SEASON 6 Use Your Noodle III: Fresh Pasta
The Waffle Truth
Hittin’ the Sauce
Great Balls of Meat
Flat Is Beautiful II
Curious Yet Tasty Avocado Experiments
Circle of Life
Salad Daze II: Long Arm of the Slaw
A Cake on Every Plate
The Big Chili
The Frosting Man Cometh
Fit to Be Tied
Art of Darkness III: Ganache
A Pie in Every Pocket
School of Hard Nogs
Tender Is the Loin I
Raising the Bar
Tender Is the Loin II
Flat is Beautiful III: Flounder 311 Thai: Your Pad or Mine
Shell Game IV: Scallops
Crustacean Nation III: Feeling Crabby
Puddin’ Head Blues
The Egg Files IV: French Flop
The Muffin Method Man
Cuckoo for Coq au Vin
True Brew IV: Take Stock
A Taproot Orange
A Beautiful Grind
Sprung a Leek
Raising the Steaks
The Pouch Principal
My Big Fat Greek Sandwich
Field of Greens
The Trick to Treats
Do the Rice Thing
Potato, My Sweet
The Cookie Clause
Give Peas a Chance
Urban Preservation II: The Jerky
Sometimes You Feel Like A... 112
Churn Baby Churn II
Wake Up, Little Sushi
Eat This Rock
Good Wine Gone Bad: Vinegar 261
The Man Food Show
Olive Me SEASON 10 Tort(illa) Reform
House of the Rising Bun
Cubing a Round
Water Works I
Water Works II
Behind the Eats
Squid Pro Quo II
Fry Turkey Fry
Pantry Raid VI: Lentils Are a Chef’s Best Friend
I’ve always regretted
not making this a two-part show about fresh pasta. Sure, ravioli are fun to make (and even more fun to eat), but this paste is capable of infinite shape shifting: Fettuccini, tagliatelle, and pappardelle are easily within its scope, and I wish I’d made that more apparent in the episode. In fact, one of my favorite applications for this dough is to roll and cut thick wide noodles, then simmer them in chicken stock for Chicken Noodle Soup (page XXX). Regardless of how you roll, cut, shape, or stuff it, this dough is as versatile a multitasker as you’re likely to encounter.
PARTS LIST Atlas model (or equivalent) manual pasta roller Nuts that fit U-bolt
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Steel plate with holes U-bolt Ironing board
ON BOARD KEEP A SEPARATE COTT ING PASTA. COVER JUST FOR ROLL
K N O W L E D G E C O N C E N T R AT E Culinary lore holds that the Venetian adventurer Marco Polo first brought pasta to Italy from far-off China in 1295. The fact that fettuccini and ravioli were already popular dishes in Rome at the time should have put the matter to rest. The reason the legend persists is that it isn’t very old. In fact, the earliest reference to it I’ve been able to unearth is a rather whimsical article by S. Gibbs Campbell in the October 1929 edition of Macaroni Journal that tells of a sailor on Marco Polo’s expedition named Spaghetti, who had seen a Chinese girl preparing long strands of pasta. Marco Polo did bring knowledge of the foods and culture of Asia to Europe, but not so the noodle.
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Dry pastas contain nothing but flour and water, and their flavor and body alike stem from the use of high-protein flour ground from durum wheat. Fresh pastas, on the other hand, can be made from a wide array of flours (including all-purpose) because they contain eggs, which increase the protein content of the dough considerably. The yolks also contain fat, which tenderizes the noodles or dumplings and helps to amplify any fat-soluble vitamins present, including A, D, and E. When pasta dough is first formed, it’s brittle and prone to tearing. An hour in the refrigerator will give the flour granules time to hydrate—that is, absorb moisture from the eggs. The result will be plastic and elastic and easy to handle. Although the rolling pin is still the choice of purists and Italians everywhere, I’m neither purist nor Italian, so I prefer the mechanized version. The classic manual pasta roller, commonly called an “Atlas” after the company that first drew up the design back in 1938, is to my mind still the best machine for the home cook because it’s small and stout. This knob changes the space between the rollers, which in turn changes the thickness of the dough. The roller settings are indexed, meaning that they snap into place when positioned properly. Regardless of what thickness you’re shooting for (many recipes reference Atlas roller numbers), you’ll want to start on #1 and gradually work your way thinner. Impatience will only buy you torn, rough dough, and that’s rarely good eats. Most manual machines come with a cutting attachment that converts sheets into “ribbons” of varying size. Of course, if a pasta machine’s going to do you any good at all, you’ve got to be able to securely anchor it to a respectable range of real estate, which is a challenge in many modern kitchens. It doesn’t help that the wimpy clamps Atlases and their ilk use for anchorage further limit positioning. My answer: Skip the counter altogether and go with an ironing board.
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IF STUFFING IS YOUR GOAL: TIDBIT Examples of other stuffed noodles around the world: POLAND: Pierogi CHINA: Gao gai or wonton JAPAN: Gyoza UKRAINE: Varenyky JEWS: Kreplach KOREA: Mandu SIBERIA: Pelmen y
TIDBIT From 1700 to 17 85, pasta shops quadrupled in Naples, result ing in pasta drying ev erywhere, including in the streets, an d on rooftops and balconies.
1. Spread the rolled pasta sheet out on a lightly floured counter and gently mark the sheet lengthwise down the middle using a yardstick, but donâ€™t press so hard that you split the dough. 2. Use a teaspoon measuring spoon to deliver a dollop of filling (see application on next page) every couple of inches along one side of the mark down the middle, spacing them evenly at least 1 inch from each other. 3. Brush the pasta sheet with egg wash (1 egg, lightly beaten together with 1 tablespoon water) on one edge lengthwise down the entire sheet and in between the piles of filling. Fold the un-egg-washed side of the sheet over and seal, removing any air bubbles as you go.
4. Cut into even squares using a sharp paring knife or pizza cutter. 5. Place the finished ravioli on a parchment paperâ€“lined half sheet pan and cover with a damp towel. 6. Repeat the procedure with the remaining dough half. 7. Add the ravioli to the boiling water 6 to 8 at a time and cook until they float, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove with a spider and set on a half sheet pan lined with parchment. Repeat until all the ravioli have been cooked. NOTE: I never boil more than 8 pieces at a time in 1 gallon of boiling salted water.
IO T P O G N I P A SH
TORTE L L I
OD LE II US E YO UR NO
S P I N A C H A N D R I C O T TA F I L L I N G
A P P L I C AT I O N
E N O U G H F I L L I N G F O R A B O U T 3 0 R AV I O L I
S O F T WA R E
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PROCEDURE Combine all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
R AV I O L I I N B R O W N E D B U T T E R
S U B - A P P L I C AT I O N
Although Chef Boyardee may toss his ravs in tomato sauce, I prefer a quick sauté: S O F T WA R E 6
unsalted butter cooked fresh ravioli (previous page)
PROCEDURE Place a 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the butter. The butter will melt, then foam as the water cooks out, then it will begin to brown as the milk solids cook. When the butter just starts to smell nutty, turn the heat down to low, carefully add 8 to 10 ravioli and fry, tossing often, until they start to turn brown around the edges. Add a little sage and a grind of pepper and toss to coat. Remove from the heat and grab a fork. Repeat with the remaining butter, ravioli, and sage. 3 2 1
Small shreds or ribbons. To cut, roll up the leaves like a cigar and slice across the roll.
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I don’t think any food delivers as much flavor, nutrition, and versatility as nuts . . . at least, not in such a small, easy-to-store, long-lasting, convenient, and almost watertight containment unit. Squirrels know it, which is why they spend all spring and summer hoarding these woody jewels with their spooky little hands. To the average tree rat, a nest full of walnuts, pecans, or cashews could mean the difference between waking up in the spring and ending up a squirrel-sicle. But to the average American, nuts are for bowls on bars and, well . . . that’s about it.
