Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Remembering Italy — first with Montasio cheese

With the advent of short days and cold nights, menu planning in my house switches from summer vegetables to the heartier foods of winter. So when the Legends from Europe promotional team (legendsfromeurope.com)came through Boston last week and bequeathed me a small cache of Montasio, Grana Padano, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses and a few precious ounces each of San Daniele and Parma prosciuttos, I started recreating some of the great dishes I remember eating in northern Italy. I’m sharing them on the site as a series of four courses. All five products are registered under the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) program – a guarantee of regional authenticity. Accept no substitutes! So-called “parmesans” from Wisconsin or Argentina may be tasty cheeses, but they are not Parmigiano Reggiano by a long shot.

Of the products in the consortium, Montasio cheese is the least well known in the U.S. It is a distinctive aged cow’s milk cheese made in the foothills of the Alps in northeast Italy. It hails from the northern section of the Veneto and from the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. I was really pleased to get my hands on some to recreate one of my Friulian favorites, frico con patate.

The simplest way to make frico is to fry grated Montasio until it begins to crisp and serve it as a lacy wafer with a glass of white wine as a snack or an appetizer. But in Friuli, people like to add potato and onion to make a hearty eggless “omelet” like the one detailed below. I served it last week with slices of the last remaining garden tomato that’s been ripening on a counter since I rescued it from frost just before Halloween.

FRICO CON PATATE

Serves 2 as an appetizer

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 bunch scallions, white and pale green portions, thinly sliced
1 medium waxy potato (red bliss or yellow Finn), peeled and coarsely grated
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated Montasio cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

Add olive oil to a non-stick omelet pan and place over medium heat.

Combine half the scallions with grated potato and add to omelet pan. Sprinkle salt over mixture. Cook, turning frequently with spatula, until potato is cooked through.

Combine remaining scallions with cheese. Sprinkle over potato and cook without stirring over low heat until Montasio melts and forms a lightly browned crust on bottom – about 10 minutes. Loosen edges with spatula and turn over to brown other side about 3 minutes.

Blot excess oil and divide in half to serve.

04

12 2012

Bowties with tomato trimmings

We’re in the midst of the tomato and basil harvest–lots of Costoluto Genovese tomatoes and lots of Genovese basil. Most nights that means slicing up some fresh mozzarella cheese and enjoying giant plates of insalata caprese.

But what do you do with the tomato shoulders and irregular bits left over when you make a pretty plate of caprese? We took a little inspiration from Sicily and added lemon and ground pistachio nuts for a solid pasta plate that takes full advantage of the harvest.

FARFALLE WITH TOMATOES, LEMON, AND PISTACHIOS

Serves 2 as main dish, 4 as pasta course

Ingredients

2 cups farfalle (bowties)
1 1/2 cups peeled, chopped tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, grated
grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup pistachio nutmeats, coarsely ground
1/3 cup chopped basil leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
extra Parmigiano Reggiano for the table

Directions

1. Heat 4 quarts salted water to a boil. Add farfalle and cook al dente (about 10 minutes).

2. While pasta is cooking, carry out other steps. Place chopped tomatoes in sieve and toss with salt. Let drain over bowl, reserving liquid.

3. In heavy-duty skillet, heat olive oil until smoking hot. Remove from heat and add grated garlic and grated lemon zest. Stir until lightly browned.

4. Place skillet back on medium heat and add lemon juice. Cook until reduced by half. Add juice that has drained from tomatoes and reduce by half, stirring frequently to emulsify and get creamy texture.

5. When pasta is done, add to juice mixture in skillet. Add ground pistachios and stir well. Add chopped basil and stir well, cooking about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in grated cheese.

Serve with additional cheese for the table.

18

08 2012

Recapturing a great flavor of New Hampshire


Our latest book, Food Lovers’ Guide to Vermont & New Hampshire (Globe Pequot Press), just arrived two days ago and it brought back fond memories of the research. One of our favorite meals was at the Bedford Village Inn, when Benjamin Knack, fresh from a season on Hell’s Kitchen, had just take over the dining program for this romantic destination property.

