Wickwood's Kitchen ... Pasta Pasta Pasta
Not even the Italians know how many shapes pasta
comes in, but they have long considered it among their greatest
works of art. That spirit has indeed been contagious until today,
most Americans eat pasta at least once a week. We hear Audrey
Hepburn enjoyed it every day! Good idea!!
Some of our favorites follow:
PASTA SIMPLY MIXED WITH HEIRLOOM TOMATOES
If you gather superbly ripened tomatoes and the finest quality
ingredients, it makes cooking so much easier. Cooking is just
coaxing out their flavors. Sometimes we add cracked green or
Kalamata olives to this as well. Serves 4.
• 10 cloves of garlic
• 1 lemon’s finely grated zest
• ½ cup chopped Italian parsley leaves
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 2 pounds heirloom cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• ½ cup basil leaves
• ½ cup of Shards of Parmigiano-Reggiano (or ¾ cup fresh ricotta
• ¼ teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes (optinional)
• ¾ pound fresh or dried pasta, cooked al dente
1. Mince 4
cloves of garlic and mix, in a small bowl, with lemon zest and half the
parsley to make a gremolata. Set aside
2. Slice remaining garlic. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan. Add
sliced garlic and remaining parsley and swirl over low heat for 1
minute. Increase heat to medium-high and add tomatoes and salt and
pepper (and red pepper flakes, if desired) to taste. Cook tomatoes,
stirring, just until they start to collapse, 4-5 minutes. Check
seasoning. Remove from heat. If pasta is not yet cooked, reheat
tomatoes when it is.
3. Sprinkle half the gremolata on a large rimmed platter.
Spread half the pasta over this mixture and cover with half the
tomato mixture. Toss gently. Add remaining pasta and tomatoes, toss
again to incorporate all ingredients. Dust with remaining gremolata
and pass the cheese.
PASTA WITH TOASTED BREAD CRUMBS
A unique combination that’s simple to prepare as is or as a basis
for a serendipitous pasta of whatever’s on hand. Remember with so
short a list of ingredients, each must be the freshest and of the
best quality. Serves 4
|• 1 cup
best-quality extra virgin olive oil
• 8 cloves garlic, minced
• 1½ cups fine bread crumbs (day old great bread)
• 1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
(or basil, dill, or chervil)
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
pound pasta of choice, cooked al dente
1. Heat 1
tablespoon of the oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add the garlic and
sauté until just lightly golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
2. Add the remaining oil to the skillet. Add the bread crumbs
and stir to coat evenly with the oil. Toast the crumbs over medium
heat, watching closely so that they do not burn. Stir frequently
until the crumbs are a deep golden. Remove from heat. Stir in the
garlic and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with al dente
pasta and Parmigiano Reggiano, if desired.
PASTA WITH - Don't Knock It 'Til You've Tried It - APRICOTS, GARLIC
We’ve been making this
unusual pasta to celebrate Indian Summer for over twenty years now
and we continue to marvel at how new it always tastes. You might
even add very crisp crumbled bacon, shredded proscuitto, or diced
sauccisson seche to this. Serves 4
|• ¾ cup
best-quality olive oil
• 16 cloves garlic, 8 minced, 8 slivered
• 1 cup dry white wine
• 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely minced
• 1 cup dried apricots, cut into slivers
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• ¾ pound linguine, cooked al dente
• ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1. Heat the
olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the minced and slivered
garlic and sauté just until browned.
2. Stir in the white wine. Reduce the heat and simmer
uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the rosemary and apricots. Season with
salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 5-10 minutes longer.
3. Place the sauce, the pasta and parsley in a serving bowl,
toss to coat and serve immediately.
WALNUTS, ST. ANDRE & PROSCUITTO
With today’s marvelous Iberian
Ham and St. Danielle proscuitto this can go really upscale, or very
thinly sliced country ham works too. A great show stopper at a
small dinner party and so easy. Serves 4
cloves garlic, finely minced
• 1½ cups walnut halves
• 1 pound St. Andre cheese, rind removed, cheese cut into small
• 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
• 9 ounces ham or proscuitto, shredded sea salt and freshly ground
pepper to taste
• 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
• Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
• ¾ pound linguine, cooked al dente
St. Andre Cheese
1. Combine the
garlic, walnuts, St. Andre, parsley, ham, salt and pepper and olive
oil in a large serving bowl. Let stand covered at room temperature
at least 4 hours.
2. Just before serving, cook the linguine to al dente. Drain
and immediately toss well with the walnut sauce. Serve immediately,
Pass the peppermill and the grated Parmigiano.
PASTA WITH BROWN BUTTER AND SAGE
This is one of our very favorite
sauces for pasta and gnocchi alike. A cautious word thought, it is
rich and probably best served as a first course or side dish with
fish or poultry. Serves 4-6
|• ½ pound (two sticks)
• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
• 24 sage leaves
• ¾ pound pasta cooked al dente
• 1 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano shards
1. When the pasta is almost
cooked, melt the butter in an 12-14 inch sauté pan, over high heat,
until the foam subsides. Add the thyme and sages leaves, lower the
heat to medium, continuing to cook the butter until it browns.
2. Drain the pasta and carefully add it to the pan with the
browned butter. Toss very gently for 1 minute and immediately divide
among four warmed pasta bowls. Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano shards
over the top.
