The Easy to Make Ultra-rich Tomato Sauce from A Michelin-starred Chef Works with Any Pasta

Kate Krader wrote . . . . .

Missy Robbins is New York’s reigning queen of pasta.

She presides over the kitchen at Lilia in Brooklyn, a place that’s become an obsession with a huge swath of the city, including Trumps and multiple Goldman Sachs executives. One of its best-sellers is rigatoni diavola with San Marzanos (tomatoes), chiles, oregano, and pecorino.

It’s based on a recipe Robbins only recently mastered: a luxurious tomato sauce, rich with oil and loaded with sweet caramelized garlic and a hit of heat.

For a long time, Robbins didn’t even serve tomato sauce. It wasn’t on the menu when she cooked at Spiaggia in Chicago (where she was a favorite of the Obamas)—the upscale Northern Italian restaurant didn’t serve red sauces. Nor was it offered at A Voce in New York, where she won Michelin stars. It wasn’t until Robbins took a few years off to get a respite from the intensity of restaurant life that she began perfecting tomato sauces in her home kitchen. When she opened Lilia, in early 2016, one of the first dishes on the menu was the rigatoni in spicy tomato sauce.

“This is one of the most satisfying sauces to make,” she continues. “Everyone loves it because it has that extra hit of flavor from the toasty garlic. If you’re having a dinner party, there’s no one that will not be thrilled with it.” It’s also one of the most versatile sauces to make, she asserts, ticking off the options: “You can make it spicier. You can make it into a fake Bolognese by adding browned meat. You can make it heartier vegetarian with mushrooms.” It also goes with almost any pasta, though Robbins favors it with shorter shapes such as rigatoni, ziti, and radiatore.

It also improves on classic tomato sauces by featuring sumptuous pieces of tender garlic that are first cooked in a generous olive oil bath, which simultaneously tenderizes the garlic and flavors the oil before the tomatoes are added. In most tomato sauces the garlic is finely chopped; if it’s not, it’s discarded. Robbins believes in the allure of garlic that’s tender and sweet and perfumes the sauce. “Why throw out the garlic? Why not celebrate it?” she asks. And for those who plan ahead, the sauce can be frozen for as long as six weeks. If you don’t want to count out all those garlic cloves one by one, she says, just use “what would normally be an outrageous amount of garlic, and you should be covered.”

Asked if she would ever sub in a jarred sauce in an emergency—after all, there are several good options out now, like Rao’s—Robbins laughs. “I never, ever buy jarred tomato sauce. Why would you, when you can make something so satisfying so quickly. You instantly become an Italian grandma when you make this luscious sauce. There’s nothing that compares to it.”

Cooking cloves whole, and slowly, is definitely not conventional. In Italy, cooks frequently remove the garlic after sweating it, so it’s not physically in the sauce. The version below celebrates the garlic. But don’t worry: The olive oil poaching softens the stinky edge, so the next day, your breath won’t betray that.


40-Minute, 20-Garlic Clove Tomato Sauce With Pasta

This recipe is adapted from Missy Robbins’s new cookbook, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner … Life: Recipes and Adventures from My Home Kitchen. It’s good for just about any shape of pasta you can find.

Serves four, plus leftover sauce.

Ingredients

2/3 cup olive oil
20 garlic cloves (about 1-1/2 heads of garlic), peeled (see tip below)
Two 28-oz cans of whole peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp crushed red chile flakes
2 basil sprigs
Kosher salt
1 lb dried pasta (Robbins prefers short shapes, like rigatoni)

Methods

In a large, heavy saucepan, warm the olive oil over moderately low heat. Add the garlic cloves, and gently simmer until softened and just beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain the canned tomatoes in a colander. Transfer the tomatoes and any purée in the colander into a food processor and pulse two or three times until the tomatoes are very roughly chopped. (Tester’s note: If you like using your hands, squeeze the tomatoes to break them up into large chunks.)

Using a fork or the back of a spoon, crush half the garlic cloves in the oil; leave the remaining cloves whole. Add the tomatoes, fennel, and chile flakes to the saucepan and simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Add the basil, season well with salt, and simmer for about five more minutes, until the sauce is richly flavored.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta until just al dente. Drain, reserving some of the pasta cooking liquid. Cook the pasta in about 2 cups of the sauce, basting the pasta, until al dente; add a little pasta cooking water if necessary. Refrigerate or freeze the remaining sauce for another use.

