Phat Thai

Servings: 1
Preheat: 0
Prep Time: 1 hour
Source: Pok Pok by Andy Ricker

I edited ingredients slightly to facilitate purchasing of common items.
Note, the tamarind water and palm sugar syrup can/should be made ahead of time and frozen.


1 tablespoon medium-size dried shrimp, rinsed and patted dry
3 tablespoon Tamarind Water, page 275
2 tablespoons plus ¾ teaspoon palm sugar simple syrup, page 275
1 ½ tablespoons Thai fish sauce

2 ¼ ounces (dried “phat thai” noodles, soaked in lukewarm water for about 10 minutes
2 tablespoons rendered pork fat or vegetable oil
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 ¼ ounces extra firm tofu, cut into small pieces about 1” X ½“ X ¼“, about ¼ cup
1 tablespoon shredded salted radish, soaked in water 10 minutes then drained
2 ounces bean sprouts (about 1 cup, lightly packed)
2 ounces medium shrimp (about 4), shelled and deveined
¼ cup very coarsely chopped (about 1-inch lengths) garlic chives or scallions, plus a pinch or two for finishing
2 generous tablespoons coarsely chopped unsalted roasted peanuts

2 small lime wedges
fish sauce
granulated sugar
Vinegar soaked chiles
Toasted chile powder



Heat a small dry pan or wok over medium heat, add the dried shrimp, and cook, stirring frequently, until they’re dry all the way through and slightly crispy, about 5 minutes. Set them aside in a small bowl. Covered at room temperature, they’ll keep for up to 1 week.

Combine the tamarind water, simple syrup, and fish sauce in a small bowl and stir well. Measure ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons, discarding the rest.


Soak the noodles in lukewarm water until they’re very pliable but not fully soft, about 20 minutes. Drain them well and snip them into approximately 8-inch lengths just before stir-frying.

Heat 3 large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat (or a wok over vary high heat), add the pork fat, and swirl it to coat the sides. When it begins to smoke lightly, crack the egg into the center of the pan (it should spit and sizzle violently and the whites should bubble and puff). Add the tofu, radish, and dried shrimp beside the egg. If you’re using a skillet, decrease the heat to medium; if you’re using a wok, keep the heat very high.

Cook, stirring everything but the egg, until the edges of the egg are light golden brown, about 1 minute, then flip the egg (it’s fine if the yolk breaks), break the egg into several pieces with the spatula, and stir everything together well.

Add the noodles and bean sprouts, and stir-fry (constantly stirring, scooping, and flipping) until the noodles and bean sprouts have softened slightly; about 1 minute.

Add the shrimp, then stir the tamarind mixture once more and add it to the pan. Stir—fry, making sure the shrimp get plenty of time on the hot surface, until they are cooked through, just about all the liquid has evaporated, and the noodles are fully tender and no longer look gloppy or clumpy, 2 to 4 minutes.

Add the chives and 1 tablespoon of the peanuts. Stir-fry briefly, then transfer it all to a plate, sprinkle on the remaining peanuts and chives, and serve with the lime wedges. Season to taste with the fish sauce, sugar, vinegar—soaked chiles, and chile powder.

Meatballs (Polpettine)

Servings: 4
Preheat: 0
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Source: The Classic Italian Cookbook, Marcella Hazan

The meatballs can be prepared entirely ahead of time and refrigerated for several days.


1/3 cup milk
1 slice firm, fine-quality white bread, crust removed
1 pound lean beef, preferably from the neck, ground
1 tablespoon finely chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 egg
A tiny pinch of nutmeg or marjoram
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Vegetable oil
Freshly ground pepper, 3 to 4 twists of the mill
Fine, dry unflavored bread crumbs
1 cup canned Italian tomatoes, cut up, with their juice


Put the milk and the bread in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Mash the bread with a fork and blend it uniformly into the milk. Set aside and let cool before proceeding with the next step.

