2 Teaspoons of Squid Ink and Cuttlefish a Must in Tagliolini with Ragu di Sepia recipe from 'Eating Italy'

Not another Italian food cookbook, I can hear some of you say.

Philadelphia chef Jeff Michaud makes a declaration to Italy, the country and its people as much as its food in Eating Italy (Running Press, September 2013).

Tagliolini with Ragù di Seppia


11⁄2 pounds (680 g) cuttlefish or squid, cleaned
3⁄4 cup (175 ml) olive oil, divided, plus more as needed
1 medium-size yellow onion, julienned finely
1⁄8 teaspoon (0.25 g) red chili flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 peeled canned tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, cored and crushed by hand
2 to 3 cups (500 to 750 ml) white wine
2 teaspoons (10 ml) squid ink
1 bay leaf
1 pound (450 g) fresh or frozen tagliolini pasta
1⁄3 cup (20 g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Tagliolini w Ragu di Seppia

Seppia (cuttlefish) is all over the fish market in Venice. It’s similar to squid and octopus but tastes sweeter and more tender. It’s my favorite cephalopod. You can eat it raw, stuffed, braised, baked, or even grilled. The best thing is the ink from the cuttlefish (often labeled as squid ink in stores). It turns everything black, like a busted ballpoint pen. Wear an apron when making this recipe! I use plenty of ink because if I’m going to eat a squid ink dish, I want it to be completely black, not gray. The sauce here should be so black that the pasta turns black. I use the ink from the cuttlefish plus some store-bought squid ink. You can buy jars of it from various gourmet retailers. The cuttlefish itself you can get at most Asian fish markets. Or, if you can’t find cuttlefish, use squid instead.

Reserve the cuttlefish or squid ink sacs. Finely julienne the bodies and tentacles (if using squid) and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the oil in a large, deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sweat until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Raise the heat to medium-high, add the cuttlefish and tomatoes, and cook for 5 minutes. Add enough wine to just cover the ingredients, and cook until the liquid reduces in volume by three quarters, 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, carefully peel the skin off the ink sacs over a small bowl, which will release the ink. Cover the ink with just enough water so the ink can be poured out of the bowl. Add the inky water to the pan, and then rinse out the bowl with just enough water to capture all the ink, adding the inky liquid to the pan (you want maximum ink and minimum water). Add the 2 tablespoons (10 ml) of squid ink and the bay leaf and simmer over medium-low heat until the cuttlefish is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and then remove from the heat. The ragù can be cooled and refrigerated for up to 2 days before using. Just reheat it gently in a sauté pan.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the pasta; quickly return the water to a boil, stirring the pasta gently, and cook until the pasta is tender yet firm, about 1 minute. Reserve 1 cup (235 ml) of pasta water, then drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, add the remaining 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) of oil to the ragù, stirring vigorously to blend it in. Add the pasta to the ragù (in batches if your pan is small), stirring immediately with a fork to prevent the pasta from clumping. Stir in the parsley, and cook over medium heat until most of the sauce coats the pasta; stir in additional oil and pasta water as necessary to create a creamy sauce.

Divide among warm plates, twirling the pasta into nests on each plate.

(* Recipe reprinted with permission from EATING ITALY © 2013 by Jeff Michaud with David Joachim, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group)

Appetizers to Lamb to Vegetarian, Slowly Organizing Our Recipes in 15 Categories

After sharing recipes for a few years, I thought it was time to find a way to allow visitors to the site to narrow their search.

We started today with 15 categories listed with their respective links in right column of 'Serge the Concierge' after mother category Recipes.

The 15 categories (listed in alphabetical order using model Recipes: Appetizers) are Appetizers, Baking, Chicken, Chocolate, Cocktails, Fish and Seafood, Gluten Free, Ice Cream and Sorbet, Lamb, Non Alcoholic Drinks, Pork, Salads, Soups, Vegan and last Vegetarian.

Some recipes like Chilled Tofu with Crunchy Baby Sardines are referenced in 2 (or more) groups for Tofu with Sardines both under Appetizers and Fish and Seafood.

