April Food Notes

April 2022 – Lazio

introduction

Oh to be in Rome. The first time I visited, I had been on tour in Italy making our way down the boot for a few already. What I did not prepare myself for was the possibility that I would be as intimidated as I was, terrified by the city. It is so fast and loud and the energy so fervent, I swear I got vertigo for a minute when I first stepped out of the tour van. Fast forward 36 hours and I had two of the most delightful days of all my time in Italy. I felt like I was just starting to get it almost 20 years later I am still hooked on the energy, vibrance and food of Rome. 

We will be serving our expressions of two of the most important pasta dishes of Rome as well as some foods nodding to the rich Jewish cultural history and traditions of the the region.

 

what we have prepared for you for this week:

Charoset –

A passover over staple, we thought to make this as an ode to the heavy Jewish cultural presence and influence in Roman cuisine. Our version is more inspired by some found in more central and northern Italy, devoid of both Apples and Red Wine. Our is a grapefruit conserva base with dried Figs, dates, dried apricot and Pecans, with a hint of chile. This is great eaten with toast, and wonderful served a a cheese or charcuterie plate.  Refrigerated this dish should last up to 1 month. Contains tree nuts and capsicum.

Spaghetti w/ Cashew e Pepe –

Our 100% organic Durum Spaghetti.  This dish will best eaten the day you receive it, and should be consumed within 7 days. Contains gluten.

A twist on the regional classic, we soak the cashews in white wine, and fermented garlic brine, then blending in lots of black pepper.  Keep refrigerated & consume within a week. This dish is vegan. Contains capsicum and allium.

Rigatoni Amatriciana –

This pasta is also made of 100% organic Durum semolina and is my preferred shape for this rich sauce.  Best consumed within a week. 

This dish is traditionally made as an ‘a la minute’ pan sauce, as our carbonara and Cacio e pepe. We have decided that you do not need to work that hard to enjoy the splendors of this pasta. This is a fresh tomato sauce enriched with rendered Guanciale, some of its fat, chile flake and a good bit of black pepper.  Will last at least one week refrigerated in an airtight container. Contains nightshade, allium and capsicum. 

Vegetarians – we have cured & smoked beautiful Portobello mushrooms and then rendered them down into bacon-like lardons.  This is a fresh tomato sauce enriched with white wine,olive oil, the smoky mushrooms, chile flake and a good bit of black pepper.  Will last at least one week refrigerated in an airtight container. Contains nightshade, allium and capsicum. 

Chocolate Toffee Matzoh

Another shout out to Passover, this one admittedly has little to do with Lazio, but more to do with a highly addictive confection that I have been asked too many times to make again… without making again. We are taking Kosher Organic Matzohs, baking them in a bath of rich buttery Toffee, then slathering in dark and milk chocolate, then topping with toasted pecans and maldon sea salt.  Will last up to one week in the refrigerator.  Contains gluten and dairy and tree nuts.

Pecorino Romano –

The most popular cheese of the region, this one is specially meant to finish the Rigatoni al’Amatriciana. That said, if you want to un-vegan the spaghetti dish, I’m not gonna tell.

Cooking instructions

Here are some recipes for this meal. I would like to note though that these ingredients are absolutely for you to experiment with. Feel free to add on to them, or even just use the ingredients one by one in your own cooking!

Spaghetti Cashew e Pepe 

Plan for 6 minutes preparation

Bring 3+ qts of water to a boil in a deep pot. Salt the water with three big pinches of kosher salt. 

  • Drop pasta in the water for about 4 minutes. Drain and add to the pan with ragu. Give a few tosses and let simmer together for a minute.  
  • Put a medium saute pan on medium heat, add about 3-4oz of pasta water to pan then add the cashew e pepe sauce. It may look grainy or broken for a minute. This is normal. Keep stirring the sauce and shaking the pan as it reduces and it will start to look creamier. 
  • Add the Spaghetti to the sauce and toss toss toss until the sauce is clinging to the noodle and starting to glisten a bit. 
  • Divide into bowls. This dish traditionally does not have any garnish, but you could finish with fresh grated pecorino or Parsley or olive oil. 

Rigatoni a al’Amatriciana

(Warming instructions are the same for the mushroom version)

Plan for 7 minutes active preparation

  • Bring 6 qts of water to a boil in a deep pot. Salt the water with three big pinches of kosher salt. 
  • Place your Rigatoni in the boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes, until al dente.
  • While the pasta is cooking, warm a medium saute pan over medium high  heat. Add a 2-3 oz of pasta water to the pan and then the amatriciana sauce. . 
  • Drain the Rigatoni and toss the noodles in the sauce over medium heat until the sauce is just starting to cling to the noodles. Add half of the pecorino here. 
  • Divide into bowls. Top with grated pecorino romano