It so happens that Ben makes a killer gnocchi, which he claimed was so simple that even his then 4-year-old daughter could do it. There are a couple of secrets to getting just the right texture. The potatoes should be cooked so they “squeak like Styrofoam when you squeeze them,” he says. And they should be pushed quickly through the sieve so the potato remains warm while you’re making the gnocchi.

That particular night we ate the gnocchi tossed with duck confit, but they’re equally good dressed in a light sauce made of roasted tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, and nothing more. We managed to get the Bedford Village Inn into Food Lovers’ Guide to Vermont & New Hampshire, but the gnocchi recipe arrived too late to make the first edition. Next time, maybe. In the meantime, here it is in all its glory (and simplicity).

GNOCCHI WITH ROASTED TOMATO SAUCE

Ingredients

3 russet potatoes
1/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch pepper
1 egg
1 cup flour

Directions

1. Bake the potatoes until they are soft (about 45 min) in a 350-degree oven. While still warm, cut in half and, using the skin, push through a sieve or tamis onto a table top.

2. Sprinkle cheese, salt, and pepper over potatoes and cut in with bench scraper. Break egg on top and cut into potato mix until well incorporated.

3. Add flour and cut in until it is fully incorporated. Knead gently until a ball is formed. Flatten dough to about 3/4 inch.

4. Cut dough into 3/4 inch dowels and cut dowels into 1/2-inch pieces. Toss uncooked gnocchi in flour and allow to dry for 15 minutes.

5. Set 6 quarts water, well salted, to boil in large pot.

7. Drop gnocchi into boiling water and cook until they float. Then allow to cook for 2-3 more minutes.

8. Toss with 1/4 cup canola oil and store covered in refrigerator up to 48 hours until ready to serve.

ROASTED TOMATO SAUCE

Ingredients

5 vine-ripened tomatoes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Set oven to 350F.

2. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise. Toss with 1/4 cup olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in roasting pan and cook 25-30 minutes.

3. Remove tomatoes from oven. Separate skins and discard. Purée tomatoes until smooth. Add 1/4 cup olive oil while blending and add salt and pepper to taste.

from Benjamin Knack, executive chef at the Bedford Village Inn

Beyond chile peppers: the nuanced Santa Fe cooking of Estevan García at the Tabla de los Santos

We had the pleasure of spending Spanish Market in Santa Fe last July at the Hotel St. Francis, a luxury hotel that strongly resembles a monastery. And while we were there, we enjoyed the cooking of Estevan García, one of the pioneers of refined Southwestern cooking from his days in Los Angeles. A one-time monk himself, he seems right at home at the St. Francis. His cooking is as straightforward and unpretentious as it is subtle and delicious.

We wrote about him for the Boston Globe‘s food section. The piece appeared on May 9. You can find it online here. The article also included García’s recipe for this incredibly rich goat’s milk flan:

GOAT’S MILK FLAN

Serves 6

The goat’s milk adds a slight tang to this flan. While flans can be rubbery, the long, slow cooking keeps this version smooth and creamy.

Ingredients
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 cup goat’s milk
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1/4 cup water
1 vanilla bean
4 whole eggs
2 additional egg yolks

Directions

1. In a deep pot, combine 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup goat’s milk.

2. In a shallow nonstick pan, spread 3/4 cup sugar. Sprinkle water over sugar and place over medium heat. Swirl pan to fully dissolve sugar, then continue heating until mixture turns a dark amber. It should look nearly burnt. Remove from heat and divide caramel into six 6-oz. ramekins. Swirl to cover bottoms and spread caramel partly up the sides.

3. Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds into remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Sift the vanilla into the sugar using a fork.

4. Whisk together eggs, extra yolks, and the vanilla-sugar mixture until sugar is dissolved.

5. Over medium heat, warm the cream-milk mixture until it looks like it will boil over. Remove from heat and add the other cup of heavy cream to cool it down.

6. Stir some of cream-milk mixture into eggs to temper them. Then stir the egg mixture into the milk-cream mixture. Fill ramekins.