In a mixing bowl put the chopped meat, onion, parsley, egg, nutmeg or marjoram, grated Parmesan, 1 tablespoon of oil, the bread and milk mush, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the pepper. Mix everything thoroughly but gently by hand.

Gently, without squeezing, shape the mixture into small round balls about 1 inch in diameter. Roll the meatballs lightly in the bread crumbs.

Choose a skillet, large enough to hold all the meatballs in a single layer, with a cover. Pour in oil until it is ¼ inch deep. Turn on the heat to medium high, and when the oil is quite hot slip in the meatballs. (Sliding them in with a broad spatula is a good way of doing it. Dropping them in will splatter hot oil over you and your kitchen floor.) Brown the meatballs on all sides, turning them carefully so that they don’t break up or stick to the pan.

When well browned turn off the heat, tip the pan slightly, and remove as much of the fat that floats to the surface as you can with a spoon. Turn on the heat to medium, add the chopped tomatoes with their juice and 34 teaspoon of salt, and turn the meatballs over once or twice with care, so that they don’t break up. Cover the skillet and cook until the tomato has thickened into sauce, about 25 minutes. While cooking, turn the meatballs over from time to time, and taste for salt.

Delfina’s Spaghetti Pomodoro

Servings: 4-5
Preheat: 0
Prep Time: 1 hour

Sixteen years after opening Delfina, the restaurant’s signature spaghetti remains on the menu, a simple dish with a cult following. The sauce has just a few ingredients; the secrets are preparing the canned tomatoes, and then partially cooking the pasta in water and finishing it in the sauce. You will have leftover sauce; it freezes well.


2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole plum tomatoes (such as Di Napoli)
3 cups water
5 cloves garlic, peeled
Kosher salt
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Hot red pepper flakes, to taste
Leaves from ½ bunch fresh basil
1 pound high-quality durum wheat spaghetti (such as Rustichella d’Abruzzo)
1½ ounces “finishing” (flavorful, high-quality) extra virgin olive oil
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Remove the tomatoes from the can, one at a time. Break each one open and scrape out the seeds with your hand, allowing the juice and seeds to fall back into the can. Drop the seeded tomatoes into a bowl.

When all of the tomatoes are seeded, break them up with your hands and strain the juice from the cans back over them. Pour the 3 cups of water into the cans, then pour that through the strainer into the bowl with the tomatoes.

Place the garlic cloves on a cutting board. Smash each one with the side of a chef’s knife and smear it slightly with a sprinkling of kosher salt.

Scrape the smashed garlic and salt into an 8-quart heavy-bottom pot. Add the olive oil, set over medium-low heat, cover and stew slowly until the garlic is soft and melted in texture but not browned, about 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes along with their juice and the water to the pot. Season with some salt, pepper and a touch of hot red pepper flakes. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, skimming the foam but not the oil. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, until the oil has emulsified with the rest of the ingredients and the sauce has reduced by approximately two thirds, about 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 2/3 of the basil leaves. You should have about 5 cups of sauce.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 5 minutes — it will not be cooked through. Drain and reserve a coffee mug (8- to 12 ounces) full of the pasta cooking water.

Ladle about 3 cups of the sauce into the pasta pot. (Save the remaining 2 cups sauce for another use.) Add the partially cooked pasta to the sauce, along with about 8 ounces of the pasta cooking water and bring to a boil. Continue to cook rapidly for approximately 7 more minutes, tossing and stirring to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add more pasta water if the pasta needs to cook a little more.

This process allows the pasta to absorb some of the sauce. Additionally, the pasta releases starch which thickens the sauce and helps it cling to the pasta. This way it doesn’t run off of the spaghetti and sit on the bottom of the bowl. The last bite of pasta should bring the last bit of sauce with it.

Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste, and drizzle with the finishing extra virgin olive oil. Roughly tear the remaining basil leaves and toss them in.

