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This is the post excerpt.


Basically I cook every few days, so I figured I might as well share so others can follow
and enjoy the recipes and ingredients too.


creme orange
Paolo’s summer fettuccine with creme fraiche and orange zest

Rigatoni with Beef Ragu

The recipe is called Veal Bolognese but sourcing “humanely” raised veal is ultra-hard so I switched the meat to Beef.
Additionally Bolognese has an official recipe which is not like this {uses cream for example}. To avoid some Bolognian complaining I called this Ragu.
I got the Beef from the cloud. Basically you can order Beef cuts from a website
the website Crowd Cow buys a cow and sells it off as parts to different people.
This is way easier than buying a 1/4 cow.
This is the link to their website.

As a disclosure I get $15 to order more beef if you use the link.
I have used Stemple Creek Ranch for 1/4 and I have gone to
Olivier’s Butchery in SF, Marina Meats, the local butcher , Belcampo and fatted calf.
Crowd Cow meat tasted as good if not better and you can’t beat
getting the meat delivered instead of spending an hour to reach a butcher.
This is especially true for ground beef like here. Where you just take it out a day early and it is ready to use.

So the result was this.


Notice the lovely ribs on the side of the Pasta absorbing the sauce.


The Pasta itself was Rigatoni from Pasta Rummo.

Which is Prima Pasta



The ingredients are pretty simple.

1/2 cup of olive oil.
1/2 chopped white onion
1 pound of ground  beef {crowd cow}.
1/2 cup tomato paste
Leftover Parmesan rind from gratin Parmesan. When the recipe is done, you can throw it or eat it. I eat it since it has softened and absorbed and given taste.
1 cup vegetable broth {I made my own using Carrot, Celery, Onion, Zucchini}
salt, pepper.
1 carrot chopped to large chunks  {my wife ate it, but usually they are thrown at the end}
1 pound Pasta
1/2 tablespoon of Sugar.  {Mine is Maui Sugar which will no longer be sold as they have shut down the sugar production on the island }.

This all went into my DUTCH oven from Le Creuset.
Don’t use cast iron here as it doesn’t work with Tomato.

Let’s cook.
Put the oil and the onion and warm up 3-4 minutesa dnt eh should begin to color.
Add the beef and use the wood spoon to break it up for at least 2-3 minutes.
The goal here is to break it up as it likes to clump up and then the sauce won’t penetrate the meat and you get chunks.
When the meat is no longer pink.
Mix the stock with the tomato paste to avoid clumps, then add it.
Add the sugar .
Add the Parmesan rind
Add the carrots
Add some salt and pepper  {1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 grinds of pepper}
mix mix.
Then leave it for 2 hours on low heat.


I threw in some Oregano and Rosemary since I have them growing in my garden but this is optional.

Check every 30 minutes, if it lacks water, add water.
Every 15 minutes give it a short stir.
No need to cover the pot.
Taste at the end and adjust the pepper, salt, sugar if needed based on your taste.

When done, throw the rind {or eat it}, throw the carrot {or eat it} and throw the stalks of any herbs you added, the leaves have probably melted/detached into the sauce.
The sauce can then be split and frozen or you can use it.

For the Pasta, it’s the usual.
Boil the water, add salt as needed.

throw the rigatoni in and wait for 10-20 minutes. Checking every 2 minutes after 10 minutes.IMG_0063
You can tell it is ready when the circle is clear and there is no WHITE showing which is uncooked pasta.


When it is ready mix the sauce with the pasta, add a little water if needed to have a good sauce, {you don’t want it too dry and not too wet}.
If too dry, add pasta water.
If too wet, give it a quick hit on high fire to evaporate it.

Plate and then throw  some Parmesan on it and leave some on the side for your guests.

Recipe is courtesy of 100 ways to be Pasta from Wanna and Giovanna Tornabene
which is out of print, but you can buy it used.
Best cook book ever. {I wish it had more photos}

If you have any questions let me know.

Fresh Fig Pasta


Got some fresh fig at the illustrious rainbow grocery in SF.

They were ripe, so I adjusted the recipe to that.

I also couldn’t find pennete so I used this.

Rummo Rigatoni  {Rummo is the brand}

basically this is an excellent Rigatoni that held its shape perfectly when cooked.


Lower quality  rigatoni will blow up and start falling apart and have a very small window of cooked right.


The ingredients  for 3 were.


1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 medium white onion finely chopped

1/6 pound pancetta cut into 1/2 inch cube

1 pound fresh fig peeled and diced.  This means 1.2 pounds of store figs as peeling and taking the tips off will add up.

1/4 cup red wine . I used Pinot Noir.

1/2 pound pasta. I used the Rigatoni above.

1/4 cup parmesan  and 1/2 cup for the table.


First thing.

Fig spoiled ?  no

This fig is fine with the mold, simply peel it off and wash then dry.
Don’t throw this away.

so cut the pancetta to this size  1/2 inch by 1/2 inch

chop the fig



Heat the olive oil with the onions on medium until they soften.
Then add the pancetta and keep cooking until the pancetta is ready.
This will take you 10-15 minutes.

The key here is to NOT burn the onion or even brown it too much.
This means if the onion starts to brown.

like the example above. You need to add water. There will be a different sound between oil cooking the onion and water being in the pan. Alternatively simply watch the pan and don’t go multitasking.

Every 5 minutes taste the Pancetta. It will go from gummy, to chewey, to nicely cooked with slight char when the fat melts or becomes tasty.

When you are done, you can turn the heat off and remove the pan to the side.

Boil your pasta water and throw in the Rigatoni. Cook time is 14 minutes
but more like 20 with my crappy vintage rental house gas stove.

You can check the pasta after 14 minutes every 2 minutes.

