By Paul Suplee, MBA, CEC, PC-3
I sit on a warm, comfortable sofa in St. Augustine, remembering an amazing Italian meal my daughter and I ate last night.
I watch friends and family posts up north dealing with snow and ice, and have to admit, I feel guilty about complaining about having to wear a jacket for most of the week here.
I will come back as pale as I was six days before, but so be it. It’s still better than the rinks that the roads are in Maryland.
But I digress. It has been a long time since a dining experience moved me like this, and I savor every moment – the service, the wine, the meal itself, the ambiance. Yes, the whole package. Our meal at Alta Marea rivaled a dinner I’ve written about over the past 15 years at Martini House in Napa Valley, to date in the top three meals for me.
In fact, it was at the Martini House that I learned this simple, fresh pasta recipe that I’ve been using and sharing ever since. Todd Humphries mastered the art of this incredible staple, and while it might not be ideal to eat fresh pasta every day, suffice it to say that the occasional foray into the land of breads and breads. pasta is a trip well done. The sacrifice is real and well worth the extra pounds.
I couldn’t help but order the pork lasagna (“lasagna”) and it was delicious. There is something so charming about fresh homemade pasta. And it did not disappoint.
To top off the evening, the waiter recommended the Tiramisu to us, and we were delighted. There was no room for another ounce of food. Why did he have to say “Tiramisu”? I answered with two questions. First “Is it homemade?” To which the answer was in the affirmative.
The second question decided our fate.
“Does the chef use Savoiardi (those crispy lady-finger biscotti)? “
“Chief Simone will only use these. If he can’t get them, he just doesn’t serve him.
Shit, I thought to myself. I have to order it. My daughter resisted, but she had never had tiramisu, let alone a well done one, so I ordered it. And it was glorious. It was like the earthquakes that separated the continents. In short, it was sublime.
My daughter, the more resilient of the two, had no trouble helping me finish it and I was happy to introduce her to one of the finest things in Italian cuisine. But this recipe is for another day. For now, let’s stick with lasagna.
Lasagna with porcini mushrooms
1 lb fresh pasta (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons of HOVE
2 tbsp. Unsalted pasture butter
8 ounces Ceps, fresh
8 ounces Cremini Mushrooms, fresh
4 oz. Portabella mushrooms, fresh
2 bedrooms Leeks, white only, washed and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
1 ch. Shallot, finely diced
2 bedrooms Dry white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 ch. Heavy cream
1/2 tsp. Mascarpone cheese
1/2 tsp. Ricotta
1 ch. Good parmesan
1. Cut the pasta into shapes that will determine the final shape of the dish.
2. Cook 2-3 minutes in simmering water, remove and set aside for assembly, keeping them warm.
3. Heat the oil and butter in a pan large enough to contain the mushrooms and add the mushrooms.
4. Also add leeks and cook for about nine minutes or until tender.
5. Add the garlic and shallot. You have the option of cooking them first, but they will retain a much more pronounced flavor in the finished dish if you wait until this point.
6. When most of the liquid has cooked the mushrooms, add the white wine and lemon juice.
7. Reduce to at least half, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
8. In a separate saucepan, combine the cream and reduce until thickened. Add salt and pepper and add the ricotta, mascarpone and parmesan and heat through
9. To assemble, place a little cream in your serving bowls, add a layer of pasta, then mushrooms and a touch of cream. Repeat until all ingredients are gone and serve immediately.
made a book
2 1/2 tsp. High gluten flour or semolina (preferred)
1 C. Salt
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
heavy cream, as needed
1. A few years ago a Sicilian chef taught me how to use a paddle in a stand mixer for pasta dough. Using the dough hook takes too long and it is quite amazing how quickly this dough comes together with the aforementioned paddle.
2. Put the flour, salt, egg yolks and egg in the blender with the paddle and let it tear.
3. One caveat: you can always add dry ingredients to a wet paste, but it is almost impossible to add liquid to a dry paste. So while you are mixing this, add more cream as needed to make sure it doesn’t get too dry.
4. When the dough comes together into a tight but flexible ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for an hour.
5. When you are ready, simply roll it up and cut it into the shape you desire. In this case, the pappardelle works wonders with the rich and creamy lemon sauce.
– Paul Suplee is a culinary arts teacher
at Wor-Wic Community College and owner of boxcar40.
Visit him at www.boxcar40.com.