Divide the between serving plates, and top with lots of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Pasta E Fagioli

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 45 min
Source: Gourmet October 1993
Double recipe for leftovers. Likely will need more broth/water, particularly after standing with added pasta

1/4 cup diced pancetta or 2 slices of bacon, chopped
1 sm onion, chopped fine
1 garlic clove, minced
1 sm rib of celery, chopped fine
1 carrot, sliced thin
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
16 oz can white beans, rinsed well and drained
16 oz can tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/3 cup tubetti or other sm tubular pasta
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves
freshly grated Parmesan as an accompaniment

In a heavy saucepan cook the pancetta over moderate heat, stirring, until it is crisp, pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat, and in the remaining fat cook the onion and the garlic, stirring, until the onion is softened. Add the celery, the carrot, and the broth and simmer the mixture, covered, for 5 minutes.
In a bowl mash 1/3 cup of the beans, stir them into the pancetta mixture with the remaining whole beans and the tomatoes, and simmer the mixture, covered, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the tubetti, simmer the soup, covered, for 10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente, and if desired thin the soup with water. Let the soup stand off the heat, covered, for 5 minutes, stir in the parsley, and serve the soup in bowls sprinkled with the Parmesan.

Mushroom Lasagna

Servings: —
Source: Martha Rose Shulman
recipeNotes: Advance preparation: The mushrooms can be cooked up to 4 days before the lasagna is assembled and baked. The béchamel can be made a day ahead. Whisk well and reheat gently before straining into the mushrooms and assembling the lasagna. The assembled lasagna can be tightly covered and refrigerated for a day before baking. Leftovers will keep for 3 or 4 days. Reheat in a low oven or in a microwave.
This lasagna tastes very rich, even though it really isn’t. It combines an olive oil béchamel with a simple mushroom ragout and Parmesan cheese. I prefer no-boil lasagna noodles because they’re lighter than regular lasagna noodles. But I still boil them because I think the results are better if they’re cooked until they’re flexible (a couple of minutes) first.

For the mushrooms:
1 oz (about 1 cup) dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots or 1 sm onion, finely chopped
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup fruity red wine, such as a Côtes du Rhône or Syrah
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground pepper

For the béchamel:
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp minced shallot or onion
2 Tbsp sifted all-purpose flour
2 cup milk (may use low-fat milk)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the lasagna:
1/2 lb no-boil lasagna noodles
4 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)
A few leaves of fresh sage (optional)

1. Place the dried mushrooms in a glass measuring cup and pour 2 cups boiling water over them. Let soak 30 minutes, while you prepare the other ingredients. Place a strainer over a bowl, line it with cheesecloth or paper towels, and drain the mushrooms. Squeeze the mushrooms over the strainer to extract all the flavorful juices. If using shiitakes, cut away and discard the stems. Then rinse the mushrooms, away from the bowl with the soaking liquid, until they are free of sand. Squeeze dry and set aside. Chop coarsely. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid and set aside.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add the shallots or onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir together for about 30 seconds, then add the fresh and reconstituted mushrooms and salt to taste. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms begin to soften and to sweat, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and turn the heat to high. Cook, stirring, until the liquid boils down and glazes the mushrooms, 5 to 10 minutes. Add thyme and stir in the mushroom soaking liquid. Bring to a simmer, add salt, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the mushrooms are thoroughly tender and fragrant and the surrounding broth has reduced by a little more than half, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in some freshly ground pepper, taste and adjust salt.

3. Meanwhile, make the béchamel. Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. Add the shallot or onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, until smooth and bubbling, but not browned. It should have the texture of wet sand. Whisk in the milk all at once and bring to a simmer, whisking all the while, until the mixture begins to thicken. Turn the heat to very low and simmer, stirring often with a whisk and scraping the bottom and edges of the pan with a rubber spatula, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce is thick and has lost its raw-flour taste. Season with salt and pepper. Strain while hot into the pan with the mushrooms.