7. Set the oven at 250 degrees. Place folded dish towel in bottom of a large roasting pan. Place ramekins in pan, taking care that they do not touch each other or the walls of the roasting pan. Place in oven and add enough scalding hot water to come halfway up the ramekins. Bake for three hours or until custards are firm in the middle.

8. Cool ramekins on rack. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours. To serve, dip ramekins in hot water and use knife to loosen edges. Unmold each onto a small plate or shallow bowl.

Adapted from Estevan Garcia, Tabla de Los Santos, Santa Fe, N.M.

24

05 2012

Sweet on grandmothers

When it comes to sweets, even the most adventurous chefs seem to have soft spots for their grandmothers’ homey favorites. When Josh Moore, the executive chef at upscale Italian restaurant Volare (volare-restaurant.com) in Louisville, Kentucky, was tapped to prepare the dessert course at a recent taping of the TV cooking show “Secrets of Louisville Chefs Live,” he decided on his grandmother’s recipe for Kentucky Jam Cake.

“It’s very simple,” he told the studio audience. “Mix the wet ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients. Then combine them.” Moore’s grandmother added applesauce for moistness. She also made a decadent caramel frosting. As Moore beat together the butter, sugar, and cream in a stand mixer, it was all I could do not to stand up and ask if I could lick the beaters.

I did, however, have a chance to sample the cake, which is is firm but moist, with a pleasing texture from the chopped nuts. It stands up well to the rich caramel frosting.

The live episodes of “Secrets” are filmed at the Kitchen Theater at Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies. Culinary arts students hone their skills at Winston’s Restaurant, a fine dining destination on campus. For information on how to obtain tickets to a live taping, see www.newlocal.tv; to learn more about Winston’s, see www.sullivan.edu/winstons.

Look no farther for Moore’s grandma’s cake!

KENTUCKY JAM CAKE

1 1/2 cups black raspberry jam
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup applesauce
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon salt
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups chopped black walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl by hand until blended. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into a buttered Bundt cake pan or layer pans and bake for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool and unmold.

CARAMEL FROSTING

1/2 pound unsalted butter
3 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
3 cups powdered sugar

Cook butter, brown sugar, and cream until it comes to a boil. Let boil for 2 minutes. Put in mixer, add powdered sugar, and stir with paddle attachment until incorporated. Spread hot frosting over cake.

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19

03 2012

Gordon Ramsay in the Powerscourt kitchen


Superchef Gordon Ramsay has 19 restaurants in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Qatar, and the U.S., but only one in Ireland. It’s at the plush Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt outside Dublin, where I visited in the spring when Ramsay was on hand to mark the restaurant’s re-launch.

I have to admit I didn’t know what to expect from the flamboyant TV personality. But Ramsay was on his best behavior and only let an occasional profanity slip, and always with a wink. Perhaps the gracious setting had a mellowing effect, or perhaps the broadcast persona is just that. At any rate, the Powerscourt Estate is truly magical. It was established in 1169 as one of the grand medieval properties forming a defensive ring around Dublin. (See ”The Eyes Have It” in this fall’s Fashion Forum.) The woodlands seem positively Druidic. The 200-room resort, which opened in 2007, was the most expensive hotel project in the history of Ireland, and it reflects the Georgian architecture of the estate’s manor house. Current general manager Massimiliano Zanardi lives for good food and wine and the chance to share both. It is no coincidence that not long after Max arrived, the Gordon Ramsay restaurant changed its focus from formal dining on classical cuisine to relaxed dining on farm-to-fork dishes. Hence the re-launch in May.

Like many of the Gordon Ramsay Holdings operations, the menu is developed by Ramsay and implemented by a chef de cuisine–in this case a super-talented Peter Byrne, whose previous gig lasted more than seven years at Chapter One, the Michelin-starred restaurant at the Dublin Writers Museum. Byrne knows the farmers and the shepherds and the foragers of the County Wicklow countryside. Thus the restaurant serves lamb raised less than 20 minutes from the hotel, the vegetables come from an organic farm a 10-minute walk away, and some herbs and mushrooms are foraged on the Powerscourt estate itself.

