A new recipe for Holiday Brisket


In our house, we typically have brisket for dinner twice a year.  Every New Year on erev Rosh Hashanah, and every 1st night of Pesach (Passover).  Jori prefers a recipe using onion soup mix, onions, cranberries and ginger ale, and I prefer a red wine and onion braise that is not sweet.  However, this year, Jori found a new recipe on the internet which we tried for the first time, and I think it is great.  Here is the link:  http://www.jewishfoodsociety.org/blog/2017/9/13/0wzyow6opxrfbippydthdpejgq3zl8

The back story of this recipe is interesting.  This is the brisket made by Walter Ferst’s grandmother in Philadelphia.  A branch of the family that was in Germany was fortunate enough to leave in the mid 1930’s and ended up in Sweden.  In the 1970’s Walter reconnected with his cousins in Stockholm and had a family dinner with them.  He recognized the smells and realized he was being served the same meal as his Grandmother’s.

Holiday Brisket with Garlic, White Wine and Onions

brisket

Disclaimer:  We did not make the Ferst recipe as detailed below, but a modified version.

Kauffman/Ferst Family Braised Brisket

Serves: 12 to 15
Time: 4 hours, plus 20 minutes resting time

Ingredients
One 7 to 8 pound whole brisket, flat and deckle attached
14 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1½ teaspoons Hungarian or sweet paprika
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 medium (2½ pounds) sweet onions, cut crosswise into thick slices
3 cups dry white wine
1½ cups water

Equipment
Large roasting pan
Wooden toothpicks

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Rinse the brisket and trim any excessive hanging pieces of fat, leaving the majority in tact for cooking. Make 14 small ½-inch incisions in the brisket and insert a whole clove of garlic into each.
2. Season both sides of the brisket with the salt, paprika and pepper, then place in the center of a large roasting pan, fat side up. Pin whole slices of onion to the meat with toothpick to completely cover the brisket, scattering the remaining slices around the brisket.
3. Mix the water and wine together and pour over the brisket. Cover the pan tightly with foil.
4. Cook until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork 3 to 3½ hours, then remove the foil and continue to cook for 45 minutes, basting with liquid every 10 minutes.
4. Let the meat rest for at least 20 minutes and remove toothpSicks before carving and serving with the pan juices.

Jori looked at this recipe and decided to take some of the techniques from her cranberry/ginger ale method, and incorporated some of the Ferst recipe.  She used a first cut brisket, trimmed of some but not all of the fat cap.  She seared it for 15 min per side at 400ºF first in the roasting pan. She removed the brisket, made slits down into the fat cap into the meat one inch apart and put in slivers (not whole cloves) of garlic.  Placing the meat back in the roasting pan, she covered the fat cap with the sliced onions.  She didn’t use paprika or toothpicks and didn’t cook it uncovered.  She used a combination of white wine and water in a ratio of 2:1 to cover the brisket.  Covering the pan tightly with foil, she cooked the brisket at 350ºF for 2 1/2 more hours.  Taking all the onions off, she removed the brisket to the refrigerator.  The pan drippings were strained and the fat was removed with a fat separator.

She chopped the cooked onions in the blender with the deglazed pan juices, and this made a marvelous sauce.

It is very helpful if you have a Vitamix or a Blendtec to get the sauce to the correct degree of purée, but using a regular blender or a food processor could be OK.

A day or so later, we were at Costco and saw whole brisket Grade Prime for $2.99/pound. I thought that we had to try this.  The smallest one we found was 8 1/2 pounds.  Between trimming of fat, shrinkage during cooking, and trimming of fat from the sliced pieces, we ended up with about 3 1/2 pounds of meat! The result was amazingly tender.  Now, I know that I can’t expect to get Prime brisket at that price again soon, but it was worth it!

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Egg Me On–Make Great Egg Foo Yung


 

I really enjoy Egg Foo Yung (or Young).  Literally meaning “Hibiscus egg,” this omelette is found in  Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, British and Chinese-American cuisine. However, in the States, most of the time, it is poorly made, and served with a gloopy brown sauce that tastes of uncooked cornstarch.  You can do better at home, it is not hard.

The protein in Egg Foo Yung is up to you.  It can be pork, (bbq or otherwise), chicken, beef, or shrimp.  Since the cooking of the Egg Foo Yung patty will be insufficient to cook the protein, it must be pre-cooked first.  Here is a recipe for my favorite, Shrimp Egg Foo Yung:

Shrimp Egg Foo Yung

Recipe Type:  Chinese, Main Dish

1/2 pound Bean sprouts

1/4 cup Onion, thinly sliced

3 Celery Stalks, finely sliced

3 Scallions, finely sliced

Marinade

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon finely minced ginger

1/2 teaspoon Paprika

2 teaspoon dry Sherry

Protein

1/2 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined (and, depending on the size of the shrimp, cut in bit size pieces)

6 large eggs, beaten

Peanut oil for stir frying

Egg Foo Yung Sauce

3/4 cup chicken stock or broth

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Options for thickening:

Cornstarch slurry (2 tbs dissolved in water)

Roux consisting of equal amounts of flour and butter (3 tbs each)

Directions:

Combine cornstarch, ginger, paprika and sherry.  Add the shrimp to the marinade and combine to coat completely.  Heat wok and add 1 tbs peanut oil.  Saute the onions for 1 minute, then add the celery and bean sprouts.  Remove the vegetables to a bowl, add 1 tbs of oil to the wok and stir fry the shrimp until they are pink.  Add to the vegetable mixture in a bowl, and mix in the beaten eggs.  Add green onions.

Place 2 to 3 tbs of peanut oil in the wok, and heat to smoking point.  Add one ladle of the egg mixture (about 6 ounces) to the hot oil.  With the paddle, toss hot oil on the top surface of the patty to help set the top surface, and after 1 minute, use the paddle to flip the patty over.  Cook for 1 minute to get overall golden brown surfaces.  Place on a warm plate, and cook remaining patties.

