Saturday, April 26, 2008
Pasta Patti Lupone
This is a complex dish with a lot of prep. (You think Patti doesn't rehearse for you) so be prepared to devote some time to making it, the results are worth it.
I must admit I am a lousy photographer. The dish looks much better than it photographs. It is not a tarty made up chorus girl of a pasta, rather an elegant and refined lady and elegant and refined ladies need better lighting and photo skills than I have.
It has two feet firmly grounded, one in Sicily and one in America. Most of the ingredients are commonly found in a Sicilian pantry, the roots as it were with a couple of touches the Sicilians used more commonly when they came to America. Despite Sicilian grandmothers preparing spaghetti with meatballs when they came to America, meatballs and spaghetti is not a Sicilian dish. The Sicilians were poor and they ate a lot of beans, anchovies, artichokes, eggplant and whatever else could be grown in the garden. Meat was uncommon and until the new country most pastas and soups were topped with bread crumbs, instead of cheese. Nothing was thrown away in the Sicilian kitchen.
When you name a pasta after Patti Lupone, it needs to great and completely different from anything one commonly makes. With one of her feet firmly on American soil, Patti gets both sausage and cheese. Her family came to America and now can afford cheese.
This is for four 2 oz servings of pasta. Pasta is actually a small part of this dish. It brims with other flavors.
4 artichokes, leaves removed, the heart chopped into bits. (Scrape those bits of meat off the leaves at lunchtime or while your prep. In Sicily NOTHING gets thrown away).
8 baby artichokes (If you can find them)
2 links HOT Italian sausage casing removed browned
1 small (narrow) egglplant chopped into bits and fried until brown
1 cup cooked bitter greens finely chopped (collards, broccoli rabe etc.)
1/2 cup pine nuts
4 roast chestnuts(you can buy them roasted)chopped into bits
2 cups prepared stock (Chicken, beef, veal, it's all good)
8 cloves garlic chopped
8 black olives chopped
Good splash of olive oil
1 tsp hot pepper flakes
8 ounces strozzapreti della Nonna (or other small pasta, NO Ziti)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup parsley finely chopped.
1. Make a stock. Rachel Ray says you can use canned or jarred and it tastes like you have been cooking all day. Rachel LIES. Get some bones and make a stock. Julia Child can show you how if you have never done one before.
2. Boil and clean your big artichokes.
3. Remove loose leaves from your baby artichokes and boil quickly just until tender. Trim and cut in half.
4. Squeeze the sausage out of the casing. Brown, cool chop into bits.
5. Chop and fry your eggplant, I used peanut oil with a touch of olive so I could get it nice and crisp. Set aside.
6. Chop your chestnuts and olives and set aside.
7. Shred your cheese and chop parsley.
Boil the water for the pasta with plenty of salt. As the pasta cooks saute the garlic and chili pepper in olive oil in a large pan. Remove and drain pasta after 5 minutes. Dump in oil and add two cups chicken stock, put burner on highest heat. Meanwhile saute the baby artichokes cut side down in olive oil to crisp. When the pasta nears al dente toss in everything that you have prepped and stir rapidly when hot turn off heat and place in warm bowls. Top with remaining cheese and parsley. Surround with baby artichokes.
I served this with a Villa Borghetti 2005 Valpolicella Classico which paired nicely with the sweetness of the artichoke.
This pasta take time and prep and everything has to come together at the last moment in order to be wonderful. A pasta worthy of Patti.
It's slap your Mama Rose good.