Archive for May, 2016

Rhubarb Cocktail, MV

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Rum Cocktail-10480

photo by Allan Penn

 

It is hard to find glamour in rhubarb. New Englanders desperate for spring tramp across mud-covered fields with a sharp knife in their pocket, ready to cut stalks from the domes of pan-sized leaves at the edge of the yard. They collect the ruby stalks so happy to have a harvest that isn’t a root, that bears the tang and juice of freshness, that no one cares at first how much sugar it takes to bribe the chopped pieces into being dessert.

In the beginning, we’re so happy for spring tastes that we don’t even make pie; we stop at rhubarb compote, yes with lots of brown sugar, topped with ice cream, cream or even just yogurt.

But, later, as spring days honestly warm, and seep into summer, the rhubarbs stalks mean more than winter’s release. They’re appreciated again for the uniqueness and strength of their tang. Come June, we get a little free and easy with our rhubarb; it becomes strawberry rhubarb pie, rhubarb upside down cake, and, in this case, a wonderful spring cocktail, recipe from The Malkins of Martha’s Vineyard: rhubarb getting glamourous.  – reprinted from my book, “In Cod We Trust, from sea to shore, the celebrated cuisine of coastal Massachusetts.”

Make the rhubarb syrup

Ingredients

8-10 rhubarb stalks

1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon, or to taste, grated fresh ginger

1” water, or to cover

Instructions

  1.  Chop rhubarb stalks into 1″ pieces and place in saucepan.  Add sugar (use more rather than less as you can always add more sugar at any point in time while it is cooking).  It should be sweet, but not overpoweringly so.  Taste as you go, so you can see if you like the sweetness.  You don’t really want to taste the original tartness of the rhubarb.
  2. You can add fresh grated ginger if you want at this point.  Less ginger for a hint – more to give it a peppery kick. Add water – enough to more than wet the bottom of the pan; say an inch or so. The rhubarb will produce a large amount of liquid, so a lot of water isn’t necessary.  The only downside of adding too much water is that the syrup will be somewhat diluted,though still tasty.  Plus, if the brew is looking too thick and jammy, you can add water during the stewing.  Cook on the stove top on medium low for approximately 20 mins. When the mixture is completely soft and the rhubarb pieces have lost all of their shape, remove from the burner.
  3. Once cool, push through a fine sieve with the back of a wooden spoon or a rubber scraper/spatula to extract as much of the liquid as possible.  It should be very syrupy – roughly the consistency of maple syrup.  It may be kind of frothy.  This is fine. Store in a container in the refrigerator. It should keep a few weeks.
  4. To make the cocktail: Ingredients 2 ounces rhubarb syrup (above) 1 – 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 1 1/2 ounces rum several ice cubes Instructions 1. Pour into a shaker syrup, lime juice, rum and ice cubes.  Shake well and strain/pour.  Garnish with fresh mint and/or a lime slice .  Makes 1 cocktail.

Calamari Season!

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

dirty squid

 

While woody Chilean strawberries continue to mock the seasons from their shelves in large chain grocery stores, more and more farmers are tilling local soil. More and more farmers’ markets are setting up on town greens and in parking lots allowing us to purchase local, seasonal food. Our children know better when and how strawberries grow. The principle of eating from the calendar, eating seasonal local foods, has thankfully, at least in some communities, survived big supermarket’s grip.

Not so much for fish.

Rarely anymore does a fish market or the fish counter of a grocery store reflect what is seasonal and local. Most fish markets fill their cases with haddock, cod, Chilean sea bass, tuna, swordfish, and some shrimp and oysters all year long. Almost never do we feel either the absence of a fish out of season or the arrival of a fish in season because there is always Norway, Iceland, and Southeast Asia to fill the gaps. The local food movement is leagues ahead of the fish local movement, but the same principles apply.

Enough preaching. Here is a great local catch we should all be eating right now!

Late April – early May is squid season, as regular as lilacs. New England fishermen say that when the buds pop out on the trees the squid “come in,” and all the fish follow. Longfin Inshore Squid, or Doryteuthis pealeii, also known as Loligo pealeii, spend their winters in deeper waters along the edge of the Continental Shelf. Their arrival inshore – they come to spawn – marks the start of spring for those living close to the Nantucket Sound waters. For the fishermen, the squid are like the gunshot in the air declaring the start of the year’s fishing season.

Jared Auerbach, CEO and owner of Red’s Best Fish Distributors, said that all the Cape Cod fishermen he dealt with are landing squid right now. If they aren’t landing squid they are landing fluke with bellies and mouths full of squid.

