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Linguine with White Clam Sauce

2 tablespoons plus ⅔cup olive oil
2 heaping tablespoons minced garlic
½ cup thinly sliced garlic
24 large cherrystone clams (or a few more, if necessary-see NOTE)
12 ounces linguine
4 teaspoons finely minced parsley

1. Place 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, non-reactive sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the 2 tablespoons of minced garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is light golden-brown (about 2 minutes.) Remove garlic and reserve at room temperature. Spill oil out of pan and wipe clean with a dry paper towel.

2. Return pan to medium heat. Add the ⅔cup of olive oil and the ½ cup of thinly sliced garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the=2 0garlic is just starting to color (about 3 minutes.) Remove pan from heat and reserve, covered, at room temperature, for at least 4 hours (and no more than 8 hours).

3. Either ask your fishmonger to shuck the clams for you, reserving the juice, or shuck them yourself. Cut the clam bellies into coarse chunks (about 3 pieces per belly.) When done, you should have about 2 cups of fresh clam juice and about 1⅓ cups of minced clams. You will need all of the clams, and 1½ cups of the clam juice. If you have less, you must make up the difference by shucking a few more clams.
4. When ready to cook, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the linguine, and cook until al dente, about 8 or 9 minutes.

5. Towards the end of the linguine cooking time, place the reserved pan with the thinly sliced garlic over medium-high heat. As soon as it starts to sizzle, add 1½ cups of the fresh clam juice (reserve the rest for another use.) Whisk it together with the oil, bring almost to a boil, then turn heat off.

6. When the linguine is done, drain it in a colander. Return it to the pasta cooking pot over medium-high heat, along with the 1 1/3 cup of minced clams. Toss in the pot for 1 minute. Add the hot clam juice with oil and garlic and toss for 1 minute more. Divide the linguine with white clam sauce among 4 wide, shallow bowls, making sure to evenly divide pasta, clams and sauce. Sprinkle each bowl with a quarter of the reserved minced garlic, and with 1 teaspoon of minced parsley. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

NOTE: Though this recipe calls for 24 cherrystone clams, the really important ingredients are 1⅓ cups of coarsely chopped clams, and 1½cups of fresh clam juice. I specify 24 cherrystones, because I know that they will usually yield what you need. But if you only have access to smaller clams, or larger clams, don’t hesitate to use those-as long as you extract 1⅓cups of coarsely chopped clams, and 1½cups of fresh clam juice. If you have no access to fresh clams-only to canned clams and bottled clam juice-you can still make this dish using the same proportions of meat and juice. It just won’t have the same level of sea-bright flavor.




Beef Stroganoff

“My mum saved this dish for special occasions since beef fillet was so expensive,” recalls Gordon Ramsay of his youth in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, where tough braising steak was the usual fare. Yet even with 12 Michelin stars and several hit TV series such as Hell’s Kitchen under his belt, Ramsay still remembers that first experience of “melt in the mouth tenderness. It made me realize quality ingredients speak for themselves and need very little fuss.” Chef
Ramsay still cooks this dish for his four children, sometimes as a decadent filling for baked potatoes. While his favorite childhood pairing was milk—with everything—these days Ramsay would sip Rosemount Diamond Label Shiraz with this dish, or Rosemount Balmoral on special occasions.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt, pepper to cover beef
1 pinch sweet paprika
1¼ pounds beef tenderloin, cut into thin, 1-inch strips
½ cup unsalted butter
10 ounces small white mushrooms, quartered
5 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups water
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped chives

In a large skillet over a high heat, heat one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Season half the portion of beef with salt, pepper and paprika, then flash fry very quickly so that the beef is browned but still pink in the center. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining olive oil, seasonings and beef.
Return skillet to heat and add the half cup of butter. When it’s just starting to brown, add mushrooms and onions, stirring for about ten minutes until brown and soft. Add the garlic and brown gently for about  two minutes, then add tomato paste and flour and cook for a further four minutes. Pour in the wine and stir for another two minutes, then add two cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about two to three minutes until it starts to thicken, then add the sour cream, mustard, lemon juice, parsley and chives. Check seasoning and add more if needed.