This is an example of a NOT ready pasta, you cut the rigatoni in half and look at it.
If you see any white in the circle you know it is not ready and throw the parts back into the pot.

When ready reserve 2 cups of the pasta water and drain.
At this stage you can reheat the pancetta/onion frying pan use high heat.
When hot, add the red wine. Followed by the fig. Since mine was ripe it took 2 minutes to be ready.
Red wine here is a must as it counters the sweetness of the figs with some tanins.
Now you throw in the pasta, mix , then check the sauce.

You need it to be watery but not running.


this is after I added a little pasta water, cooked for 60 seconds till I got the consistency I wanted. Notice even though the pot is tilted it is not running down.

Turn the heat off, plate and throw some parmesan on it for looks. The rest of the Parmesan goes on the table so each person can add it to their liking.



ok. Notice the fig seeds, they give a little crunch.
Notice the chunks of pancetta which give you a nice meting bite of fat.
The sauce which is sweet because of the fig
and the Rigatoni which are thick and offer a nice bite too.


Orecchiette with fava beans and ricotta sauce


The actual recipe is for “conchiglie” these are sea shell shaped.
I couldn’t find them and didn’t feel like wasting an hour on them so I used
orecchiette which also have a pocket and make for an excellent replacement.
Orecchiette are “ear” shaped pasta.

Whole-paycheck didn’t have any fava, their selection has shrunk over time. I guess getting fresh stuff is too hard for them so I ended up driving all the way to rainbow grocery.

rainbow grocery
Rainbow Grocery

Rainbow Grocery is a worker owned cooperative that sells extremely fresh veggies and fruits along with other products. The only negative is no meat and no fish but both are available a short drive away in the mission.

The pasta ended up looking like this .

Pasta Main Shot
Orecchiette with fava beans and ricotta sauce

The ingredients for 3 people are

{I cook for 3 as I eat 2 and my wife eats 1 or I leave 1 for my lunch the next day }

*1/2 cup olive oil.  {I used Iliada which is a greek extra virgin olive oil, it’s “cheap” and tastes great}
* 1/2 small onion finely chopped {no need for minced, but fine too as the onion will melt}
* 1 cup of shelled fava , this is 2 cups of fava beans and around 3 pounds of fava pods.
This means you need to buy 3 pounds in the super, remove the beans and then boil and cool them to get the actual shelled fava. {This is time consuming, assume 30 minutes here}
You can use this link to get an idea of how to do this.
* 6 ounces of fresh ricotta {the fresher the better, don’t bother shelling for Italian, go for local or make your own}
* 1/2 pound orecchiette  {I used DeCecco which is okay, it is the third largest producer}
* 1 tablespoon of butter
* 1/4 cup grated pecorino  and about 1/2 cup for the table.


Add the oil to a frying pan { I use an all-clad 11 inch french skillet stainless steel, it has round sides which help when you toss pasta or sauce around, they run around $99, I’ve used it for 8 years now }
Add the onion.
It should look like this.

Onions frying
Frying onions

fry them on medium heat for 4 minutes, make sure not to brown them. They simply need to become a little translucent and soft. If you are starting to brown them.
Mix, add 1/4 cup water and lower the heat.
If you brown them, the dish will taste a little like french onion soup, so pay attention at this stage to the stove.

After 4 minutes you can add the fava which we removed from the pods and shelled the bean. Fry the fava for 1 minute then add 1/2 cup of water, let the water boil, then lower the heat to 1/4.
At this stage you can set your timer to 5 minutes.
Every 5 minutes you must check to make sure the fava is not sticking.
If it is add more water and mix.
Large fava will take around 40 minutes, smaller ones like I got will be 25 minutes.
You can sample one every 5 minutes, simply bite and feel if it is hard or soft.
When it is soft, it is ready. You can turn off the heat.
Also adjust the seasoning here, salt and pepper.

Take 1/2 the cooked fava and put it in a grinder or similar. This is what I did.

Squashing my fava
Squashing Fava

The goal here is for 1/2 the fava to be like a sauce, the other 1/2 to be in the current size you have it in the french skillet {All-clad}.

At this stage you can take your serving bowl. Mine are crate and barrel since they have a nice lip. Anyway, put the ricotta add a little hot water {1 tbsp} and mix the ricotta till it is smoother and less lumpy, you can add another tbsp if you must.
Then put the ground fava on top, then the fava from the skillet, then the butter.
It should look like this.
Ready for the pasta
you can leave it like this while you make the pasta.
I usually have a good idea of when the fava will be ready and by then I have cooked my pasta.

In this case, leave this and simply boil the water for the pasta and add the pasta.
If you don’t know how much salt to add, you can reference this article by seriouseats which is a blog I used intensively.

Once the pasta is ready.
Keep ONE cup of pasta water  {this is done so you can adjust the runniness of the sauce}
Drain the pasta and throw it on the sauce, the heat should melt the butter and cream the ricotta, the mixing will further break up the fava into a nice sauce with chunks.
Throw in the 1/4 cup pecorino.
Move the sauced pasta up with your spatula and look at the sauce.
Is it moving ? can you see a sauce or is it very thick.
Adjust with the hot pasta water.
More pasta water = runnier sauce.
If you made it too runny add more pecorino.
Don’t go overboard here with adding and adding.
You just need a slight liquidity of the sauce, since people will throw pecorino on it at the table and the sauce becomes less liquid as time goes until people eat.
That is about it.
This is the ingredients shot.
The recipe is from a book called. “100 ways to be pasta”.
This book actually had more than 100 recipes and I have done them all except for one.
This is not available new, but plenty of idiots are selling their books used.
I got mine used with the author’s signature. As Forest says
“Stupid is as stupid sells this book”