To make the sauce, combine the thickening agent (I prefer the roux) to boiling chicken stock and whisk to combine and thicken.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve over boiled rice, and garnish with chopped cilantro.

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Another series of thoughts on that perennial favorite, the classic chocolate chip cookie


Ok, so I haven’t posted anything about chocolate chip cookies for at least 6 months.  After all, I thought I had written the quintessential article on the subject with my post

The without a doubt absolutely very best chocolate chip cookie!

originally published March 15, 2015, and revised in March of this year.  There have been a couple of recipes published that I think have merit, and I want to put them out there for everyone (including me) to try.  The first one is one published in the NY Times by Julia Moskin, a recipe of Danielle Oron (here is the link:  https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1018055-salted-tahini-chocolate-chip-cookies )

salted tahini chocolate chip cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 ounces/113 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ½ cup/120 milliliters tahini, well stirred
  • 1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons/150 grams all-purpose flour, or matzo cake meal (See tip)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ¾ cups/230 grams chocolate chips or chunks, bittersweet or semisweet
  •  Flaky salt, like fleur de sel or Maldon

PREPARATION

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, tahini and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg, egg yolk and vanilla and continue mixing at medium speed for another 5 minutes.
  2. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt into a large bowl and mix with a fork. Add flour mixture to butter mixture at low speed until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to fold in chocolate chips. Dough will be soft, not stiff. Refrigerate at least 12 hours; this ensures tender cookies.
  3. When ready to bake, heat oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick baking mat. Use a large ice cream scoop or spoon to form dough into 12 to 18 balls.
  4. Place the cookies on the baking sheet at least 3 inches apart to allow them to spread. Bake 13 to 16 minutes until just golden brown around the edges but still pale in the middle to make thick, soft cookies. As cookies come out of the oven, sprinkle sparsely with salt. Let cool at least 20 minutes on a rack.

The use of the tahini in a cookie recipe should be very interesting, and I’m eager to try it and see what others think as well.

Stella Parks, aka Bravetart, an editor at Serious Eats, posted a recipe for “old fashioned chocolate chip cookies” and there are some things that we can agree on and some things that we can disagree with.  First, read the post at http://www.seriouseats.com/2017/08/how-to-make-chocolate-chip-cookies-now.html and look at the recipe:

Quick and Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces assorted dark, milk, or white chocolate (not commercial chips), roughly chopped (2 1/2 cups; 395g)
  • 12 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (2 3/4 cups, spooned; 355g), such as Gold Medal
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks; 225g), soft but cool, about 65°F (18°C)
  • 7 1/4 ounces white sugar (1 cup; 205g)
  • 8 ounces light brown sugar (1 cup, gently packed; 225g)
  • 1/2 ounce vanilla extract (1 tablespoon; 15g)
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 large egg (about 1 3/4 ounces; 50g), straight from the fridge

Directions

1.

Make the Dough: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Set aside a handful of chopped chocolate (about 2 ounces; 55g) and place the remainder in a medium bowl. Sift flour on top and toss together. Combine butter, white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and nutmeg in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low to moisten, then increase to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With mixer running, add egg and continue beating only until smooth. Reduce speed to low, add flour/chocolate all at once, and mix to form a stiff dough.

2. Portion the Dough: Divide in 2-tablespoon portions (about 1 1/2 ounces or 40g each) and round each one into a smooth ball. (If you like, portioned dough can be refrigerated in a heavy-duty zipper-lock bag up to 1 week, or frozen 6 months. Stand at room temperature until quite soft, about 70°F or 21°C, and proceed as directed.)
3. To Bake: Arrange portions on a parchment-lined half sheet pan, leaving 2 inches between cookies to account for spread. Garnish each with reserved chocolate and a pinch of kosher salt. Bake until puffed and pale gold around the edges but steamy in the middle, about 15 minutes. For crunchy cookies, continue baking until golden, 3 to 5 minutes more. Cool directly on baking sheet until crumb is set, about 5 minutes. Enjoy warm or store in an airtight container up to 2 days at room temperature.
Now, I definitely think that chopping up chocolate for use in cookies is much better than using pre-made chocolate chips, except if you are using Valrhona, Callibaut or Belcolade chips.  The one advantage of chipping your own chunks off a big block of chocolate is that the fine dust of chocolate left on the cutting board is a great addition to the cookie dough.
I do take issue with Stella’s assertion that the dough is ready to bake right away without resting.  I agree with David Leite and many others that the resting of a chocolate chip cookie dough in the refrigerator for 36 hours makes for very definite and demonstrable differences, and the patience is worth the lack of immediate gratification.
So cookie lovers, here are two more variations to try.  Try them and let me know what you think.
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What is Chicago Style Pizza?


There is extensive research to point to the ancient Pompeiians as the creators of the first pizza, who formed a coarse bread dough in a round or rectangular shape and baked it in crude but effective wood fired ovens. Naples is still the center of pizza in Italy, but many areas of Italy have some form of pizza.

The history of Chicago style deep dish pizza began in 1943, when Ike Sewall and Rick Riccardo opened a bar and restaurant called Pizzeria Uno. In 1955, Pizzeria Due opened a block away. It is not clear whether either of the owners had anything to do with the cooking, but it is likely that Adolpho “Rudy” Malnati, Sr. and Alice May Redmond did. Not only did both work at Uno’s but each of them unquestionably knew how to make deep dish pizza. For years, Alice May Redmond, as well as her sister, Ruth Hadley worked at Uno’s, then were hired to work at Gino’s East. A 1956 article from the Chicago Daily News asserts that the original deep-dish pizza recipe was created by chef Rudy Malnati Sr. The recipe for the pizza was a closely guarded secret, but it consisted of a thick doughy crust, slices of mozzarella cheese, and canned tomatoes made into a sauce. If you wanted sausage, instead of bits of sausage, the meat (made by Anchini Brothers) was applied in a layer.