PASTA SAUCE RAPHAEL
Raphael once worked in our kitchen at The Silver Palate
and taught us this sauce which became very
popular. It’s a great "last minute, I don’t know what to cook tonight
pasta" as everything comes from the pantry. Serves 4
|• 2 jars (6 ounces
each) best quality marinated artichoke hearts in oil (Italian are
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 2 cups chopped onions
• 2 tablespoons minced garlic
• ½ teaspoon dried oregano
• ½ teaspoon dried basil
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• Pinch of dried red pepper flakes
1 can (28 ounces) Italian plum tomatoes, with their juice,
imported are best
• ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
• ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1. Drain the artichoke
hearts, reserving the marinade
2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions,
garlic, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and
reserved artichoke marinade. Sauté over medium-low heat until the
onions and garlic are soft and translucent, 10-12 minutes. Add the
tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes longer.
3. Add the artichoke hearts, Parmigiano and parsley. Stir
gently, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add to the hot pasta
(drained and in it’s cooking pot) and over low heat toss it well.
Cooks Notes ...
"Life is not linear. It's not about
rushing to the finish line."
- Olya Thompson
For cheeseboards, grating over soups and pastas and cooking,
there’s only one Parmigiano in our kitchen. It’s the real deal. We can
only encourage you to do the same. We’ve been known to have it FedExed,
stash it in our suitcases when we travel, and beg pals to schlep it
home from Parma for us.
One of the most popular cheeses in the world, there are many imitators
but the real Parmigiano-Reggiano is made under very rigid restrictions
and trademarked. Strictly
regulated Pamegiano-Reggiano can only be made in the provinces of
Parma, Emilia, Modena, Bologna to the west of the Reno River and
Mantua to the east of the Po River. It is handmade just as it was
eight centuries ago, and starts with only milk from the
"We must eat to live and live to eat."
- Henry Fielding
It all starts with the
milk. Then it is cooked, in copper kettles, with only the addition of
rennet, a natural enzyme. The solids sink to the bottom, forming a
compact mass that is pressed into the typical loaf forms. Weights
squeeze off the excess liquid. The cheese is then immersed in brine
for 28 days with the cheese absorbing the salt needed to flavor it
during it’s long aging process typically between 18-36 months. It must
be inspected and branded with age and origin before it leaves to be
sold. The older the Parmigiano, the more expensive it is!
For everyday use, our choice is between 28-30 months, but it’s a good idea to do your
own tasting of a range of ages to determine what your palate and your
pocketbook prefer. And, should you find yourself in Piedmont, be sure
to try 5 year old Cravero Parmigiano! You’ll never be the same.
Stateside, if you need a source try:
"You don't get harmony when everybody
sings the same note."
- Darryl Floyd
The Newest Hot Meat!!!
Goat may be the world’s most popular meat you’ve never eaten. If
you’ve been lucky enough, you've dined upon it in Italy, Spain or Greece,
but chances are you’ve yet to discover this gem.
Goat is prized around the globe for being high in protein, low in fat
and with a flavor that has a meaty richness, yet isn’t gamy. We love
it and for years have sought it out from our local farmer so that year
round we can roast or grill it much like a leg of lamb. It always
transports us to Mediterranean memories.
it’s being called “a chef’s food”, the darling of the trend
setters ... and the price has tripled in the past five years. We suggest
you find yourself a local farmer and begin roasting, stewing, braising
or grilling goat. You’ll suddenly feel like ordinary/affordable meat
tastes the way it used to. Check:
Roasted Plum Tomatoes
Caramelized roast tomatoes have a myriad of uses. Here, we describe
our basic technique and once you’ve tried it and tasted
the tomatoes, you’ll adapt the quantity to fill your needs each and
every time you roast them. Then, in all likelihood you'll have plum
tomatoes ripening on the windowsill year round as we do, ready for
• Plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dried thyme, Dried rosemary or Italian herbs
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
Line shallow baking sheet with foil. Spread tomatoes evenly on
baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle sea salt
and pepper evenly over tomatoes. Crush herbs between the palms of
your hands and sprinkle tomatoes lightly. Roast for 1-1 ½ hours
depending on size of tomato and desired juiciness, checking every
10 minutes during the last half hour. If too much juice remains in
tomato- use the back of a spoon to press down on the surface of
the tomato slightly releasing the juice and then allow to air dry until
2. For a tomato with a texture similar to a sun-dried tomato,
quarter the tomatoes, oil and season as in Step One. Roast the
tomatoes 1¼ hour and; let them rest in an oven
heated by a pilot light; or on top of an oven that is periodically
heated or as we do atop our Garland’s broiler/griddle until
they’ve air dried further with gentle heat, anywhere from 4 hours
to 2 days depending on your preference. If not using immediately,
place in a bag with a little olive oil and refrigerate.
Heirlooms are old varieties of tomatoes that
have not been grown commercially for some time and are in danger of
disappearing from our tables. Over the last decade or so, many small
scale farmers began growing heirloom varieties again in an effort to
make them agriculturally relevant, and, therefore, keep them around.
This was especially beneficial to lovers of good tomatoes. Most
heirloom tomato varieties are temperamental. They must be picked ripe,
are very sensitive, to rain and humidity, don’t store well, and travel
even worse. For commercial growers and retailers, these traits meant
they were weeded out of the mainstream food supply.
The renaissance of heirloom tomatoes in all of their shapes and sizes
make the Farmer’s Market more exciting than ever!! It’s hard to ever
get enough of the taste of tomatoes during their short season!
Everyone has their favorite, tiny heirloom “Gold Rush Currants” or
hefty two-pound “The 1884’s”, survivors of The Great Ohio Valley
Flood. Some prefer pear shaped and golden, some sweet as candy, others
want a little more acidity, of those they remember from childhood.
Part of the fun is the quest ... so many to taste, so
Most folks we know try to grow at least a few plants of their own,
exchanging varieties among friends at harvest to trade tastes and some