“This is a sweet time; everything is coming in from off shore or coming North. The water temperatures are up. The boats area all in Nantucket Sound, because the squid have arrived there,” and with them everything else.

All winter the fishing in Nantucket Sound has been punctual but not thrilling. The squid return every year to these waters to spawn, and every year the fish follow.

“From late April, early May to December we are shining!” Auerbach grins. And it’s dramatic:

“The squid light up and change colors in the water,” Auerbach said, “when they attack they are vicious! They come on deck and squirt you with ink, and I mean, they attack!”

After squid spawn, they return to deeper waters, retreating from the paths of rapacious striped bass and bluefish; almost all New England fish consider squid a favorite meal.  People say the best tasting squid are the ones in Nantucket Sound and particularly off Point Judith, R.I., because they’ve been feeding on fish that have been eating blue-green algae, which sweetens everything.

The best testament to squid deliciousness comes from the chef/owner of the Italian restaurant Erbaluce in the Back Bay, Charles Draghi. Draghi, who has a classical chef’s training, still approaches cuisine with the Old World Italian ways of his Peidmontese relatives; he sources produce almost exclusively from local farms and farmers markets, and calls his fishermen friends each morning to ask what they’re catching.

At a recent Seafood Throwdown Draghi seared local squid rings and tentacles in a hot pan, and then tossed them in a black olive, saffron and fresh herb sauce. Praising the flavor therein, Draghi said, “you know squid are delicious because they are the absolute favorite food of striped bass, and stripers have their choice of anything in the sea!”

My squid came from the FV Rimrack out of Portsmouth, NH.  Fisherwoman Amanda Parks met me in a Portsmouth parking lot with 60 pounds of freshly caught squid destined for a bunch of happy Cape Ann kitchens.  Parks was as happy about the squid season as Auerbach, and had already created a bunch of squid recipes right on the boat.

The recipe below is meant to be a super-quick way to tuck calamari into a dish that everyone loves: tacos. The mild, sweet taste of calamari welcomes the strong flavors of chilis and lime. Add some cool slaw and a toasted corn tortilla and this is an easy, light, and unusual vehicle for this great local seafood.

squid tacos 2

 

Chili Lime Calamari Tacos

2 pounds cleaned squid, bodies cut into 3/4” widths and tentacles

2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for cooking the squid)

3 tablespoons minced garlic zest from

3 limes

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or kosher)

4 cups shredded cabbage (a mix of purple and green is ideal)

1 cup cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon diced jalapeno

juice from 3 limes (about 3 tablespoons)

16 small corn tortillas

1 medium avocado, halved and cut into thin slices

sea salt more

chili powder for dusting

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl toss together squid, olive oil, garlic, lime zest, red pepper flakes, chili powder, cayenne, and sea salt. Let sit for at least 15 minutes, but no more than 1 hour.
  2. In a separate large bowl toss together the cabbage, cilantro, jalapeno, and lime juice. Let sit for at least 15 minutes, or up to an hour.
  3. When ready to prepare the tacos, begin warming the tortillas: Preheat oven to “warm” or lowest temperature.  Lay out a clean dish towel in which to wrap the heated tortillas. Set out a bowl of water.
  4. Heat a large skillet to medium high. Add a shimmer of olive oil.
  5. Dip each tortilla in the water and then immediately into the hot pan. Allow them to get hot, and brown, and then turn over. Let cook 1 minute, and then remove to the dish towel.
  6. Wrap them, place them in the oven, and continue with the rest. Keep warm until the squid is ready.
  7. To cook the squid, heat a pan that will hold them in a single layer, or use two pans, to high heat. Pour a shimmer of olive oil in the pan, and heat to high. Add the squid in one layer, and do not touch! Let the squid sit in the pan on high heat for about 1 1/2 minutes. Once they squid has solid brown marks, move them gently in the pan, turning to brown the other sides.
  8. Cook like this for 3-5 minutes, but no more, until the squid are sort of scorched in places, cooked through, but not tough. The garlic may scorch in the pan by the end, but just leave that there. It has done its job of seasoning the squid.
  9. To assemble the taco, lay out a tortilla, top with a scoop of cole slaw, and then 4-5 pieces of squid. Lay a slice of avocado over the squid, and dust with salt and chili powder. Serve immediately.

Cloumage Coffee Cake

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

 

Cloumage Cake photo Allen Penn

photo by Allan Penn

(Reprinted from “In Cod We Trust”)

Shy Brothers Farm The long gray dairy barn sits atop Sherman Hill in Westport, MA; the Santos Family cows – Holsteins and Ayrshires – roam in pastures all around. The 120 cow herd can stand chewing their cud looking in the distance to the West Branch of the Westport River. Too far to see but close enough to feel its breezes and be stopped by its salt-tinged fog, the East Branch of the Westport River juts northward into a pastured and stonewall-laced landscape east of the Santos Dairy Barn, also known as Shy Brothers Farm.

