Thursday, May 28, 2009

Grilled Soft Shell Crab & Prawns with Salad of Arugula, Preserved Lemons & Grilled Fennel

This is a very simple recipe that uses the soft shell crabs at the peak of the season. It is a nice refreshing salad that is great for when the weather starts to heat up.

TT = to taste

Serves 4

1/2# Arugula
8 Soft Shell Crabs, Cleaned
8 Lg Prawns, cleaned
1/2 Preserved Lemon, diced
1 Fennel Bulb, quartered
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

3T Fresh Lemon juice
1/2cup Extra virgin Olive Oil
TT Sea Salt
TT Black Pepper
1/2t Fennel Seed

Combine all ingredients for dressing in mixing bowl, then whisk together and set aside.
Pre-heat charcoal grill in grill chimney.
Once coals are white, pour them in to center of grill.
Cover and let grill heat up.
Drizzle seafood and fennel with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper
Once grill is hot throw seafood and fennel on.
Cook seafood a few minutes per side until done
Char fennel all over until tender.
Remove the core from the fennel and cut up into bite size pieces.
Toss arugula with dressing, preserved lemon & grilled fennel
Taste salad for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Then arrange on four plates
Garnish each plate with 2 pieces of each seafood & drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil
Serve immediately.

Gigli Pasta with Octopus & Soft Shell Crabs in Iberico Sauce

Around the middle of May is always a favorite time of mine. Not only is my birthday then but also comes the influx of the elusive soft shell crab. This is an interesting recipe that combines great quality seafood and pasta with some Spanish flare.

TT = to taste

1x Basic Pasta Dough – Gigli Recipe
1x Iberico Sauce
12-16 oz Baby Octopi, beak, eyes & ink sack removed
5 Soft shell crabs

Iberico Sauce
2T Olive Oil
3 Shallots, peeled & chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
12 green sicilian olives, pitted
6 oz cured Chorizo or Abruzzese sausage, ½” dice.
½ c. dry white wine
1 28oz can San Marzano Tomatoes, crushed by hand
2-3t Pimenton (Smoked Spanish Paprika)
1t Cayenne
1 Bay leaf
1 pinch saffron
TT salt
TT black pepper
1/4 c flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Heat olive oil in sauce pan over medium-low heat
Add shallots & garlic and saute for 5 minutes
Add olives and chorizo and saute for 2 minutes
Add wine, tomatoes with juices , pimenton, cayenne, bay leaf & saffron and bring to boil.
Lower heat to simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes until thick
Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed.

Bring 1 gallon of water and a small handful of sea salt & the octopi to a boil and cook for 15 minutes
Remove octopi and cut into bite size pieces, keep the cooking water
Roll pasta out to second thinnest setting
Cut sheets into right triangles - 1.5"X3"X2.5"
Fold two thirds of the longest side back
Rotate shorter side inward, while wrapping folded side around the forming cone
Then press and seal at the bottom
Once all pasta is done, return octopi cooking water back to boil
Add Sauce to large saute pan with the soft shell crabs and bring to simmer
Cook the sauce until the crabs are done
Add the octopi to the sauce to heat through
Once water is boiling, add pasta and cut until it rises, about 1 minute.
Transfer pasta along with a little of the cooking water to the sauce and toss together.
Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary, then remove bay leaf.
Transfer pasta to individual plates and serve immediately

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Garganelli with Hedgehog Mushrooms & Fiddlehead Ferns

This is a rustic recipe that uses some very decadent seasonal bounties of the forest. This dish is a great example of what Italian cooking is all about. Using great local seasonal ingredients and preparing them simply.

TT = to taste

1. 1X basic pasta dough - garganelli recipe
2. 1# fresh hedgehog mushrooms, cleaned
3. 1/2# Fresh fiddlehead ferns, blanched for 3 minutes then shocked
4. 3T olive oil
5. 1/2 cup Marsala wine
6. 1 stick butter plus extra
7. 4 Lg. sprigs of fresh thyme
8. TT sea seal
9. TT fresh ground black pepper
10. Extra virgin Olive Oil, for garnish
11. freshly grated parmiggiano reggiano for garnish

Recipe is for hand rolled pasta machine with 6 settings. 1 Thickest - 6 Thinnest
1. Separate pasta into 6-8 sections & keep unused sections covered in plastic
2. Roll pasta dough out - 3 times on setting #1, 3 times on setting #3 & 3 times on setting #4.
3. Cut pasta sheets into 2"X2" squares.
4. Dust a wooden skewer with flour and starting at one corner, roll pasta around skewer into a tube shape.
5. Transfer pasta to baking sheet dusted with flour
6. Bring salted water to a boil
7. Heat 3T of olive oil in large saute pan over medium heat.
8. Add mushrooms to saute pan and saute for 1 minute
9. Add marsala wine and saute until reduced into mushrooms
10. Add butter and thyme and cook until browned
11. Add fiddlehead ferns
12. Drop pasta into water and cook for 2 minutes
13. Add pasta to large saute pan with vegetables, herbs and butter
14. Toss until all combined.
15. Season with salt & pepper
16. Transfer to individual plates
17. Garnish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil & parmiggiano reggiano
18. Serve immediately

Morel & Cognac Risotto

With the arrival of Mother's Day, brings another special item to celebrate. "Morel Mushrooms." This recipe is a great way accentuate and showcase the morel's earthy flavor. It's a very simple recipe that uses not only the exotic mushrooms, but also uses decadent cognac in place of wine for a wornderful flavoring agent to this spectacular risotto.