Garlic tip: To quickly peel garlic, put the separated cloves in a large bowl. Invert another large bowl on top and shake hard for several seconds. This will release the skins from the cloves. Discard the skins.

Source: Bloomberg

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Vegan Eggs

Read how these eggs are made at Mouthwatering Vegan Recipes . . . . .

Food Art: Paintings of Recipes


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Why Flat Beer Makes the Best Desserts

Danish Chef Mads Refslund is the co-founder of Noma, one of the most prestigious restaurants in the world, but his first cookbook is about trash. “I had in my brain that my first cookbook would be a restaurant cookbook,” he admits, but his friend and co-author, forager Tama Matsuoka Wong, convinced him to pen something about cooking with wasted food instead. The result is Scraps, Wilt & Weeds, which shows you how to turn things like vegetable juice pulp and coffee grounds into pastas and panna cottas.

“I have always cooked with things no one tends to use because I always thought it was stupid to throw it out,” Refslund explains. “It is money that you are throwing away.” As a chef, he felt it was his responsibility to teach others how to use up foods — like cauliflower cores and fish collars — that are typically tossed without thought. “I think people throw these [perfectly edible] foods away because of a lack of knowledge — they just don’t know how to cook with them,” he says. Leek roots, for example, are trimmed off and binned, but Refslund believes if people realized that the roots could be turned into something delicious, they wouldn’t want to throw it away.

Paired against stark facts — nearly 1 billion pounds of uneaten lettuce goes into the trash each year — the book is filled with ways to turn what you definitely think is garbage into elegant dishes fit for a dinner party. Case-in-point: Refslund’s recipe for a satisfying dessert crafted from old, dried-out bread and stale beer. Yes, stale beer.

The dish is based on the classic Danish porridge known as ollebrod. Back in the day, farmers tended to live off of mainly rye bread and beer, he explains. “When the bread got a little bit old, they would soak it in beer, boil it, and add sugar. If you could afford it, you would eat it with milk. If you really had means, you would eat it with whipped cream.” Refslund’s version of the dish is gussied up with a bit of chocolate and salted caramel ice cream. Count it as breakfast or dessert.

Refslund says that you can use any bread you have lying around, but he prefers dark rye bread for its flavor. As for the beer, he is adamant you use one that is well past its prime. “I realized that when you boil beer to make any recipe, it becomes flat — so why not just use flat beer from the start?”


Flat Beer and Day-old-bread Porridge

Ingredients:

1 pound stale rye (or other) bread, torn into small pieces or crumbled (5½ cups)
2 cups flat beer, preferably dark beer or ale (less than 2 bottles)
1-3/4 cups sugar, half granulated/half brown
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
apple balsamic vinegar, for serving
salted caramel ice cream, for serving

Direction:

  1. In a medium pot, combine the bread, beer, and sugars over low heat and cook, stirring gently, for about 20 minutes, until the bread is softened and the liquid is absorbed. Add the cream and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes more, until it starts to thicken. Finally, add the chocolate chips and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and cool. Store in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled, at least 30 minutes (or up to 2 days).
  2. To serve, spoon into individual bowls, drizzle with apple balsamic vinegar, and add a scoop of caramel ice cream.

Recipe from Scraps, Wilt & Weeds.


Source: Thrillist

‘Khichuri’: An Ancient Indian Comfort Dish With A Global Influence

Rhitu Chatterjee wrote . . . . . .

My memories of eating khichuri go back to the monsoon seasons of my childhood, when billowy thunder clouds rolled in and soaked us and the parched earth with relentless rains. The monsoons are beloved across India – they are a much-awaited reprieve from several months of unbearable heat. But it can get chilly and damp sometimes – the kind of weather when you crave something warm and filling, like khichuri.