Panelle-1 (2)

So far about 40 to 50 recipes have been updated to reflect this friendlier way.

We will add the rest as quickly as we can and hope to be done by September 1st, 2013.

Let us know how you like the change.

(* Illustration is photo from Panelle, Sicilian Fritters, Gluten Free recipe from The Country Cooking of Italy by Colman Andrews- Chronicle Books, Fall 2011- reproduced with permission of the publisher- all rights reserved- Photography by Hirsheimer and Hamilton)

Tuber and Thistle, Jerusalem Artichoke And Artichoke Heart Linguine Recipe from 'Roots'

Spring is here even though weather tends to deny it.

With Roots (Chronicle Books, September 2012), Diane Morgan served us a large helping of the "history and lore of 29 major roots, their nutritional content, how to buy and store them".

Some root vegetables like parsnips get sweeter during cold winter months. 

My second pick from 'Roots' features a favorite of mine, artichokes.


Despite their names and their common family, the Jerusalem artichoke and the globe artichoke aren’t at all alike—one is a tuber, the other a thistle. Yet, flavorwise, they relate perfectly in this pasta dish. Add some slivers of red onion, lots of garlic, a kick of red pepper flakes, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a shower of thinly sliced fresh mint and you have a boldly seasoned pasta dish worthy of serving to company yet easy enough for a family meal.

1 tbsp kosher or fine sea salt, plus 1 tsp
1 lb/455 g dried linguine
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb/455 g Jerusalem artichokes, cut on the diagonal into slices ¼ in/6 mm thick
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
⅛ tsp red pepper flakes
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
One 14-oz/400-g can quartered artichoke hearts in water, drained and patted dry
6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
¼ cup/15 g thinly sliced fresh mint
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese for garnish


1 Fill a large pot two-thirds full of water, add the 1 tbsp salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and stir. Cook the pasta until al dente (cooked through but still slightly chewy), 7 to 8 minutes.

2 While the pasta water is heating and pasta is cooking, in a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat and swirl to coat the pan bottom. Add the Jerusalem artichokes, the remaining 1 tsp salt, the pepper, and red pepper flakes and sauté until the Jerusalem artichokes begin to brown on the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes more. Add the artichoke hearts and garlic and continue sautéing until the artichoke hearts are heated through and the garlic is soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and toss to coat.

3 When the pasta is ready, drain it in a colander, reserving 1 cup/240 ml of the cooking water. Add the pasta and the mint to the sauté pan and toss to combine with the Jerusalem artichoke mixture. Add just enough of the reserved pasta water, a little at a time, as needed to moisten. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Divide the pasta among warmed individual bowls and shower with the cheese. Serve immediately.

(* Recipe from 'Roots, The Definitive Compendium with More Than 225 Recipes' by Diane Morgan -Chronicle Books, September 2012- reprinted with permission of the publisher)

Zarusoba, Cold Noodles for Breakfast to Beat the Heat

I frequently cook soba noodles for dinner.

I would not have thought of them as breakfast food until i saw The Japanese Food mention Zarusoba (Zaru Soba?) as part of a complete breakfast on Twitter.

Zaru soba

Maki over at Just Hungry shares a Cold soba noodles with dipping sauce (Zarusoba) recipe and notes that the reason Japanese eat these is because of the warm and humid weather in Japan during the summer months.

Morning food in Japan for Tokyo Thursdays # 235

Previously: White Miso Peach Ice Cream, Add Japanese Flair to Your Summer Parties

(* Photo from The Japanese Food)

Cannelloni Del Nonno, Filled with Arugula, Spinach and Ricotta, Recipe from Pasta Italiana

Since i gave you first a taste of the sweet side of Pasta Italiana (Kyle Books USA, January 2012) with Mezzelune Dolci, let's look at savory side this time.

Cannelloni del nonno, Cannelloni filled with arugula, spinach, and ricotta cheese

A great baked pasta dish that has been in my family for over twenty years. If you prefer, you can substitute the Pecorino cheese with Parmesan.