From this windy crest of hill, where the Santos family has been milking their cows for three generations, Main Rd. runs south quickly. In less than three miles the elevation drops from 2000 feet above sea level to 200 feet at Westport Point, where those two river branches meet. Just across Westport Harbor is Horseneck Beach State Reservation.

Westport, Massachusetts is 64 square miles in total, and one fifth of those miles is water. A town that seems to be nothing but pasture land threaded with salt water estuaries, Westport was once the dairy farming center of Massachusetts, a bucolic combination of sea breezes and sweet grasses; cows loved Westport and proved it with a plentiful flow of high-quality milk. As recently as the year 2000 there were still fourteen dairy farms trucking milk out of Westport; now there are two.

This is the story of how the Santos family reinvented themselves to become Shy Brothers Farm, a third-generation Westport milk-producer turned maker of award-winning cheeses, now with a Whole Foods contract. And, yet, they are still the Santos family – two sets of twin brothers, one set 52 years old, the other just turned 50, who mostly want to do what they’ve been doing since they were kids. Norman milks the cows. Arthur feeds them. Kevin runs the machinery, and now Karl, who is famous for fact-keeping, makes the cheese.

Barbara Hanley, a friend who was brought in to consult the brothers on how to not be one more failed Westport dairy farm, helped them make the transition from dairy to cheese. She and Karl traveled to Burgundy, France together in 2006, looking for a cheese style that would suit the Santos dairy. Hannahbells, named for Hannah, the boys mother, is a small thimble-shaped or bell-shaped soft cheese made with fresh Shy Brothers cows milk and lactic bacteria. In Burgundy they are called “buttones de culottes” or “trouser buttons.” Hannahbells are soft, mellow and come in shallot, lavender, rosemary, and classic French flavors. Small enough to put four of them, quickly warmed in the oven, on top of a frisee salad with toasted walnuts for one person’s luscious salad, Hannahbells win the “Dainty doesn’t Mean Dull” award for cheeses; these little thimbles may be adorable, but the flavor they deliver is old world aged, the perfect bite with an aperitif.

Cloumage is a creamy cheese that comes in a tub, to start. It has the texture of baked ricotta, but with the yeast of champagne and acidic tang that makes it a superpower in the kitchen. Cloumage is eaten straight, with almost anything from fresh pears to roasted peppers or simply strewn with fresh chives. It can bind lobster; it can stuff a pepper, rise in a soufflee, even bake into a luxurious coffee cake. Some Westport chefs say they have yet to find a place in the kitchen that Cloumage doesn’t improve.

Where there is sour cream, cream cheese, ricotta, or creme fraiche substitute Cloumage, and that dish will always be better. As the cheese making began to grow, and Hanley began to give presentations about the farm, people at an event would ask, “where are these brothers; can we meet them?” Hanley would confess, “well, they are shy.” And so the dairy has been famously – and honestly – renamed, “Shy Brothers Farm.”

Hanley gave me a tour of the cheese making operation and then took me to see the family farm, the dairy barn, and to meet the cows. Hanley pointed to a small house where Arthur and Norman live next door. I asked how they felt about the contract with Whole Foods, and about all the excitement buzzing among chefs using the Shy Brothers cheeses; Hanley paused for a second, and then said, “I don’t think they even know; all those boys want to do is take care of the cows, they way they have all their lives.”

Katie’s Cloumage Coffee Cake

serves 10

Katie Martin is Karl Santos’ cheese making assistant; a single mother of five, Katie is Shy Brothers Cheese’s fiercest defender. (Just try to mention another cheese-maker in the hallowed Cloumage and Hannahbell-making room!) Martin loves proving the superpowers of Cloumage; the cheese could become famous if only for this outrageously moist and tangy Cloumage Coffee Cake.

Ingredients

Layer Mixture:

3/4 cup sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 cup walnuts

Cake Batter: 16 oz Cloumage

1 cup sugar

2 sticks butter, softened

2 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 10″ bundt pan with vegetables oil.

Mix sugar and cinnamon together well, then stir in walnuts to evenly distribute.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer on medium speed combine Cloumage, sugar, and butter.  Then add vanilla and eggs. In a separate bowl, combine the baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the Cloumage mixture to make the cake batter.  Stir gently just to combine.

