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Gifts for Cooks: 'Pasta Sfoglia'

Pastasfoglia There's a corner restaurant at 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue on the upper-Upper East Side in New York that always reminds me of having lunch with a best friend. It's Sfoglia, with its wood floors, carefully mismatched tables and chairs, and  gauzy curtains. Hanging from the ceiling is a pretty glass chandelier and hanging on a wall is an Italian pasta chart. It might be cold outside, but it's warm inside where the crunchy crusted bread is baked fresh, and we eat a lot of it before our favorite dish, a big plate of pasta alla Bolognese to share, arrives at the table.

When the "Pasta Sfoglia" cookbook by Ron and Colleeen Suhanosky (chef-owners of Sfoglia restaurants in Nantucket and New York) came out this fall, it included the recipe for that ragu Bolognese. In it is a saute of garlic, chicken liver puree, ground pork, lamb, veal and Italian sausage, cooked with red wine, tomatoes and rosemary for a few hours in the oven. It's cooled then refrigerated overnight so that the flavors meld, and the next day a full cup of cream is added along with a little of the pasta cooking water. At Sfoglia, which means uncut sheet of pasta, it's served over fresh pappardelle, the recipe for which is also in the book.

In fact, there are plenty of fresh pasta recipes: duck egg fettucine and tajarin (the local version of tagliatelle in Alba), orecchiette, buckwheat pappardelle, ricotta cavatelli, and a few variations of spaghetti (including farro and whole wheat). Other chapters are dedicated to filled pasta, gnocchi (yeah, a whole chapter for gnocchi), grains and dry pasta. One of the recipes in the dry pasta chapter is fusilli al telefono; it's no two-day Bolognese, but it is plenty delicious, with a pound of mozzarella di bufala stirred into a sauce of San Marzano's and lots of fresh basil. It's called "telefono" because of the lines of melted fresh cheese that help conduct sauce to pasta. 

-- Betty Hallock  

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Photo credit: Ben Fink / "Pasta Sfoglia" by Ron and Colleen Suhanosky with Susan Simon, Wiley (2009)

 
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