In Pictures: Food of Chef Jake Bickelhaupt at Chicago Two-Michelin-star Restaurant 42 Grams (Now Closed)

Italian Chefs in the U.S. Rated Different Types of Pasta

Lee Breslouer wrote . . . . . . .

We asked Italian chefs in America from coast to coast about the type of pasta they thought was overrated and underrated. These chefs will tell you why you should avoid certain noodles and start ordering ones you might never have considered in the first place. These are the most overrated and underrated pastas.

Fabio Viviani, chef/restaurateur at Siena Tavern, Chicago, Illinois

Overrated: Fusilli

“They’re impossible to do by hand, so there’s no artistry behind it. People [still] love fusilli though!”

Underrated: Spaghetti chitarra

“It’s underrated because not many people know about it. You need a special wooden machine to make them, but it comes out as perfect square spaghettis.”

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Salvatore Marcello, chef at Mamo, New York, New York

Overrated: Orzo

“Orzo is often used in pasta salad, but it overcooks easily and lacks texture and true pasta flavor. It also has a slimy mouthfeel. When you eat it, you don’t feel the comfort of a plate of pasta, which is a huge loss!”

Underrated: Paccheri

“This very Neapolitan [pasta] shape is a classic in my home. It has a nice bite, and the large rings hold the sauce well, giving each bite texture and flavor. They go well with many types of sauces (ragù, Genovese, seafood), which is why I usually serve it as a special — I don’t want to limit its versatility by having it on the menu in just one style.”

Silvia Barban, executive chef/co-owner at LaRina, Brooklyn, New York

Overrated: Black ink linguine

“Everyone goes crazy for the color and the shape, but I don’t think it gives much of a different flavor, especially if the sauce is already really good. I think it’s just something about the look and aesthetic, so people want to order it and see it on their plate. It’s funny, too — in Italy, people are scared about that color of pasta as it’s not very traditional, but here in NYC everyone goes crazy for it!”

Underrated: Strozzapreti/strangolapreti

“Strozzapreti or strangolapreti (aka “choke the priest”) is a type of pasta that a lot of people don’t know about, or get too scared to try it. The pasta is originally from Emilia Romagna, and is very good with every sauce — even with fish. It has a great texture, stays al dente, and has a linguine thickness to it but is shorter. You can also use it with ragù or vegetable sauces. I love it! In my restaurant, my business partner’s mother comes from Italy, and she always makes it for us to eat personally, as well as for the customers. It makes everyone happy.”

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Bart Retolatto, chef de cuisine at Gran Morsi, New York, New York

Overrated: Penne

“Penne is overrated because it’s everyone’s default pasta. It’s on almost every Italian menu and unlike fusilli col buco or strozzapreti, it doesn’t work well with sauces. It’s a short shaped pasta, which is overused.”

Underrated: Fusilli col buco

“Not many restaurants use it, but a lot of Italian-Americans and families grew up using fusilli col buco. It’s a fun, playful shape that sauce adheres really well to.”

Matthew Prokopchek, chef/owner at Trattoria Roma, Columbus, Ohio

Overrated: Gomito (aka elbow)

“It’s usually been oversaturated with cheese or Hamburger Helper. Although it is a good pasta for children to eat.”

Underrated: Cavatelli

“It can be a stand-alone pasta with light sauce, a side, or as an alternative to gnocchi. What’s great about cavatelli is the variety of uses. Ricotta adds a smooth texture, and is lighter than fettuccine. Other starches can be used in the dough, such as purple potatoes or leftover polenta. If you overcook them, they can still be eaten. For a home cook, it’s a way to [prepare] something other than a dried pasta and add some diversity to their meal.”

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Jeff Michaud, head chef and culinary director at Osteria, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Overrated: Penne

“Penne reminds me of all the Italian-American dishes like penne alla vodka and penne alfredo. Although there’s nothing wrong with those dishes, I am somewhat of a traditionalist and feel that if you’re going to take time to make a nice pasta dish — use rigatoni and make cacio e pepe or all’amatriciana. The classic Italian dishes are always the simplest and stand the length of time.”

Underrated: Any pasta made with squid ink

“People tend to shy away because of the color. When squid ink is used in the dough, it adds a little fish flavor and saltiness from the sea, which can really shine through in the dish.”

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Read more at Thrillist . . . . .

The Six Rules of Eating Chinese Dim Sum – According to a Top Chef in Hong Kong

Alex Millson wrote . . . . . . .

A New Yorker going to Hong Kong for an authentic dim sum experience may walk away a little deflated: Largely gone are the traditional carts, loaded with delicately flavored bite-size dishes, that diners flag down as they pass by in many U.S. eateries. In the home of the cuisine, they’ve largely been relegated to history and replaced with à la carte menus.

What you’re guaranteed to see in both cities, however, are such traditional dishes as steamed buns stuffed with sticky-sweet pork, xiao long bao dumplings filled with scalding soup, and chewy chicken feet that will test the carnivorous mettle of the more timid meat-eaters. Sweet sits alongside savory, often in the same bite-size dish, washed down with plenty of jasmine tea.

The methods of presentation are changing, but the rules governing how you eat dim sum remain the same everywhere. We asked the world’s first Chinese cook to earn three Michelin Stars, Executive Chef Chan Yan Tak of Hong Kong’s Lung King Heen restaurant at the Four Seasons on what to do—and more importantly, what to avoid.

Nibble, don’t gobble

“It’s better to take small bites rather than eat a whole piece of dim sum in one gulp. The flavors are enjoyed more when consumed slowly. With xiao long bao [delicate pork dumplings filled with a piping-hot broth], pick them up just a bit below the very tip, where the dumpling skin folds together. It’s best to take small bites and let the dumpling cool a bit between bites. Foreigners will often eat them in one bite and burn their mouths that way. The soup can be really hot.”

Go easy on the soy sauce

“Most kitchens prepare their dim sum seasoned, so you shouldn’t need extra, but it depends on how you like your food. Some like it saltier or spicier. Otherwise, dim sum should be well-seasoned on their own. I prefer to go light. I guess foreigners prefer stronger flavors. What they consider to be well-seasoned probably would be too salty or rich for our tastes. And what we like they probably think is too bland. The same goes for sweets. Some of our customers prefer their desserts to have less sugar.”

The spoon can be used for more than broth

“It’s best to use your spoon to give better support—lay the bone on the spoon and maneuver with your chopsticks. Bite off the meatier parts first and eat your way around the bone. Afterward, you can dispose of the bone on your plate. Fine dining restaurants will help you change plates after each course. If you dine in a dai pai dong [a traditional Hong Kong food stall], there’s really no etiquette. You can use your hands to eat and place the bone directly on the tablecloth. Just enjoy the food.”

Keep your chopsticks to yourself

“Don’t serve others with your chopsticks. It’s just as simple as this—some people might not want to share your saliva. You can always ask for another set for passing food to others. And don’t play with your chopsticks—don’t tap your teeth or poke inside your mouth with them. It’s fine to ask for a fork. Even some of the younger kitchen hands we have here can’t use chopsticks properly. We sometimes half-joke that we’ll need to test our new hires’ chopsticks skills.”

Learn the secret codes

“When you want to say thank you, tap your index finger and your middle finger together on the table twice. That represents a bow. And if you run out of tea or hot water for your table, move the teapot lid aside and the waiter will come and give you a refill.”

Don’t over order. You can keep going back for more

“There’s no recommendation for how much you should order, just order as many dishes as it takes to satisfy you and keep ordering until you’re full. And don’t ask for a doggy bag. It makes a big difference when you steam dim sum for one minute more or one minute less. You should eat them hot. Their flavors will totally change if you warm them by microwave at home.”

Source: Bloomberg

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.


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)


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

Top Chefs’ Choice of Their Favorite Cheese

Richard Vines wrote . . . . . . .

You don’t have to forsake Stilton, manchego or camembert. But if you want to spice up your cheese plate or impress a host, we have a few suggestions to help you get creative.

Bloomberg asked top chefs from around the world to pick out their favorite under-the-radar cheeses. Here’s what they had to say.


Country: U.S.

Chef: Eric Ripert (Le Bernardin, New York)

Why: This American original with a distinctive, snow-covered dome shape is an aged goat cheese from Vermont Creamery. “It has a lot of flavor and a great creamy texture,” says Ripert, who was born in France. “It is full of personality. It is wonderful to see that America is producing cheese as delicious as those in Europe.” Best of all, it’s relatively easy to find at places like Whole Foods.

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Country: France

Chef: Shane Osborn (Arcane, Hong Kong)

Why: This unpasteurized ewe’s milk cheese from Cévennes comes wrapped in spruce bark. “It’s a bit like a brie, with a light, smoky taste,” says Osborn, who serves it on his cheese board. “When ripe, it is absolutely delicious, very special. People in Hong Kong generally don’t like really strong cheeses or blue cheeses, but Claousou is subtle and elegant and smooth.”

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Country: Greece

Chef: Yotam Ottolenghi (Ottolenghi, London)

Why: This semi-soft, rindless cheese from the Greek regions of Thessaly and Macedonia is known for its gentle, milky flavor. “We use a lot in our restaurant,” Ottolenghi says. “It’s white and young, with cream added to it, which makes it sweeter and creamier than feta. It grills really well, so we tend to use it in salads, alongside grilled fruit or veg. Unlike halloumi, which is rather rubbery if not served warm, this one is crumbly, so can be eaten at room temperature as well.”

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Country: India

Chef: Vivek Singh (Cinnamon Club, London)

Why: This dry and salty cheese was originally brought to Bandel, in the east of India, by Portuguese settlers. “It’s a bit like feta,” Singh says. “It is great to crumble onto scrambled eggs. India isn’t really a cheese country, but this is special.”

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Country: U.S.

Chef: Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park, New York)

Why: This stinky, stinky cheese from Cato Corner Farm, in Colchester, Connecticut, flies under the radar. Humm, whose Eleven Madison Park holds the title of world’s best restaurant, says: “We’ve used it in the restaurant. It’s a washed rind, soft cheese that has beautiful aromas and intense flavor.” This one’s tough to find, but we tracked it down at Murray’s Cheese shops in New York.

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Fourme d’Ambert

Country: France

Chef: Wolfgang Puck (Spago, Beverly Hills)

Why: This blue-veined French cheese, which dates back to the Middle Ages, is produced from the milk of cows that are fed on grass in the mountainous region of Puy de Dôme, in Auvergne. “I love Fourme d’Ambert,” Puck says. “It is a blue cheese but really creamy and easy to eat with wine and everything.”

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Country: Ireland

Chef: Pierre Koffmann (London)

Why: This soft farmhouse cheese is made from the milk of Friesian cows grazing on the mountains of the Beara peninsula of southwest Ireland. “It’s got a washed crust and it it is brilliant, with beautiful flavor,” says French-born Koffmann, who held three Michelin stars at La Tante Claire in London. He likes to eat it on its own.

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Country: France

Chef: Anne-Sophie Pic (Maison Pic, Valence)

Why: This goat’s milk cheese from the Rhône is a favorite of Pic, who holds three Michelin stars at Maison Pic in southeast France. She won the title of world’s Best Female Chef in 2011. “Picodon is from my region,” she says. “I grew up with this cheese.”

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Old Winchester

Country: England

Chef: Angela Hartnett (Murano, London)

Why: This a is a firm pasteurized cheese handmade at Lyburn Farm, in the New Forest, in the south of England. “It reminds me of a Comté and a Parmesan,” Hartnett says. “It’s a nice cheese you can have on its own or with bread and chutney, or you can slice it really thin. It’s got a brilliant salty, crystalline crunch to it.”

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Country: Peru

Chef: Virgilio Martinez (Central, Lima)

Why: Queso Paria, which has a soft flavor, is made from cow’s milk in the mountains of Peru. “It is creamy and salty and then the skin, which is also edible, is quite hard,” says Martinez, whose Lima restaurant Central ranks No. 5 in the world. “I like the different textures.”

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Country: Spain

Chef: Albert Adrià (Tickets, Barcelona)

Why: This Catalan cow’s milk cheese is a favorite of Adrià’s. “It is soft, with notes of hazelnut and confit fruit,” Adrià says. “It has a lot of personality from the fields where it is made.”

Source: Bloomberg