Place 1/3 of the cake batter in the Bundt pan.  Layer with 1/2 of the nut mixture. Then repeat until you have three layers of batter and two of crumb mixture. Bake for an hour or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before inverting.

Le Cirque’s Pasta Primavera

Friday, May 6th, 2016

pasta primavera

Le Cirque’s Pasta Primavera

In May, 2012, Bon Appetit Magazine invited readers to request recipes from magazine issues “pre-internet,” in other words, readers could ask for un-google-able recipes printed before there was an internet to post upon or search. By far THE most popular recipe, the recipe that overwhelmed Bon Appetit with requests was Pasta Primavera, published in 1979. Who knew?

Pasta Primavera is a strange emblem of Italian food’s sometimes quiet, sometimes brassy, sometimes crooked march into the mainstream American kitchen. Created in the U.S., Pasta Primavera (which means spring in Italian) isn’t Primavera at all. Half the ingredient list says spring or at least close – baby peas, asparagus, parsley – but the other half says summer – – broccoli, zucchini, and tomatoes. So, it’s name alone is an issue, but now too famous to resolve.

For centuries Italians have made an art of coupling pasta shapes with sauces, the architecture of a pasta specifically supporting a sauce with complementing elements. The engineering to a bowl of macaroni with peas, ham, and cream, for instance, is poetry, an efficient use of the exact right ingredients – the sweet peas, the salty ham. The cream is the vehicle that transports all over the pasta, the macaroni acting like hundreds of little bowls to hold the peas so they don’t roll away.

In Pasta Primavera, the vegetables are steamed, and then swirled together in a shallow skillet with cream, Parmigiana Reggiano, and fresh basil. The cooked spaghetti is added into the pan, but physics will not allow those chunks of broccoli and straight-edged zucchini to cling to a strand of spaghetti, no matter how velvety the sauce. The dish often looks like a small garden sprouting from the top of a mound of pasta, the vegetables an accessory at best, if not excluded altogether from the strands of cheesy deliciousness. And yet, there is much to adore about this dish, created by one of the world’s most charming Italians.

Pasta Primavera SAID “1979,” maybe because it was about America STILL getting everything wrong about Italian food. And yet, it was created by an Italian – an Italian immigrant who left his impoverished country, like so many southern Italian immigrants, a very young man full of hopes. Siro Maccioni worked on cruise ships which took him around the world, and then to New York in 1956. His good looks, and quickly acquired polish sent him straight up the ranks of fine NY restaurants. By 1973 he was opening his own dining room, which was, of necessity, French/Contintental. Fine dining in those years was being created by toqued chefs named Pierre and Jaques. Italian food, which was really Italian-American food, nothing like what Maccioni or any of the immigrants had eaten at home, had caught on, but mostly by bohemians and artists. Italian-American food was what was being served in tiny places with cheap red-checked tablecloths. The Chianti poured quickly; the cliche was the reality in those years.

Sirio Maccioni, the immigrant of our Primavera story, missed the beautiful basics of his home cuisine, but was sure that the rich and famous, the clientele he had befriended at The Colony Restaurant, needed veloute, foie gras and caviar. So, with French chef Jean Vergnes, Maccioni opened Le Cirque, which was to become the most famous and sought after reservation in the country. Richard Nixon, Bill Blass, Paloma Picasso, Woody Allen, Sophia Loren, Luciano Pavarotti all made Le Cirque a habit. The restaurant also launched a fleet of chef careers like Daniel Boulud to David Bouley.

Before I discuss how this great French/Continental New York Restaurant came to be synonymous with Pasta Primavera, let me give a little background on what had happened to Italian cooking when those immigrants first started arriving on U.S. shores around the turn of the 19th century.

John Mariani*, in his facscinating book How Italian Food Conquered the World, explores this in detail. Here’s a fact to start with: When Southern Italians first started leaving their native land at the turn of the 19th century for the U.S. they were desperate. They had been required to turn over 4/5ths of the food they farmed to their landlord, and were spending 75% of their income on food. When they arrived in New York, the pay was not much better, but there were plenty of jobs. The big difference came in the price of food, which was abundant and cheap, particularly meat. Suddenly these Italians were spending only 25% of their incomes on groceries. The Italian meatball is the perfect symbol of what happened in Italian American kitchens – what in Italy had been a tiny 3/4 “ ball made with scraps of anything – chicken, fish, even tripe – called “polpetonne,” became in New York a 1/4 pound ball of beef and pork. The Italian mama went from being a scrawny mother scraping together a weak soup for her family’s dinner to the plump matron of the kitchen who suddenly took pride in having the best recipes. Foods that had in the old country been reserved only for feast days – like cream filled pastries and buttery cookies dusted in confectionary sugar – were suddenly available every day. Other Italians opened businesses to serve the needs of these Italian communities, including bakeries and restaurants. These were inexpensive places that began to attract other adventurous, but unwealthy groups, like artists and musicians. The Italian cooks in these places began to realize that the new non-Italian American customer anticipated some version of meat and potatoes in a meal: spaghetti found its purpose as a required carbohydrate beside a plate of meatballs in marinara sauce.