Place beef and any juices back in the pan and reheat gently so as not to curdle. Serve with buttered noodles or plain steamed white rice. Serves six.

Lidia and Joseph Bastianich
Mother’s Chicken and Potatoes (with My Special Touches)

My Mother’s Chicken and Potatoes (with my special touches)
Grandmother Erminia’s caramelized Chicken and Potatoes is Joe Bastianich’s favorite platter of (as the restaurateur and winemaker describes it) “sticky, gooey goodness.” This dish, which crowns the four-generation Bastianich holiday table, has roots in the family’s native Istria, Croatia, a region which was once a part of Italy. “Food brings us closer and identifies who we are,” maintains his mother, Lidia Bastianich, the author, TV star and cofounder of restaurants such as Felidia and Del Posto. Lidia vividly recalls helping at the trattoria where her grandparents produced olive oil and wine, distilled grappa and cured their own meats. If Lidia’s favorite childhood tipple was a traditional bevanda— sugared water with a spoon of vinegar or wine—today she pairs this chicken with a Bastianich Vespa Bianco. Joe feels the dish calls for the caramel notes of his winery’s Tuscan La Mozza “I Perazzi” Morellino di Scansano.

2 ½ pounds chicken legs or assorted pieces (bone-in)
4 to 6 ounces sliced bacon (five or six slices)
½ cup canola oil
½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1 pound red bliss potatoes, unpeeled, preferably no bigger than two inches across
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or more
2 medium-small onions, peeled and quartered lengthwise
2 short branches fresh rosemary with plenty of needles
1 or 2 pickled cherry peppers, sweet or hot, cut in half and seeded

To prep and brown the chicken, potatoes and bacon:
Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Trim excess skin and all visible fat. Cut drumsticks from thighs. If using breast halves, cut into two small pieces. Cut bacon slices in half crosswise and roll each strip into a neat, tight cylinder. Stick a toothpick through the roll to secure it; then cut or break the toothpick so only a tiny bit sticks out (allowing the bacon to roll around and cook evenly).

Pour canola oil into a skillet and set over high heat. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon of salt on the chicken, covering all sides. When the oil is very hot, lay chicken pieces skin side down an inch or so apart. (Watch out for oil splatters.) Don’t crowd the chicken: if necessary, fry in batches with similar pieces (like drumsticks) together.

Drop bacon rolls into the oil around the chicken, turning and shifting them often. Let chicken pieces fry in place for several minutes to brown the underside, then turn and continue frying until they’re golden brown on all sides: this may take seven to 10 minutes for drumsticks, possibly just five minutes for the breast. Remove from oil as soon as they are golden. Continue to cook the bacon rolls until lightly crisp but not dark. Adjust heat to maintain a steady sizzling and coloring.

Meanwhile, rinse and dry the potatoes; slice each one through the middle on the axis that gives the largest cut surface, then toss them with olive oil and the other ¼ teaspoon of salt. 

When all the chicken and bacon are cooked and out of the skillet, pour off the frying oil. Return skillet to medium heat and add all the potatoes cut side down in a single layer. Add olive oil to the skillet; drizzle a bit more oil if the pan seems dry. Fry and crisp the potatoes for about four minutes to form a crust, then move them around the pan, still cut side down, until they’re brown and crisp: this should take seven minutes or more. Turn them over and fry another two minutes to crisp their rounded skin sides.

To assemble the dish:
Still over medium heat, toss the onion wedges and rosemary branches around the pan with potatoes. If using cherry peppers cut the seeded halves into ½-inch-wide pieces and scatter them into the pan.