4. Assemble the lasagna. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil or butter a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously and add 3 or 4 lasagna noodles, just the number you need for one layer. Cook only until flexible, and using tongs or a skimmer, remove from the pan and set on a kitchen towel to drain. Spoon a thin layer of béchamel and mushrooms over the bottom of the dish. Top with a layer of noodles. Spread a ladleful of the mushroom/béchamel mixture over the noodles and top with a layer of Parmesan. Cook the next layer of noodles and continue to repeat the layers (I get three layers in my pan), ending with a layer of the mushroom/béchamel mixture topped with Parmesan. Cover with foil and place in the oven. Bake 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and if you want the edges of the noodles crispy and the top lightly browned, continue to bake uncovered for another 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Perciatelli with Cauliflower, Spicy Tomato Sauce, Capers and Pecorino

Servings: 4
Source: Martha Rose Shulman
Perciatelli are hollow long noodles that also go by the name bucatini. Their texture is robust, supporting a robust sauce like this one. Because the noodles are hollow, they cook much more quickly than spaghetti, so keep your eye on them so they don’t get too soft.

1 sm cauliflower or 1/2 large
cauliflower, broken into florets (about 1 pound)
Salt to taste
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
1 14 oz can chopped tomatoes with juice, pulsed a few times in a food processor or mini processor
Pinch of sugar
2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped
3/4 lb perciatelli (bucatini)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 oz pecorino, grated (1/2 cup), or 1 oz each pecorino and Parmesan

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil while you core the cauliflower and break it into florets. Add a generous amount of salt to the water and blanch the cauliflower for 5 minutes, or until tender. Use a skimmer or strainer to scoop the cauliflower from the water and transfer to a bowl of cold water. Drain and chop the florets into small pieces. Keep the water at a simmer.

2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a wide, heavy skillet and add the garlic and chili flakes. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds, and stir in the puréed tomatoes, a pinch of sugar, and salt to taste. Add the capers and cauliflower and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down and smell fragrant. Taste and adjust seasonings.

3. Bring the water in the pot back to a boil and add the perciatelli. Cook al dente, usually about 7 or 8 minutes. Add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the pan with the cauliflower and stir. Drain the pasta and add to the pan, along with the parsley and the pecorino. Stir together and serve.

Variation: For a stronger flavor, add 2 to 4 anchovy fillets, rinsed and chopped, with the garlic and red chili flakes. (add the anchovies)

Advance Preparation : You can make this through Step 2 up to a day ahead and reheat on top of the stove.

Pasta with Cauliflower and Anchovy Sauce Recipe

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 35 min
This is a wonderful, mild flavored pasta we’ve adapted from Marcella Hazan. I know it sounds like an odd combination of ingredients, but you should definitely try it. It’s unlike any pasta you have likely eaten before, and it is quite tasty. We will definitely make it again. Serve with the roasted broccoli below for a nice combination of flavors and a healthy meal.

1 head cauliflower
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
6 flat anchovies, chopped very fine (canned is fine)
1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes or to taste (we substituted 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper to suit our kids)
1/2 tsp kosher salt or more to taste
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 to 1 1/2 pounds penne pasta (we use Barilla plus)

Strip the cauliflower of all its leaves except for the tender inner ones. Rinse and cut in two.
Bring 4-5 quarts of water to boil, put in the cauliflower, and cook it till tender, about 25-30 minutes. Prod it with a fork to test for doneness. Remove from the water and set aside. When cooled, chop the cauliflower into pieces not bigger than a small nut.
(Or alternatively, roast the cauliflower for 25 minutes at 400 degrees – 2 Tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt)
Return the water to the stove, bring to boil, and add the pasta and cook until done.
While the pasta is cooking, put the oil and garlic in a medium saute pan, turn the heat to medium, and cook until the garlic becomes colored a light, golden brown. Then add the chopped anchovies and cook for a few minutes while stirring an mashing the anchovies against the sides of the pan with a wooden spoon until they are close to the consistency of a paste.
Add the cauliflower pieces and turn them until thoroughly coated with the oil, mashing some with the back of the spoon.
Add the chili pepper flakes or black pepper and kosher salt. Turn up the heat and cook for a few more minutes, stirring frequently. (This can be prepared a few hours ahead of time, but don’t refrigerate it.)
Toss the sauce with the cooked and drained pasta. Add the chopped parsley, toss, check and adjust seasoning, then serve immediately

