Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt gives some extremely high praise to Sauces & Shapes: Pasta the Italian Way, promising the recipes here will produce pasta dishes just as good as what you'll find in Italy. It sounds too good to be true—until you see delicious recipes like this one.
The name zite means brides, ziti, more common in America, means grooms, but the shape is the same, long and tubular. In Italy they are also called candele and are as long as spaghetti. If you have those, break them into three or four pieces each. Otherwise, use ordinary ziti, sedani, penne, or any other slim tubular pasta.
This recipe gives about six normal servings. Double the quantities for the party version. The leftovers are good too. It’s delicious at room temperature and also freezes well.
For the condimento:
Chop the capers and olives together. Cut the peppers into thin strips.
Heat the garlic in a skillet, with the oil, until it is golden, then discard. Add the peppers, breadcrumbs, capers, and olives to the flavored oil.
Add a few grinds of black pepper and, stirring often, let the flavors blend over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the oregano and parsley. Taste for salt and cook for about 5 more minutes.
Bring 9 quarts (9 liters) of water to a boil in an 8-quart (8 liter) pot over high heat. Add 3 tablespoons kosher salt, then add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until only half cooked.
Drain and transfer the pasta to a bowl or return it to the pot, and mix in a few tablespoons of the peppers (technically sauce, but not very saucy).
Bake at 350°F (180°C) for about 20 minutes, or until a nice brown crust has formed on top. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before unmolding and slicing like a cake.
The timballo can be reheated successfully.
Ottolenghi is our Top Pick in Cookbooks for October! Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt promises that these sunny, bold Middle Eastern recipes, packed with Mediterranean and Californian influences, "will make even the most jaded cook jump for culinary joy."
serves 6 to 8
Preheat the oven to 325°F / 170°C. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside.
Put the oil and superfine sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a whisk if you don’t have a mixer). Slit the vanilla bean lengthwise in half and, using a sharp knife, scrape the seeds out into the bowl. Beat the oil, sugar, and vanilla together, then gradually add the eggs. The mix should be smooth and thick at this stage. Mix in the diced apples, raisins, and lemon zest, then lightly fold in the sifted dry ingredients.
Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl, either by hand or with a mixer, until they have a soft meringue consistency. Fold them into the batter in 2 additions, trying to maintain as much air as possible.
Pour the batter into the lined pan, level it with an icing spatula, and place in the oven. Bake for 1½ hours, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan.
Once the cake is completely cold, you can assemble it. Remove from the pan and use a large serrated knife to cut it in half horizontally. ?You should end up with 2 similar disks. If the cake is very domed, ?you might need to shave a bit off the top half to level it.
To make the icing, beat together the butter, muscovado sugar, and maple syrup until light and airy. You can do this by hand, or, preferably, in a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the cream cheese and beat until the icing is totally smooth.
Using the icing spatula, spread a layer of icing 3/8 inch / 1 cm thick ?over the bottom half of the cake. Carefully place the top half on it. Spoon the rest of the icing on top and use the icing spatula to create a wavelike or any other pattern. Dust it with confectioners’ sugar, if you like.
Sylvia's Table by Liz Neumark, our Top Pick in Cookbooks for September, is an exuberant ode to fresh food. Writes Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt, "Neumark wants families not just to eat together, but to cook together and gain a real appreciation of what good food is and where it comes from."
Remove the pan from the heat and toss the kale with the soy sauce, then sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
For me, a former child of the Midwest, the recipes in Amy Thielen's The New Midwestern Table are like culinary flashbacks to being an 8-year-old, so blogging about this recipe feels a lot like sharing a favorite children's book. Writes Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt, "Believing that the best, most iconic dishes are passed down hand to hand, generation to generation, she’s collected 200 recipes that celebrate the regional traditions that waves of immigrants have brought, and still bring, to the American heartland."
Makes 25 small bars
For the base, mix together the flour, confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
Add the melted butter and mix thoroughly until you have a soft dough. Break the dough into small pebbles and spread it evenly in the bottom of the lined baking pan, then gently press the dough into the pan in an even layer. Bake until it turns a shake darker, 15 minutes.
Let base cool a bit. Meanwhile, make the chocolate layer: Put the chocolate in the top of a double boiler, or in a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Add the peanut butter and heat gently until melted and combined, stirring occasionally.
Pour ½ cup of the warm melted chocolate mixture over the baked base, and spread it out evenly. Refrigerate until set.
Reserve the remaining chocolate mixture on top of the stove while you prepare the maple filling.
For the maple filling, melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the sweetened condensed milk, maple syrup, brown sugar, and salt and bring to a simmer. Boil softly, stirring often, for 10 minutes, or until the mixture reaches the firm ball stage, or 245ºF on a candy thermometer. (Gauge the doneness using the cold-water test: Fill a bowl with very cold water and drop about ½ teaspoon of the mixture into it. If it forms a soft ball that you can easily pick up, it’s ready.)
