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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fettucine Rigate alla Carbonara

Rarely can I pass up a pasta! Angolo Soho executive chef Michael Berardino was kind enough to provide this wonderful recipe, untangling the mystery of his carbonara. His dish is actually rather simple though, done in classic Italian style, without the heavy cream so often used in the Americanized version.

Fettucine Rigate alla Carbonara
Serves 4
1 lb. fettucine
¼ tbsp. ground black pepper (about 90 turns from a pepper mill)
3 oz. pancetta cut into strips 1/2" by 1/4"
2 oz.  Pecorino Romano cheese, grated fine on microplane
4 egg yolks
2 ½ tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Drop the pasta into the water and stir to keep from sticking. 
While the pasta is cooking, place the pancetta in a large saute pan and cook until crisp and rendered. Pour off half of the fat, and add the black pepper. Toast the pepper until aromatic. Add a little butter and 1tsp of EVOO.
Remove the pancetta, reserve on the side, and add some of the pasta cooking water to form an emulsified sauce. 

Once the pasta is cooked, remove from the water, drain well, and add directly to the sauce. 
Add the remaining butter, the pancetta, and the pecorino cheese.  
Mix well to combine and if needed add pasta water to adjust the consistency of the sauce. 
Plate the pasta into 4 bowls, leaving a little well in the center for the egg yolk. 
Finish with the egg yolk, a couple cracks of black pepper and a little grated pecorino.

Angolo Soho is located at 331 W Broadway (@ Grand St). Visit for more info.

First published in part in Next Magazine.
Photo Credit: Gustavo Monroy

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Shouldn't You Just...?

Purchase a number of battery powered tea lights and place them around a few branches to create an instant fireplace? The birch twigs seen here are secured through the top of a wine rack. What a warm glow for the winter! No kindling required.

Modern advice on etiquette for the not-so-new millennium.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Wee Bit Like Christmas!


Thanksgiving has hardly passed and I'm already on a tear to suit up for Christmas. I haven't done the tree yet (fake, emits a preternatural glow, from Urban Outfitters) but I've set up a seasonal table with numerous woodsy boughs, pine cones real and others shaped and fashioned into candles, clementines, and candy canes. I like the deer wearing the scarf!

Here's the heft of the table...

with a further inspection of the centerpiece.

Birds and pugs are seen frolicking here amongst the boughs and pine cones--and that's a bottle of  homemade vanilla extract, with vanilla beans slowly infusing into vodka before being presented as gifts in a few weeks.

A real pine cone hovering about the pine cone candles on a vintage candy dish from my cousin and a doily from a set that Baby and I found in Thomaston, Maine over the summer. 

One mustn't forget the coffee table!  Sprigs of fir branches and laurel stuck in a Moroccan tea pot on a silver tray, with Christmas tree bulbs that my relative wrapped in sequined ribbons and dotted with beads--back in the 70's! And I think I see an encroaching lobster, don't you?

Dried lemon rinds, orange zest, cinnamon, black allspice pearls and sparks of cloves are all simmering on the stove top, filling the apartment with the most persuasive, wonderful aromas. Whatever the holiday, do enjoy and let the season ring!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Moment

As a writer who constantly ponders food and drink, I would like to pause in prayer from the usual banter here to consider the last few days for those of us who lost power to make meals, pull water from our taps and the staggering number of people still enduring. And most importantly those continuing to be struck by the devastating loss of their homes, their foundations ripped right from under them. For those of us returning to normalcy, what trembling luck we have. With Thanksgiving coming up, I hope that those in the most desperate need will be able to face the future and find a way to soon say the same. Do enjoy what you have and donate where you can.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Crepes Corbie

When Corbie was eight years old, she used to hang around the smoke-filled green room in the theater wing of my college, where her mother taught students about the world of musical comedy. I suppose we baby sat Corbie in a way, so naturally we all tortured this precocious, tousled-haired little girl. She recently turned 30 and now I find myself friends with a successful, slyly beautiful, talented young woman. To celebrate in our way, Baby and I made her dinner headlining our own creation, flaming Crepes Corbie. Think of a savory Suzette, with lobster (we are both from New England, of course) with vanilla chive sauce, brown butter, pearls of salmon roe and of course, Cognac.

I set a reasonable table for the three of us during the day with these outrageous tall stems that dangled sprouted pods from the top as a centerpiece, and other autumnal branches that had delicate orange and yellow flowers,  reflective of our petite pumpkins and ghoulish gourds.

Baby made the stacks of crepes ahead of time as well. To make the thin pancakes, a basic recipe can be found here. And always throw the first one out for luck!

About an hour or so before our guest of honor arrived, we started to saute the lobster shells (from the reserved lobster meat) in butter and wilt the leeks, carrots, celery and tarragon chiffonade in prep for the vanilla chive lobster sauce. This requires heavy cream and I forgot to buy it, but you know what? You forge on (and don't tell anybody your dish didn't come out the way you wanted it to be). The end result was still pretty tasty, just thinner, and well, less fattening too.

We made the scallion mashed potatoes ahead of time too, and quickly microwaved our bag of haricots verts with almonds from FreshDirect, as we reheated the potatoes later and topped them with lump crab before serving.

When we all sat down to dinner (after a few glasses of rose, which turned into a few more) we enjoyed a wonderful salad composed of mesclun greens, Napa cabbage, Mandarin orange segments and toasted brioche croutons tossed with a silky shiitake and sesame dressing, courtesy of Annie's, which frankly could be served with a straw.

The Crepes Corbie were a delight to make, as we rolled up three at a time in a buttery saute pan, with the lobster tucked inside. Then we added about a quarter cup of Cognac, removed from the heat and lit the whole thing on fire! A note: before the flames rapidly die down, the dish should be presented theatrically to the table (at a distance) and served once the incendiary crepes are quite out.

We had yellow cupcakes with vanilla frosting for dessert. After all, whatever our age, I hope we are still children at heart.

Happy Birthday, dear Corbie!