To make this flavorful, mushy, one-pot dish, my mother would dry roast moong dal (yellow split mung beans), then throw it in a pressure cooker, with some rice, a couple of veggies and some spices. Lo and behold, 15-20 minutes later, we had hot, steaming khichuri. Ma would serve it with a dollop of ghee (clarified butter) on top, and some spicy mango pickle and sweet potato fries (my favorite!) on the side. Sometimes, my father would make deem bhaja (a simple omelet with onions and green chilies) to go with the meal. And occasionally, if we were lucky, there would be a hot, crispy piece of fried fish.

I am originally from the state of West Bengal in eastern India, where khichuri is a staple during the monsoons. My friends from Bangladesh (just across the border from my home state), who speak the same language (Bengali), tell me they, too, associate this beloved dish with the monsoons.

But across South Asia, khichri (or khichdi), as it’s more commonly known, is a beloved comfort food for all seasons. It is “pretty close to [being] a universal dish” on the subcontinent, says Colleen Taylor Sen, author of several books on Indian food culture and history.

That became obvious to me recently when I asked people on my Facebook page to share their khichri story. I got a flood of responses.

“It’s a regular on my menu, usually [at] dinner time,” wrote Anjana Gupta, a childhood friend who lives in the southern city of Mysore, where we grew up. She makes a gingery khichri with moong dal and rice, and she likes eating it with yogurt and pickles.

A simpler form of the dish is a favorite in the western state of Gujarat, especially among the elderly, wrote Ananya Bhattacharya, an Indian journalist currently based in Washington, D.C. Called sukhpawani, which literally means something that brings comfort and pleasure, the dish she described is made by boiling together rice, split mung bean, turmeric and salt till the consistency is porridge-like. Bhattacharya’s grandfather ate this dish every day for dinner. “He ate this with a lot of ghee,” she said. “He’d also eat this with milk and bhurra (very fine sugar).”

In northern India, a bland version of khichri – no veggies, no fragrant spices – is comfort food for many. “In my family, it is associated with sickness or upset stomach or when you just want to eat something light,” my friend Niraj Kumar wrote from New York. Down south in the state of Karnataka, a tangy, spicier version called bisi bele bath (which translates to hot lentil rice) is a popular dish, even at parties and celebrations. And in the neighboring states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, a rice and lentil dish called nombu kanji is a staple during Ramadan.

“There’s an incredible variety of khichri,” says Sen, who owns scores of regional Indian cook books. “And almost all of them have recipes for khichri,” she says.

The different versions vary in consistency – some are dry, while others are watery or porridge-like, she says. There are savory and sweet khichris. While the vegetarian versions are more common, there are khichris with meat, too. For example, a dish called khichra has five different kinds of lentils, rice and lamb, says Sen.

Most khichris, however, have two common ingredients – rice and lentils. “Rice and lentils have been a part of Indian cuisine since time immemorial,” says Sen. Archaeological records suggest people on the subcontinent were eating rice and legumes (chick pea, peas, pigeon peas and red lentils) as far back as 1200 B.C., she says.

The Indian philosopher and statesman Chanukya (also called Kautilya), from 300 B.C., wrote that the balanced meal for a gentleman should consist of one prastha (about 1.4 pounds) of rice, quarter prastha of lentils, 1/62 prastha of salt, and 1/16 prastha of ghee or oil. “That’s kind of a khichri, isn’t it?” says Sen.

In 14th century A.D., the renowned Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta wrote about people in South Asia – especially the poor – eating khichri made with rice, mung bean and butter.

The power of khichri is its adaptability to different tastes and needs. “It’s probably the most adaptable dish [on the subcontinent],” says Sen. “It can be a very simple dish that poor people eat … or it can be very elaborate.” Elaborate enough to be fit for kings, or in this case, emperors.

A recipe from the court of Akbar, the 16th century Mughal emperor, calls for equal parts of lentils, rice and ghee, says Sen. “Very rich!”

A sweet khichri recipe she found in a book on the famously elaborate cuisine from the kingdom of Awadh, in northern India, included sugar, khoya (dry, thickened milk), cardamom, cinnamon, clove and saffron – one of the most expensive spices.

Like all good ideas, khichri, too, seems to have spread to other parts of the world. The British liked it so much that they took it back home and created their own version – kedgeree, the popular breakfast dish made with rice, boiled egg and haddock. “The Indian khichri becomes the Anglo-Indian kedgeree … in the 17th century,” says Clifford Wright, an American food writer and author of several cookbooks. (Lentils were omitted as the British were known to dislike them.) “Then it jumps across the Atlantic to New England, where it’s made with rice, curry powder, and fresh cod,” he says.

