Monday, May 16, 2011

Excellent Italian ... Food


Do you like interesting food blogs? Do you like hardcore punk music and/or steely, sardonic post-hardcore? How about world-renowned recording engineers?

Even if you like only one of the above, you might want to check out Mario Batali Voice. It’s a food blog by Steve Albini, who started such bands as Big Black and Shellac; he’s also a renowned and revolutionary recording engineer (perhaps most famously, he recorded Nirvana's "In Utero"). He’s also, apparently, an excellent cook.

His entries are detailed, thoughtful and easily replicable. I also like the bits of personality he throws in, like how he discovered a kind of pasta called trottoli at his local Jewel (for those who are not familiar with Chicagoland grocery stores, it’s your usual big 26-lane supermarket; Stop and Shop or Pathmark for East Coasters, Safeway, Ralph’s and QFC for West Coasters). And he prepared it simply (letting pasta cook for a few minutes in sauce, by the way, is essential):

"I boiled the pasta and made a sauce by sweating finely chopped celery, onion and garlic in butter, then adding some white wine and the packing liquid (tomato juice) from a can of San Marzano tomatoes. I reduced it all down to a fairly dense paste, then added the pasta and a little of the pasta water. Cooking the pasta in the sauce for the last couple of minutes, tossing frequently, I was able to get the sauce to fill the crevices of the noodle just as I had hoped."

So, read Albini’s blog, try his stuff out at home, and put on a copy of “Excellent Italian Greyhound” to put a little pep in your step as you chop onions or sear meat.

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