Serves 6 to 8

Scant 3 cups strained tomatoes
15 fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese
14 ounces fresh egg pasta dough, see page 19

For the filling

2 cups ricotta cheese
51/2 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed to remove the excess water
51/2 ounces arugula, chopped
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese

For the béchamel sauce

7 tablespoons salted butter
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 quart cold whole milk
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


Cannelloni del nonno


1 Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2 Pour the strained tomatoes into a large bowl with the basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper, mix together, and set aside.

3 To prepare the béchamel sauce, in a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook until it turns light brown in color, 1 minute. Gradually beat in the cold milk, reduce the heat, and cook for 10 minutes, beating continuously. Once thickened, stir in the nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool slightly.

4 To prepare the filling, in a large bowl, place all the ingredients, season with salt and pepper, and use a fork to mix everything together. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator while you prepare the pasta.

5 Flatten the prepared dough with your fingers so that it can fit through the rollers of the pasta machine. Flour the pasta lightly on both sides and start to roll it from the widest setting to the thinnest. Cut it into rectangles measuring 23/4 x 6 inches—you will need 26 sheets.

6 Prepare a large pot with plenty of boiling salted water and start to cook the pasta sheets—work in batches of five. Boil the sheets for 1 minute, then remove and place immediately in a large bowl of cold water to prevent the pasta from going soggy. After 1 minute in the cold water, remove the sheets and place on a clean dish towel.

7 Place 11/2 tablespoons of filling across each pasta sheet and start to roll up the pasta from the narrow side working forward. To seal the cannelloni, overlap the pasta sheet by about 3/4 inch. Repeat until all the pasta sheets are filled.

8 Select a rectangular baking dish measuring 10 x 14 inches and pour in a third of the béchamel sauce. Spread evenly.Place half the cannelloni onto the béchamel layer with the seam facing down. Spoon over half the strained tomatoes and half the remaining béchamel sauce.

9 Build up the second layer of cannelloni and spoon over the remaining strained tomatoes. Spread over the remaining béchamel sauce. Finish by sprinkling over the Pecorino cheese and bake in the center of the oven for 35 minutes or until colored and crispy.

10 Once ready, let rest for 5 minutes out of the oven; it will be easier to cut and serve, as the layers will hold together.

(** Recipe from Pasta Italiana by Gino D'Acampo, published by Kyle Books in January 2012, photography by Kate Whitaker, all rights reserved)

Mezzelune Dolci, Candied Fruit Filled Half Moon Pasta, Recipe from Pasta Italiana

In his introduction to Pasta Italiana (Kyle Books USA, January 2012), Gino D' Acampo writes that he cannot remember, growing up in Italy, having a meal where pasta didn't feature.

Some savory, some sweet as my first recipe pick from his book.

Mezzelune dolci, Half-moon-shape sweet pasta filled with candied fruit

This is a classic Neapolitan dessert that is usually eaten around Easter time. I remember like it was yesterday my grandmother filling the pasta with candied fruits and ricotta cheese and me trying to help her as much as I could, because I knew I’d get an extra serving at the end. You can use good-quality chocolate chips instead of candied fruit.

Serves 6 to 8

For the sweet pasta

3 whole eggs and 2 extra yolks, plus 2 eggs, beaten, for brushing
21/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
4 tablespoons butter, softened
4 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
1 quart vegetable oil, for deep-frying
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

For the filling

3 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 cup ricotta cheese
finely chopped zest of 1 orange
10 almonds, finely chopped
11/2 ounces candied fruit, finely chopped




1 Beat two of the whole eggs in a bowl and set aside.

2 To make the sweet pasta dough, in a food processor, place the remaining one egg and two egg yolks, add the flour, butter, and Amaretto, and process until mixed. Turn out the mixture onto a well-floured counter and knead for 2 minutes until you have a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

3 To prepare the filling, in a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients together with a fork. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

4 Flatten the prepared pasta dough with your fingers so that it can fit through the rollers of the pasta machine. Flour the pasta lightly on both sides and start to roll it from the widest setting to the thinnest. Make sure you keep the pasta dusted with flour at all times. Lay the pasta sheets on a well-floured counter. Cut into circles using an 3 1/4-inch cutter—you should get 28 to 30 circles.

