Jun 30, 2009

Egg Pasta Chronicles: Part I

A section of CheeseB's Pasta Room. Filotea on bottom right.

In order to truly appreciate this pasta, we must first have a little introduction to the unique geography of its origin, a region in Italy known as the Marche (mar-kay). Hilly and lush, here you would find the finest white truffles, or marchigiana beef, or ripest figs, cherries and peaches, or cave-aged formagio di fossa.



The tradition of pasta-making, most notably egg-pasta, is key to the Marche. In the coastal town of Ancona is Filotea, creators of premium dried egg-pasta pastas. To quote their website:

Filotea egg pasta is made using the ancient Campofilone recipe and following, to the letter, the same preparation methods that “grandma” once used. Choosing only the best eggs and flour helps to guarantee a genuine product. Furthermore, the pasta is dried naturally, without the use of artificial dryers. This natural drying process, which can last up to 70 hours, gives it the authentic flavour typical of homemade pasta.
This patient, artisan preparation guarantees a unique product that is extraordinarily light and easily digested, with an excellent ability to absorb sauce that exalts the flavour of all the ingredients.


The knowledgeable folk at Cheese Boutique determine that this is the best of the best, what Italians themselves buy when they want a good pasta and don't have time to make it themselves. CheeseB imports it directly, which means of course it is exclusive to the store. Lucky Torontonians, we can have a little taste of it here at home!

And lucky Oreagano,who shall have a hand at preparing, photographing and devouring their Spaghetti alla chitarra for this blog. That is coming up very soon.


Also, a reminder that Cheese B is CLOSED tomorrow -- Happy Canada Day to all!

Jun 19, 2009

The Pasta Chronicles: Part IV

La Fabbrica Della Pasta di Gragnano: the best pasta artisans from the world's top dried pasta producing region, Gragnano. Imported by, and exclusive to, Cheese Boutique!

As for the best fresh or egg pastas, we shall learn more about those in upcoming posts.


Today's recipe comes straight from CheeseB grand-mère Modesta Pristine. The question was this-- what is the best sauce to compliment the Scialatielli al Limone, pretty lengths of delicate, lemon-infused pasta?

Her instructions:
Begin with some garlic in olive oil, then add cherry tomatoes, but be careful as they are delicate. Add the jar of clams (in clam juice), then it can sit a little and let the flavours mingle. Cook pasta al dente (of course!) and simply top with the sauce. Nothing more complicated than that.

Cherry tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil

I also threw in a splash of white wine, a bit more olive oil, and freshly ground pepper and sea salt. Then a little of the Italian parsley. I hope Modesta would approve-- I suspect that she is a very good cook!


A perfect plate of Pasta

The lemony pasta was delicious and exactly what is needed for a seafood-based sauce such as this. Served with white wine, it was absolutely heavenly. Those jarred clams (from CheeseB) are nice meaty little things, and provide a rich liquid for the sauce. Good to the last drop.

Ingredients:

La Fabbrica Della Pasta di Gragnano Scialatielli al Limone
Jar of clams in their own juice
Cherry tomatoes
Italian Parsley
Garlic
Olive oil
Salt, Pepper

Jun 17, 2009

Jun 16, 2009

Smokin' weekend snap-shots from O&B

O-reagano went on an excursion to Collingwood/Blue Mountain this weekend, and for your viewing pleasure, has brought back her pictures from Oliver & Bonacini Cafe Grill:


Ever-so-briefly seared Yellowfin Tuna with parsley potatoes and ratatoille. And half of a lemon.

Uber-moist half-chicken from the Smoker (pictured below), with cornbread and coleslaw.

The patio features a smoker (from whence above chicken came), as well as a picturesque view for warm spring evenings like this one.

Jun 11, 2009

The Pasta Chronicles: Part III



La Fabbrica Della Pasta di Gragnano l' Arrabiatella pennette al peperoncino (1 package)

2 voluptuous CheeseB chicken breasts

1 medium container of Chef Juan's triple cheese cream sauce

One bunch of broccoli rabe (rapini)

about 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

For part III of our pasta chronicles, we stay with the tried-and-true. Nothing complicated, just pasta, with chicken, and cream sauce. It's elemental.

This colourful pennette turns the water orange as it cooks, and becomes a flavourful base for the creamy sauce. It has a nice "bite" on two levels... piquante and al dente!

The chicken breast was sizzled in some olive oil until lightly browned, then the shallots, salt and pepper were added to the pan as it finished. Meanwhile, the noodles were boiled, the rapini pan-steamed, and the cheesy cream sauce warmed up.

Throw it all together, and there is your quick and delicious meal.

Jun 8, 2009

Food on the Radio

We already suspected that there was a foodie connection with EZ Rock when we saw Humble Howard at the Festival of Chefs on May 23. Well, the connection goes even further, in their weekly program "Foodie Fridays" usually featuring the talented Chef Christopher of Christopher's Gourmet.

You can watch past shows here or tune in to 97.3 FM on Friday mornings. It's the perfect program for any cook who wants to learn a few new tricks, or grab some inspiration-- and they are no stranger to Cheese Boutique ingredients.

In five minutes I learned how to whip up a Beef Wellington. You can too. Foodie Fridays!

Jun 4, 2009

The Pasta Chronicles: Part II

Ricotta and Spinach Cannelloni
Few ingredients and few steps are involved in making this classic dish. The star of the show is
La Fabbrica Della Pasta di Gragnano 'e Paccarun Rigati cannelloni, a ridged pasta perfect for stuffing. As well, CheeseB's Sugo al Pomodoro yummy in-house tomato sauce makes another appearance (please refer to Part I ).

Ricotta-filled cannelloni out of the oven...

A new cheese is used this time, the locally produced Skotidakis goat's ricotta. It's nice and creamy but not overly "goaty" in flavour.

And from the produce aisles: one bunch of fresh, sweet spinach.

The technique I used was to half-cook the pasta tubes in boiling water, then stuff them and bake with sauce and olive oil.

For the filling: cook the spinach, gently squeeze out liquid, and chop. Stir in the container of ricotta, and some salt and pepper. This is about enough to fill all the tubes with a little extra for tasting purposes.

In the baking dish, coat with some olive oil and then a layer of sauce. Arrange the tubes with about a half inch room for expansion. I put their ends together thinking that it could help hold in the filling. Then just layer on more sauce and some grated hard cheese, and in it goes.

As the pasta was already preboiled, it does not need to bake for very long. I baked it at 385 F for twenty minutes and then cranked up the broiler for about ten minutes to brown. When it began to dry out on top I spooned on more sauce from the bottom, and added more grated cheese.

... And ready to devour-- just add salad and wine!


Jun 1, 2009

Closing Weekend: Festival of Chefs 2009

Saturday, May 30: Mike Steh
reds bistro

It was a delicious month of May at Cheese Boutique at the 6th Annual Festival of Chefs. A big kudos to all the chefs, restaurants and wineries who participated. Also, a large thank you to all the festival goers. You came, you saw, you ate. We hope you had a yummy time, thank you for helping making this year such a success!

Mike Steh and assistant


Smoked Whitefish paté

Smoked whitefish paté (from Purdy's Fishery) was served with pickled wild leek, pickled asparagus, sweet pea relish, mustard green, and reds bistro in-house made petite fort foccacia.... and a sprinkle of paprik.



At the Presentation table: Ken Shaw with family


Sunday, May 31: Jonathan Gushue, Langdon Hall

Langdon Hall closed out the 2009 Festival of Chefs with Gushue and his team creating a scrumptious smorgasbord gastronomic delights. There was such an array of food you could easily eat a full lunch, which many people did… and we do mean many. The sunny Sunday brought in quite the crowd, which left lines meandering around the various food stations. Though the words “long lines” often conjure up irritation, festival goers seemed perfectly content sipping their paired wine while waiting for more food and chatting with their neighbours. While they weren’t waiting in the tented demonstration area, people explored the epicurean emporium that is Cheese Boutique.

Idiazabal cheese, Visichiose chilled Soup with a Walnut Chanterelle salsa


Gushue at Chef's Statin with Beef Tenderloin with chevre noir caper vinaigrette


Pastry Chef Sarah Villamere

The chocolates were:
White Chocolate filled Rhubarb, honey with herbs
White Chocolate filled with Langdon Hall buttermilk with wild ginger
Milk chocolate with fleur de sel (sea salt) and black truffle paste
Dark chocolate filled Langdon Hall Blue Cheese with candied pecans

James Bradley mans the bread station

The Bread Station offered Manchego cheese, grape tomato dunked in herbs and olive oil, with Langdon Hall made Pan Rustique bread and Langdon Hall in-house churned butter.


At the Presentation table: Anna Olson of the Food Network and husband Michael Olson

...see you next year for the 7th annual Festival of Chefs!