Return leg and thigh chicken pieces (not the breast) along with any chicken juices that have accumulated to the pan, along with the bacon rolls. Raise the heat slightly, carefully turning and tumbling the chicken, potato, onion, bacon and pepper pieces to heat and coat them with pan juices. (Take care not to break the potato pieces.) Spread everything out in the pan with potatoes on the bottom as much as possible to continue their crisping, and cover.

Return heat to medium and cook for about seven minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, then uncover and again tumble the chicken, potatoes (and bacon rolls). Cover and cook another seven minutes or so, then add breast pieces. Give everything another tumble and cook covered for ten minutes more.

Remove the cover, turn pieces again and cook in open skillet for about ten minutes to evaporate the moisture and caramelize everything. Taste a bit of potato (or chicken) for salt, and sprinkle more as needed. Turn the pieces now and then; when they are all glistening and golden and potatoes are cooked through, remove skillet from stove and bring it right to the table. Serves four or more.


Guy Fieri
Jimbo’s Hambo
(Ham with mustard glaze and pineapple salsa)

“My dad Jim was renowned for this crazy mustard concoction he smeared on holiday ham,” recalls spiky-haired California chef Guy Fieri, the popular host of Food Network shows such as Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. “When I made it for him the first time he was pretty proud.” Guy admits his current version, which he named in honor of his dad, is more “dialed in” or professional: “I use more cloves and cook it a bit longer, plus I make gravy out of the drippings.” Fieri likes Sauvignon Blanc with these assertive flavors, but as a child, “every time the Champagne popped, we kids expected our cups to be filled with sparkling apple juice.”

For the Ham:
Full hind leg of Berkshire ham, cooked
20 – 30 cloves 
Smoke chips, hickory soaked (enough to cover bottom of smoking pan.)

For the mustard glaze:
½ cup yellow onions, minced
2 ounces garlic, minced
2 ounces yellow mustard
2 ounces Dijon mustard
1½ tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon pepper
1 ounce honey
4 ounces pineapple juice
3 ounces apple juice
1½ ounces Cognac

For the grilled fruit salsa:
2 cups pineapple, fresh
2 cups mango
1 cup red onion, minced
1 red jalapeno pepper, seeded and deveined
1 ounce honey

Prepare the mustard glaze: In a saucepan, sauté onion and garlic until translucent. Add mustards, brown sugar, pepper and honey. Reduce for two to three minutes. Deglaze with pineapple juice, apple juice and Cognac, cook until reduced about 20%.

Prep the ham: To make diamonds on top of ham, slice diagonally approximately 1 ½ -2 inches deep from left to right and then right to left. Press a clove in each point of the diamonds. Liberally apply mustard glaze. Let ham sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Cook the ham: Preheat grill or oven to 350 degrees. Place chips in smoking pan and let grill or oven fill with smoke. Place ham in a roasting pan on a cooking rack so ham does not sit flat. Place ham in oven off the heat source (indirect cooking), baste with glaze and cover with foil. Add a small amount of water to base of pan to keep drippings from burning. Cook ham for two hours, remove foil cover and let cook for another 30 minutes, while continuing to baste. When browned, remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes. 

Prepare the grilled fruit salsa: Grill pineapple and mango slices until slightly brown and caramelized. Remove and let cool, then cut fruit into ½” by ½” pieces. Finely dice onions and jalapenos. Toss everything in bowl with honey.

Prepare gravy and serve: Move ham to a serving platter. Pour drippings from roasting pan into mixing bowl. Combine drippings with remaining mustard glaze and stir. Serves eight.




Cat Cora
White Chocolate Pecan Pie

Food Network “Iron Chef” Cat Cora loved to host tea parties as a child in Jackson, Mississippi, especially since the pre-party baking sessions earned the undivided attention of her beloved Grandmother Alma, a retired Army nurse Captain. “It was our ‘girl time,’” she recalls. During the holidays when Alma turned out pies, Cora eagerly awaited that first big piece of her favorite, White Chocolate Pecan. “I still do as an adult,” declares Cora, who now has four sons of her own, since “it reminds me of all the great holidays I spent with her.” While Cora now replaces her childhood milk with rosé wine, either a Bandol or a sparkling, she won’t alter Alma’s recipe: “I would never mess with perfection!”

