Notes From The Chef November 1, 2019

 

Getting ready to go Italian November 7, 2019

I invite you to come along.

 

Cooking alone is a great pleasure for me.

 It gives me time in the kitchen to reflect on the ingredients and the way they will be cooked. As I press each vegetable to my nose the perfume invades my senses. I place them in my hands to feel for ripeness and how each item will come together in harmony.

This has long been my way of creating menus and dishes. I buy the ingredients then lay them out like a still life painting and then start to group and move them around like pieces of a puzzle.

 I group them according to color, texture and fragrance.

The way I cook is very personal and not easy to teach because it is not about how long to cook but about when it is ready. I can see and smell when the eatables have reached their summit. Aroma plays an integral part of my cooking. The ingredients are ambrosia and the incense that fill my home.

 

The first course is Sformato a beautiful dish of potatoes filled with tallegio cheese and pancetta. A dish I ate only once while in Italy but remains in my mind palace of dishes.

 

The fregola arrived from Italy beautiful and toasted.

This weather is perfect for a European chowder full of clams and vegetables.

As a New Yorker, one of the traditions in the winter is chestnuts being roasted on the street by  vendors. The flour milled from the chestnuts came out of necessity when there was a shortage of flour during World War 2. The sweetness of the chestnuts comes through in the flour and mushrooms are the perfect foil for the tagliatelle.

 

For dessert, a simple ricotta tart with candied fruit finishes the meal and the fellowship of food is complete.

 

 

 

 

 

Patricia Williams