Tag Archives: 10021

New Cookbook Featuring 30 Minute Pastas Debuts

For home cooks of a certain age, there was Julia Child for traditional French cuisine. And for preparing classic Italian dishes, there was Marcella Hazan, author of Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

thirty-minute-pasta-book-coverCarrying on the family business, Marcella’s son, Giuliano Hazan, a chef and teacher in his own right, has just issued his latest cookbook, Thirty Minute Pasta: 100 Quick and Easy Recipes.  I haven’t had a chance to cook from the collection of pasta recipes, but this volume is full of many easy-to-make dishes. They range from standards like Spaghetti Carbonara to more unusual creations, such as Spaghetti with Melon. For vegetarians, Thirty Minute Pasta is worth taking a look at. Sure, there are lots of meat and seafood pasta preparations. But a large percentage of Hazan’s recipes are made with vegetable-based sauces.

With just a few ingredients per dish and easy-to-follow-instructions, 30 Minute Pastas is appropriate for both novice and more experienced cooks.

Hazan will be signing books at Barnes & Noble E. 86th St at Lexington Avenue on Sept. 10 at 7:30 pm.

THIRTY MINUTE PASTA: 100 Quick and Easy Recipes (Stewart, Tabori & Chang; September 2009; 176 pages/Hardcover with jacket; $27.50; ISBN: 978-1-58479-807-1),

Tell me how Thirty Minute Pasta recipes work out for you.

Spaghetti with Melon

From Thirty Minute Pasta

Many years ago I remember eating with my parents at a restaurant in Venice that specialized in unusual dishes, none of which were seafood or risotto, the staples of Venetian cuisine. The restaurant is no longer there and I don’t remember the name, but I do remember a delicious dish of pasta with cantaloupe. My mother started making it a home and I often make it when we have friends over. Once it is cooked, the melon is mostly unrecognizable and it’s great fun seeing if people can guess what the sauce’s “secret” ingredient is.

Serves 4 people

3 pounds cantaloupe melon
3 tablespoons butter
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound spaghetti (linguine is also good here)
2 teaspoons concentrated tomato paste
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil.

Pare away the rind of the melon, down to the orange flesh. Discard the seeds and cut the melon into 1/2-inch dice. Put the butter in a 12-inch skillet and place over medium high heat. Once the butter has melted completely, add the melon and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the melon begins to break down and most of the liquid it releases has evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Add about 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling pasta water, put in the spaghetti, and stir until all the strands are submerged. Cook until al dente.

Add the tomato paste and lemon juice to the melon and stir well. Add the cream and cook until it thickens and reduces by about a third, 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

When the pasta is done, drain well, toss with the sauce and the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and serve at once.

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Upper West Side: Kosher Israeli Gelato Screme Hits the Hood


Five-thousand flavors of gelato?!  The mind boggles. But that’s what kosher Israeli gelato purveyor Screme is offering ice cream lovers on New York’s Upper West Side.

Ice cream is one of those universal foods. It literally melts across borders. You can find Italian gelato in India and Berlin.  You can it find it in the LI Railroad station concourse. Modern Italian gelato makers apparently made their way to the Holy Land, as well. There, one of them started Screme gelato, a popular chain throughout Israel.

Now, the Israeli concern has just set up shop at 69th Street and Broadway. Another store opened its doors last week at the Madame Toussaud’s in Time Square.

With 5 percent butter fat, Screme, like most gelato, is much lower in fat than traditional ice cream where fat content can reach 14 percent.  Prepared fresh every 20 minutes, a single scoop of Screme gelato is $5.00. More  elaborate creations made with waffles, pistachios or chocolate shavings can run you as high as $20.

Have you tried Screme?
Screme Gelato Bar

2030 Broadway at 69th Street (just opened)

Screme Gelato Bar

242 West 42 St., Madame Tussaud’s Museum, Times Square

877-972-7363 (just opened)

Screme Café

300 East 64th Street, New York  (opening Fall 2009)

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North Fork: Nello’s Owner to Open New Restaurant in Greenport

Is Greenport, on the North Fork of Long Island becoming unbearably gentrified?  You draw your own conclusions.

But one sign of the times is the looming presence of a North Fork version of Nello, the Upper East Side boite that’s home to the rich and hoping-to-be-rich. The Greenport eatery is to be called Seaweed and will be located in the white clapboard house at 314 Main Street that once housed restaurant Ile de Beauté.

Proprietor Nello Balan already has a beachead on the East End. He currently oversees Nello Summertimes, in Southamption, best known for its sky-high prices and glitterati clientele.

North Fork, LI farm stand

North Fork, LI farmstand.

