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Archive for Pasta & Sauces


Had a few busy weeks and one more ahead and then this little blog should be back to its regular schedule.- I think!

Well the bottom line is I do not like Anchovies and yet I LOVE Anchovies – they are a mystery product that show up like little rubber-bands on pizzas and taste like 2 day old bait and then when left out of a Caesar salad you are left with a dressing that isn’t all that good. So what is it about the little tin and jar packed things- well what I am learning is quality makes a big difference in these little suckers. Especially for someone like me who does not have a love for them in their raw out of the tin form- I mean some people just pop the tin and start eating them- NOT me.

When in Italy I had a stunning pasta dish of Anchovy oil and walnuts over pasta – it was amazing and honestly an odd order for me but being on the Amalfi Coast will do that to you. So while I have used Anchovy paste(a chef & cooks secret friend!) for years and years and would never dream of making a Caesar salad with out the little buggers and use them in my homemade Tuscan Sausage- I finally realized these could be something to use often-

So to the quality issue- well most supermarket anchovies are from Morocco and nothing is wrong with that but they tend to have a more pungent taste- this time I sprung for the good ones as our local Fairway had some beautiful anchovy from Sicily- The price- well these little dudes are not cheap- a jar can be from $15 to $25 but OH what a difference- these I could eat on bruschetta and be very happy- So here is a pasta dish that is one of my Fathers favorites Olive Oil, garlic and Anchovy. Also for a pound I would suggest using 1 1/2 cans in the olive oil to make the sauce.

So give this dish a try whether you like anchovy or not – I think you will be surprised as to how good it is- Also if you love anchovy when serving chop up some of the filets and sprinkle it on each plate.

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So finally the short rib ragu- with a long holiday weekend in the rear view mirror it seems I have been waiting to put this up for a week- So here she be- Short ribs are very interesting to cook with because the get to a point were they become like rubber balls so timing your cooking process becomes key. If you plan on trying to create this dish in a 2 hour window believe me you will wish you were eating a super pinky instead of the short rib- but just a few more hours will reward you with a beautiful meat that unlike many other meats does not lose its rich, mouth fillingflavor. For me short ribs are like the triple chocolate warm molten dessert- just a decadent treat. Again the pasta dough recipe is Episode 85 and the making of the Pappardelle is Episode 86

I have seen recipes and cooking shows were they pre boil the short ribs to get a head start on the tenderizing process- PLEASE don’t do that, allow for the extra time to slow cook these beauties in the base it will be served in. Also I seemed have not hit record during the return of the meat to the sauce- basically I retrieved the bones from the sauce- they had separated from the meat then fished the meat out- the meat will have a piece of cartilage so depending on who you are serving you can just leave it or pick it out- I knew my audience pretty well-after all she never leaves! So I picked the meat off the cartilage returned 80% back to the sauce then tossed the pasta and applied a handful of meat to each serving.

With the weather cooling this really is the perfect dish to make on a Sunday and truthfully as long as you give it the proper cook time you could eliminate 50% of the ingredients and still get a great tasting ragu.

Also don’t forget to watch Episode 88 to win a Authentic Yankees Jersey

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So this week is getting all out of order with the holiday so Taste Test Tuesdayta will be on Wednesday I think and Wine Wednesday will be Thursday maybe- who knows anyway in Episode 85 I made the pasta dough being used in this video of making pappardelle. There is also an Episode 86 which is the Short Rib Ragu that may be renumbered or just posted out of sequence- who knows-Enjoy!

At the time of posting the video is loading slow so just hit pause and let the video load then hit the play button.

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I let this video go with out any edits so you can see exactly how quick it is to make fresh pasta dough- Look for Episode 86 when I make the pappardelle and Episode 87 when I make the Short Rib Ragu for this pasta.

One thing about home made pasta dough is certain- no recipe will perform the same way twice that is why it is important to make it often when you first start out. By understanding how the dough should “feel” when done kneading and the desired taste for that pasta when cooked is something a recipe can not give you. If you use egss then the freshness of the eggs will alter a recipe, if not using eggs then the flour combination will surely through you off your game how about humidity-yes that too will through a wrinkle in.

So how do you win? Easy practice, practice, and more practice while it may not get you to Carnegie Hall it will eventually get you to pasta noodle bliss.

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In this episode I use the dough we crafted in episode 70 to make some ravioli. To date this may  have been the toughest episode to do as all forces of nature seemed to be working against me. Starting with you know who and on to my own stupid actions like not letting the dough come up to room tempeture followed by forgeting I was making ravioli and not keeping moist towels on my pasta sheets to then cutting on the counter as opposed to the cutting board. However in the end with lots of editing a few more grey hairs a fine pasta was produced.

However there is some debate in the house as to whether or not the wife actually likes black truffle oil or not- She was getting something bitter from the dish while I did not- We think it may have been the Truffle oil that she didn’t care for- Or maybe my supercharged bacon filled self got the job done the other night and her tastes buds are changing already!

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Homemade pasta dough is one of those things that has more recipes than shapes and sizes. Many get quite uptight about what should go in dough and what should not. Semolina flour or is all-purpose ok? Well I make pasta dough probably 6 different ways so I really do not have much of an opinion one way or the other- Northern Italians will use eggs in their pasta while Southern Italians would not. The other thing with pasta dough is even when you get the perfect recipe it probably wont be perfect most times you make it- The freshness of eggs make all the difference in any pasta recipe.

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Clams and Mussels over Spaghettoni is a wonderful quick meal you can make anytime. What is nice about this recipe is that it uses fresh tomatoes from the garden and fresh herbs also- Stuff that is growing plenty right now. When cooking with clams and mussels in sauces scrub the shells quickly to remove any surface dirt. Also a little tip, when plating the dish after removing the clams and mussels and putting them over the pasta if more sauce is needed ladle the sauce in. Do not tip the pot and pour the sauce as any sand will have settled to the bottom and there is no need to disturb it.

I usually get 2 batches out of one sauce- take the left over sauce and freeze it- then the next time you get clams, mussels, shrimp, lobster etc go ahead and heat the sauce up and add your shellfish- That makes for even a quicker second meal.

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I am a junkie for mashed potatoes and always will make way more than I can eat- of course this has a benefit and that benefit is gnocchi which is another food favorite of mine. While not traditional to make gnocchi this way they do come out great- often ties tastier than the original way. I will do a video on that also. So in this episode we have shell steak and gnocchi a great combination. The cheese I used is a great French Roquefort which is in the blue family of cheeses.

I will do another short episode that features the shell steak and its preparation.

And as was pointed out Rutgers opens 5 days prior to the Howard game against Cinci. so nothing is good about that game date!

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