”I’m from Dublin,” Byrne told me, ”born and raised on the flavors of the Republic. My main goal is to keep the food fairly simple and focus on the natural flavors.” It’s a radical idea in a country that has always had wonderful bounty and seemed intent on spoiling it by overcooking or over-fancying the dishes.

Veteran showman that he is, Ramsay couldn’t resist giving some cooking lessons for the attendees at the re-launch dinner. He certainly made it all seem a lot easier than on an episode of Hell’s Kitchen. I was particularly taken with the ease–and great taste–of his simple dish of scallops with spring vegetables. The West Cork sea scallops were so big and meaty that he cut them in half so they would cook in the 3 1/2 to 4 minutes required for a normal sea scallop.

Here’s my adaptation of that recipe:

SCALLOPS À LA GORDON RAMSAY

Serves 2 as an appetizer or lunch

This is adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe for West Cork scallops that he prepared for the re-launch of Gordon Ramsay at Powerscourt earlier this year. He used fresh spring peas and mushrooms, but with a few substitutions, I found that I can make the dish all year. I use frozen baby peas, for example, and dried morel mushrooms rehydrated in vegetable stock. Ramsay serves the dish with broad beans, but baby limas are a good North American substitute. Pea tendrils, fortunately, are available year-round, though watercress makes a fine substitute.

Pea purée
1 tsp butter
2 scallions, sliced thin
1 cup tender young peas
vegetable stock

To make the pea purée, sweat scallions in butter until soft, add peas, a little vegetable stock and simmer until the vegetables are tender (3-4 minutes). Purée in a blender until smooth, then set aside and keep warm.

Vegetables
1 cup baby lima beans
vegetable stock
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup morel mushrooms
1 teaspoon butter
1 cup pea tendrils

Steam baby limas in vegetable stock until tender (5-7 minutes). Set aside and keep warm.

Heat oil in small sauté pan. Add morels and sauté a few minutes. Add butter and a little vegetable stock to keep moist. Set aside and keep warm.

Scallops
10 scallops (for two plates)
salt and white pepper
vegetable oil
butter

Season the scallops on both sides with salt and white pepper. Place a non-stick pan on medium high heat. Once hot, add 1 teaspoon of oil and the scallops. Let the scallops caramelize for a couple of minutes on the first side. Turn them over, add a knob of butter to the pan and finish cooking the scallops in the butter foam for 1-2 minutes.

To assemble the dish, place a spoon of pea purée in the middle of the plate, place the scallops, lima beans, and morels around and garnish with the pea shoots.

25

11 2011

Watermelon steak from José Andrés

When we first tasted this at Cayman Cookout on Grand Cayman Island in the middle of January, it was hard to think about watermelon. But José Andrés was thinking nothing but—demonstrating eight recipes for watermelon in an hour-long session. Andrés is perhaps the best ambassador of Spanish cooking to America. His Washington, D.C., restaurants include Jaleo, Zaytinya, Oyamel, Café Atlantico, and minibar by José Andrés. His grand Bazaar at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills has taken Los Angeles by storm.

We always think of watermelon as the most juvenile of summer fruits, but José showed just how sophisticated it can be. The preparation that stuck with us was his version of bistec de sandia, or watermelon steak. As every calorie-counter knows, watermelon is actually light and insubstantial (and low in calories), but grilled melon seems hearty enough to proudly wear the Spanish title bistec. The recipe depends on having wonderfully ripe watermelon and equally ripe heirloom tomatoes.

We’ve made a few departures from José’s original recipe. On Grand Cayman, he dressed the plate with microgreens. In the height of watermelon and tomato season here in New England, it’s too hot for tender greens to survive in our garden. So we use a chiffonade of Batavia lettuce, one of the few varieties that holds in the heat. José also cut his watermelon slices into palm-sized tournedos–almost like a filet mignon. Since there are just two of us and the best local watermelons are small, round ”icebox” varieties bred for New England gardens, we like to take two cross-section slices out of the middle of the melon. That way each ”steak” tends to fill a 10-inch luncheon plate.