5 Place about a teaspoonful of the filling in the center of each circle, sharing it out equally. Brush the edges of the circles with beaten egg and fold over to make half-moon shapes. Press down to seal with your fingertips. Using a fork, press the edges again to secure the filling.

6 In a large saucepan, heat the oil until hot and smoking. Carefully drop in the sweet-filled pasta and deep-fry for about 15 seconds until golden all over. (Be very careful and work in batches—no more than five at a time.)

7 Once cooked, remove the mezzelune using a slotted spoon and place on some paper towels to soak up any excess oil.

8 To serve, place all the mezzelune on a large serving dish and dust with plenty of confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm with a little glass of Amaretto or Vin Santo.

Rather than use exclusively images of food, Pasta Italiana serves Italian flavors with photos of places and people. The girl on bicycle reminded me of a lunch I had years ago at the terrace of an Italian restaurant not far from French border. A church was nearby and a girl on a bicycle passed by and then came back. Each time she signed herself while going past church.

(* Recipe from Pasta Italiana by Gino D'Acampo, published by Kyle Books in January 2012, photography by Kate Whitaker, all rights reserved)

Xinjiang Laghman Noodles with Tomato Sauce, Lunar New Year Recipe from Feeding the Dragon

After heading to Yunnan province with Dai Banana Leaf Fish dish from Feeding the Dragon 'a culinary travelogue through China with recipes' (Andrews McMeel Publishing) by siblings Mary Kate and Nathan Tate today we head to Xinjiang with another recipe for Lunar New Year.

Laghman Noodles with Tomato Sauce

In the reflection of the cracked mirror hanging in a blue tiled frame on the wall, the shop clerk flutters about the room behind me lightly picking up silk scarves—deep reds, cheery eggplant, ice blue, golden hues, and patterns as varied as camouflage and polka dots. She returns, this time with a light brown scarf that she assures me is in fashion this summer. Wrapping my head and tying a knot below my chin, she looks at my reflection in the mirror with me. “You look like very Uighur girl,” she says, smiling.

Most Uighur women in the conservative Muslim city of Kashgar wear head coverings. While in town, I wore one too, and Nate and I with our Western features actually blended in. Some people even mistook us for locals and started up conversations with us in Uighur. This was a first in our travels in China. We slipped into noodle shops unnoticed at lunchtime and dinnertime, as everyday folks just coming to eat.

The ubiquitous Xinjiang laghman noodles that we ate in these shops are topped with stewed tomatoes and peppers swimming in a wonderful tomato sauce. Traditionally, the noodles in this dish are hand pulled and extremely difficult to make, involving stretching dough by hand into long cords. We recommend using the much easier Hand-Torn Noodles or buying fresh round noodles, which have a similar taste.

Serves 4

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
8 ounces boneless lamb, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 (28-ounce) can peeled tomatoes with juice, coarsely chopped
2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped into 11/2-inch squares
5 green onions, white parts only, chopped into 1-inch lengths
1 tablespoon Chili Oil (recipe follows)
1 pound Hand-Torn Noodles (recipe follows) or fresh round noodles
Handful of fresh cilantro leaves

Laghman noodles (2)

Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Drop in the garlic, onion, lamb, and 1 teaspoon of the salt and stir-fry for about 8 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes and their juice, the peppers, green onions, and chili oil. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until the peppers are tender. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the Hand-Torn Noodles and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are tender. If using fresh round noodles, cook until al dente. Drain well and divide them among 4 serving plates. Top the noodles with the sauce, scatter with the cilantro leaves, and serve.

Chili Oil
Makes 1 cup
1 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4 tablespoons crushed red chile flakes
Heat the peanut oil and sesame oil in a wok over medium heat until a piece of a chile sizzles when added to the oil but doesn’t turn black. Remove the wok from the heat and stir in the chile flakes. Let the oil cool to room temperature, and then strain through a wire strainer or cheesecloth. The oil will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

If you decide to try your hand makind this dish with hand-torn noodles you will need their recipe. Let us know and we will be happy to oblige.

