Frankie’s Kitchen in Our Kitchen
In Brooklyn, there’s a little spuntino called Frankie’s. Always busy, with a no-reservations policy and a line out the door, H and I avoided going until last summer when the city emptied and restaurants became available. We sat at a little table and ordered various plates, including a few different crostinis (kind of like bruschetta but with all kinds of toppings), which are especially delicious and, in my opinion, the specialties of the house. It was therefore no surprise when this was one of my Hannukah gifts
A few days ago, the snow was falling and I was planning a comforting Italian dinner. I don’t know about you, but I am sick of tomato-based sauces and wanted to try something new. Hence I turned to the Frankies cookbook. H suggested pasta so I perused the selection and decided on Cavatelli with Sausage and Browned Sage Butter. Even the name sounds delicious. Have you ever had cavatelli? It’s a ricotta-based pasta (recipe also in the cookbook) and really good. Plus it’s pretty economical at around $2.50 a bag. (You can find them in the refrigerated pasta section.) However our home is a no-pork home, so I went out on a limb and substituted chicken sausage for the porky kind. Here’s the workings of my mise-en-place. Never mess with one of those.
Frankie’s recommends white pepper over regular black. They say it’s more delicate. Something to think about if you feel like experimenting. I also used sage for the first time and am liking it. Reminds me a little of eucylptus.
Here’s the sausage sauteeing in the pan. You also need to brown the butter.
The book says, “[the butter] should be visibly browned, with a hazelnut-like aroma. Don’t skimp on the browning.” I really like their style of directions – very straightforward and easy. Lots of practical advice like “this is when you should drop the ricotta cavatelli into the boiling water” and “don’t drain the cavatelli too thoroughly.” The authors don’t expect you to read their minds and want to show you how small details can take a good dish to great. I wish all cookbooks were written this way.
Above is the end result and it was delicious. It was fun to work with new flavors, like the sage, and try out new products like the sausage. Like the parsley garnish? Trying to work on my “plating.”
If you’re in the market for a new “kitchen companion and cooking manual” this might be one to consider. Not only do they have recipes, but it’s also good for someone new in the kitchen who wants a small tour before entering. Tells you what kind of tools to buy and how to pick your olive oil. I’m not one to read cookbooks, but I spent some time with this one and my couch. It’s that informational. Enjoy!