GRILLED WATERMELON STEAK WITH TOMATO SALSA

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 ripe heirloom tomatoes
pinch sea salt
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
2 cross-section slices of watermelon, 2 inches thick
Spanish olive oil to coat pan
3 leaves Batavia or Romaine lettuce, cut in fine chiffonade
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
2 pinches of Maldon or other finishing salt

Directions

1. Dip tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds. Remove, peel, and core. Cut tomatoes into 1/2-inch dice and toss with sea salt, sherry vinegar, and 2 teaspoons olive oil. Reserve.

2. Trim green skin from watermelon slices but leave about half the white rind intact. (It helps to keep the grilled steaks from falling apart.)

3. Grease grill or large skillet with olive oil and heat until it barely begins to smoke. Add one slice of watermelon and grill until lightly caramelized, about two minutes. Turn over and grill other side. Repeat for second slice.

4. Put slice of grilled melon on plate and spoon on tomato mixture. Place lettuce chiffonade on side. Sprinkle melon with chopped pistachios and a little finishing salt.

19

08 2011

Stuffed tomatoes from Roman pizzerias

Like many Roman visitors (and many Romans, for that matter), we took advantage of the city’s many pizzerias for quick meals or snacks. Once our Zone 6 garden swings into production around mid-July, we hope to revisit the subject of Roman pizza for the myriad of vegetable versions.

But it was in the pizzerias that we stumbled onto another quintessentially Roman dish: stuffed tomatoes on a bed of roasted potatoes. Tomatoes stuffed with rice are a standard dish in a lot of parts of Italy, but Rome was the first place where we had seen them served with a big batch of potatoes. The simplicity of the single combined dish appealed to us, as it clearly does to many Romans getting an inexpensive casual meal. It took only a little experimentation at home to come up with a viable recipe for this starchier, heartier version of stuffed tomatoes.

ROMAN ROASTED STUFFED TOMATOES AND POTATOES

When served with potatoes, the tomatoes are relatively unseasoned. But if you want to serve the stuffed tomatoes alone as a first course, leave out the eggs and add three finely chopped anchovy fillets and a 1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to the mixture before stuffing.

Ingredients

3 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, cut in 3/4-inch dice
1/4 cup olive oil
6 large tomatoes, ideally with stems intact
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1 cup water
2/3 cup Arborio rice
1/4 lb. ground veal or pork
large bunch flat parsley, finely chopped
2 eggs, beaten

Directions

Combine potatoes and olive oil and spread evenly in roasting pan. Roast in 350F oven for 25 minutes.

Cut 2-inch diameter cap from tops of tomatoes. Scoop out pulp, seeds, and jelly and place in strainer, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, and let drain to separate juices. Reserve juices and reserve cap.

Add remaining salt to water, add rice and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.

In frying pan, crumble ground meat and cook over medium heat until browned. Add reserved tomato juices and fistful of parsley. Stirring regularly, continue cooking until liquid is mostly reduced.

Mix meat mixture with rice, remaining parsley, and eggs. Stuff mixture into tomatoes and set caps on top. Place tomatoes on top of potatoes in roasting pan, raise oven to 425F and continue roasting for 30 minutes.

27

05 2011

And then there was amatriciana

While Tsatsu Nicholas Awuku was teaching us to make bucatini cacio e pepe (see below), Alessandro Sillani, the chef of Ristorante-Caffe di Rienzo (Piazza del Pantheon 8/9, 06-686-9097, www.ristorantedirienzo.it), demonstrated the equally popular and almost as simple sauce for bucatini all’amatriciana. Tradition holds that this sugo (sauce) originated in Amatrice, a town in the mountains of Lazio on the border with Abruzzo. Many families from the region settled in Rome, adding this dish to the capital’s own cuisine.

Sillani heated olive oil in a large frying pan, sautéed sliced onion until it was soft, and then added a thick pinch of hot pepper flakes and a handful of diced guanciale — cured pork cheek that is similar to pancetta but typically leaner. He kept cooking until the onion was golden and the guanciale well cooked. At this stage, Sillani tossed a serving of bucatini into the fryer converted to pressure cooker, then returned to making the sauce.