Why is this epicenter of glitz dining locating in what’s still a low-key North Fork seaport village surrounded by farmland and vineyards? After all, Nello prices seem way beyond the day trippers and families with kids in tow who still make up most of Greenport’s tourist trade. The eatery’s New York menu features a $60 veal chop, a tad steep in these recessionary times. And the NY Times in 2005 called the prices at the Southamption place “obscene.”

For the Hamptons set, Nello Summertimes seems like a great fit. But will it work for Greenport?

The planned North For eatery, will be “different” than his other establishments, Balan insisted in a phone interview, adding that he wanted a place that’s  “accessible” to Greenporters, both natives and visitors alike. That includes “the rich and not very rich,”  he said. The prices for dishes on the “Mediterranean with Long Island hints” menu will “compare with everybody around there” who operates a restaurant, he said.

Across the street from the new establishment, Balan will also be in charge of the cafe in the new upscale hotel that’s taking shape this summer. It’s also set to open in May 2010.

For all his posh dining credentials, Balan appears to be trying to ease into the mellow Greenport groove.

“I love Greenport,” he said. “It’s very unspoied.  People are nice. This part of Long Island is very special.” He’s even looking for a house in the area.

And the Hamptons?

“In Southampton they live like they live in the city,” he sniffed, already assuming that North Fork ‘tude toward the more upscale crowd to the south.

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NY Outdoor Dining: New Bar/Lounge Opens in Palace Hotel

I stopped by the Palace Gate last week, the new 75-seat outdoor spot that’s been set up in the courtyard of New York’s Palace Hotel on Madison Avenue.

The Palace Hotel has outfitted the space as a lounge/cafe offering up cocktails and small bites. I’m sure it’s a lovely spot for a drink and a sit down.

But the night I was there, it was raining cats and dogs. So the whole scene moved inside the hotel, the former Villard House, an over-the-top pile that’s festooned with carved moldings and lots of gold leaf.  You might have thought an Italian palazzo had plopped down in the middle of Midtown.

Palace Gate, Palace Hotel, New York.

Palace Gate, Palace Hotel, New York.over-the-top 19th century pile adorned with intricate ceiling moldings, plush furnishings and lots of gold leaf.

Still, even with Palace Gate’s temporary weather-induced indoor locale, I got the basic idea. Or at least I got the idea of the food and the drinks, which are supplied by Gilt, the high-end eatery at the hotel. There were cocktails–many of the classic variety. I sipped a Pimm’s Cups No. 1, which is a refreshing drink made with lemonade, Granny Smith apples, ginger beer, and cucumber. Very tasty.  As I later learned, the English aristocracy imbibe this particular concoction at Wimbledon and at regattas and such.  It was all very posh.

My favorite small plates were French fries laced with truffles. To be honest, with the economy in the doldrums and so many people out of work, the idea of a snack food made with pricey delicacies was a wee bit off putting.  Still, who am I to turn down a truffle? I scarfed down a bunch of fries, and they were yummy.

Even with the upscale ingredients, you don’t have to break the bank to take a seat at a table in this new courtyard lounge.  If you limit yourself to a couple of dishes–other items include a Gilt burger and thin crust pizza– and a drink or two, the tab isn’t stratospheric, especially for a Midtown spot.  Prices are mostly in the low teens for the small plates.

And if I’m looking for a place for nibble before hitting the 70 percent off sale at Saks–one can only hope!–Palace Gate would be a great place for a rest stop.

Palace Gate
Palace Hotel
455 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022
(212) 888-7000


New York City Outdoor Dining Options Abound

New York Outdoor Dining Blooms on Upper West Side

Outdoor Dining NYC: New Leaf Cafe Opens for the Season

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New York Pastry Shop on Upper East Side May Close


According to a report in Crain’s New York Business, Payard Patisserie & Bistro, the famed New York City Upper East Side pastry shop, could close as soon as August.  The landlord is threatening to double the rent, Crain’s reports.

Situated on Lexington Avenue between 73rd and 74th streets, the pastry shop was opened by chef Francois Payard a dozen years ago.

Payard says he’s hunting for another location in the city.

Meanwhile, should the landlord prevail, who knows what will replace the tarts and puff pastry that now grace the space occupied by Payard.  Maybe tooth brushes and dish detergent from Duane Reade?  Or coffee and pre-packaged sandwiches from Starbucks?  Or maybe even your favorite cell phone store….

Ain’t progress wonderful!

For more, click here.


Best Cupcakes in New York Area? Greenport’s Butta’ Cakes Delivers Bliss

East Village: Two Bakeries, the Old and the New

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