Monday, June 11, 2007

Pappardelle with Papa (and Mama)

By Erin

Last Sunday, it was just me and the BCD parents since Xani was in Massachusetts/Connecticut for business (and to see other Podolnys, including our fellow blogger cousin, Alexis, and to eat heart-stopping hamburgers). Here was the Italian-themed menu of the evening:
  • Cocktails
  • Mom's Famous Caesar Salad
  • Garlic Bread
  • Pappardelle with Dad's homemade spaghetti sauce and Italian sausage
  • Ice cream
For our cocktails, Mom had a cosmopolitan, and we used Dad's recipe: two parts vodka, one part triple sec, one part cranberry juice, and the juice of one lime. Shake with ice and serve with a twist of lime.
Dad had his usual (Johnny Walker Black on the rocks with a twist) and I had Lambic Belgian Beer, framboise (raspberry) flavored. Yum. (Note: I loved this beer so much that I ordered it at The Brewer's Art, a Belgian bar/restaurant in Mt. Vernon, later in the week - it was just as delicious but very expensive!)
After cocktails we got started on the cooking. For the first time, I tried my hand at my Mom's famous Caesar salad dressing. It is by far the best Caesar dressing I've ever had, and for those of you who've had it, you know I'm not just exaggerating!

Now, I would normally disclose the full ingredient list, amount of each ingredient, and the methodology for the recipe. However, this is a top secret family recipe so I will only dislose the ingredients. (We lawyers are paranoid about our intellectual property!) If you really want to know, email me and maybe I'll tell you.

Anyway, for the dressing, we used garlic, anchovies, dry mustard, hot sauce, parmesan cheese, eggs, olive oil, and lemon juice. Then I tossed the dressing with romaine hearts. (Tip from Mom: make sure the lettuce is very dry when you serve the salad to keep the greens crisp and to not dilute the dressing.) We did not have any croutons but we had crunchy garlic bread (see below) so that was a fine substitute.

Next, we made the pappardelle with sauce and sausage. I really should say "pappardelle" because my Dad has a trick where he "makes" pappardelle by breaking up lasagne noodles into approximately 2-inch lengths, and then cooks in salted boiling water like you would with any pasta. Amazingly, it is pretty much just like real pappardelle!

I hate to say it again, but my Dad's spaghetti sauce is yet another top secret family recipe! The ingredients are olive oil, garlic, bell peppers, carrots, celery, onions, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, spices, hot pepper flakes, and I'm sure a bunch more ingredients I am forgetting. In any case, it is GOOD. The best spaghetti sauce I've ever had.

My Dad uses Mario Batali's sauce application technique where he cooks the sauce (or in our case that evening, heats the sauce through) in a shallow pan, and then adds the almost-cooked pasta to the sauce and tosses it together to finish cooking the pasta and incorporate the sauce. This results in perfectly cooked pasta with a light coating of sauce (instead of a big pile of sauce on top of the pasta), which is how it is served in Italia (or so I'm told).

We also sauteed up some sausages Dad got from the Lexington Market, a wonderful Baltimore landmark and one of the oldest markets in the country (it began in 1782 in the same site as it is located today).

We served the sausage on top of the pasta, with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Lastly, we made garlic bread. It's a very simple recipe: we defrosted a few slices of sourdough bread that we had in the freezer, then rubbed garlic on the bread, drizzled it with olive oil and hit it with a little salt, and then put in the broiler for a few minutes. Tip: WATCH THE BROILER LIKE A HAWK! It is Xani's arch-nemesis after one too many scorched crostini. But Dad is an old pro and the bread came out great.

Keeping with our new tradition, we had some Haagen Dazs Extra Rich Light ice cream for dessert. Maybe the HD people will see this and send over some free samples since we are plugging them so much [eyebrows raising]?

It was another lovely meal with Mom and Dad - I am so lucky to get to cook with them every week!

Happy eating,



  1. wow, looks yummy! I'm sad I couldn't join for the hamburgers, although my stomach is probably happy I didn't.

  2. I'm drooling-- I hate missing Sunday dinners! Luckily, I know the secret recipes... :)

  3. Another great post! I have to say, I am really enjoying the great foodie pics and recipes. I'm so jealous of all your family meals! You guys are totally inspiring me to get back in the kitchen (once I get back on my feet :)

  4. I, sadly, have suffered from not watching the broiler carefully many a time....

  5. I agree with all the above. I really love the step-by-step photos

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