This type of pizza was a departure from the thin Neopolitan type pizzas, and it became famous. How the restaurant worked is that you ordered your pizza when you came in, and by the time you got a table (some 25-30 minutes later), the pizza was served. Cooked in steel pans that have developed a patina with use, it is brought to the table in the pan and served.

Uno’s has spawned many imitators, most notably Gino’s East, but I don’t like the Gino’s crust, which uses a lot of cornmeal. I guess I can’t get past the one time I had a pizza at Gino’s and found a large fly baked into the pizza. Yuck!

Pequod’s is a variation on the thick crust theme, with the cheese overlapping the crust so that it forms a caramelized cheese, and often burnt edge. Not bad, but not to my mind an improvement on the prototype.

It is the crust that defines what makes a great deep dish pizza, and I prefer the original from Uno’s or Due’s or Lou’s, and I also like the butter crust option available at Lou Malnati’s. Lou Malnati’s is by far the other best pizza in Chicago and is a restaurant chain started by Rudy’s son Lou of both sit down restaurants and takeout shops.

Lou Malnati’s sit down restaurants operate on the same model as Uno’s. Order the pizza, then wait for a table. It sounds more difficult, but it works. Salads are excellent, but the other offerings are OK, but, hey, you are there for the pizza, darnit!

Lou make a decent thin crust pizza as well, so if you must, you can try it. The sausage is in bits, not like the thick crust, but it is still good sausage. I’m an anomaly in that I don’t love pepperoni so I am not the one to ask about a pepperoni pizza,

Lou’s, Uno’s and Due’s provide the reason that Chicago style deep dish pizza is an iconic food. Forget thin crust, forget coal oven or brick oven or cracker crust, and especially forget pizza that folds when you pick up a slice. Now, before you all jump on me, I should state that I have been known to like a Neopolitan type slice as long as the crust is good. Still, when I dream of pizza, it is a deep dish pie from Lou’s that materializes. Despite what they claim, New Yorkers don’t understand great pizza. They have been brainwashed from childhood to think a pizza folds. Here we eat pizza with a knife and fork! That’s the Chicago way.

Now to the nitty gritty:

Authentic Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza


This recipe is from Pat Bruno’s “The Great Chicago-Style Pizza Cookbook” with some modifications by me.  It creates a deep dish pizza that is a clone for Uno’s or Due’s.  To create a Lou Malnati buttercrust version, substitute at least one half of the vegetable oil for unsalted butter.  Watch the cooking time carefully as it is easy to go from perfectly done to over cooked.  As noted below, I don’t mix in the cornmeal in the dough, and often leave it out entirely.
Equipment needed: 14 inch round steel pan with 2 inch high sides.
Dough
1½ packages (3/8 ounces or 10.5 grams) active dry yeast
½ cup warm water (105-115°F)
1 tablespoon sugar
3½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup yellow corn meal
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup warm water
Topping
28 ounces canned tomatoes either Italian style plum tomatoes or 6-1 brand crushed tomatoes, or an equivalent amount of fresh, ripe plum tomatoes that have their skins removed, then crushed by hand.
1 teaspoon dried basil or 2 tsp. chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon oregano
to taste salt
10 ounces mozzarella cheese (sliced thinly) I prefer whole milk mozzarella, and it is not necessary to get fancy water buffalo Italian mozzarella
¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
½ pound Italian sausage, casing removed buy mild, not hot and let people add red pepper flakes to their slices if they wish
as needed extra-virgin olive oil

Dough
1. Dissolve the yeast in ½ cup warm water.  Add the sugar and stir well. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combinbe 3½ cups flour, salt, and cornmeal. Make a well in the center of the flour. Add the yeast mixture, the vegetable oil, and ½ cup water. If making the butter crust, instead of the 1/4 cup oil, use 2 or 3 tbs unsalted butter plus 2 or 1 tbs oil.  I suppose one could use 4 tbs butter and no oil, but I haven’t tried that.  Stir and mix thoroughly until the dough cleans the side of the bowl and a rough mass is formed. (SDR modification–don’t put the cornmeal in the dough, use it on the bottom of the dough just before it goes in the pizza pan to get a bottom dusting of cornmeal).
3. Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a well-floured work surface. Knead and pound the dough (using a bit of flour if the dough is sticking) for 5-6 minutes. Put the dough back in the bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it proof for 1½ hours until it doubles in size.
4. Turn out on to the work surface and knead for 1 to 2 minutes. At this point, the kneaded dough could be refrigerated and used up to 24 hours later (not longer or the dough will lose strength needed for baking). Weigh dough portions to 26 ounces for a 14 inch pizza.
5. Oil the bottom and sides of the pizza pan with oil to get a thin layer. Spread the dough with your hands in the bottom and up the sides of the pizza pan. Do not use a rolling pin! It will spread more easily if left to rest in the pan for 10 minutes prior to spreading out to the sides. Pull the edge of the dough up to form a lip (very important). Cover the pan completely with a towel and let the dough rise in the pan in a warm place for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 475°F.
6. Prick the entire crust with the tines of a fork, then parbake the crust for exactly four minutes to give the dough its initial “spring.” Remove from oven and brush the crust with a pastry brush and olive oil.

