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...Read More

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...Read More

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...Read More

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...Read More

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...Read More

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...Read More

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...Read More

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....Read More

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...Read More

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...Read More