After my last post, some of you wrote that you, too, were considering a little moderation after the holidays; others wrote that they were dismayed
at the thought that I would give up eating fatty foods and condemn myself to
radishes for the rest of my life. To all of you I can say, fear not – the radish
diet was a momentary aberration, a passing insanity. It was also written the
night before I went in for the results of my yearly physical. Ah.
But now the results are in, my fluids have been analyzed and I’m
happy to say that I’m back in business, back to the old regimen. My doctor
informed me that all my numbers are great – except one – and that number
would be my weight. He read me a thing from a booklet that said that for
a man of my height, I should weigh between 135 and 150 pounds. The last
time I was 135 pounds was when I was eleven and I don’t see much hope in
getting back there soon.
By the way, Jill sliced up those radishes and added them to a green
salad and they were great – very radishy, I thought.
Allora. I got a note from my esteemed friend and chef, Don Michele
di Sicilia, who has his own take on Pasta alla Norcina (Jan. 7th post).
“I add whole-milk ricotta – then there’s no need for cream or eggs –
and lots of fresh-grated nutmeg.” Ricotta is, of course, a great way to go –
texture-wise and taste-wise. Grazie, Don Michele.
Allora. In a post dated Oct. 25th, I admitted to knowing absolutely nothing about single-malt scotch whiskey. So, some friends have invited
us out to the wilds of Brooklyn for a tasting and seminar. He is Canadian – a race of people well known for their prowess with a bottle – and she, I’m told, can match him shot for shot. I will report on this in a future post if we manage to make it back to Manhattan.
Here’s a recipe for a simple meat sauce I made the other night. I was going to make spaghetti Bolognese for the kids but Jill has a little trouble with the milk in that recipe. So I improvised a simple, little meat sauce and
it came out better than expected. Now, let’s see if I can remember it:
4 tbsps olive oil
pinch of crushed red pepper (to taste)
1 large onion – diced
2 carrots – diced
2 stalks of celery – diced
1 fennel bulb – trimmed, outer leaves removed – diced
4 cloves of garlic – chopped fine
a glass and a half of white wine
3/4 lb. ground chuck
3/4 lb. ground veal
1 28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes – remove the ugly black bits
from the root end and shmush them up in a bowl
salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat a heavy pan large enough to eventually serve the pasta
in; add the oil, the hot pepper flakes, the onion, the carrot, the
celery and the fennel, and over medium high heat, sauté until
the onion starts to soften – 3-4 minutes; then add the garlic;
2. Before the garlic browns, while it’s just turning golden, add
the wine and turn up the heat to full; stir and scrape and
reduce the wine;
3. Turn the heat to medium and add the ground meats, the meat
should just lose its red color – not char or burn in any way;
4. As soon as the meat is brown, add the tomatoes, salt and
5. As soon as the sauce reaches a simmer, turn the heat to low
and keep a slow simmer, stirring occasionally, for a half-
6. Boil penne in salted water and serve with sauce; have some
fresh-grated parmigiano on the table – as well as some extra
hot pepper flakes.