Khichri is also thought to be the ancestor of Egypt’s national dish, koshary, which is made with rice, lentils and macaroni. “There’s no doubt that the Egyptian koshary’s ancestor is in fact the Indian khichri,” says Wright. The name and the ingredients are similar, he says. And khichri “is similar to mujaddara (another Middle Eastern comfort dish with rice and lentils), which can be traced back to the 10th century.” Although it’s likely that koshary got its macaroni much later, from the Italians, he adds.

Until I began researching this piece, my world of khichri had been small, with only three variations – my mother’s khichuri, another version of it called bhog-er khichuri that is served at religious festivals in my home state, and my favorite, bisi bele baath, from southern India.

Little did I know that a dish so simple had such a rich history, with its journey beginning far back in time and going on to traverse distant parts of the globe. This story tells me of a past that was more globalized than we realize. And it leaves me hungry for a whole new world of khichris.


A Taste Of ‘Khichuri’

Almost all the Bengali dishes I cook these days are dishes my mother taught me over the phone after I moved to the United States. She was an exquisite cook. But I never had the chance to ask her for her khichuri recipe. Ma passed away before I decided to try making this beloved monsoon dish. So the recipe below is one I cobbled together and improvised after poring over recipes from friends, food blogs and cooking shows on YouTube.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup white rice (I use Basmati. But any other non-sticky white rice or even brown rice should work.)

1/2 cup moong dal (split yellow mung bean)

Half of a small cauliflower, cut into about 10 florets (not so small that they will melt)

2 or 3 small potatoes, peeled and cut in half, or 1 medium potato cut into 4-6 pieces. (Although potatoes are traditionally used, I rarely use them.)

1 big carrot cut into inch-long pieces or 6-8 baby carrots, each sliced lengthwise. (Traditionalists may disapprove, but I like adding carrots to my khichuri. They make it colorful and healthier.)

1/3 cup of frozen peas

1 bay leaf

2 green cardamom

2-3 cloves

1 thin sticks of cinnamon

1 or 2 dry red chili (I often use green chili instead)

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon grated ginger

Ghee (clarified butter)

Turmeric and salt as needed

Method:

Dry roast the moong dal on medium flame till it starts to brown and you can smell its nutty aroma. (Other khichri recipes use a range of lentils that don’t involve this step.) Stop when about half the beans have become light brown in color, then set aside in a bowl with 2 cups of warm water in it.

Into a pan add a tablespoon of ghee (I sometimes use mustard oil or vegetable oil instead) and heat on high or medium till the ghee looks hot.

Throw in the bay leaf. As it starts to brown, lower the flame to medium and add the cardamom pods, clove and cinnamon. Stir with a spoon. Then add the cumin seeds and the chilies. Once the cumin seeds start to sputter, throw in the grated ginger, and stir.

Now add the potato, carrots and cauliflower. Sprinkle some turmeric till veggies turn light yellow. Stir fry for a few minutes.

At this stage, add the dal with the water and salt to taste. Cover the pot and cook till water starts to boil.

Cook for 4 more minutes so that the dal, which takes longer to cook, starts to soften.

At this point, you can transfer everything to a pressure cooker, add the frozen peas, rice and one more cup of water and cook it using the rice setting. (If you’re using a stove top pressure cooker, wait for two whistles before you switch off of the stove.)

Or if not using a pressure cooker, add the rice and two more cups of water to the pot once the dal starts to soften. Cook with a lid on medium or low with occasional stirring to make sure rice and mung beans don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Frozen peas will cook quickly, so I add them 5-10 minutes after I’ve added the rice. Add more water along the way if it starts to look too dry.

Consistency should be like that of a thick porridge, although some people like it drier.

Cook till rice, dal and vegetables look cooked, but not too mushy. Serve with a teaspoon of ghee on top, mango or lime pickle on the side.

This goes very well with papad or papadum, which are flat, round, tortilla shaped crispy snacks that are usually deep fried or roasted over the fire.

Other foods that go well with khichuri: Fried eggplant or fried fish.

Source: npr