(* From Feeding the Dragon: A Culinary Travelogue Through China with Recipes by Nate and Mary Kate Tate/Andrews McMeel Publishing)

Saffron Ravioli with Wild Mushrooms, Cashew Cheese, Vegan Recipe from Candle 79 Cookbook

An interview with the Candle 79 team has been in the planning and should take place in next 10 days.

In the meantime, let me serve a second vegan helping from their book Candle 79 Cookbook: Modern Vegan Classics from New York’s Premier Sustainable Restaurant (Ten Speed Press, Fall 2011) by Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos, and Jorge Pineda.

Saffron Ravioli with Wild Mushrooms and Cashew Cheese

1 cup raw cashews
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄4 cup chopped white onion
1⁄4 teaspoon chopped garlic
1⁄4 cup chopped shallots
1⁄4 cup chopped leek, white and pale green parts
1⁄2 pound cremini, morel, or chanterelle mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt

Saffron Pasta

1 teaspoon saffron
21⁄2 cups water
1 cup semolina flour
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer
1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons palm oil, melted
Fine yellow cornmeal or semolina flour, for dusting
21⁄2 cups Roasted Plum Tomato Sauce (page 116), for serving
Cashew Crème Fraîche (page 125), for serving
Minced fresh parsley, for garnish
Crispy Capers (see page 40), for garnish
Serves 6 to 8; makes about 30 ravioli

To make the filling, the day before using, put the cashews in a bowl and add enough cold water to cover them. Cover and let soak overnight in the refrigerator.
In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, shallots, and leek and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until their liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Drain well and set aside to cool.
Drain the liquid from the cashews and rinse under cool water. Put the cashews, the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and the water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until smooth. Add the mushroom mixture and pulse a few times, until the mushrooms are incorporated.
To make the pasta, soak the saffron in the water for about 30 minutes. Put the flours, egg replacer, saffron-infused water, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the palm oil and mix well. The dough should be smooth and not stick to your fingers.
Press the dough into a rectangle and roll it, a small section at a time, through a pasta machine. You may have to repeat several times to reach the desired thickness ofapproximately 1⁄8 inch. Sprinkle the surface with a small amount of cornmeal or semolina flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Cut the pasta sheets into 2-inch rounds or squares.
To assemble the ravioli, put the pasta pieces on a floured surface. Place a teaspoonful of filling in the center of each square, brush the edges of the dough with a bit of water, top with another piece of pasta, and press the edges with your fingers to seal, and then crimp with a fork. Spray the ravioli with canola oil cooking spray on one side, then flip them over and spray the other side. (If you don’t have cooking spray, brush both sides lightly with olive oil.)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the ravioli until just tender, about 2 minutes.
To serve, spoon the tomato sauce into shallow bowls. Top with alternating layers of ravioli and Cashew Crème Fraîche. Scatter a bit of the parsley over the sauce, top with a spoonful of the capers, and serve at once.

Wine pairing:

Chiusa Grande Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Italy
A bright, casual red for hearty at-home suppers, this stainless steel-fermented Montepulciano from Abruzzo tastes of red berries and is scented with violet. Easy drinking with good acidity, this wine is a great regional match for Italian pasta dishes and pizzas.


Saffron_Ravioli_with_Wild_Mushrooms_and_Cashew_Cheese_image_p_68 (2)


Variation: Butternut Squash Filling

2 1⁄2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1 fresh sage leaf, finely chopped
Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
Place the butternut squash on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, and toss with your hands until evenly coated. Bake the squash for 45 minutes.
Let cool, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the nutmeg and sage and mash until smooth. Season with salt to taste.
Use as an alternative filling for ravioli, following the instructions above.