TT = to taste

Yield - serves 6-10

1. 4T Butter
2. 3-4 Shallots finely chopped
3. 1-1.5# fresh Morel mushrooms cleaned & halved
4. 2c Arborio or carnaroli rice
5. 1 c. Cognac (Courvoisier, Hennessy, Martell, etc.) or Brandy
6. 6-8 c. Brown Chicken Stock or Mushroom Stock
7. 6T raw Butter cut into small cubes
8. 1c + extra Parmesan
9. TT salt
10. TT fresh ground black pepper
11. 4 Lg. Sprigs fresh thyme

1. Melt 4 T butter in wide sauce pan
2. Make sure you use wooden spoon when stirring risotto
3. Add shallots, mushrooms & thyme, & sweat for 5-6 minutes until vegetables are soft
4. Remove Mushrooms, coarsely chop ½ - 2/3 (1in.dice) of them and keep warm
5. Add rice and toast for a couple minutes
6. Pull pan away from heat and add brandy and cook until almost absorbed into rice
7. Slowly add hot stock to rice about 4 fl. oz at a time
8. Add new ladle of stock when previous liquid has almost absorbed into rice
9. When all of the stock is added and mostly absorbed into rice
10. Add chopped mushrooms back to risotto
11. Stir in raw butter
12. Remove from heat
13. Add cheese, salt & pepper
14. Transfer Risotto to individual pasta bowls and garnish with a little more cheese & rest of mushrooms
15. Serve immediately

Monday, May 4, 2009

Ventagli di Mano with Artichokes & Olives in Tomato Sauce

The world of pasta shapes to me is limitless. Sure there are plenty of different shapes out there, but that doesn't mean they are the only ones. Pasta is about fun and being creative. The main reason for pasta was to use up leftovers in a way that could feed more people than what you already have. That is a creative process on its own. This is a pasta shape I created called Vantagli di mano or "Hand fans." Here I have paired them with a hearty vegetable ragu that works perfectly to catch the sauce between all the crevasses in the pasta. You can still use a standard pasta shape instead of this one, or feel free to be creative and think of your own pasta shape.

TT = to taste

1) 1x Basic Pasta Dough – Ventagli di Mano Recipe
2) 3-4T Olive Oil
3) ½ Yellow Onion – julienne
4) 2 Lg. Garlic cloves – thinly sliced
5) 3 Lg. Sprigs of fresh thyme
6) 2 Lg. Globe Artichokes – cleaned & sliced
7) ½ c. Oil Cured Olives – Pitted & coarsely chopped
8) 1 - 28oz can of San Marzano Whole Peeled Tomatoes, run through food mill or crushed by hand
9) TT Sea Salt
10) TT Fresh Ground Black Pepper
11) About ¼ cup Chopped Flat Leaf Parsley
12) Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for Garnish
13) Pecorino Romano or Parmiggiano Reggiano Grated, for garnish

1) Add Oil to Lg. Saute pan over low heat
2) Add Onions, garlic & thyme and saute until onions have softened, about 20 minutes
3) Add artichokes and raise heat to medium - med high
4) Saute for 5-10 minutes
5) Add Olives and tomatoes and bring to boil
6) Reduce to simmer and cook until artichokes are tender and sauce has thickened, about 20-30min.
7) Add salt and pepper to taste
8) Keep Warm
9) Bring Salted water to boil
10) Once pasta has rested divide into 6 pieces
11) While working with one piece, keep the rest wrapped in plastic
12) Roll pasta out to 3 times on setting number 4
13) cut pasta into 1 1/2" X 2 1/2" rectangles
14) Starting at one end, fold rectangle into accordion shape.
15) Pinch one end and twist lightly into a hand fan shape.
16) Dust pasta with flour and reserve
17) Drop pasta into boiling water
18) Once pasta rises to top, let it cook for 30 more seconds, then add cooked to large saute pan with the sauce.
19) Add parsley to pan and toss.
20) Transfer to individual bowls and garnish with extra virgin olive oil, and cheese
21) Serve immediately

Friday, May 1, 2009

Tonnarelli with Fava Beans & Pancetta in Brown Butter & Thyme

This is one of my favorite types of pasta. Something that is so simple, yet so delicious. I have made a Tuscan style pasta dish which shows some of the best of that region... Pork & Beans! Here I have used tasty fava beans with the succulent pancetta. After one bite, you'll realize that something so delicious doesn't have to be so complex.

TT = to taste

1) 1x Basic Pasta Dough - Tonnarelli recipe
2) 1 cup Pancetta, 1/4-1/3" dice or cut into lardons
3) 1 - 1 1/2 cups Blanched & Peeled Fava Beans - around 2# of fava beans in pods
4) 1 Stick of butter plus extra
5) 3-4 Large sprigs of fresh thyme
6) Fresh coarsely ground black pepper
7) Extra virgin olive oil for garnish
8) Pamiggiano reggiano, freshly grated for garnish

1)For tonnarelli, after pasta dough has rested, cut into 6 pieces
2)While working with one piece, keep the rest of the dough wrapped in plastic wrap
3)knead pasta through machine ten times, then roll pasta sheets 3 times on the largest setting
4)sheets should be around 1 foot in length
5)let sheets rest uncovered for 15-20 minutes. While resting bring salted water to boil over high heat
6)cut pasta through the thinnest cutter, forming tonnarelli
7)in a saute pan over low heat, add the pancetta and cook stirring occasionally until crispy
8)add butter and thyme to pan and cook until the milk solids brown
9)drop pasta in boiling water, as soon as it rises to top, pull out and add to saute pan with butter and pancetta
10)add a little pasta water to pan to help form the sauce, toss pasta so sauce coats the noodles
11)At the end, add the fava beans and bring them up to temperature.
12)season with a little salt & coarse black pepper
13)transfer to individual bowls or plates, and garnish with grated parmiggiano reggiano, extra virgin olive oil, coarse black pepper & some of the thyme if desired
14)serve immediately