Tag Archives: pasta

Giulia, Harvard / Porter Sq

Standard

Where: Giulia– 1682 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138

After reading about Giulia on one of those “hot new restaurant” lists, I quickly made a reservation to go with OZT. Excellent. I had a week to pine over the menu and figure out a tactic to convince her to share a few different items with me, which it turned out was just waiting for her to make the suggestion. Great minds think alike.

Giulia is conveniently (for me) located between Porter and Harvard Squares in the old space where Rafiki briefly lived. The layout is similar but with an additional built up seating area (watch your step), open kitchen, large pasta / dining table at the back and more rustic charm. Our server told us that if you walk by Giulia during the day around 3:30 you can peek in and see the chef making all the pasta from scratch on this big table. Not sure I could resist joining if I ever caught that.

We were quickly seated and greeted by our server. He poured over the menu describing half of the menu items in great detail while we stifled our giggles at explanations of fairly well known items like “lardo”.

I still don’t understand this trend in restaurants to have the server describe each item on the menu in flowery detail. One or two items to point out fine, but if you don’t want me to read the menu for myself don’t give me one! I could have taken a nap in the time he took to finish!” – OZT.

After we were left to look over the menu, he came back and told us that he “didn’t want to previously tell us about this other item but is now ready to…”. Um, why didn’t he want to tell us before?! Did he think we weren’t worthy of knowing? Was he watching us to make sure we were sophisticated enough? Why was it some big secret?

We started with the Bruschetta with tuscan kale with house made ricotta and chilies. The bruschetta looked gorgeous with the deep green kale and bright white ricotta with little specks of chili oil. Sadly, the Bruschetta didn’t taste as vibrant as it looked – it was pretty bland. We couldn’t taste any heat, zing, or seasoning from the chilies. Nada. Salt helped a little but the Bruschetta were definitely missing something.

20130118-151254.jpg

We then shared two pasta plates – the lobster agnolotti (umbrian truffles, chives and lobster brodetto) and pappardelle with wild boar (black trumpet, juniper and aged parmigiano), the latter being highly recommended by our server.

The lobster agnolotti, which were like little tortellinis, came out in a delicate broth and looked divine. I couldn’t wait to get in there so I started with this one before we did the midway swap. I was pretty disappointed to find that the lobster flavor was very, very mild. I likely wouldn’t have been able to distinguish the lobster in the pasta at all had it not been for the small pieces (2) of shell I came across.

20130118-151302.jpg

We did the midway swap, and as soon my OZT took a bite of the lobster agnolotti she said that what she had started with, the pappardelle with wild boar, was definitely better. I couldn’t agree more. The pappardelle with wild boar was phenomenal. The pasta was perfect, the sauce rich but not heavy and boar salty and a touch gamey. Delicious. I would like another whole plate of that, please. I polished that off and then dug into the bread to get the rest of the sauce off the plate. This dish made up for the first two.

20130118-151309.jpg

I wasn’t too bothered with getting dessert but why not? Boy am I glad we did. We split the Panna Cotta with madagascar vanilla bean, and poached quince and it was well worth the calories. The panna cotta was nice and firm and the vanilla tickled my senses before I could even take a bite. The quince, which I realize I know far too little about, was light and a perfect contrast to the dessert.

20130118-151315.jpg

Overall, I’d go back to Giulia for a drink at the bar but I don’t think I would go back for dinner, at least not until they settle in and for a few months and work out a few of their kinks. Half of our meal was fantastic but the other half was lacking in flavor. The wait staff were a little too attentive which may just be growing pains, but you really don’t have to reach in front of us mid conversation to fill up our water glasses after each sip. I really wanted to love you, Giulia, but you didn’t give me much of a chance.

How did Giulia measure up? 2.5 Spoons

Amelias Trattoria, Kendall Sq

Standard

Amelia’s Trattoria – 111 Harvard Street ,  Cambridge, MA

Girls night!! I had really been looking forward to this particular girls night out with some of my favorite women in development and was excited to try Amelia’s Trattoria, which happened to be just a couple blocks from my new office. Perfect.

Amelia’s is tucked away on Harvard Street near Kendall Sq just behind Tech Sq. Its unlikely that you would find it just wandering around which is what contributes to the fact that you can actually get a table easily. We made a reservation and trickled in slowly just after. We were promptly seated and had had a very patient waiter as we mulled over the menu while waiting for our party to arrive. The chef even agreed to make us bruschetta even though it wasn’t on the dinner menu.

So we started with the Bruschetta -Grilled foccacia bread, marinated tomatoes, fresh basil & red onion. Personally, I didn’t love this dish. I thought the bread was a little hard and a little too big (hence making it messy). The marinated tomatoes were delicious though, I could eat that right off the plate – who needs bread anyways?

We then split two dishes to get more variety for our buck. We started with the Baby Spinach Salad – Baby spinach, caramelized balsamic shallots, crispy pancetta & Vermont goat cheese. Re-read that. I mean, can it get any better than that combination? This salad was delicious – salty, crispy, tart, and creamy.

We then shared a Lobster Ravioli dish which was one of Amelia’s daily specials that night. If I can give Amelia’s one piece of unsolicited advice it would be to get this item on the menu permanently. It was delicious. The raviolis were tender and meaty and the sauce creamy and bursting with flavor. I loved how saucy it was as there was just enough leftover for me to mop up with some bread. Its a keeper.

Overall, I was impressed with the ravioli and salad dishes but a little let down by our starter. Service was great and I would recommend Amelia’s for lunch, dinner, groups, or a date. The restaurant is small, giving it a cozy feel, and I can imagine sitting by the window watching snow fall with a big hot plate of pasta. I’ll be back.

How did Amelia’s Trattoria measure up? 3.25 Spoons!

 

Amelia's Trattoria on Urbanspoon

Fettuccine with Prosciutto and Orange, Recipe

Standard

Back in December I posted about this Linguine with Prosciutto and Orange recipe I made. It was before I had my fancy new iPhone with flash so my photos were extra terrible but as the dish is extra delicious I had to remake it so here’s an updated photo (and recipe is re-posted below for you)! I love this recipe, its so easy, quick, and requires so few ingredients and tools. Its a great weeknight meal  as well as special enough to share.

Obviously, you can make it with whatever pasta you would like but I prefer a fettuccine or linguine myself. Buon appetito!

Linguine with Prosciutto and Orange

12 oz linguine (or tagliatelle or fettuccine)
1.5 tbsp unsalted butter
2 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into small pieces
zest and juice of one orange
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Cook pasta according to directions, drain about 1 minute before al dente. Reserve 1/4cup of the cooking water.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add prosciutto, saute until browned, about 3 minutes. Add reserved pasta water, orange juice, half of zest, and cream. Bring to a boil. Add pasta, cook stirring until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper (taste first, the cheese and prosciutto already make it very salty – I didn’t need to add any). Stir in cheese, serve and garnish with remaining zest.

Goat Cheese and Spinach Ravioli with Creamy Mixed Mushrooms, Recipe

Standard

I pulled this recipe thinking it would be fun to make fresh ravioli with my dad in town last winter (I’m a little slow with getting around to posting this). It turned out to be some of the most fun I have had in the kitchen in a long time (and I have a lot of fun in the kitchen). My dad and I work well together, even in my 4×6 shoebox of a kitchen. I accredit this to my excellent communication skills and patience but my dad says its because I am bossy and just tell him what to do. Whatever, same thing.

I had made fresh pasta before but never thought of it as a team sport until Mr. S and I were invited over to a dinner party where we all helped prepare dinner. I love the idea of working together to create something and then being able to enjoy it together. Love it. My dad really enjoyed working the pasta machine, which he coincidentally got me for Christmas years ago. We had a great time.

Apart from all the fun we had, this recipe is fantastic. The filling is so good and the sauce pulls it all together. Butter. Wine. Cream. Mushrooms. You can’t go wrong. If you have a little time and are looking to cook as entertainment and not just to put something in your mouth I recommend bookmarking this one.

