Categories
Ad Hoc beef Northern California reviews Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc Sunday Brunch 11.09.08

We went to Ad Hoc for brunch today with some friends (and Ad Hoc virgins). I think brunch is a great way to introduce Ad Hoc to the unitiated. The menu follows the pictures.


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SUNDAY BRUNCH

Deviled Eggs
bibb lettuce salad, fra’mani salami, sweet carrots
shaved fennel, marinated cucumbers, palladin toast

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Rustichella Rigatoncini
with Prime Ribeye Beef

garbanzo beans, baby arugula, shaved parmesean
chanterelle mushrooms

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Blood Orange Granité
sugar cookie
toasted almonds

I’m not really sure if I can pinpoint the real highlight of this meal, but the Blood Orange Granité is a strong contender. Those are strong sentiments when you consider the main course included prime ribeye with chanterelles and pasta and was one of the best entrees I’ve eaten at Ad Hoc.

Categories
bacon Italian recipes

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

A couple months ago, my friend Steph asked me what was in Spaghetti all’Amatriciana, which just so happens to be one of my favorite Italian dishes. The minimalist combination of tomato sauce, fried pancetta and chili flake tossed with noodles (usually spaghetti or bucatini) is comfort food at its simplest and best.


Bucatini All'Amatriciana

I first fell in love with Amatriciana when it was a regular menu item at Buca di Beppo, the chain of kitschy, obnoxious, family-style Italian-American restaurants. I would have been happy replicating something similar to that version, but I was extremely pleased to see that Babbo Ristorante had posted their recipe online.


Italian Tomato Starter Sauce

Mainly due to laziness and because guanciale is not the readily available at Safeway, I took a few liberties with the ingredients. I picked up a box of Trader Joe’s Italian Tomato Starter Sauce, which I felt was basic enough to use instead of making a batch of tomato sauce as outlined in the original recipe. I also picked up some chopped pancetta because I couldn’t find whole or sliced pancetta. You can substitute bacon in a pinch, but you’ll get a much bolder flavor than intended. (which can be good or bad depending on how you look at it…) I used bucatini (thick round noodle with a hole in it) for this attempt, but my wife’s not a big fan of bucatini, so next time I do this, I’ll just use regular spaghetti.

Overall, this dish was really easy to make and the final results were great. If you’re not into spicy food, then adjust the amount of chili flakes to taste. Also, the Trader Joe’s Starter Sauce is a shortcut I’ll gladly take when making this dish again.

Categories
Best of Inuyaki entertainment Italian recipes

Timpáno alla Big Night

Recipe courtesy of Toni’s Garden.

Big Night DVDRemember the movie Big Night and that final climactic dinner scene? The centerpiece of the meal was the Timpani, which is basically a “drum” filled with layers of pasta, meat, sauce, eggs. My wife and I are big fans of the movie, and one day, when we were watching the movie again on cable, I said, hey, let’s make that!

After a little research, I found a couple recipes. One is actually from the family cookbook of Stanley Tucci, who played Segundo in the movie. (Tony Shaloub played his older brother Primo.) You can buy the cookbook at Amazon.com.

The other recipe I found is from the recipe collection at Toni’s Garden. I ended up using it because it was inspired by the Tucci family recipe, and the directions were more in depth. I also thought the Sunday Sauce recipe that accompanied it sounded delicious, and I wanted to try to make the sauce completely from scratch. I’m posting this recipe here so I can include some of the pictures we took while creating this incredible dish.

We’ve made Timpáno twice. The first time, it cost us $100 because we went out and bought top-of-the-line ingredients. The second time it only costs us around $50 because we used cheaper (but still good-quality) ingredients, and it tasted just as good. You’ll save yourself a lot of time if you buy some premade pizza dough, but if you’re adventurous and want to make it from scratch, the dough recipe is also here.

INGREDIENTS
The Dough
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup water
Butter and Olive Oil to prepare the pan

The Filling
2 cups 1/4 x 1/2-inch Genoa salami pieces (approx. 3/4 lb.)
2 cups 1/4 x 1/2-inch sharp provolone cheese pieces (approx. 3/4 lb.)
12 hard-boiled eggs, shelled, quartered lengthwise and then each quarter cut in half to create chunks.
2 cups little meatballs about 1″ diameter
8 cups Sunday Sauce following the note at the beginning of recipe.
3 pounds, ziti or penne, cooked very al dente (about half the time recommended on the package) and drained (18 cups cooked)
2/3 cup finely grated pecorino Romano cheese
4 large eggs, beaten

A Few Notes Before Starting
Make your sauce the day before. The meat that is not being used in the timpáno makes a great dinner the night before, along with a salad. Also, the sauce always tastes better the next day.

The dough for the timpáno is rolled into a 1/16″ thick round, the diameter which is determined by the size of your pan. Add together the diameter of the bottom and top of your pan, and double the height of the pan. The pan I used required a 30-inch diameter circle. I used an enamel basin similar to the one on the right. You can use almost any pan or bowl of similar shape.



Finally, read the recipe through a couple of times until you are familiar with the process. Although there are a lot of steps and preparation involved it is not a difficult recipe. Your experience will be less hectic if you take the time to prepare and measure all of your filling ingredients ahead of time. This is a great job for those guests that want to help! Enjoy!



Making the Dough
By hand

  1. Mix the flour and salt together on a clean , dry work surface or pastry board. Form into a mound and then make a well in the center.
  2. Break the eggs into the center of the well and lightly beat them with a fork. Stir in the olive oil and 3 tablespoons of the water.
  3. Use the fork to gradually incorporate some of the dry ingredients into the egg mixture.
  4. Continue mixing the dry ingredients into the eggs, adding the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time.
  5. Knead the dough with your hands to make a well-mixed, smooth, dry dough. If the dough becomes to sticky, add more flour.
  6. Set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes, or refrigerate overnight.
  7. Bring to room temperature before rolling.