Assembly
1. Lay the thinly sliced mozzarella over the crust, leaving a ½ inch edge around the perimeter.
2. Combine the tomatoes with the basil, oregano, and salt. If using canned plum tomatoes, drain off all the liquid and crush the tomatoes with your hand, then add the seasonings. Spoon the tomatoes over the cheese. Sprinkle the parmesan over the tomatoes.
3. Add the sausage evenly over the tomatoes by flattening the sausage pieces between your thumb and forefinger to get complete coverage of the tomatoes. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon olive oil on top. Most restaurants like Lou Malnati’s, Uno’s or Due’s will put the raw sausage on top of the cheese, then the tomatoes, then the parmesan. This works due to the high heat of the restaurant’s ovens will allow for the sausage to cook properly. Depending on the fat of the sausage, it may be necessary to partially cook the sausage before placing on the pizza, to decrease greasy accumulation in the pie. I would definitely recommend this additional step.  Pat’s recipe as written puts the sausage on top of the crushed tomatoes, then the Parmesan.  Because I partially precook the sausage, I put it over the cheese, then the tomatoes, and finish with the Parmesan.  This give a more authentic “Due’s/Lou’s result.
4. Bake at 475°F for 5 minutes on the bottom rack, and another 30 minutes on a middle-high rack, until the crust edge is browned and the sausage is cooked through.  The edge is done at golden brown, be careful not to over cook.

DISCLAIMER: I have not tried the following recipe yet.

Clone of Lou Malnati Pizza


Here is a post I found on the web for an attempt to make a clone of Lou Malnati pizza:
Posted by JazzmanJazzman
April 2009 edited 2:25PM in EggHead Forum:

“I have become obsessed with making the perfect Chicago-style deep dish pizza over the past few months (specifically Lou Malnati’s), I have gone on pizza-making forums, bought supplies from pizza-making online stores, and experimented with several types of dough. The last 5-6 pies I have made are (IMHO) near-perfect, and I wanted to share this info with you. I read almost every post regarding pizza, and some of you are making wrong assumptions about authentic Chicago-style pizza.
#1 There is NO CORNMEAL in a Lou Malnati’s crust. I have this on good authority (I live 5 miles from a Lou’s), and you can also check the ingrediants in the pizzas they ship – NO CORNMEAL.
#2 You must use about 25% (by weight) Semolina Flour, and the other 75% bread flour. It’s the semolina that has people confused about the cornmeal – it gives the pizza a “yellowish” cast, and a nice cornmeal-y tasting crust.
#3 I always grease the bottom of the pan with Crisco, not olive oil – another trick I picked up on the pizza forum.
#4 the cheese MUST go on the bottom of the crust, followed by the ingredients, then the sauce LAST. Otherwise, the sauce and ingredients make the crust soggy on top.
#5 If you are a nut for authenticity, you must use the 6-in-1 brand of tomatoes, add some honey, garlic and spices.
#6 True Chicago-style Lou’s is not really super deep dish, so don’t roll out your crust too thick – roll it out like a normal crust and it will come out just fine.

OK – enough lecture 🙂 Here is the best Lou Malnati’s clone recipe you will ever find. I stole this from the pizza-making forum (with a few minor tweaks added by me), and I am not alone. Over 200 posts on the forum rave about this particular crust. This is for a 14″ sqaure pan, and it will make a bit too much for a 15″ round pan, but you can make some nice garlic braids from the extra!. On the pizza forum, they use ONLY weights, but I also included the “normal” measurements – and they are close enough to work perfectly.”

(Now my {SDR} comments–The original Uno’s pizza did use the 6 in 1 brand of canned tomatoes. Lou Malnati’s uses canned tomatoes from California made to order for them, but they are plum tomatoes harvested at peak ripeness, peeled and canned. If you are making a sausage pizza, slightly precook the sausage to rend out some of the fat. Use mild rather than hot sausage and let people add red pepper flakes to their own piece. The sausage should be enough weight and volume to cover the entire pan surface to the edge of the crust. Use whole milk mozzarella in slices, not grated, and layer to completely cover the crust. Don’t make a rectangle, get a large 14 inch round pan with 2 inch sides. Do not roll out the dough, just flatten it with your palm and fingertips and take the dough up the sides for about 3/4 inch. I do not prebake the crust. SDR)

Here goes:

14” square
Flour (75%) 3 cups (hold back ½ cup)/ 407.85 g /
Semolina (25%) ¾ cup / 136.25 g
Water (47%) 1 cup / 255.58 g / 9.02 oz / 0.56 lbs.
Active Dry Yeast (0.70%) 1 tsp / 3.81 g / 0.13 oz / 0.01 lbs. / 1.01 tsp / 0.34 TBSP
Salt (0.50%) ½ tsp / 2.72 g / 0.1 oz / 0.01 lbs. / 0.49 tsp / 0.16 TBSP
Olive Oil (6%) 3 TBS / 32.63 g / 1.15 oz / 0.07 lbs. / 7.25 tsp / 2.42 TBSP
Corn Oil(18.5%) ½ cup / 100.6 g /3.55 oz / 0.22 lbs. /7.45 TBSP/ .47 cups
Butter (1%) ½ TBSP / 5.44 g / 0.19 oz / 0.01 lbs. /1.15 tsp / 0.38 TBSP
Sugar (1.5%) 2 tsp / 8.16 g / 0.29 oz / 0.02 lbs. /2.05 tsp / 0.68 TBSP
Cream of Tarter (0.75%) 1 tsp / 4.08 g / 0.14 oz / 0.01 lbs. /1.36 tsp / 0.45 TBSP
Total (175.95%) 956.78 g / 33.75 oz / 2.11 lbs. / TF=0.126875

I mixed the semolina and salt with the sifted flour, but withheld 1/2 cup of the flour. I added the water with the previously proofed Active dry yeast, mixed with a wooden spoon and by hand, covered and let rest for around 25 minutes in a warm part of the kitchen. Then added the rest of the flour along with the oil and the small amount of melted and cooled butter. After kneading for a very short time (est. 1 min.), I again found that I needed a teaspoon or two more of the flour, and then put the formed dough ball into a Ziploc bag and into the refrigerator for 24 hours. (NOTE: the dough will appear too oily, and you will question your sanity – this is NORMAL – it’s an oily dough!)

Taking it out of the refrigerator the next day about 2 hours before baking, I patted out the dough ball into my previously “crisco’ed” 14″ Pizza ware deep dish square pan with 2″ high straight-sides. I crimped or pinched the edges of the crust very hard to give the crust a nice real thin edge, as opposed to a thicker or fatter rim. Pre-bake the crust only 4-5 min I then put in a layer of sliced Mozzarella cheese (use whole-milk mozz), then added some provolone cheese pieces, then cooked sausage (you cook it first so it doesn’t add any “juice” to the pie – other wise things can get messy). I then added some drained 6 in 1 sauce (important to use the “6-in-1” sauce, and important to drain first!) to which I added Italian spices, minced garlic, sea salt, and a good dash of honey (key ingredient) then added a good amount of grated parmesan, and then baked the pizza at 450 degrees (make sure your grate temp is no more than 450, or you’ll burn it!). After 15 minutes I turned the pizza 180 degrees and continue to bake for about 10 minutes more.

Sorry for the long post, and sorry for no pictures, but I swear this is a perfect Lou Malnati’s clone. I grew up in Chicago, and have eaten Lou’s and Connie’s and Uno’s and Gino’s all my life. My wife swears these are the best pizzas she has ever eaten in her life.”

Mark Malnati gave Food Network the following recipe when asked about the buttercrust recipe. I can’t believe that it is the full true recipe (why give away something worth millions) but here it is:

Chicago Style Pizza from FoodNetwork Show Follow That Food, Episode Follow that Pizza


Recipe courtesy Marc Malnati, Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, Chicago, Illinois

Prep Time: 20 min Inactive Prep Time: 4 hr 0 min Cook Time: 40 min Level:
Easy Serves: 6 serving

Ingredients
Pizza Dough:
16 ounces water
1/8-ounce yeast
1/2-ounce salt
2 pounds bread flour
1/4 cup olive oil (or melted butter for Buttercrust)
1/4 cup cornmeal
Toppings:
2 cups tomato sauce, jar or homemade
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup spinach, shredded
1/2 cup grated Romano
1/2 cup sliced pepperoni
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Directions
In a mixer combine the water and the yeast and allow the yeast to dissolve. Add the remaining ingredients except for the cornmeal and begin to mix the dough using a dough hook on low speed. Once a ball is formed mix on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes until the dough becomes elastic and smooth. Remove from the mixer and place in a bowl coated with olive oil. Allow the dough to rest for approximately 4 hours. Once the dough is rested, place on flat surface and dust with some flour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a deep baking dish or deep dish pizza pan, spread the dough using your fingers at the bottom of the pan and make sure to have enough dough to come up the sides of the pan approximately 1/2-inch high.

Begin by placing a layer of the mozzarella cheese on the bottom of the crust. Add the tomato sauce and all of the toppings. Place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes until golden and crispy.

Serve pizza straight from the oven to the table.

Good luck and happy pizza making!

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How about a Tiki Cocktail?


Mai Tai–Roa Ae.  In Tahtian this means “out of this world–the best

Well, the weather is starting to show signs of spring and that makes me think of drinks with umbrellas in them.  Or, at least, drinks with a fruity note.  You know, pina colatas, tequilla sunrises, Long Island Ice Tea, mint juleps, whisky sours, margaritas, etc.  But especially the drink that is so poorly made these days—the Mai Tai.
America’s fascination with Tiki and the Tiki Cocktail lasted from the 30’s well into the 70’s and every few years or so someone says Tiki is back and a few soon-to-be-doomed bars open up, mugs in the shapes of skulls and pineapples are stocked and someone goes into the basement to dust off the Mai Tai recipe. Except for maybe the Old Fashioned, I cannot think of another drink which was created long ago and which is still commonly called for, but the modern recipe is a pale comparison to the original. My guess would be that 99% of bartenders don’t know how to make a proper Mai Tai. Order a Mai Tai today and who knows what you will get in there–bottled lemon sour mix, pineapple and/or orange juice, grenadine, even Amaretto or 151. If you’re lucky you may get two types of rum.

Fortunately these days we have a new breed of historians: – the cocktail researchers – who have delved into recipe books, collected old menus and done extensive research into our imbibing history.

So let’s clear up some Mai Tai misconceptions and correct the history:  The Tiki craze, along with the wonderful and colorful cocktails that it generated, came out of Los Angeles just a few years after prohibition was repealed. It was started by a man named Ernest Gantt who would later become known as Don the Beachcomber. Working with an impressive number of rums, many we may never see again, Don the Beachcomber became a master of blending different styles of rums into complex and elaborate cocktails. (The loss of the fantastic variety of rums from all over the Caribbean and South America is something we should lament more than the loss of any cocktail recipe). Quickly catching on to the budding Tiki revolution a man named Vic Bergeron – (later better know as Trader Vic) – started his own Tiki bar up the coast in Oakland. Now here is where things get funny. Both men invented a cocktail named the Mai Tai. And both are very different.

And although he may have been the second to create a drink with the name The Mai Tai cocktail, the Trader’s version took off and still lives on in the many Trader Vic’s restaurants across the world. I should also mention, as stocks of good rums diminished Trader Vic made great efforts to find other rums and use them in combination to replicate the flavor of the long extinct J. Wray Nephew.

Again: two men, two cocktails, one name, both recipes on the verge of extinction. I prefer Don’s version but most people are more familiar with the Trader Vic version.

What to buy: Orgeat is an almond-sugar syrup traditionally made from whole blanched almonds. The nut oil gives the syrup (and cocktails made with it) a richness that can’t be duplicated with a cheap syrup made with almond flavoring and sugar. Try to find a high-quality brand. Falernum adds cloves to almonds and limes.  Or, you can make Orgeat or Falernum yourself (more on that later).

 

Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai


1 1/2 oz Myer’s Dark Rum, dark body
1 oz Appletons Rum, medium body
3/4 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
1/4 oz Falernum, a sweet syrup with flavors of almonds, cloves and limes
1/2 oz Cointreau
2 dashes angostura bitters
1 dash Pernod
1 cup cracked ice

Shake all the ingredients and pour all the contents into a rocks glass.

Trader Vic's Mai Tai


1 1/2 oz J. Wray 17 year old Jamaican Rum, golden, medium body
1 medium lime, juiced
1/2 oz Orange Curacao
1 dash Rock Candy Syrup
1 dash French Orgeat, (almond flavored liquor)
1 cup shaved ice
1 sprig fresh mint

Shake well, pour into glass decorate with fresh mint.

Martin Cate's Mai Tai


2 oz aged rum
3/4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice, juiced lime half reserved
1/2 oz orange curaçao
1/4 oz Rich Simple Syrup, also known as rock candy syrup
1/4 oz orgeat
1 cup crushed ice
1 mint sprig, for garnish

Use Rock Candy Syrup, which is 2 parts sugar to 1 part water.  Combine all ingredients except the mint sprig in a cocktail shaker, shake vigorously, and pour the entire contents into a double Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with the juiced lime half and a mint sprig.

To make your own Orgeat:

2 cups raw almonds
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups water
1 tsp orange flower water
1 oz vodka

Toast the almonds at 400º F for 4 minutes, shaking after 2 minutes.

Cool almonds then pulverize them in a blender or food processor.

Heat the sugar and water in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves.

Make your own Falernum

1/3 cup sliced raw almonds
30 whole cloves
1/2 cup light rum
8 limes
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Toast the almonds in a 400º F oven for about 5 minutes.  Let cool.

Place the almonds and the cloves in a mason jar and pour in the rum.  Shake and let steep for 2 days.

Zest the limes, saving 4 limes for juicing after zesting.  Add the lime zest to the jar, shake and steep for 1 day.  Strain the mixture through cheesecloth, extracting as much liquid as possible.

With the juice of the 4 limes, add water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Cook until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes.  Let syrup cool, then combine with the strained almond and clove infusion.  Strain the mixture through a coffee filter and let rest for 12 hours prior to use.

The Don the Beachcomber’s recipe was a blend of medium and dark rums with Pernod and Cointreau as modifying spirits and incorporated spice (Falernum and Bitters) as well as good acidity (grapefruit and lime juice). It’s a well-structured, balanced and complex cocktail.   To tell you the truth, I think Don’s Mai Tai is a much better cocktail than Trader Vic’s.

Since Trader Vic spent a great deal of time promoting his claim as the inventor of the Mai Tai we might as well just go straight to the source:
” I was at the service bar in my Oakland restaurant. I took down a bottle of 17-year-old rum. It was J. Wray Nephew from Jamaica; surprisingly golden in color, medium bodied, but with the rich pungent flavor particular to the Jamaican blends. The flavor of this great rum wasn’t meant to be overpowered with heavy additions of fruit juices and flavorings. I took a fresh lime, added some orange curacao from Holland, a dash of Rock Candy Syrup, and a dollop of French Orgeat, for its subtle almond flavor. A generous amount of shaved ice and vigorous shaking by hand produced the marriage I was after. Half the lime shell went in for color … I stuck in a branch of fresh mint and gave two of them to Ham and Carrie Guild, friends from Tahiti, who were there that night. Carrie took one sip and said, “Mai Tai – Roa Ae”. In Tahitian this means “Out of This World – The Best”. Well, that was that. I named the drink “Mai Tai”.

You can  prepare a Trader Vic’s Mai Tai using creme de noyaux rather than orgeat. Both have an almond flavor but orgeat can more readily be found in coffee houses rather than behind a bar these days. Either will work, but note that the Noyaux will give the cocktail a reddish hue.

In any event, these recipes will open you to a new appreciation of the Mai Tai.  Have fun!

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The best chocolate chip cookie?


an update with some new thoughts, the additions are in bold typeface.

trustforce

Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies. Whether it is the original creation of Ruth Wakefield at her Toll House Inn in Whitman, Mass or the infinite numbers of attempts by commercial bakeries and home cooks to make variations on the primal concept, these cookies are all wonderful in their own way. However, the debate continues as to what might be the “ultimate” chocolate chip cookie.

This is not the first time I have visited this subject.  I posted the Grand Prize winner of the Orchards’ 1987 cookie contest (best of 2600 recipes) in my September 2013 blog, a great double chocolate chip cookie with nuts.  Exactly one year ago, I discussed the original “Toll House” cookie and America’s Test Kitchen reworking of the recipe.  In my quest for something even better, I have looked at many cookbooks and many recipes on the internet.  I’ve tasted a bunch of cookies from…

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It’s summer, time for some chilled soup and a nice salad!


I wrote a blog about gazpacho in August of last year, but I didn’t include any recipes for non-tomato variation or melon soups.  We had dinner at a friend’s house this week, and sh…

Source: It’s summer, time for some chilled soup and a nice salad!

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It’s summer, time for some chilled soup and a nice salad!


I wrote a blog about gazpacho in August of last year, but I didn’t include any recipes for non-tomato variation or melon soups.  We had dinner at a friend’s house this week, and she made a wonderful watermelon gazpacho, and I got her to share the recipe.  It is delightful.

Watermelon Gazpacho

Ingredients:

1 medium red onion, cut in rough dice for 1/2 cup, and in very fine dice for 1/2 cup

1-2 red bell pepper cut in rough dice for 1 cup, and in very fine dice for 3/4 cup

1-2 cucumbers, peeled and seeded, 1 cup roughly chopped, 1 cup in fine dice

1 jalapeno pepper, 1 Tbs roughly chopped, 1 Tbs in fine dice (more if needed for more spice)

2 cups fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped

7 cups seedless watermelon (more if needed)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 to 1/2 cup red wine vinegar (more is needed to counter sweetness of tomatoes and watermelon)

1 Tbs kosher salt

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Place the rough chopped ingredients (tomato, red onion, bell pepper, cucumber, jalapeno, and cilantro) into a blender or food processor and blend to a smooth puree.  Add the watermelon and blend to a smooth puree (may have to be done in batches).   It can also be done with an immersion blender, but it will take much longer.  Pour into a large bowl.