Pasta Puttanesca with Anchovies

Servings: 4
Source: Fine Cooking October 2010


Kosher salt
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, minced
3 oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped (scant 1 Tbs.)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
One 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 lb. dried spaghetti
1/2 cup pitted brine-cured black olives, such as Kalamata, coarsely chopped
2 Tbs. nonpareil capers, rinsed and drained
1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano or marjoram
Freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat.

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbs. of the olive oil with the garlic in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic

is sizzling, about 2 minutes. Add the anchovies and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is very pale golden, 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir in the tomatoes. Increase the heat to medium high, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.

After adding the tomatoes to the pan, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions until al dente.

When the tomato sauce is ready, add the olives, capers, and oregano and stir. Simmer until just heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil and season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

When the pasta is ready, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and drain well. Return the pasta to the pot, set it over medium-low heat, pour in the sauce, and toss, adding cooking water as needed for the sauce to coat the pasta. Serve immediately.

Sicilian Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Raisins, and Pine Nuts

Servings: 3
Preheat: 400°
The raisins add a touch of sweetness to an otherwise savory pasta dish. I think that people who don’t care for cauliflower will enjoy this pasta. I like to use orecchiette as the raisins, nuts, and little bits of cauliflower seem to nestle inside the little ear shaped pasta. I served this dish with sautéed cherry tomatoes to give both color and as a nod to those cooks who put tomatoes in their recipe. I hope you will prepare and enjoy this dish.

1/2 lb orecchiette pasta (be sure to separate the noodles before boiling)
1/2 head cauliflower, broken and cut into small florets
1/4 cup raisins, soaked and drained
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/2 sm onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 inch squirt of anchovy paste from a tube or 3 anchovy filets, mashed
1/4 (or less) cup olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 handful of pecorino grated cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Place cauliflower florets on a baking pan, drizzle with a little oil. Salt and pepper and toss to coat. Place in hot oven and roast until lightly caramelized and tender. Remove and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook to al dente. Save a cup of the pasta water.

While pasta is cooking, sauté the onion and garlic until soft but not brown. Add the anchovy paste and wine, stir to mix. Add the raisins, pepper flakes and taste for seasoning. Add cooked pasta, simmer for one minute. Add just enough pasta water to keep mixture moist but not soupy. Add the roasted cauliflower, pine nuts, and a handful of cheese and gently toss. Add chopped parsley and plate. Serve with additional cheese on the side.

Pasta with Smoked Salmon and Capers

Servings: 4
Source: Cook Something, Mitchell Davis, Macmillan
Another classic combination, this dish makes people think you went to a lot of trouble. Actually it’s quite simple. It’s an adaptation of a dish my friends Ed and Katie brought to my prebook party. Any shape of pasta works, but I prefer a small noodle such as shells or bowties. Despite what an Italian might otherwise recommend, I like to serve this dish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 sm onion, chopped
1/4 lb smoked salmon, chopped
1 cup heavy cream (a.k.a. whipping cream)
3 Tbsp capers, drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 lb pasta, cooked al dente, drained (reserving about
1/4 cup of the cooking water), and tossed with olive oil
Freshly grated imported Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, but not browned. Add the smoked salmon and continue cooking just until the salmon turns opaque, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the cream and add the capers. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Be careful how much salt you add because the smoked salmon and capers are both salty. Add the pasta and toss to coat. If there doesn’t appear to be enough sauce, add a couple of tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to thin it down. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.