Fill a sink with at least 6 inches of cold water, and set the saucepan into it (making sure not to slosh water into the fudge).
Stir constantly with a sharp-edged wooden spoon, scraping down the sides of the pot, until the mixture starts to turn granular, about 5 minutes. When it starts to look like beach sand and becomes increasingly hard to stir, remove the pan from the water and add the cream cheese. Stir, scraping the sides, until the mixture is smooth and light.
Immediately spread the maple filling in an even layer over the cooled chocolate layer. Scatter the peanuts on top and press them very lightly into the maple filling. Gently heat the remaining chocolate mixture to return it to a liquid state. Drop the chocolate from the side of a rubber spatula onto the maple layer, making wide swipes across the peanuts, taking care to cover them completely.
Return the baking pan to the refrigerator and chill until completely set, about 4 hours. Cut into small bars.
Sylvia's Table by Liz Neumark is our Top Pick in Cookbooks for September! Discover the joys of fresh food with this scrumptious collection of "Fresh, Seasonal Recipes from Our Farm to Your Family."
If the corn kernels are young and tender, they need no cooking. Otherwise, blanch them by dumping them into boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, then refresh them quickly under cold water and drain them well.
Combine the basil, arugula, walnuts, garlic clove, cheese, and the remaining olive oil in a food processor and puree, adding small amounts of oil as needed to make a thick pesto. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss about half the pesto with the barley while it is still warm, then stir in the corn kernels and tomatoes. Remove the mushrooms from the marinade and pat them dry. Grill the mushrooms over a charcoal fire or on a kitchen grill or broil them until nicely browned. Let the mushrooms sit for 10 minutes, then remove them from their cooking juices (reserve juices for another use, like stock or soup, or discard). Arrange the barley salad on a serving platter. Slice the mushrooms and place them on the barley or serve the barley on individual plates and top each serving with a whole mushroom. Top with dollops of the remaining pesto and garnish with basil leaves.
This can be made in advance, but keep the barley and the mushrooms, along with their cooking juices, separate until you are ready to serve. If you refrigerate the components, bring them to room temperature before serving.
If you're dreading the school year's hundreds of packed lunches—or simply want to add a little punch to the lunch box—check out Beating the Lunch Box Blues by J.M. Hirsch. Give PB&J and Lunchables the boot with these super easy, fresh lunchtime combos.
Don’t be intimidated by the number of ingredients. This recipe comes together effortlessly in minutes.
In a large sauté pan over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the ground turkey and brown, breaking up any chunks, for 10 minutes. Add the tomato-red pepper mixture, stir well, then bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sloppy Joes onto the buns and top with cheese.
Our August Top Pick in Cookbooks is Raghavan Iyer's Indian Cooking Unfolded, a wonderfully accessible "Master Class" for cooking Indian food. Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt calls this one "maharajah-worthy."
2. Combine the vinegar, chiles, salt, and nutmeg in a small bowl to make a slurry. Set the slurry aside.
3. Fill up a medium-size bowl with cold water. Take a leaf of kale, cut along both sides of the tough rib, and discard it. Slice the leaf in half lengthwise. Repeat with the remaining leaves. Stack the leaf halves, about 6 at a time, one on top of the other, and roll them into a tight log. Thinly slice the log crosswise; you will end up with long, slender shreds. When cutting the kale, you can’t help notice how strong smelling and grassy it is (no wonder I love the smell of fresh-mowed grass in the summer). Dunk the shreds into the bowl of water to rinse off any grit, then scoop the shreds out and drain them in a colander. Repeat once or twice if the kale does not appear clean.
4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil appears to shimmer, add the turmeric-smeared fillet to the skillet. The instant sizzle and sear will turn the salmon light brown on the underside, about 2 minutes. Turn it over and repeat with the second side, about 2 minutes. Transfer the fish to a plate. Add the garlic to the skillet and stir-fry it until light brown and aromatic, about 1 minute.
5. Pour the vinegar-based spice slurry into the skillet and stir to mix with the garlic. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. The pungency will slap you in the face (in a good way—I promise) and the liquid will release all the browned bits of fish from the bottom of the skillet into the thin sauce.
6. Add the kale shreds and stir to coat them evenly with the liquid. Pour 1?2 cup of water into the skillet and stir. Lower the heat to medium, cover the skillet, and stew the kale, stirring occasionally, until the shreds are tender when tested (and tasted, I hope), 5 to 8 minutes.