The rest of the sauce went swiftly: He ladled in pureed tomatoes and kept stirring the sauce over high heat until the bucatini was cooked (about 9 minutes), then added the drained pasta to the sauce.

It could not have been simpler or more delicious — and it’s just as easy to make at home.

BUCATINI ALL’AMATRICIANA


We have adjusted this recipe to serve four as a pasta course or two as a main course.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
3 oz. guanciale (or pancetta), cut in 1/4” dice
1 lb. bucatini
3 cups pureed (”ground”) tomatoes
freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Directions

Saute onion in olive oil in large frying pan. When onion is soft, add pepper flakes and guanciale and saute over high heat until onions are golden and guanciale begins to brown.

Add pasta to boiling water.

Add tomatoes to frying pan and continue heating over high flame.

When pasta is cooked firm (about 9 minutes), drain and add to sauce in frying pan. Toss to coat.

Twist mixture tightly with a large fork and transfer to serving plates. Serve with Pecorino Romano cheese.

11

05 2011

Learning Roman pastas (#1)

Much as we love Trastevere and its restaurants, one of our other favorite eating establishments is right on one of Rome’s most tourist-thronged plazas—just the type of location that we usually avoid at meal time. But when we stopped for coffee one morning at Ristorante-Caffè di Rienzo (Piazza del Pantheon 8/9, 06-686-9097, www.ristorantedirienzo.it), we struck up a conversation with Marianna Di Rienzo, whose father opened the restaurant in 1952. She even invited us to come back at dinner time so that the chef could show us how to prepare some classic Roman pasta dishes.

Chef Alessandro Sillani has been with Di Rienzo for 15 years. When we returned around 6 p.m., he and his assistant Tsatsu Nicholas Awuku were not even breaking a sweat sending out dishes to early diners. They decided to demonstrate two of the simplest, but to our minds, most delicious of Roman preparations, cacio e pepe (or cheese and pepper), and amatriciana (tomato and lardons of cured pork cheek). They made both with the thick tubular pasta with a tiny hole in the middle called bucatini. In fact, the restaurant uses Barilla dried pasta, widely available in the U.S. The specific size that seems to be used all over Rome is Bucatini No. 9. Like many restaurants that serve a lot of pasta, Di Rienzo had converted deep-fry vats to boil salted water. The chefs could simply toss the portions of dried pasta into the fryer baskets, lifting and draining in a single motion when the pasta was al dente.

Awuku handled the cacio e pepe. He melted a gob of butter in a skillet, then mixed grated Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper together in a stainless steel bowl. He poured in the melted butter, mixed well and checked the consistency. When it seemed a little dry, he added a drizzle of olive oil. Once the pasta was al dente (Romans prefer their pasta very firm), he added the hot pasta to the cheese mixture and tossed to coat. He twisted the unruly and springy pasta very tightly to form a nest, transferred it to a plate and then sprinkled on more cheese.

We ate our pastas at an outdoor table, looking at the classic facade of the Pantheon and listening to jazz being played by street musicians. It could not have been more charming, or, for that matter, romantic. And the pasta was delicious. We supplemented our meal with white wine and the superb breads and gelati that Di Rienzo makes in-house. It was humbling lesson that sometimes you can even get a terrific meal on the square with a tourist attraction.

BUCATINI CACIO E PEPE
We have adjusted this recipe to serve four as a pasta course or two as a main course.

Ingredients

1 lb. bucatini
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter
olive oil as needed
extra Pecorino Romano to taste

Directions

1. Cook pasta about 10 minutes in salted water.

2. While pasta is cooking, combine black pepper and grated cheese. Melt butter and add to cheese mixture, stirring well to combine. Add olive oil as needed to create a thick cheese sauce.

3. When pasta is cooked firm, drain and add to bowl of cheese sauce. Toss to coat.

4. Place on plate with large fork, twisting mixture tightly. Add extra cheese to taste.

30

04 2011