Episode 4: Fresh Pasta

I know a pasta dinner doesn’t sound impressive, but if you believe that, you’ve most likely never had the pleasure of fresh pasta. (Or watched our amazing pasta episode with Mike here!)

There is something special about fresh pasta. It tastes so much better than your boxed brand.

In this episode of newlyFED we visit my college roommate and one of my best friends Cristina to learn about making fresh pasta. As freshman we were roommates in the upperclass apartments we’d invite about 15 girls over for “Sunday Dinner,” which we loved hosting.

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I put Sunday Dinner in quotes because it was the college budget dinner. Baked ziti with not enough mozz for sure. (Hey, that stuff was expensive, even Kraft)

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Now that we’re older, we have the ability to make something a little less budget! See the recipe and episode below for this weeks installment of newlyFED.

NewlyFED – Fresh Pasta with Cristina from Glorified Tomato on Vimeo.

Clare visits her old college roomie to get another lesson on making homemade pasta, with a freshly-made pesto sauce.

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Fresh Pasta

 Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of flour
2 eggs
pinch of salt

Use a clean surface for making the pasta. Sift the flour into a mound. Create a well in the flour big enough to fit the two eggs. Before adding the eggs into the mound, beat lightly. Add the eggs into the well and add a pinch of salt.

With a fork, make a circular motion grabbing flour with each motion. Once the dough starts coming together, begin to knead the dough. If the dough feels dry, add in a small amount of water, knead for about 3-4 minutes. Set aside (not in the fridge!) for 15 minutes wrapped in cellophane. Place a large pot of water on to boil.

Once the dough is ready divide the dough into 4. If you’re making a spaghetti or any other cut pasta, you’ll need to roll it first.

If you have a kitchen aid pasta attachment, add the roller onto the kitchen aid first. Put the pasta through the largest setting (1) twice, folding over the first time you put the pasta through the roller. Feed the dough into the pasta on each setting once until you are at setting #4. Once the dough is rolled out, put onto a floured surface.

Add the attachment to cut the dough and  feed through. Gently roll the cut dough onto a floured surface.

Once the water is boiling, add pasta to cook, boil the pasta for 6 minutes. Dress with desired sauce.

3 Dishes, 2 Hours, 1 Traditional Southern Italian Meal

I was nervous as we approached the door but in true Italian flare, we were welcomed as family.  Mrs. A explained what Susanne and I would be cooking. “I want to start with something easy, I cook dinner for myself every night, it doesn’t have to take a long time.”  We got straight to work after walking in the door of Mrs. Abbracciamento’s Breezy Point home.

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Mrs A. is the wife of the late Sal Abbracciamento, acclaimed New York City restaurateur. I was sincerely honored to be invited into her home, to learn the family recipes and coveted cooking techniques.*

“Usually I prep all at once but for this cooking class I will show you what to do one thing at a time – so you can take down your notes.” The afternoon agenda, – 3 dishes, 2 hours, 1 traditional southern Italian meal.  Mr’s A meant business with an “easy” 3 course meal!

We started with the focaccia bread.

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Like all true Chefs, Mrs. A eyeballs her measurements.

MRS. A’s FOCACCIA
1 pound refrigerated fresh pizza dough
1 can plum tomatoes
1 cup grated mozzarella
Locatelli cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
Fresh basil

Directions:
1. Stretch the dough out on a flat oiled baking sheet
2. Dice tomatoes and place on the uncooked dough
3. Add grated mozzarella,  locatelli cheese basil and salt and pepper
4. Add olive oil liberally
5. Place on the side to rise for 1 hour, pre-heat the oven to 375
6. Cook for 20/25 min.

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While the dough was rising for the bread, we started the pasta e fagioli. American’s call this pasta fazool. It is found in the soup section of our menus but in southern Italy it is a hearty main course.

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MRS. A’s PASTA E FAGIOLI
1. 1 8 oz  can cannellini  beans
2. 1/2 box of Ronzoni Ditalini
3. 3 cans worth of water, keep bean juice in can (we do the same, Sicilians don’t waste food, every bit is used)
4. 4 cloves garlic, whole
5. Escarole, cleaned and chopped
6. 1 8 oz. can of whole tomatoes
7. Olive oil

Directions:
1. Heat olive oil in a pot, add garlic once oil is hot.
2. Continue to add ingredients one by one, waiting 5 min. in-between.  In this order add: cannelloni beans, 1 can of water, tomatoes (crush with your hands), 1 more can of water, escarole, pasta, last can of water, salt and pepper to taste.
3. Cook for 10 min. after pasta is added. Pasta should be al dente.

I asked Mrs A., “Why whole cloves of garlic?” Her response makes a lot of sense “In the restaurant business you can’t assume that all of your customers like to eat chunks of garlic. Adding them whole means you can remove them easily before serving but the flavor from cooking remains.”

