Monthly Archives

July 2006

I have not had pasta wich zucchini for a long time. It’s really fresh and light. Ideal as a summer dish. Added bonus: it’s super easy and quick.

Pasta con zucchine
Ingredients (for 2 people):

  • One big zucchini (or two smaller ones). Chopped.
  • 3 fresh tomatoes (chopped)
  • onion (chopped)
  • olive oil (4 tablespoons)
  • salt, pepper (at wish)
  • a bit of chilli pepper (depending on your spicy tollerance level)
  • 2 cups of penne (De Cecco is reccomended, Barilla will do it)

Here’re the easy steps:

  1. In a sauce pan start with the oil and the onion, medium heat.
  2. When the onion starts to become translucent add the zucchini (pix)
  3. When the zucchini start cooking (also becoming lightly translucent) add the fresh tomatoes. The key is to not overcook the zucchini, otherwise you’ll end up with a zucchini puree! If in doubt lean toward keeping the zucchini. Check out this pix for reference.
  4. The tomatoes don’t need to cook too much. It may take 3-4mins. You don’t want to overcook them.
  5. Spice it up…time to add some salt, fresh pepper and if you like a spicy kick you can add either chilli flakes or even better use the fresh chillis.
  6. You are done with the sauce!
  7. In the meantime you should have started cooking the penne on a different pot with lots of water. Drain the pasta and pour it in the sauce pan, bring the sauce and pasta together, over medium heat, for about a minute (don’t forget to stir it a few times).
  8. Serve in a plate, sprinkle some fresh pepper and enjoy! (pix)

Let me know how it goes!

 

We are here in New York for a long weekend. Last night we got lucky and were able to get a table at Mario Batali’s Babbo. WOW! What a fantastic experience! I would recommend any restaurateur to go for a visit and take lots of notes!

Here’s my short scorecard:

– Service: 9.9
– Food: 9.5
– Ambiance: 10
– Value: 10
Service:
Service was extremely good. I am taking .1 off because they did not clean the bread crumbs from the table after the appetizer. it’s, of course, a very minor point. From when you step in the door until you get out everything is run perfectly. Perfectly meaning that any time you are about to need something a waiter is there they leave you alone otherwise.

Food:
We shared one appetizer: grilled octopus. Tender but with a bit of a crunch…wow. Hellai got the “spaghettini with Lobster” and I got the “Pappardelle with Wild Boar”. She loved the spaghettini. The wild boar sauce was very good…but I would have let it cook for a few extra mins (that’s the .5 points off the 10). The dishes were very fresh and the quantity not stingy…there was 1/2 pound of lobster and I had lots of wild boar. That’s the way should be done!

Ambiance:
Not too much to say here…it’s a great place. It is a fine dining experience, yet it is fairly relaxed and informal. Plus…you can’t beat a place that has Bono dining there (yes, he was seating at the table across from ours) and Mario Batali walking around.

Value:
The final bill was around 110USD. We had one appetizer, two main entrees, 1/2 bottle of wine (two quartini) and the “amari sampling” (15usd). OK…it’s not a “cheap” place, but it is definitely worth it.

Bottom line… if you are headed to NYC make sure that you make a reservation. You need to book more than a month in advance. they do leave a few tables to walkin, but if you decide to go down this path you need to go either very early or very late.

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Tonight it was a hot and very summer evening!  I wanted to have something light, fresh and more importantly quick to cook.  I headed to the QFC close to my condo to grab some groceries for the next few days and the food section looked pretty good.  They had some “wild catch Dover sole” (we call it “sogliola” in Italian) and I thought to cook it with a few clams and fresh tomatoes.  I had what I was looking for:  Sogliola con vongole.

In Italy you would usually expect the sole to be cooked on the grill with a little drizzled olive oil.  Not bad.  Tonight I felt experimenting a little I wanted to use clams to give it a little extra kick.  It may just me, but especially with white fish you do need a little “some some” to give a little more character to the fish.

Ingredient list is very short:

  • one sole fillet
  • a few clams (I used four tonight)
  • one fresh tomato
  • garlic (one clove)
  • salt and pepper
  • some white wine
  • italian parsley
  • olive oil (extra virgin preferred)

This is a super quick dish and it really takes 10mins to cook the all thing!

  1. in a pan put couple of table spoons of olive oil and the garlic.  For one sole I used about half of clove. Of course you are free to add more or less.  Medium heat should do it.
  2. after the garlic starts cooking add the clams.  Give the clams about a minute to warm up, but make sure that as soon as they start opening you add the sole and the chopped freshed tomatoes.  This is what my pan was looking like at this point.
  3. At this point the sole is cooking. The clams should be open and they have released the sea water.  This is a good time to add a splash of white wine, the salt, the pepper (don’t be shy!) and a little parsley.  Make sure you turn the sole once.  pix here.
  4. After about 3-4 mins the sole is going to be cooked and the clams are cooked as well.  The dish is ready!
  5. Optional step:  after you remove the sole, clams and mussells from the pan you will still have some good stuff in there.  You could deglaze it using another splash of white wine.  Pour the outcome on the sole. 
  6. Your dish is ready!

Let me know what you think…