I can’t wait to make it again!

Goat Cheese and Spinach Ravioli with Creamy Mixed Mushrooms
Recipe from Former Chef

Ravioli Filling
4 oz goat cheese
4 oz fresh ricotta
1 egg
3.25 oz cooked spinach (5 oz raw)
.25 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper

Cook the spinach and squeeze out the excess water. Chop into small pieces. Combine with the rest of the ingredients.

Pasta Dough Recipe
2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
2 eggs
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Many recipes call for putting the flour in a mound on the counter, making a well, and mixing in the egg. I prefer to do it in a bowl because I think it’s a bit easier to control the egg and keep it from spilling out the sides.

Put the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Mix the egg with the olive oil in a small bowl and then pour into the flour well. With a fork, gently start to incorporate the flour into the egg. As the dough comes together, use your hands to gather it into a ball. Once you can get it into one mass, knead it on your work surface for about 5 minutes until the dough becomes smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 1/2 an hour.

Roll out the pasta dough, either by hand or in a pasta machine according to directions. I rolled mine out to the last setting, #8. Do it in small batches because the pasta dries very quickly. Roll out a few strips of dough, put on the filling, cut the ravioli and repeat. I used about 1 tsp of filling per ravioli and cut them with a ravioli cutter like this Round Ravioli Stamp which I’ve had for years. You can use a biscuit cutter, small glass, or knife to cut them as well. Make sure you pinch the edges closed and try to push out any air bubbles. Place the ravioli on a floured sheet pan, dust with flour, and cover with a kitchen as you work.

To cook the ravioli, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tsp salt. Add the ravioli one by one to the pot and stir gently to keep them from sticking together. They will take about 4-5 minutes to cook and generally, when done, will float on top of the water. Remove with a large slotted spoon, or pour (gently) into a colander.

Mixed Mushroom Cream Sauce
4 oz white mushrooms, sliced
3 oz oyster mushrooms, sliced
2 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 oz portobello mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup white wine
6 oz cream
fresh thyme (about 1 Tbsp)
salt and pepper

Heat a large sauté pan on medium and add the butter. Let it melt and add the mushrooms. If your pan is not large enough, you may want to do this in two batches so as not to crowd the mushrooms. You want them to cook, not stew and they will let off a lot of water. When the mushrooms are dry and starting to brown, add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the wine and allow it to reduce by half. Add the cream and reduce by one third. Add the thyme and salt and pepper.

Linguine with Prosciutto and Orange, Recipe

Standard

I can’t remember where I got this recipe from but recently found it in my handy recipe box. Typically, indulgent cheesy creamy pasta dishes are saved for company to minimize leftovers but with a cold in full brew I needed some comfort food stat. I can never remember how the saying goes about starving a cold or fever but even sickness doesn’t seem to affect my appetite, sadly.

I loved this dish. It was really easy to throw together and very comforting. It would be great for a weeknight meal as it only took maybe 20 minutes to make (not counting boiling water). I love the combination of the saltiness of the prosciutto and the citrus from the orange. I cut down on the butter a little (knowing I would be eating leftovers for 3 days) and think it worked just fine (below is the modified recipe). I’m keeping this one on standby for the next time I need an easy but impressive dish. Hope you like it!

Linguine with Prosciutto and Orange

– 12 oz linguine (or tagliatelle or fettuccine)
– 1.5 tbsp unsalted butter
– 2 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into small pieces
– zest and juice of one orange
– 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
– 1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Cook pasta according to directions, drain about 1 minute before al dente. Reserve 1/4cup of the cooking water.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add prosciutto, saute until browned, about 3 minutes. Add reserved pasta water, orange juice, half of zest, and cream. Bring to a boil. Add pasta, cook stirring until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper (taste first, the cheese and prosciutto already make it very salty – I didn’t need to add any). Stir in cheese, serve and garnish with remaining zest.

Side note: if you save about a tsp of orange juice and zest you can add it to your french toast batter in the morning which I think makes it extra delicious.