearing shorts and tanks to drawers brimming over with light sweaters and scarves. Luckily, we snatched up the end of summer’s ripest, reddest tomatoes and preserved them. A few weeks from now, we’ll be able to reinvent those fruits and memories of summer in pasta dishes, chunky stews, and hearty soups.

Tara is crazy about putting up fruits and vegetables — crisp vegetables in brine, sweet fruits in syrup, and of course, sauce-perfect tomatoes. One of her favorite books is Put ‘em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton, but you can use your preferred recipes to preserve any of the seasonal produce you love; it’s the perfect way to recall the warmer months.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,522 other followers