Roasted Plum Tomato Sauce

12 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and halved, or 1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes, drained and juices reserved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread
1⁄2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1⁄2 cup water
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Makes about 21⁄2 cups

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Put the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, and roast for 30 minutes. Let cool, then chop coarsely.
Heat the buttery spread in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, basil, water, and salt and pepper to taste, and cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. If using canned tomatoes, add the reserved juices to the sauce before cooking. The sauce should be fairly chunky, but if you prefer a thinner sauce, add a bit of vegetable stock, transfer to a blender, and process until smooth.
This sauce will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Cashew Crème Fraîche
2 cups raw cashews
1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3⁄4 cup water
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
Makes about 2 cups

Put the cashews in a bowl and add enough cold water to cover them. Cover and let soak overnight in the refrigerator.
Drain the cashews, rinse under cold water, and drain again.
Transfer to a blender. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, water, and salt and process until smooth. The mixture will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Crispy Capers
1⁄2 cup capers, drained
1⁄3 cup grapeseed oil
To prepare the capers, let them dry on paper towels for 10 minutes. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the capers and decrease the heat to mediumlow.
Cook the capers, stirring often, until crispy, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels to drain.

(* Reprinted with permission from Candle 79 Cookbook: Modern Vegan Classics from New York’s Premier Sustainable Restaurant. Copyright © 2011 by Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos, and Jorge Pineda. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA. Photo credit: Rita Maas.)

Turkey Free Recipe, Apple Pork Ragu with Pappardelle from Girl in the Kitchen Cookbook

After giving our kitchens and stomachs a workout for Thanksgiving, it might be time to return to simple peasant fare.

I found one such dish in Girl in the Kitchen (Chronicle Books) by Stephanie Izard.

Stephanie has won rave reviews with her restaurant Girl and the Goat in Chicago.

With Girl in the Kitchen she has the home cook in mind.

Throughout the book, 'Ingredient Spotlight' enlightens us on various picks from Coconut Milk to Aji Amarillo and Kumquats.

A number of recipes are accompanied with a 'drink tip'. Stephanie seems partial to micro brews.

Here's a turkey free recipe.

Apple-Pork Ragu with Papardelle

Serves 4 as an entrée, 8 as an appetizer

This is an extremely simple recipe, but the number of flavors involved make it a lot more fun and unique than your average pasta with meat sauce. I really like to make this in early fall when apples are at their prime and I specifically like to use the Honeycrisp variety. Their perfect sweetto-tart ratio marries well with tomatoes, and the overall sweetness is offset by salty capers. This sauce is awesome with homemade papardelle, but it would be great with any dried pastas as well.
If you go that route, a small shell-shaped pasta like orechiette would be ideal, capturing a few bits of pork in each bite. And if you’re a cheese freak like me, top the whole thing off with a bit of freshly grated Parmesan.

1 teaspoon olive oil
12 ounces ground pork
2 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup diced onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Honeycrisp apples, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup dry white wine
One 15-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, smashed by hand or chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1 batch Basic Pasta Dough (about 1 lb), cut into papardelle, or 1 pound dried papardelle
2 tablespoons brined capers
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Apple_Pork_Ragu (2)

1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook it until it browns, 5 to 7 minutes, breaking it into smaller pieces with a spoon. Set aside.

2. In a large saucepot or Dutch oven, lightly brown the bacon pieces over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sweat them by cooking until the onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the apples and wine and simmer until the wine is reduced by three quarters.

3. Add the tomatoes, broth, and browned pork and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the sauce has thickened somewhat, about 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop the papardelle in the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes, or according to the package directions. Drain and rinse.

5. Add the capers and basil to the sauce just before serving. Season the ragù with salt and pepper.
Serve over the pasta.

Drink Tip: Apples work well in oatmeal, and likewise, this appley, pork-packed ragù goes hand-in-hand with oatmeal stouts. These yummy beers have enough body and plenty of creaminess to stand up to this rich dish, but being a stout, the slightly bitter malts will keep the pairing from being cloying.

(* Recipe from Girl in the Kitchen: How a Top Chef Cooks, Thinks, Shops, Eats and Drinks by Stephanie Izard with Heather Shouse-Chronicle Books, November 2011-Photographs by Dan Goldberg, all rights reserved)