For the pie crust (makes a double crust for a 9-inch pie):
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons water

For the filling:
2 cups halved pecans
1⅓ cups white chocolate or vanilla flavored chips
3 eggs
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¾ cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Prepare the crust: In a food processor, mix flour, powdered sugar and salt. Add butter and cut in using on/off pulses turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, whisk one yolk at a time with water until blended. Add to processor by tablespoonful and process until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate one hour. 

Prepare the filling and assemble: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out the bottom crust and arrange in a 9-inch pie pan. Layer pecans and chips in the crust-lined pan.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add brown sugar, syrup and flour and blend well. Pour over white chocolate-pecan mixture. Bake for 25 minutes then cover with spray-coated foil. Bake for another 10 or 15 minutes until crust is golden brown and filling is set in center. Cool completely, approximately 2 hours. Store in refrigerator. Serves 12.




John Ash
My Grandmother’s Apple Cheese Tart

John Ash hit the ground running in 1980, when he opened John Ash & Company in Sonoma County, one of the earliest California-cuisine, wine-centered restaurants. He grew up with his grandparents on a ranch in Colorado. “In retrospect, my grandmother planted the cooking seed in me,” he says. One of his favorite recipes was her twist on the classic Midwest-style warm apple pie topped with a slice of cheddar cheese. “Instead of simply putting a slice of cheese on top,” he says, “she made a streusel topping that incorporated freshly grated cheese. Two other interesting twists she added were to barely sweeten the crust and add either lemon zest or cider vinegar to give it a contrast to the sweet filling. She also added a little white pepper to the filling to give it interest.” As for a wine pairing, Ash recommends “something luscious and sweet, like a Muscat or Riesling. I also love Quady Essencia with this.” Every time he makes this pie (usually during the holidays), John Ash thinks of his grandmother.

For the crust:
6 ounces (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into half-inch bits and well chilled or frozen
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (or 2 tablespoons cider vinegar)
1 whole egg, lightly beaten
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water, or as needed

For the filling:
6 cups tart green apples, peeled, cored and sliced 
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
¾ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
½ cup brown sugar (or to taste)
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
⅓ cup golden raisins (optional), soaked in brandy or Grand Marnier if desired

For the topping:
½ cup sugar 
½ cup flour
3 ounces cold unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into small bits 
¾ cup dry jack, asiago, Parmesan or sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ cup finely chopped toasted almonds

Make the crust: Place the butter, flour, sugar, salt, zest and egg in a food processor and pulse four or five times until the mixture resembles very coarse cornmeal. Add water a tablespoon or two at a time and pulse until dough holds together when pressed in your hand.  If not, add more water sparingly. Gather and gently press dough together into two cakes, wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour before using. Roll out one of the dough cakes on a lightly floured surface and line a lightly buttered and floured nine-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Prick crust well. Remaining dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for up to four months. Makes two 9-inch tart shells or one double crust pie.

Make the filling: Mix all ingredients together well and fill the tart shell evenly.  (Note:  You’ll sometimes be instructed in recipes to place the apples in acidulated water to keep them from browning while you’re cutting them up. Don’t do this! They absorb water, dilute the flavor of the apples and make the crust soggy when the water leaks out during baking.)

Make the topping: Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse two or three times until it forms a coarse crumbly mixture. It should be loose. Scatter topping evenly over the filled tart.

Finish the pie: Bake in pre-heated 350-degree oven for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the apples are tender. Serve warm or at room temperature garnished with lightly sweetened whipped cream if desired. Makes one 9-inch tart, serving 8.

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