cacciatore, crisp, and catching up
December 6, 2010 § 2 Comments
We had talked about teaming up in the kitchen for a long time. Terri and I finally followed through yesterday, a gray stormy day in SF. The perfect opportunity to catch up with my friends Terri and Louise, it had been a while.
Cooking with gas, literally. Thanks to Terri’s great remodel, an awesome gas stove was waiting for me. I was psyched. It’s easy to get excited about a stove when your daily driver is an electric stove which was very likely one of the cheapest models Home Depot carried circa 1989.
Along with the nice kitchen, there is the view. Even in the rainy grayness, looking out at the grand span of the twin peaks is spectacular.
A couple of days ago we decided to make chicken cacciatore, roasted potatoes, broccoli rabe. And the big challenge was going to be our first try at homemade pasta with Terri’s new pasta maker. Continuing my obsession with pears this year, I wanted to make a crisp for dessert.
Terri decided on fettucine alfredo for the starter. Terri masterminded the pasta dough creation and it went quickly. I made my first little pasta dough ball ever. Though, the rolling didn’t go as planned. As we were rolling the pasta, we noticed that the newly acquired hand-cranked pasta machine roller was adding some extra ingredients. We did not like that. It was ditched. Terri’s rolling pin and pottery skills came into play as she made fast work of rolling out the dough into thin sheets and hand cutting the fettuccine. After that feat: now we know: check your gear, push to the outside and cut the noodles thinner because they expand quite a bit.
Chicken cacciatore, seemed right for the weather. Today I remembered the chicken cacciatore from when I was a kid, I can still picture the takeout metal tin that crimped over the lid they used for leftovers or take out. It either came from Lombardo’s, a classic Italian-American restaurant with tall back booths, in downtown Albany or that place on the corner on Second Avenue–the name escapes me. [edit: Mom told me that place on Second was Cavaleri’s]
It’s one of those dishes that has no real recipe because it is mainly a technique. I did reference a recipe from my Italian Slow and Savory cookbook I just picked up. Essentially: brown chicken, then saute soffritto, brown mushrooms and peppers in batches. Add tomatoes and herbs. Combine all the precooked items in the large pot and let braise for a while.
Terri has a garden or two, and I have my herb pots, so of course the herbs: rosemary, thyme, marjoram, parsley, and basil came from our backyards.
So I did forget to add the pancetta to the cacciatore, it was included in the recipe I referenced. I hadn’t used it before in cacciatores before–but it likely has been a decade since I’ve made this. It all worked out–we got our bacon fix. We used the pancetta to top the fettuccine. Next time for the cacciatore: more garlic, more mushrooms, and more rosemary. don’t be afraid of the garlic when cooking with friends.
A mix of Comice and D’Anjou pears was used for the crisp. The secret ingredients are a little rum to soak the raisins and lime zest. We all liked the crisp enough to go for seconds. It may have been thirds if I hadn’t forgot to add the pecans to the topping! We all agreed that it’s a good idea to double the crisp topping amount in the future, even if the nuts are included.
Words: Art. Museums. And flour.
Cooking & eating listening:
unknown album – Shout Out Louds
Brothers – The Black Keys
The People’s Record – Club 8
The Audience’s Listening – Cut Chemist
Ga ga ga ga ga – Spoon
Swim – Caribou
Phrenology – The Roots