It pays to leave cookbooks lying about when my mother comes to town. This week she surprised us with two great mid-week home-cooked meals. All I had to do was take the picture.Last night’s spread was from Nate Appleman and Shelley Lindgren’s A16: Food & Wine (Ten Speed Press), a book from the acclaimed A16 restaurant in San Francisco that, despite it having come out a year ago, I hadn’t yet explored.
In the last episode of The Sopranos, Tony asks Carmela, “Where’s googootz?” “Googootz” is an Italian term of endearment; Tony was referring to his son, AJ. “Googootz” is also the Italian slang for “zucchini,” and refers to a squash-like vegetable that Italians and Italian-Americans grow called cucuzza. Cucuzza is an Italian summer vegetable that is eaten and prepared like a zucchini.
What Are Gnocchi? While there are actually several different kinds of gnocchi (and we talked about some of them a few weeks ago), today we’ll just focus on potato gnocchi. This is a half-pasta, half-dumpling that hails from the northern part of Italy. As you can probably guess from the name, they’re made from cooked potatoes that get mashed, mixed with egg and flour, and kneaded into a dough.
You know that our most basic go-to meal is a riff on pasta with meat and greens. It’s such an easy one-dish meal, and so satisfying. Here’s our latest exploration of the theme: a hearty, spicy, and bold pasta that is wonderful after a long day of work in the garden. This is just like our other pasta templates; it’s adaptable to whatever you have around. But the main thing is to really brown the sausage and also to cook the kale well.
Tuesday night some old friends who live upstate came for dinner, and surprised us with an armful of Morel mushrooms and a sack full of ramps. I’d planned a simple roasted chicken and vegetable dinner, but when I saw the gift I’d been brought, I clicked into cook-by-instinct mode, the kind of cooking we are about to start espousing in the second half of our online Kitchen Cure (today is the last day to sign up and catch up.)I had to practice what I’m about to preach.
Spring is progressing, and the season for early spring foraged treats like morels and ramps will be over soon. So eat them while you can still find them! This pasta takes these two spring delicacies and puts them together in one simple, quick pasta.And if these two good things are out of season already, or hard to find, then try dried mushrooms and leeks or scallions instead. In fact, I had to use dried morels myself.
Earlier today we told you about our cocktail party strategy of sticking to two or three dishes (rather than eight or nine) that look bountiful and feed a crowd. This is one we just served: tomato skewers piled high on a platter, dressed up with a little basil oil that takes two minutes to make.We’re basically taking a caprese salad and putting it on a stick, and no doubt you’ve seen a variation of these skewers on a buffet or two in your day.
Looking for one more dish for Thanksgiving, or maybe a first course appetite-teaser? Maybe you should try this dish of pumpkin ravioli from chef Salvatore Corea of New York City’s Alloro. This is a very fun dish; we love pumpkin ravioli, and the sauces that accompany the pasta here are deceptively easy.Alloro is an Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side – thank you to chef Salvatore Corea for this delicious dish! We’ll be trying it out soon.
Dana’s post last week on cavalo nero kale reminded me that we’re in ribollita season. Ribollita is a simple, earthy Tuscan soup made from whatever vegetable scraps and stale bread is on hand, and is eaten in the fall and winter months.The word “ribollita” means “reboiled” and is used to refer to this soup because it requires a lot of cooking to get the right flavor and texture. It’s very hearty and filling, and keeps you warm in the winter.
Remember when we contemplated the first meal cooked in our new apartment? Well, this was it. A little off-the-beaten-path for us, but it’s an old family recipe that we’d been wanting to make…We love steaming artichokes and pulling off the leaves one by one to scrape between our teeth. But other than that, we rarely cook big, baseball-sized artichokes.
For the sauce-hungry crowd, here is a basic tomato sauce, with some lemony and spicy elements for adding an optional zing. It’s easy, quick, and isn’t a boring old sauce. Basic sauces were one of the requested items from Cure-takers. This week’s assignment was to add a new skill to your cooking arsenal.
This is not a combination we would have thought of on our own.We recently enjoyed a cheese plate at a restaurant, where a hard goat cheese was paired with a tomato garnish. At first, we asked the bartender who served us if he could swap the tomatoes with something else (the figs looked good), but he insisted. And when we tasted them, we realized there was something different going on.
Last week we sang the praises of Arthur Avenue, that bastion of authentic Italian food in the Bronx. Today, an option for those of us living a little farther south. Buon Italia is just one small store, but it can fill quite a few Italian culinary needs, starting with these huge cans of San Marzano tomatoes.
But sometimes when I just want some dinner after a long day, I do need to be reminded of the basics. For this you need only a handful of ingredients: a big tomato, half an onion or a few shallots, garlic, olive oil, some fresh basil, sage, or rosemary. Some red wine really helps, but don’t knock yourself out. Swirl over some tortellini from Trader Joe’s, pour the rest of the wine into a glass and you have yourself a very nice dish of pasta – all in about 10 minutes flat.
Here’s a recipe from a reader, SarahW, for a simple pasta dish using Swiss Chard (it’s been a hot topic of discussion on the Open Threads for a while) and Feta cheese. With greens such as spinach about to come into season on the East Coast, this would make a great spring dish. Pasta With Greens and Feta 6 Tbsp. olive oil (or less) 4 cups chopped onion 8 cups packed chopped bitter greens (e.g.