Friday, August 1, 2014

Classic Pasta Arrabbiata

Sometimes being furious has it's advantages.   Life is filled with disappointments  and it seemed to be a day filled with them. Mother told me a long time ago, that letting things roll off your back, is the key to your success.  She is still always right.   I had even forgotten to go by the grocery store for some supplies.   Boxes and boxes still stacked high form the recent move.  Kitchen renovation in Limbo for now, as the cabinet shop is backlogged.  The only remedy? Some classic Italian cooking.   This Pasta Arrabbiata, or "Angry" pasta sauce, truly fits my mood.  I have blogged about  this pasta sauce before.   The Neapolitan version, consists of the addition of black olives and capers, another delicious dish.  Here, its even simpler.  Just a few ingredients had me feeling better in no time.   Traditionally served with Penne pasta, any pasta with an opening will do.  After a quick mix, the  sauce gets inside the pasta, creating a wonderful mix of flavor.  What really gets me mad is to read all these sauces in the media calling themselves "Arrabbiata," when all they are is one big mess of ingredients and nothing to do with traditional Italian cooking at all.   That's another story. 
Ingredients:  4 people
one pound of Penne or Tortiglioni (Elicoidali)
3 small cloves of garlic diced
3 tablespoons of olive oil (plus a little more if needed)
12 ounces of tomatoes and their juice
About  a tablespoon of hot pepper flakes or whole Peperoncini to taste.  
One large skillet to accommodate all the ingredients
Salt and pepper to taste
8 quart pot of salted water to a hard boil
some fresh Basil or Parsley 
Method:   Place your large skillet on medium heat.  Add your olive oil and garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add your hot pepper flakes or broken peperoncini and give it a mix.    After a few minutes, add your tomatoes.   Cook for about 10 minutes or so.  Add about a teaspoon of salt and pepper.  Give it a taste for additional salt after it's cooked.   You will notice your oil separating from the pan.
Simple ingredients
 If you are using whole and broken Peperoncini, remember to remove them from the sauce before serving your Pasta.
 Cook your pasta to al dente.  Add  a few tablespoons of pasta water to your sauce.  The starch from your cooking water will help create a wonderful coating around your cooked pasta.  Drain your pasta and mix well.   Take it straight to the table.   Parmigiano Reggiano is an option, however not traditional.  Some rules are made to be broken.

 Thank Goodness, by the end of the meal, I had forgotten all about being mad!  Buon Appetito!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mascarpone Marble cake

There are just some things you just don't forget about growing up.  I remember getting off the train on 3rd avenue in Manhattan as a child and walking over to my Uncles bakery on 2nd avenue.   My grandmother, (who worked that window better than a patrol officer), would fill our bags with sugared donuts and black and white cookies on a Saturday morning.  For a child, it was as if we had found a pot of gold.  By the time we arrived at our destination (Nonna Maria's house, on 1st avenue ), our stomachs were full and our bags almost empty.   Nonna Maria would quickly suggest walking up and down the 5 flights of stairs.  The stairs up to her top floor apartment on 1st avenue and 116st. seemed endless.  Work up a new appetite?   Mission Accomplished.
Nonna Barbara would always wrap up  pound cake for me to take over to Nonna Maria's house. That little white box wrapped up in Peppermint string (red and white).  It was the same little prize each time, over a 5 year period.  Nonna Maria would always be so excited, as if she was seeing it for the first time.   She had received her very own pot of gold.   Great the next morning, after sleepovers at Nonna's house.
 Please excuse me, I need some Kleenex.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoons Mascarpone Cheese
2 tablespoons sour cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 egg
1 cup unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2  cup sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3 tablespoons milk
One teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:
Sift together your dry ingredients and set aside.  Set your chocolate over some hot water and melt.  Whisk in your 3 tablespoons of milk and set aside.

Cream together your butter and sugar.  Add your beaten egg, sour cream and Mascarpone cheese.  Slowly add in your dry ingredients. Divide your batter in half.  Add your vanilla extract to one half and gently fold in the chocolate to the other.  

Grease your loaf pan (medium, 9x5x3) and line with parchment up the sides.  You may have to use some butter to cut and place your paper accordingly. 

Gently pour in some vanilla batter.  Then swirl in your chocolate alternatively.  Bake in a preheated 325degrees F oven for 40 minutes.  Insert a knife or toothpick to check if it comes out clean and is done.
Let cool on a wire rack.
Buon Appetito!