This is a sauce for which you either harvest your own well loved tomatoes or purchase them from a local farmers market. No watery, flavorless tomatoes will do here.
Educated Palate: Lael & Giuliano Hazan’s Blog
Julia Child once told me that making a good roast chicken is the mark of an accomplished cook. Perhaps it is because making simple dishes taste delicious is really what it’s all about. This is a foolproof recipe that has become a staple in our house. The breast comes out incredibly moist, and the entire chicken is infused with rosemary and garlic flavor. Here are a few tips to ensure success:
1. Begin roasting the chicken with the breast side down to keep it moist.
2. Roast on the “bake setting” for two thirds of the total cooking time, then switch to “pure covection” and raise heat for the final third. This will ensure deliciously crispy skin while keeping the chicken moist.
3. Collect and discard all the fat that melts away as the chicken cooks. Then place the roasting pan over the stove, add little water, and loosen the “tasty bits” to make a delicious sauce to coat the chicken with after it’s carved.
This is also ideal for summer because the leftovers are just as good cold and perfect for a picnic.
(From How to Cook Italian by Giuliano Hazan)
1 (3 ½ pound) chicken
Freshly ground black pepper
3 medium cloves garlic
2 fresh rosemary branches
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 375° on the regular bake setting.
2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Sprinkle some salt and pepper inside the cavity. Lightly crush and peel the garlic cloves and place them inside along with one of the rosemary branches. Close the cavity on both ends with toothpicks.
3. Rub the olive oil over the skin of the chicken. Chop the remaining rosemary and sprinkle it all over the chicken along with some salt and pepper. Put the chicken in a roasting pan with the breast down and place in the oven. Calculate approximately 25 minutes cooking time per pound (1 1/2 hours for a 3 1/2 pound chicken). After one third of the cooking time has passed, about 30 minutes, turn the chicken so the breast is facing up. After the chicken has baked for two thirds of the total cooking time, about another 30 minutes, switch the oven setting to convection heat and raise the temperature to 400°. If your oven does not have convection heat, simply raise the temperature to 425°.
4. To check if the chicken is done, pierce the flesh near the leg joint to see if the juices run clear. If they do not, roast for another 10 minutes and test again. Remove from the oven and let the chicken stand for 5 minutes before carving and serving.
Photo by Joseph De Leo
One of my favorite pasta dishes is tortelloni (the square ones, Romagna style) filled with Swiss chard and ricotta. My fondness for the dish was evident from the time I was a small boy and my grandmother made them for me while my parents were away. After polishing off a generous adult portion, I proceeded to collapse on the table, terrifying my grandmother who promptly called the doctor. After examining me, the doctor pronounced me “happy and asleep”.
It seems like we often end up with more filling than we have pasta for and one time we decided to have the extra filling as a pasta sauce. It was delicious! So much so, that I adapted the filling to make a spinach and ricotta sauce for penne that has become a family favorite.
Watch this video for a tip on how to easily finely chop an onion, with little or no tears!
Penne with Spinach and Ricotta
(From Giuliano Hazan’s Thirty Minute Pasta by Giuliano Hazan)
Serves 4 people
6 ounces fresh baby spinach
1/2 medium yellow onion
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup whole milk ricotta
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated whole nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 pound penne
1. Fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil.
2. Put about one inch of water in a pot large enough to cook the spinach in. Place it over high heat. When the water boils, add a teaspoon of salt and put in the spinach. Cook until the spinach is quite tender, 5-6 minutes. Drain in a colander and squeeze out as much water as possible by pressing on the spinach with a spoon. Transfer the spinach to a cutting board and finely chop it.
3. While the spinach is cooking, peel the onion and finely chop it. Put it with the butter in a 10” skillet and place over medium high heat. Sauté the onion until it turns to a rich golden color, about 5 minutes.
4. When the pasta water is boiling, add about 2 tablespoons salt, put in the penne, and stir well. Cook until al dente.
5. When the onion is ready, add the spinach and sauté, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add the ricotta, cream and nutmeg, and cook until the ricotta has heated through and the cream is reduced, 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust for salt and season with pepper, then remove from the heat.
6. When the pasta is done, drain well, toss with the sauce and the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and serve at once.
In Italy eating is of supreme importance and a cardinal rule is that local food is the best and freshest. Therefore, anything nostrano “ours”, is more expensive and desirable than anything imported. In Venice, local fish is more prized than anything else.
I sliced the king oyster mushrooms but just cut off the root of the others and used them whole. I sautéed them with olive oil, onions, garlic, and parsley, then cooked the risotto. It was a hit and thoroughly enjoyed by the entire family along with a Morellino di Scansano (for Lael and me, of course).
Usually truffles are eaten very simply. Either shaved over sunny side up eggs or egg pasta. They are often eaten only at special occasions like Christmas and New Year. Some people believe that truffles were the manna sent to the Israelites through Moses as they traveled through the desert for forty years.
We have come to see the Gazzani rice mill. It has been in continuous operation since 1648 and still uses the mortar and pestle method that is found in only one other place in Italy.
He takes on the trendy raw food community as well as the fast food chemically processed nation. He argues that eating calories that are too easy to digest is now a bigger problem for many than getting enough food. His is a clarion call to gain understanding of how food is actually processed in our systems.