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Archive for the ‘Pasta’ Category

It’s BACON!

bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon, …

Pig cheeks, salt, sugar, thyme, pepper, and bay

Evenly distributed spices

With surprisingly little effort, we’ve been able to make at home a simple cured pork product we’d been paying nearly thirty dollars a pound for. The most difficult part is procuring the pig jowls. It turns out, they are readily available on the internet.

Once received, cut away any nodes of discolored or harder meat from the flesh side. Rub the 4 pounds of jowls down very thoroughly with a spice mix of –

 

2 cups sugar

2 cups salt

1/4 cup chopped thyme

6 bay leaves, julienned

2 Tablespoons coarse ground black pepper

After four days turn and redistribute spices

For more meat, adjust the recipe as necessary. Assure the meat is well covered and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the back of the fridge for ten days. After four days, remove and stir and redistribute the spice mix. After ten days, remove from the spice, rinse lightly, and dry well. Pat with paper towels. Punch a hole through the narrow end of the jowl in order to run a string to hang. Hang the jowls for at least ten days. It is at this time that humidity control can be very advantageous. We used a damp dish towel in the empty fridge. I would assume a fridge with more contents would be slightly more humid. Ideally, the curing period should start off wet and end drier. Now, what to do with this stuff. Pasta carbonara and alla amatriciana are two recipes originally written for guanciale. We did a Fusilli guanciale i tot soi with hearty greens from the garden. Good Stuff!

Fusilli guanciale i tot soi

    Fusilli guanciale i tot soi

1/4 cup guanciale, chopped

1/8 cup chopped garlic

2 cups chopped hearty greens, tot soi, chard, broccoli rabe,…

1/4 cup chicken stock

1/2 pound fusilli

2 Tablespoons of butter

Slowly render the sliced guanciale in a little olive oil. When nearly crisp and tan, carefully drain off excess fat and add garlic. Cook for only a few seconds and then add the hearty greens. Reserve the fat for sauteeing vegetables and such. Add fusilli to boiling water and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, stir the greens, once all are wilting, add the stock. At this time, make sure the burner is on high. Cook until greens are tender and remove from heat. Add butter and stir until incorporated. Toss with pasta hot from the pot. DO NOT RINSE pasta before this step, EVER! Serve with the biggest wine you can find (not the biggest box!) Good Stuff!

 

 

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Get Noodled!

Rolled thin and cut wide

 

Spread on a towel to dry before cooking or freezing

Pennsylvania Dutch whole egg noodles. A noble phrase in the lexicon of American cookery. It can be surprising just how simple it is to prepare fresh pasta. The kitchenaid or tabletop mixer is a big help and then a pasta roller makes it that much easier. Neither is necessary. Serve these noodles hot, buttered, and sauced if you must. Good Stuff!

 

Egg Noodles

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 egg, beaten

1/4 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)

2 teaspoons oil (I use schmalz for flavor)

1 ++ Tablespoons cool water

Combine all ingredients with first Tablespoon water in  mixer or by hand until fully homogenized. Continue to sparingly add water until a tight damp dough is formed. Knead for ten minutes. Allow the dough to rest for twenty or more minutes, covered, before rolling. Roll out to a uniform thickness. This is determined by your taste, but slightly thicker noodles will be easier to handle and less delicate in the pot. We go to about 1/16 of an inch. Use little flour to keep the dough from sticking to you rolling pin and worksurface. Cut to any width with a pizza cutter or by dragging the tip of a sharp knife through the dough. Spread the noodles on a clean dry towel to airdry for twenty to forty minutes before cooking or freezing. Throw into boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes, slightly longer if frozen, drain, and butter. Serve with your family’s favorite garnish. Good Stuff!

With steaming beef stew and braised swiss chard

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Sweet Maine Shrimp

Quickly Steamed in Wine and Herbs

Tagliatelle with Sweet Maine Shrimp and Local Arugula

Several weeks every winter we are served a special fruit of the sea. Sweet Maine shrimp are available now and I heartily recommend them to every table. They are fresh and can be eaten raw. We cooked them shortly with sauvignon blanc and herbs. When we next prepared this we removed the heads and roe before cooking, but once again cooked them with the shells. Served over homemade tagliatelle with braised local arugula, certainly Good Stuff!

2 pounds sweet Maine shrimp

1/2 cup fresh sliced garlic

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1 tablespoon chopped basil

1/2 tablespoon chopped oregano

1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme

1 cup white wine

2 tablespoons butter

Saute the garlic swiftly in hot olive oil over high heat, do not brown. Add the shrimp and cook for 1-2 minutes stirring gently. Add the wine and herbs and cover. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Uncover, season with salt and pepper and butter. Serve hot and fast! Good Stuff!

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Sauce Bolognese

Browning pancetta cubes

More than just meat sauce, the pancetta and porcinis in this sauce give it an earthiness and life of its very own. Give a whole day for this sauce.

It can be made with any ground meat. We have made some particularly good versions with venison. When using game, you may want to add some more fat(olive oil, pancetta, etc.) Also, carefully wash the porcinis at least once. They can be very dirty.

Serve this sauce over homemade spaghetti or use it lasagna. Good Stuff!

Mirepoix sauteeing alongside soaking porcinis

1/2 pound diced pancetta

1/4 cup olive oil

2 med onions, diced

6-8 cloves garlic, sliced

1 carrot, fine diced

4 ribs celery, diced

Porcinis will be chopped and added after ground meat browns

2 oz. dried porcinis

1 cup boiling water

Slowly brown diced pancetta in olive oil. Cook until crisp and well browned and the oil smokes a little. Add the diced vegetables, stir well, reduce the heat to low and cover for 45 minutes to an hour. Stir occasionally. Meanwhile soak the porcinis in boiling water. Set aside.

Raise heat to med-high and add the ground meat.

2 pounds ground meat(beef, game, meatloaf mix, etc…)

Take time to carefully strain out any dirt that may have washed off the porcinis

Cook the meat completely, stirring often. Lift the mushrooms out of the hot water, attempting to not stir the dirt in the bottom of the cup. Dice the mushrooms and add to pot. Cook for several minutes. Add one cup of the red wine you are drinking while preparing this sauce. Cook for several minutes.Strain the liquid into the pot through a coffee filter or something similar. Cook for several minutes. Add one cup of stock(beef, veal, chicken,…) Cook for several minutes. Add two cups of chopped, peeled, seeded tomatoes. Cook for several minutes, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for several hours. Serve over handmade spaghetti. Good Stuff!

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Mamma’s Meatballs

Formed by hand, uniform in size.

Perfect accompaniment to handmade spaghetti and marinara. Handle the meatball mix lightly and sparingly. Keep it cold while working it. The fat in the ground meats used is key to tender meatballs. Violence and heat can undermine its influence. Make many and experiment with the size. Just remember to cook them through in the first baking. Good Stuff!

2 pounds ground meatloaf mix(beef, veal, pork)

1 large onion, chopped small

3 ribs celery, chopped small

Stew lightly in marinara after baking through

1 bulb garlic, chopped small

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano

1 cup bread crumb

2 eggs

In hot olive oil, saute the onion, celery, and garlic. Cook until soft, do not brown. Season very heavily with salt and pepper, add chopped herbs, and rapid cool.

Top of handmade spaghetti

When vegetables are cold, add all ingredients to large bowl. Mix gently and sparingly. Do not taste raw mix. Cook a small patty in your egg pan or something.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-35 minutes, depending on the size of the meatballs. Thermometer should read no less than 165 at center of meatball. Cool well to freeze or store in refrigerator, or fold right into some simmering marinara sauce. Good Stuff!

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