Category Archives: Eating

Have I Got a Ragu for You

imola

The sauce was red, runny, and pungent, with bits of tomato-esque matter and oregano floating in it.

I was reading the other day in The Daily Beast about Mario Batali’s friendship with Jim Harrison and their “search for the genuine.” Harrison’s final book, A Really Big Lunch, a posthumous collection of his madman essays on food and drink, was about to be published. My mind turned to a favorite subject and my search for the genuine.

Ragu. Continue reading

A Moderately Unthinkable Proposal

IMG_9874 copy

It’s the pot’s fault.

The Italians call it a tegame di coccio or a pentola di terracotta. What cooks in it–a stew, a sauce, a roast– is, well, bliss. During the long cook, fragrance permeates your house. Of rabbit ala cacciatore. Of polpettone. Of lamb shoulder. You smell the meat, but also there is the unmistakable fragrance of hot terracotta. You smell the pot. It smells so good. Why I don’t know. It just does. Continue reading

Sausage, Resurrected

sausage sauce copy

The sausage is more than rehabilitated.

Since the dawn of time, man-woman-cook has pondered this question: What to do with leftover sausage?

Just the other day I grilled more sausage (plain Italian, no fennel) than we could eat. In the hours after lunch the leftover meat came to room temperature. Along the sheath of sausage casing the fat congealed, rendering the links slippery and mildly unpleasant. Occasionally inclined to gluttony, I occasionally dropped by the kitchen counter and took a bite of cold sausage. On its own, there is nothing very appealing about it. Even reheated there is nothing very appealing about cold, leftover sausage, on its own.

How to rehabilitate leftover sausage? eat them twice? Continue reading

Brown Rice, Chopped Tomato, Arugula

mich toms

When gluttony meets restraint…

There’s always brown rice.

We are on the threshold of tomato time in Michigan. It’s hard to be patient. At the local farmers market they will have both red and gold cherry tomatoes (what the Italians call pendolini) and Early Girls and Big Boys bursting with flavor. You take the Girls and Boys, slice and anoint them with olive oil. Continue reading

A Sweet and Tangy Spaghetti Dish

5

How to make a fast sauce that’s always great

A number of years ago I taught a cooking class I called “ten sauces, ten pastas, ten wines.” The animating idea was to become a good match-maker. Some sauces need a particular form of pasta. Meat sauces, for example, instead of spaghetti or linguini or tagliolini, are best paired with wheels or fusilli or a wide noodle like fettuccine or tagliatelle. Tengono il sugo, they say in Italian. The pasta holds the sauce. And wine? I didn’t know much about wine then, and still don’t. The class was an excuse to try ten different wines from all over Italy. Continue reading

Coffee Me

Photo Mar 29, 9 36 48 AM

Where to find good espresso in Italy

Everywhere, of course.

But what is it about train stations in Italy and coffee? Train station bars have the best coffee ever. You order at the cashier, present your receipt at the bar, and get served coffee that, well, just makes you want to travel by train, every day, if possible, or live close enough to the train station that you can get your morning, mid-morning, after-lunch, mid-afternoon, and after-dinner coffee there. Train station bar ambiance is not so great. But the coffee? A life-giving elixir. Continue reading