November 20, 2011 |
"Mamma says don't punch it," Carlo Montioni says, translating for his mother in heavily accented English. "You're always too heavy-handed!" my own mother says, piling on. "Let me show you," my daughter Sofia says, sighing and shoving me aside. PHOTOS: Cooking lessons in Italy I am in the middle of a cooking lesson in our rented Umbrian villa, and "Mamma," or Caterina Felici, is trying to save my forsaken kitchen soul. We are making pasta. Apparently, one must not pound on pasta dough because that makes it chewy.
October 13, 2011
Mac 'n' cheese with soubise Total time: 1½ hours Servings: 6 Note: Adapted from Michael Ruhlman's "Ruhlman's Twenty. " Soubise 1/4 cup (½ stick) butter, divided 1 onion, sliced Kosher salt 1 shallot, roughly chopped 3 tablespoons flour 1 1/2 cups milk 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 3 tablespoons sherry 1 tablespoon fish sauce 1 to 2 teaspoons dry mustard 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 6 or 7 gratings of fresh nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or smoked paprika 1. Melt half the butter in a medium pan over medium heat and add the onion and a four-fingered pinch (about one-fourth teaspoon)
September 8, 2011 |
In Venice, Italy, friends who've met in the street will go off to drink un ombra , slang for a small glass of wine. That's the name of a new Italian restaurant that opened quietly a few months ago in Studio City. Chef-owner Michael J. Young is crazy enough about wine that he's taken courses at UCLA to learn more about it. He also picked up a lot about Italian wine working as sous chef under Angelo Auriana at Valentino way back when and with Celestino Drago at Drago Santa Monica.
June 30, 2011 |
The Test Kitchen — that temporary restaurant with a rotating roster of chefs — is no more, but in its place we get Sotto, a new Italian restaurant from Steve Samson and partner Zach Pollack. And it's ample compensation. The name means "under" or "beneath," and that's literally where it is, down a few steps from Pico Boulevard, in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood, beneath Ricardo Zarate's even newer Picca. With its southern Italian menu, Neapolitan pizza and savvy Italian wine list, Sotto stakes out a claim as a new kind of Italian restaurant in Los Angeles.
May 19, 2011 |
I've just discovered the magic of fresh bread crumbs. You might say it's about time, after 30 years of cooking. But I would remind you that I said the "magic" of fresh bread crumbs, not the "utility. " Everyone knows about using bread crumbs for coating a schnitzel or any other fried, baked or broiled thing. Or stuffing a bird or whole fish. Or scattering across the top of a gratin or tian before browning. I've even used them as toppings for fruit desserts, like a less-sweet version of a crisp.
April 23, 2011 |
Dieters are more fooled by misleading health labels than people who don’t obsess about calories, a new study suggests. Dieters believed a heap of pasta shells, mozzarella and salami was healthier if it was called a “salad” instead of “pasta.” They also ate more jelly beans than non-dieters if they were presented as “fruit chews” instead of “candy.” Dieters appear to be stuck in a trap—they try to be healthy in their...
April 21, 2011 |
I used to know a guy who would drive up to Santa Barbara just for the afternoon to visit with an old man he respected. I couldn't believe it. In my mind's eye, the Central Coast city seemed much farther than a couple of hours away. Yet it's really not much farther than some unlucky souls' daily commute. It's the perfect getaway, not punishingly distant, with mostly wonderful weather and a relaxed vibe that can make a day in the city feel like a mini-vacation. There's just enough to do — shopping, Lotusland, lolling on the beach.
February 24, 2011 |
Aromatic vegetables suspended in a rich sauce, maybe a little melted cheese, all of it hidden under a crisp golden brown crust. Behold the glory that is the gratin. One of the oldest dishes in the comfort food playbook, the gratin is a celebration of lush creaminess and crisp crust that is often based on the simplest of ingredients. Its poster child, the gratin dauphinois , is made from nothing more than potatoes and cream. Sliced potatoes are layered with cream or milk in a shallow baking dish and baked until the filling is thickened and bubbly and the top of the dish is toasted to a rich brown.
December 23, 2010 |
Dear SOS: The lemon pasta at Angelini Osteria on Beverly Boulevard seems remarkably simple. My attempts at re-creating it have been remarkably underwhelming. Can you get the exact measurements and ingredients for this memorable comfort dish? The restaurant describes it as "Tagliolini al Limone with Lemon, Cream, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Basil. " However, there is obviously a specific method as to how the kitchen gets it to come out so balanced and tasteful. Thank you. Janie Orenstein Pacific Palisades Dear Janie: We loved the wonderful simplicity to this dish: Fresh basil and a touch of lemon are infused with a little heavy cream, which is cooked down just until it thickens, and is poured over pasta.
December 9, 2010 |
I distinctly remember an Italian friend raving to me a few years ago about the new mozzarella bar Obikà she'd just come across in Milan where you could get bufala mozzarella still dripping with milk, fresh from Campania to the south. Now, you have to understand that in Italy, food is always regional. And although, yes, you can buy mozzarella in practically any little deli in Italy, it usually isn't super fresh and mostly it's fior di latte , mozzarella made from cow's milk rather than the much more prized buffalo, which has its own delimited production area just like a wine.