The soup was on simmer so it was time to start the famous Abbracciamento Italian cheesecake!
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THE ABBRACCIAMENTO ITALIAN CHEESECAKE
1. 8 eggs
2. 1 cup white sugar
3. 1 ts vanillia extract
4. 1/3 cup white rum
5. One large container ricotta
6. Orange zest
7. Butter
8. Large spring pan
9. Powdered sugar
10. Hand mixer

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 375
2. Butter spring pan thoroughly
3. In a large bowl mix all ingredients together except
rum and orange zest.
4. Add rum and mix, pour into spring pan.
5. Mix in orange zest lightly by hand so it doesn’t go to the bottom.
6. Cook for 1 hour, carefully take spring pan off, let cool for at least a 1/2 hour on a grating.
7. Add powdered sugar and eat.

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Frances Abbracciamento has held many titles throughout her life. Her achievements go far beyond her culinary expertise. The daughter of Italian immigrants, she is also a college graduate. After attending NYU in the 1930’s, Mrs. A became a working professional putting in 9-5 days as a clothing buyer in Manhattan where she earned 16 dollars a week!  Frances is the wife of Abbracciamento, esteemed restauranteur and philanthropist. She is the proud Mother of 4; Grandmother of 9 and Great Grandmother of 12!  She and her Husband spearheaded political changes in the NYC educational system. Most notably, they are recognized for saving P.S. 108 in the 1960s, when the East New York neighborhood was in decline.  The school is still in existence and is known as the Sal Abbracciamento school, where Mrs. A still makes a yearly visit.

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Mrs. Abbracciamento pictured during her years as a public spokesperson for the betterment of the NYC educational system.

At 102 years young, and still going strong,  we just had to ask if there is a secret to her longevity.   Mrs. A thinks a while., “Hard work. I’ve always worked very hard my whole life.”

There are some recipes you can’t find in a cookbook or online, they are passed down from one generation to the next, from Mother to Daughter, and from friend to neighbor – this is the Italian way.

*Susanne made the arrangements – Mrs. Abbracciamento is a close friend of the family.  Mrs. A’s daughter attended St. Angela’s in Fort Greene with Susanne’s Mother. Both families summered in Breezy Point before they became full time residents.

Photography by Susanne Rieth

 

tagged in breezy point, italian, soup

Episode 3: Quinoa & Veggies

For this episode of newlyFED, we have a different view on food, literally, it’s filmed from the top of my refrigerator. This recipe is a good quick side for these dog days of summer! I made it for our Mother’s Day BBQ and the crowd loved it!

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Ingredients

2 tbsps olive oil
6 cloves of garlic diced
1/3 cup of basil chopped
5 oz Spinach
12 oz Roasted Red Peppers
4.9oz Box of Quick cook Quinoa ( I use Near East and got the Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Flavor)
1.5 cups of veggie stock ( or whatever the water content is of the boxed quinoa)
16 oz chick peas drained
the zest and juice of 1 lemon
grated parmesan, salt and pepper to taste

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Heat 2 tbsps of olive over medium heat, once hot, add in the garlic and basil for a minute. Add in spinach until whilted. Add in red peppers and warm through, about 2 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and make the quinoa as directed. Replace the water in the package with vegetable stock. Once the quinoa is cooked, add in the chick peas and the reserved veggies. Stir to combine on low heat. Add in lemon zest and the juice of the lemon. Salt, pepper and add parmesan to taste.

Take a look at the episode here:

 

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My basil leaves a lot to be desired

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Here it is, past the July 4th weekend and this is what my basil plants look like (above).  Last year I was so proud that I had a red grape tomato one day after my Italian friend in Brooklyn had his first one.  This year my basil leaves a lot to be desired. My friend Fran, has a jungle of basil growing in her yard.  My sister, Brenda, has it coming out of the cracks in her deck, so it isn’t the cold Spring or lack of sunshine here in the Rock. What am I doing wrong?

I put some directly in the ground but I should know better.  In our 121 street garden, the slugs loved it.  They liked it so much they ate it all.  So too, in our new garden.  However, basil in the pots has always done well for me, even last year.  The herb plants that I purchased at St Francis de Sales farm market are doing fabulous.  The sage plant, bought in a 2″ pot, has just about taken over the entire barrel planter.  The same with all the other herb plants I got there…very good quality.  The basil plants I purchased at one of the big box stores and they are pathetic. They’re really scrawny looking.

I”m not one to give up on growing a winter’s worth of basil,  I took myself over to Lisena in Broad Channel.  I bought a four pack of basil and planted it in pots this morning.  (below).  I also went to Brown’s and got a packet of seeds.  Brown’s has tons of herb seeds if you need any.  So I have a plan B.  If the plants don’t take off, I have my seedlings to nurture.  I better get some decent basil!

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