Pasta

How To Make Meatballs

March 7, 2012
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I was never a Girl Scout, but I am always prepared.

Make that almost always prepared. 

Every year we throw a New Year’s Day brunch party. Over the years it has grown to about 40 people, complete with pounds and pounds of bacon, kick ass Bloody Marys, Hoppin’ John, crepes, pizzas and more. Two years ago, the party which started before noon, lasted well into the evening. We literally ran out of food (gasp!) with a dozen people still in the house. They didn’t go home until we ran out of booze. Alas, I was unprepared.

This year I vowed to be ready. What would be better to whip up in a flash but homemade spaghetti and meatballs?
A couple of days before New Year’s my mother shared with me her recipe and together we made 80 meatballs and a vat of sauce. The plan was to heat …

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Slow Simmered Pork Ragú With Handkerchief Pasta

September 26, 2011
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In Southern California summer starts early and ends late. Some people say we have no real “seasons” here, but that’s not really true. We have them, they’re just a little more muted than in other places. That, and we don’t have to suffer things like ice storms or 90% humidity, so really, I can’t complain. Still, as we head into October, I find myself craving those heartier dishes which say “Fall” even if the temperature outside is still hovering near 80 degrees.

Recently I made this slow simmered ragú using one of the last roasts from our pig. I decided to serve it with handkerchief pasta, a cut of pasta I’ve wanted to make ever since I had it at Delfina in San Francisco a couple of years ago. There are a lot of different recipes out there for a “traditional” Italian ragú; some have beef, some pork. Some …

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Bucatini all’ Amatriciana, Making Guanciale, and Charcutepalooza!

February 15, 2011
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Rome is one of my favorite cities on the planet. Each time I go I’m captivated by the beauty, the thousands of years of history around every turn, and of course by the food. If I had to pick a place outside the US to live, Rome would be in the top three.

One of my favorite dishes to eat in Rome is a pasta called Bucatini all’ Amatriciana. Ironically, this is not technically a “Roman” dish. As the name implies, it’s bucatini pasta in the style of the town of Amatrice, which is about 100 miles from Rome. Still, the Romans have made this dish their own and it can be found on almost every trattoria menu, which isn’t to say it’s common or boring. It may be a simple pasta with few ingredients, but it’s one of the most satisfying and tasty and I find myself ordering …

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Hand Cut Pasta with Maitake Mushrooms and Squash Blossoms

August 9, 2010
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Last week I was given some Maitake mushrooms, also called Hen of the Woods mushrooms, and immediately started thinking up dishes where I could showcase their earthy goodness. Sometimes simple preparations are best; good sweet butter, fresh herbs, homemade pasta all compliment the star of the show; the mushroom. I added the squash blossoms because I had them in my garden, but if you don’t have any, you could leave them out, or replace them with zucchini, sliced into very thin ribbons.

These mushrooms not only taste good, but have been heavily researched for their cancer-fighting properties and may help balance blood sugar. In the wild, they can grow in pods of up to 40 or 50 pounds those these were commercially grown, organically, in little 3.5 oz cups, making them look a little like a mushroom cupcake.

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