Using stand mixer

  1. Place all ingredients in the bowl except for the water.
  2. Turn the mixer on slowly and add 3 tablespoons of the water.
  3. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together and forms a ball.
  4. Knead the dough on a lightly floured board to make sure it is well mixed.
  5. Set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes, or refrigerate overnight.
  6. Bring to room temperature before rolling.

Finishing the Dough

  1. Flatten out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough to 1/16″ thickness, dusting with flour and turning from time to time, to prevent sticking.
  2. Generously grease the pan with butter and olive oil. Fold the dough in half and then in half again, to form a triangle, and place it in the pan.
  3. Open the dough and gently press it into the pan against the bottom and sides. Allow the extra dough to drape over the sides.

Cooking the Pasta
Cook the pasta in a very large pot of salted water until it is half done (it will finish cooking in the oven). place in a large bowl and toss with 2 cups of the sauce.

Preheat oven to 350F

Filling the Timpáno


  1. Make sure the salami, provolone, hard-boiled eggs, meatballs, and sauce are at room temperature.
  2. Begin layering the Timpáno by distributing 6 generous cups of the pasta on the bottom of the timpáno.
  3. Top with 1 cup of the salami, 1 cup of the provolone, 6 of the hard-boiled eggs, 1 cup of the meatballs, and 1/3 cup of the Romano cheese.
  4. Pour 2 cups of the sauce over these ingredients.
  5. Continue layering with 6 cups of the remaining pasta.
  6. Top with remaining 1 cup of salami, 1 cup provolone, 6 hard-boiled eggs, 1 cup of meatballs and 1/3 cup Romano cheese.
  7. Pour 2 cups of the sauce over these ingredients and top with remaining 6 cups of pasta. (The ingredients should now be about 1″ below the rim of the pan.)


  8. Pour the remaining 2 cups of sauce over the pasta.
  9. Pour the beaten eggs on top.
  10. Fold the pasta dough over the filling to seal completely. Trim away and discard any double layers of dough.


 

Cooking the Timpano

  1. Bake the timpáno until lightly browned, about 1 hour, then cover loosely with aluminum foil and continue baking until the timpáno is cooked through and the dough is golden brown, about 30 minutes. The internal temperature should reach 120F.


  2. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 30-40 minutes. The timpáno should not stick to the pan. If it does, carefully run a knife around the edges to loosen.
  3. Placing a serving platter or cutting board on top of the pan, and then quickly and with confidence, invert the timpáno onto a serving platter.
  4. Remove the pan and allow timpáno to cool another 20 minutes.
  5. Using a long, sharp knife, slice the timpáno as you would a pie into individual portions. Serves 16.


Categories
Italian recipes sauces

Sunday Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Toni’s Garden.

This sauce is the real thing…the all day preparation, slow-cooked sauce. Best made a day ahead. Not only does it taste better the next day, but the layer of fat that has risen to the surface is easily removed.

The important thing is the ingredients. The tomatoes are critical. You can also add things like beef shortribs or braciole or even a small lamb shank. You may also notice that there is no garlic in the sauce…contrary to popular belief, Italians don’t put garlic in everything!

Remember, this sauce is an event. Be prepared to spend several hours in the kitchen, preparing and cooking. Turn on some music, enjoy the aroma and remember to have fun! It’s worth every minute you spend.

Note: If you are making the sauce for timpano, add an additional can of tomatoes, and 2 or 3 pieces of pork. Boneless country-style ribs work very well. The sauce needs to be thinner for timpáno so there is enough moisture for the pasta to finish cooking.

INGREDIENTS
3 large cans (28 oz. each) of San Marzano Tomatoes
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil or bacon/pancetta drippings

Meatballs
Use your own meatballs, fresh or frozen, or make this really good Italian Meatball recipe.

Sausages
Find 6 of the best-quality mild or sweet (it’s the same thing) Italian sausage that you can find. Poke a couple of holes in each one and steam them in a little water until cooked. Brown them well and set aside with the meatballs.

The Sauce

  1. In a large, heavy bottom pan, sauté 1 medium to large, thinly sliced onion in either olive oil, or better yet, bacon or pancetta drippings. Cook until nice and brown.
  2. Add one small can (6 oz.) of tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes with the onions.
  3. Take 3 large cans of good-quality whole Italian (San Marzano) tomatoes and put in your blender for about 2 seconds. Do not overblend, you don’t want tomato juice! Also very important…do not use crushed tomatoes or tomato puree…they just don’t have the same quality.
  4. Add tomatoes to the pot and stir.
  5. Add your cooked sausages and meatballs, bring slowly to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 4 hours, stirring occassionally.
  6. About 1/2 an hour before serving, add 3 or 4 fresh basil leaves.
  7. Serve over your favorite pasta or make manicotti!
Categories
beef Italian recipes

Italian Meatballs

Recipe courtesy of Toni’s Garden.

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef 15% fat (anything less than that is too dry and has no flavor)
1/2 lb. ground pork
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped fine or pressed
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated romano cheese (good cheese is a requirement, no cheating here)
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
1 cup dried plain breadcrumbs (home made if possible)
just a couple of grindings of black pepper—not too much at all

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Combine all ingredients except bread crumbs. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour breadcrumbs over the top of the meat mixture and sprinkle with a little water to moisten, about 1/4 cup.
  4. Mix together until combined.
  5. Roll 1-inch diameter meatballs with your hands. If you want to make them more uniform, use a 1-inch scoop.
  6. Place all the meatballs evenly spaced in a baking dish and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until brown.