7. Stir the coconut milk into the kale. Let the milk come to a boil uncovered. Add the seared salmon to the liquid, basting it to make sure it continues to poach. Cook, uncovered, scooping up the sauce and basting the fish occasionally, until it barely starts to flake, 3 to 5 minutes.
8. Transfer the fish to a serving plate. Let the sauce boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until it thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour the sauce over the salmon and serve.
Yvette van Boven’s cookbook Home Made Winter was a hit, so we're excited to see she's followed it with the seasonal opposite, Home Made Summer. This book is as lighthearted and sunshine-filled as the season at its best, and you'll love making meals that "don’t take too much effort, and celebrate summer and the inherently fabulous flavors of so many fresh fruits and vegetables." Enjoy!
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and lemon juice and bring to a gentle boil. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally.
Add all the fruit except the strawberries and boil for 3 minutes tops, stirring, until the berries are soft and release their juices.
Place a sieve over a bowl and pour in the fruit. Reserve the fruit and the juices.
Line a 2-cup (500-ml) pudding mold with plastic wrap, letting the plastic overhang the sides. Remove the crust from 5 of the bread slices. Halve them lengthwise. Cut out a circle from the sixth slice to match the size of the bottom of the pudding mold.
Dip each cut slice of bread for 1 second in the fruit juice you collected in the bowl and use the slices to line the mold, the rectangular slices for the sides, the circle for the bottom.
Stir the strawberries into the rest of the fruit and fill the mold with the fruit.
Cut out a circle from the last slice of bread to match the size of the open top of the mold, dip it into the fruit juice, and use it to cover the pudding. Pull the plastic wrap over the top of the pudding and place something heavy directly onto the pudding. (I have a saucer that fits perfectly and I put a can of beans on top of that.)
Place in the fridge overnight, or for at least 6 or 7 hours.
Before serving, open up the plastic and place a large plate on top of the mold.
Holding the plate onto the mold, invert the pudding onto the plate. Lift off the mold and remove the plastic wrap.
Serve summer pudding in wedges, with crème fraîche or sour cream and some of the fruit syrup.
Veggie lover Clotilde Dusoulier (Chocolate & Zucchini) offers a "variety of vegetarian meals with a French accent and that sought-after Gallic je ne sais quoi" in her new cookbook, The French Market Cookbook. This summery salad is a perfect example of Dusoulier's masterful mixing of flavors.
2. In a large salad bowl, whisk together the almond butter, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt.
3. Add the cooked beans and turn them gently in the dressing to coat. Stir in the rice. Taste and adjust the seasoning. The salad may be made a few hours in advance up to this point. Cover and refrigerate.
4. Just before serving, add the chopped almonds and parsley, sprinkle with black pepper, and toss to combine.
Look for slender haricots verts that feel firm to the touch and have no dark or discolored spots. The wispy little tail can be left on; only the stem end needs trimming and it should break off with a snap. Once trimmed, rinsed, and thoroughly dried, green beans can be packed in an airtight bag and placed in the freezer for later use. They can then be boiled or steamed directly, without thawing.
The flavor of nuts is significantly bolstered when they’re toasted. Preheat your oven to 350°F. / 175°C. Spread the nuts (shelled, but whole) on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast the nuts in the oven, keeping a close eye on them, until golden and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Exact timing depends on the size and moisture content of the nuts. Alternatively, nuts can be toasted in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan regularly; this is more convenient for a small amount of nuts, but the result is less even.
Kevin West teaches us how to "capture the fabulous essence of each season by preserving it" with Saving the Season: A Cook’s Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving. Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt also loves this book for West's storytelling talents, as the 200+ recipes are accompanied by entertaining, educational stories and essays.
2. Scrub the cucumbers well, rubbing off any spines. Cut away a thin round from the stem and blossom ends, and slice lengthwise into quarters. Put the spears in a large bowl, and cover with the brine. Weight the cucumbers with a plate, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel, and set aside for 24 hours. If the bowl won’t fit in your refrigerator, it’s fine to leave it out at room temperature.
3. The next day, pack the cucumber spears into two scalded quart jars, saving the brine. Measure out 2 cups of the brine and reserve. Strain the remaining brine through a fine sieve to capture the aromatics, and divide them between the jars. Tuck a dill head and two cloves of garlic into each jar.
4. Mix the vinegar and the 2 cups reserved brine, and bring to a boil. Pour it over the pickles to cover. Seal the jars, and store in the refrigerator for a week before using. For long-term shelf storage, leave ½ inch headspace when filling the jars, then seal. Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes, or in a hot-water bath, between 180 and 185 degrees, for 30 minutes.
[Note] Instead of spears, you could slice your cucumbers into round coins, lengthwise “slabs,” or bias-cut ovals. Make the slices 3?8 inch thick and soak them in the brine for 12 hours instead of 24.