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G N I L L A C HO YOU
PROTEIN! GET YOUR FRESH, HO T PROTEIN! FIBER, ANTIOXIDANTS, OMEGA-3S! That’s right, omega-3s, the very same fatty acids found in fish oil, are also found in nuts. What’s more, nuts can lower your risk of heart attack and type-2 diabetes. Sure, tree nuts contain fat, but most of it’s that “good” fat you hear so much about, the unsaturated kind that can lower cholesterol and the dreaded LDLs or low-density lipoproteins. And don’t forget, nuts are a great source of vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, calcium, folic acid, and zinc.
K N O W L E D G E C O N C E N T R AT E Although most of the “nuts” consumed in the United States are peanuts, peanuts aren’t nuts; they’re peas. True nuts grow on trees. Brazil nuts, beechnuts, kola nuts, walnuts, pecans, chestnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds all have considerable culinary cred, but my big three are: cashews, pistachios, and macadamia nuts. CASHEWS are native to South America but are now grown primarily in India, which perhaps makes sense when you consider that they are kin to the mango. Although most of us are familiar with the cashew’s crescent shape, the cashew comes from the tree connected to an odd little fruit called a cashew apple, which has various other culinary uses (down in the Caribbean they’re soaked in rum). Each of these fruits has a shell hanging off the end containing a single cashew. The shell itself contains caustic oils often used in furniture varnishes because it repels termites. Sorry to take that side trip, but when you have an opportunity to put two of your culinary crew in cheap termite suits, you just have to go with it. The point is that getting even a single cashew to market isn’t easy, and that’s why they’re expensive. Still, because of their unique flavor and high fat content, they’re potent players because they can easily be ground into a smooth paste that puts most peanut butters to shame. The PISTACHIO is grown from the Middle East all the way to the far west . . . of Asia, that is, which explains why it’s so ubiquitous in Turkish desserts. After spreading slowly across Europe, the pistachio tree was finally introduced to the United States via California in the 1890s. Pistachio trees seed twice a year, producing clusters of seeds encased in a fleshy yellowred skin. Traditionally they were harvested by hand, but modern machines can shake ripe clusters from the trees so the seeds can be harvested from the ground. They are then soaked in water (to remove the fleshy coating) and dried in the sun.
Most of us buy our pistachios in the shell. With any other nut, this would mean a lot of work. But not so here, because the pistachio splits, or “smiles,” when ripe. The MACADAMIA NUT is indigenous to Australia, but centuries of island-hopping through Polynesia brought it to its adopted home of Hawaii, where it’s paired with everything from mangoes to marshmallows to mahimahi. What makes the nut so unique is its texture. Bite into a raw or cooked macadamia, and you get a crunchy snap followed by a melt-in-your-mouth succulence that betrays the nut’s considerable fat content. As for flavor, it is subtle yet faintly tropical, and when toasted reminds me of coconut. Since it takes a tree seven years to produce a marketable crop, macadamias are expensive. Luckily, a little goes a long way.
The nutmeat of the pistachio is deep green, thanks to the presence of chlorophyll, and in the nut industry, the deeper the green, the more highly valued the nut. (If you’ve ever seen pistachios with vibrant red shells, that’s not nature. That’s processors dyeing the meats to make them more attractive, or so, I suppose, they think.)
Termite 1: This wood tastes nasty. Termite 2: Like... Termites 1 & 2: ...cashews! Termite 1: Let’s go get a box of toothpicks. Termite 2: Sweet!
U SO ME TIM ES YO . . FE EL LIK E A .
A P P L I C AT I O N
R O YA L I C I N G 3½ CUPS, ENOUGH FOR ABOUT 3 DOZEN 2½-INCH COOKIES
S O F T WA R E
Confectioners’ su gar contains a small amount of cornstar ch, which prevents clu mping by absorbi ng moisture.
pasteurized egg whites
confectioners’ sugar food coloring of your choice 2
as many drops as it takes
Although liquid food colorings are certainly the norm, concentrated gel colorings give you more bang for the buck.
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AU SE TH E CO OK IE CL
Combine the egg whites and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whip until frothy. Sift in the confectioners’ sugar gradually and mix on low speed until the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is shiny. Turn the mixer speed up to high and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add food coloring, if desired. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Whisk stored icing before using.