Tag Archives: Rigatoni

Eating Your Way Through 2013

31 Dec

nyeThis has been a year of great upheaval, transition and growth for the planet, and for many of you this week may be a time for personal reflection and resolution-making.  I, for one, have promised myself to meditate daily, spend more time with my family, shop more carefully, entertain more often, and eat more mindfully.  Some of that has to do with paying attention to the upcoming trends this year.  Although it may be goofy to say, (I mean the word gourmet is so retro), “budget gourmet” restaurants — hipster places with cutting-edge food that 30-something’s can afford — are sprouting up faster than you can chew a mouthful of kale (which is everywhere.)

“Farm-to-Bar” — if you’re looking for future flavors then sidle up to your nearest artisan boozerie.  You will find fruits, vegetables, fresh herbal syrups, zested citrus bitters — all house-made — lining the bar top and perfuming your drinks.  I now make my own chamomile vodka (from fresh chamomile flowers) every spring and store in it the freezer.  A smart bartender will invent his/her own signature/locavore V-8.

Ingredients you’ve never heard of: Tokyo turnips, satsumas, hiramasa, squailen, astice, puffed basil seeds, scallion ash.

Feasts for sharing:  Nose-to-tail dinners — whole roasted pigs, lambs, etc. for a group of gorgers.  For example Momofuku’s Korean “bo ssam” family-style format includes a dozen oysters, a whole roasted pork shoulder, kimchee and condiments. Price? $200.

Eating in your zip code: radical locavore-ism continues with niche marketing to vegivores (a new word for me thanks to Adam Platt of New York Magazine).

The ancient flavors of Jerusalem:  Check out the fabulous new cookbook “Jerusalem” by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, and the new “Middleterranean” cooking (a hybrid of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines) in restaurants such as New York’s Taboon and Philadelphia’s Zahav.

The culinary wizardry of young Asian chefs forging a new identity: check out Nancy Matsumoto’s riveting article in the Atlantic.

Pop-ups keep popping up:  Restaurants, cookie stores, juice joints, snack bars, underground dining clubs in unexpected places.

Food as edible landscapes: check out my Chocolate Dirt piece in the Huff Post.

Prediction:  Congee (with lots of mix-ins and add-ons — and not just for breakfast.)

If you’re interested in the most ambitious and erudite trends list around, check out Michael Whiteman’s prognostications at www.baumwhiteman.com.  (He’s my husband but I’m really objective here.)  He, with his partner, the late Joe Baum, created some of the world’s largest grossing and most magical restaurants (the Rainbow Room, Windows on the World, and the Big Kitchen — the world’s first fast food court.)  Michael was also the founding editor of Nation’s Restaurant News — still going strong.   He can nose a trend as deeply as a truffle pig can hunt in Perigord.

Merry, happy, healthy.  May the New Year be a fulfilling one.

Here’s a healthy new recipe to get started:

Rigatoni with kale, chicken sausage & black olives

2 packed cups finely chopped kale leaves 12 ounces chicken sausage, removed from casing ¼ cup diced pitted kalamata or oil-cured black olives 12 grapes tomatoes, quartered Large pinch of red pepper flakes ½ cup chicken broth 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 8 ounces uncooked penne rigati 1/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put kale, crumbled sausage, olives, tomatoes and pepper flakes in a large deep sauté pan with a cover. Pour chicken broth on top and drizzle olive oil over the mixture. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook pasta 10 minutes until tender. Drain well. Remove pan from oven. Place on burners over medium heat. Add pasta and toss. Add cheese and salt to taste. Stir and cook 1 to 2 minutes.  Optional: Dust with freshly grated lemon zest. Serves 4

Rigatoni with Eggplant, Burst Tomatoes, and Basil-Pignoli Crunch

7 Oct

Photo Credit: Han Gissinger

This is a wonderful time of year for this lusty pasta dish, surely one Cristforo Colombo might have enjoyed today.  I created a version of this dish for Bon Appetit last year but have made some adjustments since. Now I make it with mezzi rigatoni (a shorter version) and fresh buffalo mozzarella.  Any fresh mozzarella will do, and provola (smoked mozzarella) is also pretty divine.

Happy Columbus Day.  Enjoy the long weekend– a great one for cooking.   To drink?  Try a high-end Barbera or re-discover Chianti.

1 unpeeled large eggplant (1-3/4 pounds), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 medium yellow peppers, cut into 1/2-inch squares
2 cups grape tomatoes
3 large garlic cloves
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup pine nuts
28-ounces whole tomatoes in juice
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound mezzi rigatoni
1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Lightly oil a large rimmed baking sheet and add eggplant and peppers.  Cut tomatoes in half and add to baking sheet.  Using a garlic press, squeeze 1 garlic clove onto vegetables. Drizzle with oil and toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast until vegetables are tender, stirring often, 35 to 40 minutes.  Combine 2/3 cup basil, 1/2 cup Parmesan, pine nuts, and 1 garlic clove in a processor. Blend just until crumbly and season with salt.  Blend tomatoes with juice, cream, 1-1/3 cups basil, and 1 garlic clove in processor until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper. Cook pasta in pot of boiling water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally; drain.  Return to pot.  Toss with vegetables, sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan.  Transfer to a 13x2x9 inch baking dish.  Sprinkle with mozzarella and pint nut topping.  Bake 25 to 35 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes and serve.  Serves 8

%d bloggers like this: