Macarons are always some of the most attractive confections in the display case of a bakery or sweets shop. The brightly colored small cookie “sandwiches” are often some of the most expensive treats per bite too, often being at least a couple of bucks for something that’s just a couple of bites. Why are they so expensive? They’re relatively labor-intensive and require a bit of specialized technique – something I definitely have not considered experimenting with at home.

So when Hong & Kim of The Ravenous Couple invited me and a few friends over for a macaron party/class of sorts, I jumped at the chance. I mean, when else was I going to get the opportunity to learn how to make macarons? Plus, it would be the perfect opportunity to break in my new KitchenAid mixer.

When we arrived, we were greeted with a properly organized set-up. Various stations around the kitchen were put together for each stage of the macaron-making process from the weighing station to mixing to sifting to macronage to piping, and finally to the feet station.


Kim started by demonstrating with the first batch, then we split up to make our own. We utilized a recipe from BraveTart, a huge resource on macarons (and everything else sweet).

We spun the dry ingredients in a food processor then sifted them; egg whites and sugar were mixed in a few stages (for a total of 10 minutes) to get the consistency we wanted. This is where the food coloring and flavor extracts would be applied as well, the step which would make each of our macaron batches unique.


Dry ingredients were folded into the meringue, a step called macronage.


Finally, the mixed ingredients were piped onto a silpat baking mat, very carefully. A template was key for us beginners!



Once they rested and settled, they were ready for the oven and the feet station. I had no idea what this was coming in, but the feet are the distinct ruffled edges around the circumference of the cookie, the part with a very light and airy texture. Apparently, good feet are hard to consistently develop but I’m happy to say each of our batches developed them!


Once cooked, the cookies were ready to be sandwiched with the filling of our choice.



Here’s a tally of some of the ones we made that day:

Coffee with chocolate ganache.


Pistachio with nutella.


Meyer lemon with fresh meyer lemon curd.


Ube with ube jam.


Rose with chocolate ganache, orange with fresh blood orange curd, and durian (not my favorite!) completed the full lineup.

These were pretty tasty if I do say so myself. To be honest, I was kind of surprised how they turned out given that all of us were complete newbies to the process. I thought we achieved a nice, light cakey shell with a soft but yielding texture.  While I would like to say that making these was easier than I expected it to be, most of that was attributable to the careful step-by-step guidance we received. I’m pretty sure these would’ve been terrible had I tried to make them by myself. Thank you to Hong & Kim for hosting this party and showing us the ropes!

The Ravenous Couple: Macaron Class in Session

Tar & Roses (Santa Monica, CA)

Tar & Roses
602 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Dining date: 2/16/12

tar & roses exterior

Tar & Roses opened late last month, one of the bigger restaurant openings so far this year. Andrew Kirschner is the chef behind Tar & Roses, formerly the executive chef of nearby Wilshire Restaurant. He brings with him food that’s been described as “rustic new American,” centered around a wood burning oven. A different type of wood is burning in the oven each day, marked on each menu. On this evening, it was oak (almond, olive, walnut, apple were the other options) – to be honest I don’t really know the difference (and how it impacts the menu from one night to the other), but it was kind of cool to see.

I was invited to come in for dinner; the restaurant was already on my radar so I was happy to do so. The menu is fairly extensive between charcuterie & cheese, snacks, vegetable side dishes and a host of small and large plates – we gave the kitchen the freedom to send out whatever they wanted.

popped corn crisp bacon, brown sugar, chili


We started with this popcorn dish, accented by an addicting combination of bacon, brown sugar and chili. Quite nice!

short rib chickpea pancake, pico de gallo

short rib

Next, the kitchen sent out this off-menu item. The chickpea pancake was an interesting replacement for a corn/flour tortilla, topped with tender, meaty chunks of short rib and a bright pico de gallo.

chicken oysters on a stick tamarind

chicken oysters

Of all of the dishes on the menu, I specifically requested this one. I mean, they’re chicken oysters! Tender and succulent pieces of the chicken oysters (the nub of meat connecting the thigh to the breast) were charred in the oven; its smoky flavor was complemented by the sweet tamarind sauce. Pretty delicious.

wood roasted english peas sea salt

english peas

Kind of like edamame, but a little sweeter with a fresher, more grassy flavor.

charred little gem lettuce pickled sardine, burrata, dijon

gem lettuces

The smoky char of the oven was a nice complement to the lettuce; creamy burrata was a cool, fresh pairing while the pickled sardine added a touch of acid.

balsamic glazed ribs chili, fried basil


These ribs weren’t quite as meaty as I expected; rather they were pretty bony. The flavors were good though, with a sweet glaze and an expectant pork flavor. Some heat from the chilies and fried basil leaves added extra depth of flavor.

charred octopus yukon potato, salsa verde, piquillo pepper aioli


I liked the octopus, tender with the smoky char of the oven. The salsa verde was integral in brightening up flavors.

wood fired duck egg gigante beans, tomato, guanciale

duck egg

A bunch of savory flavors at play in this dish – runny egg, creamy beans, fresh tomato and the salty guanciale. To bring it all together, the smoke of the wood perfumed the dish throughout. A really good combination.

bone marrow pickled onion marmalade, sea salt, sourdough

bone marrow

The rich roasted bone marrow also exuded some of the smoky flavor. The sweet marmalade and lemon zest were ideal pairings for the spreadable marrow.

braised lamb belly apple chutney

lamb belly

We continued with the rich flavors with this really tender, flavorful lamb belly. I see pork belly everywhere, but why don’t I see lamb belly more often? These were tasty morsels, especially with the sweet, fruity apple chutney.

shellfish pot clams, mussels, shrimp, curry


This pot was filled to the brim with fresh shellfish. All of it was cooked pretty well, but the curry is what heightened the dish. Essentially a Thai style curry, it was milky and full of flavor. A highlight for me.

duck breast pea tendrils, dried cherries, hazelnuts


For me, the interior of the duck was a touch under my ideal temperature. The skin was perfectly crispy, and I enjoyed the addition of the dried cherries. I love pea tendrils (most often found in Chinese restaurants), and this one didn’t disappoint.

hanger steak wood roasted duck fat potatoes, romesco

hanger steak

The steak was cooked medium rare with a nice char on the outside. The romesco added more depth to the beefy steak, and duck fat potatoes were a fail-safe accompaniment.

wood roasted half chicken heirloom tomato bread salad

roast chicken

This was a pretty good roast chicken. Not exceedingly moist, but not dry either. The tomato bread salad was the difference-maker to me – crispy nuggets of bread were complemented by fresh tomatoes and sopped up the chicken fat and juices.

wood roasted whole branzino meyer lemon risotto



Next was this whole branzino roasted in the oven with lemon and herbs. The oven did wonders for the fish, leaving moist flesh with a smoky perfume and a crispy skin. I liked the meyer lemon risotto too, which added some fresh citrus without being tart.

The kitchen also sent out a bunch of sides to go along with the large plates; here were two of them.

wood roasted potatoes garlic, spicy tomato aioli


Garlicky and creamy, the potatoes were tender with just a touch of smokiness and a little bit of heat in the aioli. I may have been missing some of the texture that I really enjoy out of potatoes, though.

wood roasted cabbage caraway, fennel


Similar to the charred gem lettuces, the cabbage definitely benefited from the wood imparting its flavor. I didn’t get too much fennel flavor but I didn’t mind.

strawberry and blood orange crostata honeycomb ice cream


I appreciated the fresh strawberries as well as the herb topping, while the crostata was warm, sweet and crispy. The ice cream was quite good too, a contrasting pairing for the warm crostata.

vanilla rice pudding passion fruit, almonds

rice pudding

As advertised, a warm vanilla flavor came through in the creamy rice pudding, which still had just a touch of bite in the rice…just how I like it.

This was a good meal. The food clearly centered around the wood-burning oven, with most of the dishes exhibiting its smoky perfume. We sampled a ton of dishes and nothing really disappointed; Kirschner’s cooking was pretty well-executed overall. It’s a great addition to the Santa Monica dining scene…selfishly, I just wish it was closer to me. I’m not alone in that thinking – the restaurant was pretty busy on this Thursday night and I expect it to be that way for the foreseeable future.


Note: This meal was hosted.

LudoBites 8.0 @ Lemon Moon (Los Angeles, CA) (2)

LudoBites 8.0
Lemon Moon
12200 W Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Dining date: 2/15/12

lemon moon

My first trip to LudoBites 8.0 was a pretty good meal, and a very promising start to this iteration. While much attention has been spent on the reservation system and the scarcity of a seat, I didn’t think it was as hard as it initially seemed. Cancellations were plentiful and I would stumble upon reservations on Urbanspoon more days than not.  The catch was that it was typically a same-day seat, but combined with the bar seating, I think most that really wanted a seat were able to find their way into one. I found my way onto someone else’s reservation towards the end of the current run, exactly a week before closing night.

It was an 8:30 reservation, just enough time to stop by local bar The Daily Pint. A good friend of mine was nice enough to give me a heads up on a particular beer they would be serving this evening and got me a ticket. How convenient!

pliny the younger

Pliny the Younger. I had my first taste of the uber-hyped beer last year at Father’s Office and enjoyed it. Was it the best beer ever, worthy of lines over an hour long? Mmm not sure about that. Was it a very delicious beer? Yes, it was. This time there seemed to be a stronger alcohol flavor than I remembered, which isn’t to say it was unbalanced, it was just more pronounced. Floral notes and a strong bitter, hoppy (of course!) flavor made for a memorable beer similar to sibling Pliny the Elder.

Burgundy Gougeres

Burgundy Gougeres

These were some of the largest gougeres I’ve ever seen, yet still very light and airy with a nice cheesy interior. Reminded me a little bit of BLT Steak’s popover. A nice starter.

Chicken Tandoori Crackling

Chicken Tandoori Crackling

The flavor of the liver was definitely strong and upfront, rich and creamy. The chicken skin provided the crispy texture and extra chicken flavor. This was pretty much the same as the first time I had it, and I enjoyed it equally as much this time around.

Sweet Shrimp, Miso Cream, Beans, Smoked Salmon

Sweet Shrimp, Miso Cream, Beans, Smoked Salmon

The sweet shrimp were complemented by a strong smoky pancetta flavor and an interesting miso cream. An odd mix of flavors, but I enjoyed them.

Lobster Salad, Yuzu, Honey

Lobster Salad, Yuzu, Honey

The lobster was tasty with a bright, fresh burst of sweet flavor. A little bit of the citrus from the yuzu came through, though I don’t think I needed the extra sweetness of the honey. A little bit of fresh herbs on top helped to build additional flavor.

Uni Creme Brulee, Coffee

Uni Creme Brulee, Coffee

I enjoyed this better this time; it seemed to have a creamier, smoother texture. The addition of some coffee tones was also a nice touch, particularly with the salty eggs. Interestingly, the price of this dish rose from $18 to $24 between my visits, and then rose to $34 a week later during the final week (primarily due to a change in uni supplier).

Black Truffle (French) Scrambled Eggs

Black Truffle (French) Scrambled Eggs

We had high hopes for this one but it almost unanimously fell short of expectations. The diced onions had a raw, undercooked flavor that overpowered any truffle or egg flavor. Definitely disappointing at $35 a bowl.

Celery Root Soup, Foie Gras, Mushrooms, Ash

Celery Root Soup, Foie Gras, Mushrooms, Ash

We rebounded with what may have been the best dish of the night. The celery root soup was pretty tasty on its own, lightly creamy, but the foie were perfectly cooked chunks of creamy liver. Really good, not unlike the poached foie gras during visit one. Some mushrooms and an interesting, crumbly ash rounded out the dish.

Big Eye Tuna, Tahitian Vanilla, Somen, 7 Flavor Vinaigrette

Big Eye Tuna, Tahitian Vanilla, Somen, 7 Flavor Vinaigrette

This was a refreshing dish showcasing some clean flavors. The seared tuna was good, accented by a little bit of heat and some acid in the vinaigrette. I liked the addition of the noodles, though some of them stuck together while cooking leaving some mushy, doughy chunks.

Monkfish Liver, Cucumber, Cornichons, Mustard Seeds

Monkfish Liver, Cucumber, Cornichons, Mustard Seeds2

Monkfish Liver, Cucumber, Cornichons, Mustard Seeds

Similar to the first visit, this monkfish was perfectly cooked leaving a melt-in-mouth texture. Quite good. The mustard seed added a little bit of heat, while the cornichons and cucumber added some fresh crunch.

Steamed Foie Gras in Apple Cider, Apple Tapioca, Buckwheat

Steamed Foie Gras in Apple Cider, Apple Tapioca, Buckwheat

The steamed foie gras was quite nice, though I preferred the one in the celery root soup. The apple tapioca was a fun touch, with its chewy texture and a very subtle apple flavor. In tandem with the cider in the broth, it was an interesting re-engineering of classic fruit-foie complementary flavors.

Squid Ink Rice Pudding, Lardo, Pickled Kumquats

Squid Ink Rice Pudding, Lardo, Pickled Kumquats

Thin strips of chewy squid and lardo rested atop this squid ink rice pudding. Interesting. Similar to a squid ink risotto, the al dente texture of the rice came through, as well as the unmistakable flavor of the squid ink. Some pickled kumquats completed the dish, adding acidity and sweetness.

Thai Snapper, Eucalyptus Oil, Potato, Leeks, Manzanilla

Thai Snapper, Eucalyptus Oil, Potato, Leefs, Manzanilla

The fish was cooked just right with a moist flesh and crispy skin. Thin, crispy pieces of potato were a nice touch too as were the charred leeks, adding a subtle smokiness.

“Newport Pride Natural” Hanger Steak, Red Beets, Shallots, Goat Cheese

"Newport Pride Natural" Hanger Steak, Red Beets, Shallots, Goat Cheese

The steak was pretty tender and quite delicious, very well done. The fresh, crispy beets and slight funk of the goat cheese were a welcome pairing to the meaty steak.

Creamy Saint-Nectaire, Salted Praline Butter

Creamy Saint-Nectaire, Salted Praline Butter Creamy Saint-Nectaire, Salted Praline Butter

Thin crispy baguette pieces sandwiched an oozing cow’s milk Saint-Nectaire cheese. Not too sharp, and I liked the play on textures. I thought it was a fun presentation too.

Brown Butter Almond Cake, Apples, Salted Caramel, Orange Creamsickle

Brown Butter Almond Cake, Apples, Salted Caramel, Orange Creamsickle

I thought the almond flavor was pretty subtle in a somewhat dry cake. It looked fairly plain and tasted as such. I did like the complementary flavors of the salted caramel and orange creamsickle ice cream, though they may not have worked together as well as I had hoped.

Lemon Meringue, Poppy Seed Crumble, Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Lemon Meringue, Poppy Seed Crumble, Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Just as good as my last visit, the flavors were bright and well balanced between sweet and tart. The poppy seed crumble was instrumented in adding some extra texture and body to the dish. Very well done.

Compared to my first visit, I didn’t think the dishes were particularly more refined nor better executed. Still, it was cooking at a fairly high level. The kitchen pacing seemed off, with a couple dishes coming out at a time and long lulls in between. I think it caused us to miss out on the veal dish, which ran out about an hour after we ordered it.

While overall it missed expectations (which were higher given a very positive experience the first time), it was a fun dinner with some highs. Ludo’s creativity always keeps things interesting, working with some pretty unique flavor profiles and combinations. If Ludo played it safe I think it’d be a wonderful meal, but it wouldn’t be LudoBites.

The last part of this meal can be found here, at 800 Degrees Pizzeria.

Previous LudoBites posts:
LudoBites 4.0 (2) | LudoBites 5.0 (2) | LudoBites 6.0 (2) (3) | LudoBites 7.0 (2) | LudoBites 8.0LudoBites America

Lamb Showdown @ Guelaguetza (Los Angeles, CA)

Lamb Showdown: Manzke vs. Samson/Pollack
3014 W. Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006
Dining date: 2/20/12


I had no idea it was “Lamb Lovers Month,” but apparently February is. I suppose you can name a month for anything, especially if there’s money behind it. In celebration of the month, the American Lamb Board helped sponsor a lamb feast, presented by FoodGPS called the “Lamb Showdown.” It was a competition between a few highly regarded LA chefs: Walter Manzke (Republique) and Steve Samson & Zach Pollack (Sotto).

The showdown setup was thus: each chef team prepared 3 courses (2 savory and 1 sweet) for a total of 6. At the end of the meal, each diner received a scorecard to choose their winner of the night, and the chef with the highest score received a $500 prize. The cost of admission was $75pp, all-inclusive, including three glasses of Eagle Rock Brewery beers. It was an interesting concept; I like lamb, I like all three chefs, and I like Eagle Rock Brewery – the choice to go was easy for me.


The first beer, paired with the two appetizers, was Eagle Rock Solidarity. Coffee, chocolate, cola flavors. A richer beer to start with, but the first courses were bold and hearty, particularly Steve & Zach’s.


MANZKE: LAMB TARTARE tomato dashi, yuzu kosho, smoked sesame


The meat was chewy and quite flavorful, with a bunch of Asian influences from the dashi, yuzu kosho and sesame. Quite nice, very refined – it kind of reminded me of Totoraku’s beef tartare in a way. Little slivers of a root vegetable (daikon?) added some fine texture and freshness in each bite.

SOTTO: LAMB TONGUE chickpea fritter, pickled turnips, sheep’s milk yogurt


The tongue was expectantly tender, paired with a dense, fried chickpea fritter. A yogurt and pickled turnip brought the components together, while providing a tart acidity to counter the richness.

The second beer, paired with the entrees, was Eagle Rock Revolution. The pale ale was light and refreshing with clear citrus notes.


MANZKE: LAMB SHOULDER ‘TORTA’ backyard-smokyed lamb with avocado & chili



A remarkable dish. The shoulder was extremely tender, with lamb flavor still coming through the smokiness. A buttery brioche was so soft to chew through, complemented by an avocado spread, slaw and a spicy chili sauce. This was pretty delicious; an ideal food to consume with beer.

SOTTO: LAMB NECK fregola sarda, artichooke ragu, pecorino fonduta


The gamey lamb flavor was very evident in this course, a rich and fatty seared lamb neck. Good flavor. The fregola sarda (an Italian pasta that is a  cous cous look-a-like) added a nuttiness, lightened by some crisp greens.

The last beer, with the dessert courses, was the Eagle Rock Libertine, a witbier that was malty with some spice notes. I thought this paired pretty well with the sweet desserts.



SOTTO: SHEEP’S MILK RICOTTA FRITELLA pistachio, citrus, bitter honey


The execution of the fritella was a little inconsistent here, with some being much airier and fluffier, and some being rather flat. Still, they were decent pieces of fried dough with a lingering sweetness; some fresh citrus added a sweetness while pistachios added some saltiness and texture.

MANZKE: SHEEP’S MILK RICOTTA CHURROS candied kumquats, sheep’s milk yogurt sorbet & hazelnut goat’s milk hot chocolate

hot chocolate and sorbet

Unfortunately, something malfunctioned and there were no churros. Boo. While the centerpiece was absent, the rest of the components still conveyed the lamb theme. The sorbet had a sort of gamey funkiness from the sheep’s milk, slightly tart. The hot chocolate was quite nice, very rich with good chocolate flavor. Would’ve been good to dip something in here…

This was a fun event – good food, good beer, good company (and good music!). So who won? The Sotto team of Steve & Zach. How did I vote? Similarly, I had to give the edge to the Sotto team. I liked Manzke’s flavors and plating better, but I thought Sotto’s dishes had an added layer of complexity and good use of more unusual cuts of meat; plus, the churro mishap spelled Manzke’s doom.

800 Degrees Pizzeria (Los Angeles, CA)

800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria
10889 Lindbrook Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Dining date: 2/15/12


800 Degrees opened early last month, a new concept via a partnership led by Umami Burger’s Adam Fleischman. After a dinner at LudoBites, somehow the topic of 800 Degrees came up. It was open late (until 2am everyday), was nearby, and would be relatively quick. We were sold.

There are plenty of pizza options in LA, but this one’s a little bit different. It’s essentially fast-food pizza, but customizable and made-to-order with fresh ingredients; I think comparisons to Chipotle are fitting. It reaches a medium ground between the quickness of a Domino’s or Pizza Hut and the higher end pizzas at something like Mozza. Kind of like Pitfire Pizza, but even cheaper and more customizable.


The pizza creation process is assembly line, with one’s preferences taken throughout. Three base pies are available (margherita, bianca, marinara at $5-6) at the first station, where fresh dough is rolled out.


dough making

Next a whole host of toppings are available, completely optional, most $1 each. Don’t want toppings? Fine. The Pizza Margherita is $6.


Once ready, the pizza is baked in the wood-burning oven for just a minute or two, all while the customer watches. Pretty cool.


Also cool is this futuristic looking soda machine – various “base” sodas and flavored syrups are available. It’s all about customization here, apparently.

soda machine

Between our group, we ordered up a variety of pies.

Margherita with Salame


Bianca with Sausage


Margherita with Meatballs, Proscuitto, Arugula


Margherita with Artichokes, Salame




How were the pizzas? Pretty good actually. The dough was soft, had some nice char, and had a nice chew. I thought the toppings were good, but none were particularly memorable. Overall, it was good pizza at a great price, fast. Very satisfying. I’m a big fan of the model, and gauging other reviews, it seems like the rest of the city is too. I fully expect expansion soon and potentially on a large scale…not unlike Umami Burger.

Fresh Rigatoni with Ragu Bolognese

Dining date: 2/5/12


I recently purchased a KitchenAid stand mixer (due to a deal I could not refuse) and immediately had dreams of freshly baked breads, cookies and pastries. However, while researching optional attachments, I came across the pasta extruder, a play-doh like attachment that basically pushes dough into various shapes to be cut. I had to have one.

I’ve made fresh pasta once before a couple of years ago with a manual pasta roller…it’s been sitting in the cabinet ever since. I found it to be pretty difficult and time consuming, and my result wasn’t even up to par with dried pasta. However, the extrusion method is much easier. Basically, a dough is made and pushed through various dies to create different shapes, then are cut manually. No need to roll pasta over and over.

Inspired by this post on food, je t’aime I set out to make fresh rigatoni with a ragu bolognese from the Mozza cookbook. The ragu was fairly easy – it took a lot of time (most of it idle), but had a lot of room for error. The pasta, on the other hand, had to have a dough that was just right. One thing’s for sure; every chef and cookbook has their own pasta recipe. I tried a number of them, but so far have found this one to work best for me. Interestingly, it requires no eggs, no kneading and no resting.

Pasta dough (food, je t’aime)

5 oz all purpose flour
5 oz semolina flour
4 fluid ounces warm water

1. Weigh flour and place in bowl of stand mixer.
2. With the paddle attachment, mix on low slowly dribbling in water to produce a wet and crumbly dough.

The dough is cut into walnut-sized pieces and fed into the extruder. It’s pretty fun to do (as long as it turns out well) and makes fresh pasta pretty quickly. The dough is the tricky part; if it’s too sticky/wet, the pasta won’t hold its shape and will get stuck together. If it’s too dry, extrusion becomes noticeably more difficult and the resulting pasta becomes too dense.


fresh rigatoni

To pair with the rigatoni, I went with Mozza’s ragu bolognese.

Ragu bolognese (The Mozza Cookbook)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves
2.5 ounces pancetta, roughly chopped or ground
1 cup soffritto
1/2 of a 4.5 ounce tube double-concentrated tomato paste
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground pork
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup whole milk

1. Combine oil and garlic in bowl of a food processor. Add pancetta and puree until ingredients form a homogenous paste.
2. Cook mixture over medium heat until the fat from the pancetta is rendered, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the garlic from browning.
3. Stir in the soffritto and cook for about 1 minute.
4. Move the vegetables to create a bare spot in the pan, add the tomato paste to that spot and cook for 1 minute.
5. Add veal and pork, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook, stirring occasionally, until all of the juices released from the meat have cooked off and the pan is almost dry, about 10 minutes.
6. Add the wine, increase heat to medium high and cook until the wine has evaporated and the pan is almost dry, about 10 minutes.
7. Add the chicken stock, bring it to a simmer, reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the stock has almost all cooked off but the pan is not completely dry.
8. Add the milk and simmer until the ragu returns to a thick, saucy consistency, 30-40 minutes.
9. Use the ragu, or allow it to cool to room temperature and refrigerate in an airtight container.

Finishing the pasta

Kosher salt
3/4 cup chicken stock or pasta water
3 teaspoons unsalted butter
12 ounces pasta
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino romano

1. Combine 1.5 cups of the ragu, the chicken stock and butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.
2. Stir ingredients to combine and heat until the butter is melted and sauce is warmed through, adding more chicken stock if necessary to obtain a loose sauce consistency.
3. Turn off the heat while the pasta is cooking.
4. Cook pasta until 1 minute from being done.
5. Place sauce over high heat. Lift pasta out of cooking water, drain and immediately add to the pan with the sauce.
6. Cook the pasta with the sauce for 2 minutes, stirring gently with a rubber spatula so you don’t tear the pasta. Add pasta water if the pasta is dry and sticky instead of slippery and glistening.
7. Turn off the heat and add the finishing quality olive oil, stirring vigorously and shaking the pan to emulsify the sauce.
8. Add the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and pecorino romano and stir to combine.
9. Plate pasta and use a microplane or fine grater to grate a light layer of Parmigiano-Reggiano over plate and serve.


cooking meats


ragu bolognese

Expectantly, the ragu was the easy part (technically) though there were a lot of steps. As expected, it exhibited a rather rich (there’s a lot of fat) and luscious sauce, definitely meaty. Simple and delicious. I added a little bit of chopped parsley on top.


Over the course of a few days, I prepared various batches of pasta and came up with some I thought were pretty good and some that were just bad. While I liked the taste and texture of my “pretty good” pasta, they didn’t hold their shape very well, falling in on themselves.

These held their shape perfectly, but were way too dense.


My understanding is that the ideal dough for extrusion is different from one that goes through a pasta roller (particularly with the kneading and resting period), though I’m not entirely sure. For some reason, pastas in which I added egg, kneaded, and rested turned out way too sticky. If anyone has a pasta extruder and tips to share, I’d love to hear them!