Taste the puree and add red wine vinegar in an adequate amount to balance the sweetness of the puree.  Start with 1/4 cup and add more to taste.  Whisk in the salt and the olive oil.  Stir in the finely diced onions, bell pepper, cucumber and jalapeno.  Chill at least 1 hour or overnight.

J*** also made a lovely salad.  Here is the recipe:

Sweet Corn and Basmati Rice Salad

from BON APPÉTIT JUNE 2000

The Dijon mustard vinaigrette brings everything together.  If you can’t find basmati rice, long grain rice works.

Ingredients:

2 Tbs red wine vinegar

1 Tbs Dijon mustard

1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

3 large ears corn, husked

1 cup chopped green onions

2 1/4 cups water

1 1/2 cups basmati rice

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans

3 bunches watercress (about 12 ounces total), stems discarded

Preparation:

Whisk red wine vinegar and mustard in a large bowl to blend.  Gradually add 1/2 cup olive oil.  Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.

Using a large sharp knife, cut the corn kernels from the cobs.  Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a large heavy skillet with medium heat.  Add green onions; saute 30 seconds.  Add corn: saute until corn is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Both the vinaigrette and corn mixture can be prepared ahead and chilled, but warm the corn mixture before serving.

Make the rice with 2 1/4 cups of boiling water, to which is added rinsed rice and 1/2 tsp salt.  Reduce heat to low and cover, cooking about 20 minutes until the rice is tender.  Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.

Mix rice, corn mixture, and pecans in a large bowl.  Mix in vinaigrette and chopped watercress.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Happy summer!

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Weeknight elegance in 3 hours


Years ago, I made a recipe from Jacques Pepin’s great cookbook, La Technique for a dinner party.  It was chicken that was deboned and stuffed with a chicken forcemeat, and covered in aspic.  Served slightly cold, it was a fantastic appetizer but a lot of work.  However, a galantine does not have to be so time consuming and difficult.  The first thing is to learn how to debone a chicken, and still preserve the skin and meat.  For this, I direct you to a YouTube of a young Jacques Pepin showing the technique:  How to debone a chicken (Chicken Galantine).

I can guarantee that you will need more than 10 minutes to make the galantine, but it will get close to that time with practice.  I remove the leg and wing bones (preserving the end of the leg as in the video) to make a full deboned chicken, using the carcase and other bones to make chicken stock.  Once the chicken is laid out with the breast tenderloins in place (again, as the video directs, the tendon removed from the tenderloin), it is time to stuff the bird and truss it up.  You can use your imagination–chicken mousse, leek and cheese and bread, etc.  Tonight, I made a mix of mushrooms, fresh spinach, shallots, garlic and cream to stuff the bird, and served it with pan roasted fingerling potatoes.

Chicken Galantine stuffed with cremini and shiitake mushrooms, shallots, garlic and spinach.

image1

Finished chicken galantine with pan roasted fingerling potatoes

For the stuffing mixture:

1 bunch fresh spinach (about 1 pound); you will get about 6 to 8 ounces after all the stems are removed

1 pound cremini mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced

1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced

4 large shallots, thinly sliced

4 to 5 cloves of garlic, minced

3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

1. Prepare the spinach by removing all stems.  Thinly slice the two different mushrooms (don’t use button mushrooms here, you need the more robust flavors from the cremini).  Place the mushrooms in a large skillet and sauté them with the butter.

2. Add the sliced shallots and then add the minced garlic.  Adjust seasoning with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Add the spinach and cook until the spinach is just wilted, then add the heavy cream and reduce until thickened.  Remove from heat and let cool.  As an option, run the mixture in a food processor to make a fine puree.

To cook the galantine:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Using half of the spinach/mushroom mixture, stuff the galantine in the manner shown in the video.  Truss the bird with twine.  Place the trussed bird on a rack above a sheet pan or broiler pan.  In the bottom of the pan, use a tablespoon or two of olive oil, and then cut fingerling potatoes lengthwise, placing the cut surface down in the pan (mixing it around to evenly coat the potatoes).

Season the skin of the chicken with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cook for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and let it rest for at least 5 minutes.  You can serve it as is, or warm up some of the rest of the spinach/mushroom mixture as a sauce.

image3

The finished product

 

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HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT INTELLECTUAL FRAUD?


 

And by that, I mean plagiarism, to my mind one of the worst kinds of frauds, as it steals someone else’s ideas to present them as your own.

The particular example I found while researching a recipe for tomato vodka sauce, a not complicated but tasty way to spice up something to put on pasta.  I went to Epicurious and found several recipes, but then I found an anomaly:  the recipe from Rocco DiSpirito, one is lead to assume is taken from his book  Now Eat This, copyright 2010.  Now, I went to Amazon to look at the index of this book and can find no mention of penne alla vodka, and the Epicurious site has a heading stating this recipe is from Lidia Bastianich.  I am curious as to why Epicurious would have a separate posting to Lidia’s Penne Alla Vodka from 2001, with a misleading credit to DiSpirito.  Clearly, the recipe posted with Rocco Dispirito’s name is the Lidia Bastianich recipe, word for word.

 

PENNE ALLA VODKA

ROCCO DISPIRITO

 

EPICURIOUS FEBRUARY 2010

NOW EAT THIS

 

As simple a dish as this is, I have had requests for it in all my restaurants as far back as I can remember. I like the sauce a little feisty, so I’m generous with the crushed red pepper. You can add as much—or as little—as you like. Often, restaurant chefs finish this dish by swirling butter into the sauce at the end. You can do the same, or use olive oil to finish the sauce. I prefer olive oil, but I probably don’t have to tell you that by now.

