Cavatelli with Seared Squid, Oven-Roasted Tomatoes, Baby Arugula and Black Olives

July 4th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink


4-6 servings


For the Cavatelli

1 pound all-purpose flour, or Italian OO flour
1 pound whole-milk ricotta, drained/hung in cheesecloth overnight
4 ounces semolina
3 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
Water, just enough to make a firm dough

For the Sauce

10½ ounces baby arugula, long stem ends removed
8 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded
Zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange, peeled into strips (no pith)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 spring fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3½ ounces black olives, pitted and sliced

For the Calamari

1 pound calamari, fresh or frozen, tubes and tentacles cleaned and separated
2 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
Pinch pepperoncino
Zest of 1 lemon, freshly grated
1 tablespoon Italian flat leaf parsley, freshly chopped


For the cavatelli

Combine the flours in a large bowl. Add ricotta and the parmesan and mix by hand to combine.
Add the water a little at a time, just enough to form a stiff dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work table and knead by hand until smooth and elastic. Be careful not to add too much water, but the dough should not be tacky or sticky.Wrap the dough in plastic wrap for up to a few hours.

To shape the cavatelli: cut the dough into pieces, and then roll one piece into a rope about ½ inch in diameter. Keep the remaining pieces covered in plastic wrap until needed. Using a small knife or a bowl/bench scraper, cut the dough rope into pieces about ½ inch long.

Press the pieces with your index finger against the blade of a butter knife with a rounded tip, flattering each piece of dough until fairly thin. Pull the knife toward you, dragging the dough across the work surface so that it curls itself around the tip of the knife to form a shell shape. Place on a floured sheet tray until ready to use.

For the calamari

Cut the calamari into tubes about ½ inch thick.

In a medium sauté pan over a low flame, heat a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with the sliced garlic. Add a pinch of pepperoncino. When the garlic has softened and given off all of its aroma, turn off the heat and set aside.

Heat a large cast iron skillet or grill pan over high heat. Sear the calamari tubes and tentacles in just a little oil nicely colored on both sides. Remove to the smaller pan with the garlic. Toss with the freshly grated lemon zest and parsley. Adjust seasoning.

For the Sauce

Cut the peeled and seeded tomatoes into petals. Toss them in a bowl with salt and pepper, crushed garlic, strips of lemon and orange zest and fresh thyme sprigs. Lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast them in a 325°F oven until they are soft, shrunken and slightly golden.
Clean the arugula well.

Boil the cavatelli in abundant salted water until just al dente.

In a large sauté pan over medium low flame, heat a few tablespoons of the olive oil with the roasted tomatoes and olives. Strain the pasta and toss into the sauce, adding the arugula and toss together until it is just wilted. Add a few drops of pasta water and olive oil to the pan to achieve a creamy consistency. Adjust the seasoning. Spoon into warm bowls and top with the seared calamari dividing the rings and tentacles evenly among the bowls.

Pea & Mint Tortellini in Herbed Brodo

April 25th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6


For the spring pea and mint tortellini

Olive oil
1 medium shallot, chopped fine
1 cup fresh peas, steamed soft and mashed
2 teaspoons lemon zest ¼ cup grated pecorino
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Fresh pasta sheets

For the herbed brodo

1 (¼ pound) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano
6 cups chicken stock
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 sprigs fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh mint
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


For the spring pea and mint tortellini

Mix and mash all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until all ingredients are well incorporated and smooth. Using fresh pasta sheets cut into about 2 square inches, add 1 dollop of filling. Cover with another 2-inch pasta square. Using wet fingers, seal all sides of ravioli by pinching down, making sure the raviolis are sealed well.

For the herbed brodo

Combine rind, stock, garlic, parsley and mint (tied together with twine), and oil in a 3-quart pot, then simmer gently, partially covered, 30 minutes. Discard parsley and rind and season broth with salt.

Add tortellini and simmer, partially covered, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Divide among 6 soup plates, and then shave cheese over soup to taste.

Classic Italian Lentil Soup (Brown Lentils)

January 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped small
2 small carrots, peeled and chopped small
2 celery, chopped small
2 tablespoons thyme
1 (15 ounce) can whole plum tomatoes
4 cups vegetable (onion based) broth
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup brown Italian lentils
2 fresh bay leaves
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano, for garnish


In a heavy bottomed Dutch oven, over medium heat, add olive oil. Add onions and cook until translucent, 7 minutes. Add carrots, celery and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes more. Reduce heat to medium low and add tomatoes, cook until flavor becomes concentrated, stirring to makes sure tomatoes and vegetable don’t burn, 15 minutes. Next, add vegetable broth, salt, lentils, bay leaves and Parmigiano Reggiano rind. Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender. Remove cheese rind and serve garnished with more cheese.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

November 19th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 8


2 (1¼ lbs) russet potatoes
1 (¾-lb) sweet potato
1 large egg
½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
Freshly ground pepper
â…“ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano plus more for serving
1½ to 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
½ stick unsalted butter
1 cup sage leaves (from 1 bunch)


Preheat oven to 450°F. Pierce russet and sweet potatoes in several places with a fork, and then bake until just tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool potatoes slightly, then peel and force through ricer into sheet pan, spreading in an even layer. Cool potatoes completely. Lightly flour 2 large baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Beat together egg, nutmeg, 1 tsp salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

Gather potatoes into a mound in sheet pan, and form a well in center. Pour egg mixture into well, then knead into potatoes. Knead in cheese and 1½ cups flour, then knead, adding more flour as necessary, until mixture forms a smooth but slightly sticky dough. Dust top lightly with some of flour. Cut dough into 6 pieces. Form 1 piece of dough into a ½-inch-thick rope on a lightly floured surface. Cut rope into ½-inch pieces. Gently roll each piece into a ball and lightly dust with fl our. Repeat with remaining 5 pieces of dough. Transfer gnocchi as formed to baking sheets.

Bring large pot of water to boil; add salt and return to boil. Working in batches, boil gnocchi until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer gnocchi to clean rimmed baking sheet.

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until butter solids are brown and have toasty aroma, swirling pan occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add chopped. Turn off heat. Season sage butter generously with salt and pepper.

Transfer half of sage butter to large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add half of gnocchi. Sauté until gnocchi are heated through, about 6 minutes. Repeat with remaining sage butter and gnocchi.
Divide gnocchi and sauce among shallow bowls. Garnish with sage leaves.

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