Taglierini al sugo d’arrosto aka Spaghetti with Marmite

Years ago I had this authentic rustic dish in an old converted farmhouse restaurant near Turin. It was a very local place and didn’t look like much, but it was packed with truck drivers and a beef roast was cooking in front of an open fire. 
 
They collected the drippings in a pan below the roast and then used them to toss with the pasta. I still remember it as one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. It was called Taglierini al sugo d’arrosto. There are many recipes for it, but how do you make it if you no longer eat meat?

Well, when I found this Spaghetti with Marmite on Nigella Lawson’s blog, I thought this would be great place to start recreating the sugo d’arrosto. With some minor changes and additions it came out absolutely amazing. Basically, we are recreating a roast beef flavor using Marmite, garlic and rosemary. 

Note: This can easily be made vegan by replacing the butter with Earth Balance and the cheese with non dairy Parmesan. 

 
Ingredients
 
1 lb Spaghetti 
3 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
1 1/2 tsp Marmite 
1 clove Garlic, peeled and crushed 
One sprig of fresh Rosemary 
Freshly ground Black Pepper 
Parmesan Cheese
 
Start the water for your pasta. You are going to salt the water, but only about a third of the normal amount, as Marmite is quite salty. Add your pasta to the boiling water and then begin your sauce. 
 
Melt the butter and olive oil in a small sauce pan. Add your crushed clove of garlic, rosemary, black pepper and your Marmite and gently simmer. Just before using, remove the rosemary and garlic. 
 
When your pasta is about two minutes from being finished, siphon off some of the pasta water with a Pyrex measuring cup. Then drain the pasta and put it back into the still hot pan, add your sauce and a bit of the pasta water and cook it for an additional two minutes, adding additional pasta water as needed until the pasta as well coated. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Miso Glazed Pacific Cod

I wanted to find a way to make the incredible Nobu black cod miso, without having to wait three days for it to marinade. Additionally, black cod can be difficult to find and expensive in many regions, so I wanted to try an streamlined version utilizing Pacific cod. Any flaky white fish will work, but fresh cod is perfect. 

This version can be ready in as little as one hour, but I do think it benefits from 4-5 hours of marinating before you cook it. Read through the recipe in its entirety, as there is a hint that will make prepping the glaze a lot easier. I found this recipe on the NYT cooking site and modified it slightly. I was very happy with how it turned out. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs fresh Pacific Cod filets, skinless.
1/4 cup Sake
1/4 Mirin
4 Tbsp White Miso
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil

To prepare your sauce add the mirin and sake into a small saucepan and bring up to a soft simmer for 20 seconds. Reduce the heat to low and add in the miso, then increase the heat to medium and whisk until the miso dissolves. Add the sugar and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let it cool.

Hint: I have never had the miso completely dissolve, but I have a trick to address that issue. Once it has cooled slightly, push it through a fine mesh strainer. Throw away the miso that has not dissolved. Add the toasted sesame oil and set the glaze aside to continue cooling.

Rinse your cod filets and pat them dry. Pour a bit of the glaze on the bottom of your Pyrex dish and lay the filets in and pour the remaining glaze over the top. Cover and pop it into the refrigerator for marinading. Before you are ready to begin, take the filets from the refrigerator and set aside. You don’t want them to be very cold when you start to sear them.

Put the rack in the middle to upper middle part of the oven and preheat to 500F. Not too close to the broiler. Basically you are going to bake it and sear it at the same time. Once the oven is up to temp, kick the broiler on high. This is how you are going to bake and sear at the same time. 


Using a non stick sauté pan that can go into the oven, heat up the pan and add a tiny bit of oil. Take the filets out of the Pyrex dish and knock off any extra marinade, but don’t wipe it off. Put the filets in the sauté pan and sear on one side for 2-3 minutes. 

Transfer the entire sauté pan into the oven and cook until the fish starts to brown and bubble. About 6-8 minutes. You want the fish to be caramelized and flake easily.

Gently transfer to a warmed plate and serve immediately.

Whole Green Moong Dal-Indian Comfort Food

Dal is an Indian staple which can be eaten in the morning, lunch, dinner as a side dish or for a snack. It can be eaten with rice, bread or on its own. Bottom line, it is Indian comfort food. A thick stew of moong (mung) beans, spices and creamy goodness. It is often made with spilt moong dal, but I prefer to use the whole moong dal
 
I had eaten various types of dal in many places around the word, including India and was always impressed with its creaminess, but speaking frankly I wouldn\’t have gone out of my way to make it at home. A friend kept mentioning that he was gong to cook “mug” which was a recipe from his Indian friend and I finally asked what he meant and he said moong dal.
 
I was intrigued and after comparing many recipes from my own cookbooks and online, I came up with this recipe which is nothing short of amazing. The house smelled wonderful while it was cooking and the flavor was hearty, wholesome and a bit spicy and just perfect for a fall afternoon. 

Additionally, it is vegetarian and can easily be made vegan, by just using Earth Balance instead of ghee or butter.
 
 
Ingredients

2 cups of Whole Green Moong Beans, rinsed thoroughly and then soaked overnight in 6 cups of water.
3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
3 Tbsp Earth Balance or Ghee
2 tsp Black Mustard Seeds
10 fresh Curry Leaves, available at any Indian market
1/8  tsp Asofetida or Hing, available at any Indian market.
2 Dried Red Chilies, whole
1 stick of Cinnamon
½ tsp Cayenne or ground Chili Pepper

1 Tbsp Salt
2 tsp Sugar
1 large Onion, chopped and pureed
2 inch piece of Ginger, chopped and pureed
6 cloves of Garlic, pureed
1 – 14.5 oz can of diced or crushed Tomatoes
2 Tbsp Coriander Seeds, ground
2 Tbsp Cumin Seeds, ground
2 tsp Turmeric
Lemon Juice
Cilantro
 
To begin, I really think you should soak the beans overnight or for at least 6-8 hours, but you can do them in a pressure cooker if you are in a rush. 

Make sure to soak the beans in a large pot with a cover which can be used afterwards for cooking them. It just makes it easier. After soaking the beans, pour off the water and then add 6 cups of fresh water. Put it on the stove over medium heat and let it start cooking.
 
Prepare your onion, garlic, ginger, salt, red chili powder and sugar, by pureeing them in a small food processor.
 
Heat your oil and Earth Balance/Ghee in a separate sauté pan or wok and when very hot add the black mustard seeds and cook until they crack open and begin popping. Then add the curry leaves, asafetida, red chilies and cinnamon stick, cook until they start to release their aroma. About 2 -3 minutes. Then add the onion mixture and cook until the onion just begins to lightly brown. About 5-7 mintues.
 
Add the tomatoes, ground coriander, turmeric and cumin powder. Cook for 3-4 minutes and then pour this mixture over into the beans and water and bring all to a soft boil.
 
Cover and cook on a gentle simmer until the green color is gone from the beans and the beans are soft and creamy. add water if needed, but make sure it is thick and creamy, not runny. About 3-4 hours. 
 
Serve with some fresh lemon juice squeezed over top, a bit of cilantro and over basmati rice or with naan bread.

Lucky’s Chili and Garlic Fish

This is such a amazing dish. It has all the spiciness of Sichuan cooking, with that sweet and sour undertone that I really enjoy. 
The story behind it is that we had a wonderful Sichuan restaurant near my old office in City of Industry, California called Lucky Dragon aka Lucky’s. We probably ate this fish accompanied with dry sautéed string beans and ma po tofu at least three times a week. 
 
To make it simpler to prepare, I’ve divided the ingredients into stages. Additionally, any of these ingredients can easily be found at your local Asian or Korean markets. Once you buy them, they last forever in your pantry, so you will be able to prepare many meals from just one buying trip. 
 
In Asian cuisine, the prep time is important, as the cooking time is minimal. You want everything within reach. Try to give the fish at least an hour with the glaze to soak up the flavors. 
 
Note: This could easily be made as a vegetarian/vegan dish by substituting extra firm tofu slices for the fish. 
 
Step One, Fish
3/4 to 1 lb flaky white Fish, like Cod, cut into 4 manageable pieces. 
1 Tbsp Hot Bean Paste
1 Tbsp Shaohsing Wine
 
 
Prep the fish by mixing the wine and hot bean paste together and brush it over the fish and into the fridge. 
 
Step Two, Sauce
2 Tbsp Hot Bean Paste
1 Tbsp low sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Shaohsing Cooking Wine
1 Tbsp Chinkiang or Rice Vinegar 
1 tsp Sichuan Peppercorn, ground. 
2 tsp Sugar
2 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
Mix all sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside. 
 
Step Three, Stir Fry Ingredients
3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 inch Piece fresh Ginger, minced
5-6 dried Whole Chilies 
1/2 Red Pepper, chopped 
3 Green Onions, chopped 
 
 
Chop your vegetables and use a mini blender to mince the garlic and ginger. If you don\’t have a mini blender, this can also be done by hand.
 
Step Four, Slurry
2 Tbsp Water and 1 Tbsp Cornstarch mixed together. Set aside to be used to finish the dish.
 
 
Heat oil in your sauté pan or wok. Add the garlic, ginger and while chilies and sauté until just slightly golden. Add your red pepper and scallions and sauté for 2 minutes. 
 
 
Gently add your fish and allow to cook for about 2 minutes on each side. 
 
 
 
Then add your sauce mixture and baste the fish for another minute depending on the thickness of the fish.
 
To finish, add the cornstarch and water slurry to thicken and serve immediately with steamed brown or white rice.
 

Nobu’s Miso Black Cod

There is no dish that epitomizes Nobu more than Miso Black Cod. Such a simple dish, but flawlessly prepared and finished so that is has a rich crispy caramel glaze.

I must admit finding black cod took some doing, but it was worth the wait. I was able to special order it from Whole Foods and it arrived in two days.

While I was waiting for it to arrive, I did some research and found out that Black cod is not even in the cod family. Black Cod, also known as butterfish or sablefish is an entirely different family of fish, and also when black cod is smoked, it is the deli classic known as sable.

The key to this dish is letting it marinade for a full 2-3 days. I made a slightly smaller recipe, as there were only two of us, but even with only 4 filets, I still recommend the full amount of marinade.

Ingredients

1 cup of Sake
1 cup of Mirin
8 Tbsp White Miso
1/2 cup White Sugar
6 Filets of Black Cod (Sablefish), about 1/2 lb each

Marinade:

Begin by adding the sake and mirin into an average sized saucepan and bring up to a boil. Reduce it by 1/4, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to simmer and add in the miso a bit at a time, whisking as you go. You want the miso to be fully incorporated, so don\’t rush it. Then bring the heat up to medium high and add the sugar whisking constantly so it doesn\’t stick to the pan. Once the sugar is completely melted, remove the pan from the heat and leave it cool to room temperature.


Rinse off the black cod and pat it dry. Add a little of the marinade into the bottom of a large pyrex dish and put the filets skin side down. Pour the rest of the marinade over the fish and cover tightly and put into the refrigerator. Marinade for 2-3 days, turning occasionally.

Preheat oven broiler to 500. Take the filets from the refrigerator and scrape off any excess marinade, but don\’t wipe it off. Once the oven is up to temp, kick the broiler on high and have the rack in the upper middle of the oven. Not too close to the broiler. Basically you are going to bake it and sear it at the same time.

Using a non stick sauté pan that can go into the oven, heat up the pan and add a tiny bit of oil. Put the filets in skin side down and sear for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the entire sauté pan into the oven and cook until the fish starts  to brown and bubble. About 7-8 minutes. You want the fish to be caramelized (see the pic) and flake easily.

Serve with Jasmine or Japanese rice and enjoy.

Note: This recipe is loosely based upon the original one created by Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa