The Literate Chef

Posts Tagged ‘Chianti Classico Riserva’

Rigatoni Neri

In Pasta, Recipes on January 29, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Rigatoni Neri

Active preparation time – 45 minutes, inactive cooking time – 1 hour. Serves 8 people.

The sauce may be made in advance and reheated before cooking the Rigatoni.

•    1 cup + 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
•    1 large Eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
•    Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
•    1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
•    1 lb. hot Italian sausage
•    12 cloves of garlic chopped fine
•    3 28 oz. cans San Marzano tomatoes cut into large chunks
•    1 cup dry red wine
•    2 lbs. Rigatoni
•    1 fresh unsalted mozzarella packed in water, diced small, about 1&1/2 cups
•    30 leaves of basil chopped coarsely
•    Freshly grated Locatelli Romano cheese

1.    Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.    In a large bowl, toss the cubed eggplant with 1 cup of the olive oil. When fully coated, sprinkle with salt & black pepper and toss again.
3.    Spread the eggplant in one layer on a cookie sheet, roast in the oven for 40 minutes.
4.    While the eggplant is roasting, brown the sausages on medium heat for 20 minutes, turning frequently.
5.    When browned, slice the sausage into ½ inch pieces.
6.    Heat remaining olive oil on high in a 6 quart pot.
7.    When oil is hot but not smoking, reduce heat to medium, stir in the chopped garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sliced sausage, stirring constantly for about a minute.
8.    Add the tomatoes and their liquid; return heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cook uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
9.    Add the roasted eggplant and wine, turn heat to low and simmer uncovered for an hour to fully blend flavors, stir periodically.
10.    Fill a large pot with sufficient water to cook the Rigatoni according to directions on the box of pasta.
11.    When Rigatoni is cooked, drain and toss it with the sauce.  Add the diced mozzarella, one handful at a time,and toss well to melt and spread throughout the pasta.
12.    Add the basil and serve at once with grated cheese.

Please see: Cooking in Naples…Florida, that is!

Serve with crusty Italian Bread and Chianti Classico Riserva

Cooking in Naples…Florida, that is!

In General Articles on January 29, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Here we are, on vacation, in Naples Florida, mooching off of the Nearys for a week, and guess what, first Betty and then I am called upon to cook. Sometimes one just can’t get away from the stove; but to loosely quote Harry Truman, ‘if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.’

Challenged to come up with a dinner plan a few days ago, after our hosts had outdone themselves with delicious meals, Betty hit upon the idea of making her Paella. With the help of sous chef Joan, she prepared a superb dinner that the four of us lustily consumed along with a couple of bottles of Rioja. There was very little left after several of us revisited the Paella Pan for seconds. Served preceded by a soup, or another first course, this recipe should easily feed six people.

My introduction to Paella was at El Faro in the West Village, about 55 years ago. I had never had anything like it before! Chicken, sausage and seafood mixed with rice, what’s not to like? Dorothea began making her version of it shortly thereafter and Betty’s is based loosely on hers. I say loosely, because my mother hardly ever wrote down a recipe and hardly ever measured out the ingredients, so we really don’t know what her version was, only what was in it or what was not. But as to the proportions of each ingredient that’s anybody’s guess.

Thankfully my wife kept a record of what went into her Paella this time and what quantity of each ingredient was used. She also documented each step and we are pleased to share it here with you as Paella Isabella.

Last night it was my turn in the kitchen and my challenge was to prepare something that 8 people would enjoy and which would not require me to be in the kitchen after the other 4 guests arrived. After considering Veal Saltimbocca and Veal Rollatini, both of which would require too much last minute preparation, I opted for a pasta dish with a flavorful sauce that could be prepared leisurely in the afternoon.

I decided to make a variation of Rigatoni all’ Oltrarno, reducing the amount of eggplant by about two-thirds, dispensing with the olives and hot pepper and adding instead, 2 pounds of Italian sausage, both the hot and sweet kind. Accompanied by a few bottles of Chianti Classico Riserva and several loaves of crusty Italian bread, there were no complaints from the gathered dinner guests. In honor of our generous hosts and longtime friends and traveling companions, this pasta dish has been named Rigatoni Neri.

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