Episode 114: Italian Style with guest Andrew Carmellini

My guest this week is Andrew Carmellini, Chef at restaurant A Voce in New York City. The restaurant has received 3 stars from the New York Times and Chef Carmellini was the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef New York in 2005. Carmellini who has worked in Italy and traveled widely to experience the world’s cuisines says that his food is inspired by the seasonal simplicity of traditional Italian food. Andrew and his wife, Gwen Hyman, have just completed their first cookbook, Urban Italian: Simple Recipes and True Stories from a Life in Food, Bloomsbury USA, 2008. Go to AvoceRestaurant.com for more information.

Recipes

  • Chicken Leg Cacciatore with Sweet Peppers, Fennel and Green Olives
    Recommended side dishes: Green Salad and Roasted Potatoes
    Recommended Wine Pairing: Pinot Grigio, Merlot
  • Grilled Swordfish with Salsa Giallo
    Recommended side dishes: Broccoli Raab with Garlic
    Recommended Wine Pairing: Chardonnay or Pinot Noir
  • Risotto Terrazzo-man Style
    Recommended side dishes: Green Salad and Crusty Bread
    Recommended Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc or Merlot
  • Tips

    Brining the chicken legs will make them moister and more flavorful once cooked. Whisk together 1 quart of water, 1/4 cup kosher salt, and 1/4 cup honey until the salt has dissolved; add the chicken and marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature. Remove from the brine, rinse and pat dry.

    Adding red pepper to hot oil brings out flavor and heat

    Swordfish needs a bit more cooking than softer fleshed fish. It is not suited to medium rare. However, it is a good idea to take it off the grill before you think it is done because the temperature will continue to rise once it is out of the pan.

    Allowing the rice to toast in a little oil before adding liquid helps the grains to stay separate while cooking.

    Tools

    For information about the Bench Scraper, see Episode 104.

    If you don’t have the incredible knife skills of Andrew Carmellini and don’t feel your garlic will come out thin, “goodfellow’s style” you could invest in a truffle slicer which does a beautiful job of shaving garlic. We use it more for garlic than for truffles in my kitchen at Gourmet. You can find a truffle slicer at Sur La Table.

    Ingredients

    Sicilian oregano has more flavor than most varieties of oregano. You can find it fresh in Italian markets and dried at spice and gourmet shops. You can order it by mail from Buon Italia Market in New York’s Chelsea Market.

    Pepperoncini are small red peppers available fresh in gourmet markets but widely available dried and crushed as the red pepper flakes we all like to put on pizza.

    There are three varieties of rice used for risotto in Italy, Carnaroli, Violone Nano, and Arborio. Arborio is the most available outside of Italy and is an especially good choice because it releases lots of starch and makes a creamier risotto. All three are available on line from Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, MA.