The Simple Art of Cooking: Say Yes to Summer Pasta

The gorgeous cover of the July 12 issue, by Dan’s Papers artist at large, Mickey Paraskevas, depicted the prophetic scene at Taste of Two Forks in Bridgehampton. The event held on Saturday, July 14, was filled with nattily and coolly dressed folk with wide happy smiles as colorful as the artist’s painting.

Happy indeed to fill their tummies with an awesome round of delectably prepared dishes from our talented local East End chefs and to sip award-winning wines from the Two Forks. With more than 40 restaurants represented, here is a brief capsule of some of the “Tastes:” rock shrimp ceviche with Thai chili and green papaya emulsion from the North Fork Table and Inn; duck confit with local baby spinach and Shitake mushrooms with raspberry vinaigrette from Fresh Hamptons; watermelon gazpacho with Jonah crab basil and sea salt from Navy Beach; rillettes of duck confit on crostini with pickled onion garnish from The Bell & Anchor; basil panna cotta with heirloom tomatoes and crispy prosciutto from Nick & Toni’s; and Cretan pasta with pan-seared scallops and herbed tomatoes from Nammos Lounge.

While there was more deliciousness throughout the evening than one could hope for, the latter two recipes were unusual and guaranteed to give you a new taste thrill.

The Cretan pasta dough, made with yoghurt, may be a challenge, but it’s worth the effort.

CRETAN PASTA WITH PAN SEARED SCALLOPS AND TOMATOES

Nammos Lounge restaurant executive chef Emmanouil Aslanoglou’s grandmother from the island of Crete inspired this unusual but delectable yogurt pasta.

Serves 6 as appetizer

 

For the pasta

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons truffle or sea salt

1/2 cup water

2 cups plain Greek yoghurt

1 extra-large egg, beaten

2 teaspoons black truffle cream or truffle oil

Kosher salt for the pasta water

 

For the sauce

4 tablespoons heavy cream

4 tablespoons yoghurt

2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons water

 

For the tomato mixture

3 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced

1 bunch scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced white

and light green parts

3 to 4 tablespoons thinly sliced chives

Truffle or sea salt and freshly ground pepper

 

For the scallops

12 dry scallops, side muscle discarded

Sea salt and generous grinding of fresh black

pepper

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

 

1. Put flour in a bowl and make a well. Mix remaining ingredients in the well and, with a wooden spoon, gradually stir the flour into the mixture until a ball of dough forms. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Spread the pasta dough on a board and spread with a flat spatula to about 1/2-inch thickness.

2. Bring a pot of water to the boil and add salt. Place teaspoons of pasta directly into the boiling water. When the pasta floats it is done. Drain and reserve. The pasta may be prepared a day before and refrigerated in a suitable container.

3. Prepare the sauce: Place heavy cream, yoghurt and water in a bowl and stir to mix. Add the pasta pieces and the ingredients for the tomato mixture, season to taste and simmer over very low heat for a couple of minutes to warm.

4. When ready to serve season the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper. Put olive oil in a heavy skillet, such as cast-iron over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add the scallops and sear them until golden brown, about one minute on each side.

5. To serve: Divide the pasta tomato mixture on serving plates and top each serving with two seared scallops. Drizzle each serving with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil, sea or truffle salt, and a generous grinding of fresh pepper.

 

Please note: For the Cretan Pasta recipe I used sea salt and truffle oil, as these ingredients were on hand when testing the recipe, with very good results.

 

BASIL PANNA COTTA WITH HEIRLOOM TOMATOES AND CRISPY PROSCIUTTO

Jessica Craig, the pastry chef of Nick & Toni’s (Honest Man Restaurant Group) prepared this savory panna cotta for Dan’s Taste of Two Forks.

Yields six 4 oz. servings

For the panna cotta

1 1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatin

2 tablespoons cold water

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 cup Crème fraiche

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoons honey

10 fresh basil leaves

 

For the garnish

1 heirloom tomato, diced

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper

2 thin slices prosciutto

Small basil leaves for garnish. Optional

 

1. Place the gelatin in a small dish and pour over the water. Set aside to bloom.

2. Place the cream, crème fraiche, salt and homey in a saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it starts to bubble. Remove from heat and add the bloomed gelatin. Stir mixture until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Add the basil leaves and mix with an immersion blender to chop the basil and infuse into the mixture. Allow to stand for 10 to 15 minutes.

3. With a wooden spoon push the mixture through a strainer to remove basil solids. Pour the cream mixture into individual cups or a large serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until set.

4. Halve the tomato and gently squeeze out the seeds, then slice, stack and cut into small dice. Place the tomato in a bowl with the oil, balsamic, salt and pepper to taste and set aside to marinate.

5. Stack the prosciutto slices and cut into thin strips. Heat the oil in a small non-stick skillet and sauté the prosciutto julienne until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel to drain excess oil.

To serve: Place a tablespoon of the tomato mixture over each serving of panna cotta. Top with a sprinkle of crispy prosciutto and a basil leaf, if desired.

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