Mushroom Agnolotti with Peas, Asparagus, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Cream Sauce

I’ve come to realize that I tend to be most inspired by seasonal food, but not all of it. Winter and summer really get my creative juices flowing–rich, hearty braises or light, fruity, delicate sources of refreshment seem to come to mind without difficulty. Spring though gets me stuck in the mud. I’m not sure why–I don’t have access to the full range of produce, but I know its right around the corner. This dish is me trying to break out of that rut by enjoying some of the best of what spring has to offer.

Mushroom Agnolotti with Peas, Asparagus, Prosciutto, and a Goat Cheese Cream Sauce

The foundation of this dish is wild mushroom agnolotti (think criminis, portabello, and cheese stuffed ravioli), tossed with butter sautéed asparagus, peas, and prosciutto, all topped with a goat cheese cream sauce to bring everyone together. The total combination was excellent and very “springy” (yay, just what I wanted). A forkful of everything yielded a complex set of flavors I would best describe… click to read more…

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Beef Short Ribs Marsala Pasta

This dish came out of an odd craving. I wanted something like chicken marsala, but a lot fuller and richer. I also wanted beef. After far too long an amount of time transpired before these two cravings merged into one, the idea for this dish was born. I took one of my favorite cuts of beef (shortribs), and prepared them with all of the marsala flavors I was craving, and turned it into a pasta dish.

Beef Short Ribs Marsala Pasta

This really nailed the craving for me: a hearty, stewy version of marsala. It tasted rich, earthy, nutty, and slightly sweet. The sauce was simple: a reduction of the liquid used to braise the beef in. As such, it was really full flavored: beefy and clearly marsala. The pasta was a great body for the dish and since I think nothing goes with mushrooms like beef, I tossed in some sautéed shitakes to go with it.… click to read more…

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Potato Ricotta Gnocchi with a Tomato Basil Cream Sauce

I have a love-hate relationship with pasta-making, but with the passage of time, whatever my last experience was, the idea of making pasta sounds better and better to me. So like a moth to the flame, I come back to it. Plus, it had been so long since I last tried my hand at gnocchi, so it seemed like it was time for me to try it again. Plus, after having the most spectacular gnudi when I was at The Spotted Pig a few weeks back, gnudi and gnocchi have been on my mind. So today, I’ve made a potato and ricotta based gnocchi (and some day in the future, gnudi!).

Potato Ricotta Gnocchi

With gnocchi on the brain, I looked to see what click to read more…

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Ragù alla Bolognese (Bolognese Sauce)

When I was young, pasta came with one of two sauces: tomato or meat. Now, I can appreciate that there’s a lot more to “meat sauce” than I used to think there was, and anybody who has ever tried to pursue that perfect Bolognese sauce knows just what I mean. For instance, despite its appearance, tomato should not be a huge part of the sauce–a variety of meats, slowly braised and simmered, is the true star, giving this sauce a full body and an incredible complexity. Of course, no matter how you make it, it won’t be hard to find somebody else who does it completely differently. Ragù alla Bolognese is one of those personal, family tradition kind of sauces that has as many recipes as there are people on the planet at any given moment.

I was inspired by the insightsclick to read more…

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Pappa al Pomodoro (Tuscan Tomato Bread-based Soup)

When I got married, my wife I honeymooned in Italy, taking a slow, meandering trip through Venice, Florence, Siena, and Rome. Every aspect of that trip was a dream, and the food was no exception. One very friendly restauranteur in Florence insisted that we absolutely had to try his soup before we ordered dinner, telling us it was a traditional, Tuscan tomato and bread soup, called Pappa al Pomodoro.

My wife and I, at a loss for what to try, decided to try his recommendation, and soon enough two intricately decorated bowls were brought before us with a hearty portion of this thick, chunky, most amazing smelling soup. In the blink of an eye, we both emptied our bowls and licked them clean. Needless to say, the restauranteur was smiling ear to ear. We stopped back at the same restaurant for another bowl the next day, and I’ve done my best to recreate it here after some of… click to read more…

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Veal Chops with an Herbed Pan Sauce

This dish had everything going for it–its quick to prepare, delicious, and to seal the deal: its veal! Some times, the simplest approaches are the best kind, and for this, I decided to stick to one pan so as to have really flavorful meat and to use those juices for an even more flavorful pan sauce. So today: Veal Chops with an Herbed Pan Sauce.

While the dish has a somewhat rustic appearance, the taste is stunning. The veal had a great, buttery crust on it while the meat inside was melt-in-your-mouth tender with that delightful, harmoniously neutral veal flavor. The sauce was simple, but surprisingly rich and hearty, being earthy, herbaceous, and slightly sweet. This was also given body from the gelatin released in cooking the veal and enriched with butter to add that little touch that puts it over the top.

The only thing that didn’t live up to my expectations: the cheese I stuffed into the… click to read more…

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