Cookbook Recipe: Urban Italian

Cookbook Recipe: Urban Italian

In addition to our own original recipes, we like to feature recipes from some of our favorite cookbooks on The Italian Chef from time to time. Urban Italian: Simple Recipes and True Stories from a Life in Food by Andrew Carmellini and Gwen Hyman had been sitting on my bookshelf for a while before I finally cracked it open and started leafing through it this summer (it was published in Oct 2008). The book, which chronicles Carmellini’s culinary journey from boyhood to becoming a top chef in New York, is very well written with great, accessible recipes that add a modern touch to classic Italian fare. The recipe we were given permission to reprint is Black Bass with Sicilian Style Pesto.  In the photo above, I actually substituted some nice cod, since my local fish market did not have black bass at the time. Recipe: Black Bass with Sicilian Style...
Lasagna Bolognese

Lasagna Bolognese

There are several things that differentiate Lasagna Bolognese from the Southern Italian style Lasagna that is more familiar to Americans. The most noticeable differences are the use of Béchamel Sauce instead of ricotta cheese, and the absence of mozzarella–only Parmagianno-Reggiano cheese is sprinkled on each layer–which results in a more delicate lasagna. Lasagna Bolognese should be made using an authentic slow cooked Ragu alla Bolognese (Bolognese Sauce).  Marinara sauce mixed with browned ground beef just won’t do here.  Finally, fresh egg pasta should always be used, not dried lasagna noodles.  Most typically, but not required, it is prepared with green pasta made with spinach.  When made with the spinach pasta the dish can also be called Lasagna Verde Bolognese. When boiling the sheets of pasta it is very important not to overcook them, because they will cook more when baking the lasagna and you don’t want to end up with mushy noodles that fall apart.  Cook them in the boiling water for no longer than 1 minute,  just so they are soft enough to work with, and rinse them with cold water quickly to stop the cooking. Lasagna Verde Bolognese Recipe Cook time: 3 Hours Serves 8 For the Bolognese Sauce: 1/4 cup olive oil 1 small onion, chopped fine 1 carrot, chopped fine 1 celery stalk, chopped fine 1/4 pound pancetta, chopped coarsely 3 pounds ground beef, preferably chuck 1 35 ounce can imported Italian plum tomatoes 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1 cup meat broth, hot salt and pepper to taste For the Béchamel Sauce: 6 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup all purpose flour 3 cups whole milk 1/2 teaspoon salt To assemble the...