 
INGREDIENTS

  • Salt
  • One 35-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano) with their liquid
  • 1 pound penne
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Crushed hot red pepper 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil for finishing the sauce, if you like
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for passing if you like

PREPARATION

Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat.

Pour the tomatoes and their liquid into the work bowl of a food processor. Using quick on/off pulses, process the tomatoes just until they are finely chopped. (Longer processing will aerate the tomatoes, turning them pink.)

Stir the penne into the boiling water. Bring the water back to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until done, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Whack the garlic cloves with the side of a knife and add them to the hot oil. Cook, shaking the skillet, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Lower the work bowl with the tomatoes close to the skillet and carefully—they will splatter—slide the tomatoes into the pan. Bring to a boil, season lightly with salt and generously with crushed red pepper, and boil 2 minutes. Pour in the vodka, lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer, and simmer until the pasta is ready.

Just before the pasta is done, fish the garlic cloves out of the sauce and pour in the cream. Add the 2 tablespoons butter or oil, if using, and swirl the skillet to incorporate into the sauce. If the skillet is large enough to accommodate the sauce and pasta, fish the pasta out of the boiling water with a large wire skimmer and drop it directly into the sauce in the skillet. If not, drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and pour in the sauce. Bring the sauce and pasta to a boil, stirring to coat the pasta with sauce. Check the seasoning, adding salt and red pepper if necessary. Sprinkle the parsley over the pasta and boil until the sauce is reduced enough to cling to the pasta.

Remove the pot from the heat, sprinkle 3/4 cup of the cheese over the pasta, and toss to mix. Serve immediately, passing additional cheese if you like.

Per serving: 280.0 calories, 35.0 calories from fat, 4.0g total fat, 2.0g saturated fat, 10.0mg cholesterol, 180.0mg sodium, 57.0g total carbs, 2.0g dietary fiber, 29.0g sugars, 11.0g protein

Nutritional analysis provided by TasteBook, using the USDA Nutrition Database

Now Eat This by Rocco DiSpirito. Copyright © 2010 by Rocco DiSpirito. Published by Random House Publishing Group. All Rights Reserved.

Hailed as the “Leading Chef of his Generation” by Gourmet magazine, Rocco DiSpirito received the James Beard Award for his first cookbook, Flavor. He went on to author Rocco’s Italian-American (2004), Rocco’s Five Minute Flavor (2005),Rocco’s Real-Life Recipes (2007), and Rocco Gets Real (2009). DiSpirito also starred in the Food Network series Melting Pot, the NBC hit reality series The Restaurant, and the A&E series Rocco Gets Real.

Now, here is the 2001 post of Lidia’ Penne Alla Vodka:

PENNE ALLA VODKA

BY LIDIA MATTICCHIO BASTIANICH

 

EPICURIOUS OCTOBER 2001

LIDIA’S ITALIAN-AMERICAN KITCHEN

This is more an American-Italian recipe than an Italian-American one. I found myself making this innovative dish, which always charmed our customers, quite a bit in the early 1970s.

As simple a dish as this is, I have had requests for it in all my restaurants as far back as I can remember: I like the sauce a little feisty, so I’m generous with the crushed red pepper. You can add as much — or as little — as you like.

Often, restaurant chefs finish this dish by swirling butter into the sauce at the end. You can do the same, or use olive oil to finish the sauce. I prefer olive oil, but I probably don’t have to tell you that by now.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • Salt
  • One 35-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano) with their liquid
  • 1 pound penne
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Crushed hot red pepper
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil for finishing the sauce, if you like
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for passing if you like

PREPARATION

Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat.

Pour the tomatoes and their liquid into the work bowl of a food processor. Using quick on/off pulses, process the tomatoes just until they are finely chopped. (Longer processing will aerate the tomatoes, turning them pink.)

Stir the penne into the boiling water. Bring the water back to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until done, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Whack the garlic cloves with the side of a knife and add them to the hot oil. Cook, shaking the skillet, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Lower the work bowl with the tomatoes close to the skillet and carefully — they will splatter — slide the tomatoes into the pan. Bring to a boil, season lightly with salt and generously with crushed red pepper, and boil 2 minutes. Pour in the vodka, lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer, and simmer until the pasta is ready.

Just before the pasta is done, fish the garlic cloves out of the sauce and pour in the cream. Add the 2 tablespoons butter or oil, if using, and swirl the skillet to incorporate into the sauce. If the skillet is large enough to accommodate the sauce and pasta, fish the pasta out of the boiling water with a large wire skimmer and drop it directly into the sauce in the skillet. If not, drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and pour in the sauce. Bring the sauce and pasta to a boil, stirring to coat the pasta with sauce. Check the seasoning, adding salt and red pepper if necessary. Sprinkle the parsley over the pasta and boil until the sauce is reduced enough to cling to the pasta.

Remove the pot from the heat, sprinkle 3/4 cup of the cheese over the pasta, and toss to mix. Serve immediately, passing additional cheese if you like.

Reprinted with permission from Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Bastianich. © 2001 Knopf

 

As anyone can see, a word for word copy of the same recipe.  So, my question is this:  why is there any connection to Rocco DiSpirito to this recipe of Lidia Bastianich, and was it done with Lidia’s permission?

I’ve never thought very much about DiSpirito’s talent other than his propensity for self-aggrandizement.  I remember seeing some of the reality TV show, The Restaurant, about the opening and launch of “Rocco’s on 22nd.  I remember thinking at the time that a restaurant that was planning to sell spaghetti and meat balls for over $30.00 a plate didn’t deserve to succeed, and I was right—the show was cancelled, DiSpirito was successfully sued by his financial backer Jeffrey Chodorow to ban DiSpirito from entering the premises, and the restaurant was shut down.  I can’t see any evidence that DiSpirito has done any restaurant cooking since, but he has been on TV and has written some cookbooks.  The question I have to ask is how much of what he has written is original?

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