Here’s another fascinating fact from Mariani’s book – The marinara sauce that came to be synonymous with Italian-American food? That came from Naples, the bottom of Italy’s boot, which had been home for so many of these new immigrants. In Naples many of the men had been fishermen, or “marinari.” Their wives would see their husband’s fishing boats sailing into port, and run to prepare for them a hot meal; the wives needed something that could be put together quickly, impromptu, at the whim of a fishing boat’s landing: this became a bowl of pasta with a simple, fresh tomato sauce, appropriately named “marinara!”

Back to Maccioni, who became one of the world’s most famous restaurant owners in the U.S., and had for his friends some of the world’s most famous names, including the New York Times food writers Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey. Maccioni admitted to missing the foods from his childhood, but his had become a tuxedoed life of Dover Sole and Chateaubriand. In an interview with Saveur Magazine, Maccioni describes how the first ever Pasta Primavera came to be: In 1977, he and his wife were all on vacation with a group of friends, including chef Vergnes, Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey, at a lodge on Prince Edward Island. After too many days of wild boar and lobster somebody asked Maccioni to make pasta. Maccioni’s son described the dish his father prepared as actually being VERY Italian – “It’s called “frigidaire,” he said – when you make a pasta with all your leftovers in the refrigerator! (By the way, in another version of this story Maccioni claims that his wife made the dish that night.) Everyone loved it, Claiborne and Franey so much that they printed the recipe in the New York Times food section.

Suddenly, much to Vergnes’s French dismay, the clients at Le Cirque were demanding Pasta Primavera. Vergnes loathed all pasta, and now this was becoming the symbol of his kitchen. Pasta Primavera was at first sentenced to being prepared in a hall outside the kitchen, as Vergnes couldn’t stand to see it. Then, as its inevitability became apparent, the pasta was assigned a drama to be prepared tableside, often by Maccioni himself.

Here’s another fascinating aside: Mr. Vergnes had worked at The Colony, where Siro Maccioni gilded his reputation as a suave host, but left in 1962 to run the commissary at Stop & Shop which wanted to develop a prepared-food service. He was there for 3 years before returning to the boutique fine restaurant scene rising in New York. He joined Maccioni in 1973.

Mariani explains that something happened in the early 1980’s that helped to elevate pasta away from huge portions of meatballs in marinara sauce, allowing Americans to suddenly appreciate the lighter, fresher, more artful Italian ways with pasta, for them to understand better the meal Maccioni was creating that day on Prince Edward Island. Fed Ex. Fed Ex began flying special ingredients overnight from Italy to the U.S. Cheeses, artisanal pastas, a variety of risotto rice were suddenly available in quality and quantity, and beginning to star in cookbooks, in restaurants, in gourmet shops (Chuck Williams of Williams Sonoma began selling Balsamic Vinegar from Modena in his Beverly Hills store in 1973.) and therefore American kitchens. Whereas the Joy of Cooking in 1964 mentioned olive oil once, and Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 1968 not at all, but by the mid 1980’s Marcella Hazan’s Classic Italian Cooking series devoted four pages to olive oil.

With the arrival of all these fresh new Italian ingredients, the American public began to understand the foods that had truly been made in Italian kitchens. Pasta Primavera was never one of them, but its principles – quick, economical, fresh, and delicious – are all there, and VERY Italian. When Pasta Primavera hit the big time, with the recipe printed in the NYT, people clamored for it, but, of course, no Italian chef or cook had ever heard of it!   

Le Cirque and its many sister restaurants are managed by Maccioni’s three sons now. Pasta Primavera can always be ordered.

pp

 

 

Recipe from the New York Times article by Craig Claiborne with Pierre Franey

serves 4 as a main course, 6 as an appetizer

Ingredients

1 bunch broccoli

2 small zucchini, unpeeled

4 asparagus spears

1 1/2 cups green beans

Salt

1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas

3/4 cup fresh or frozen pea pods

1 tablespoon peanut, vegetable or corn oil

2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms

Freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon minced hot red or green chili, or 1/2 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

3 cups 1-inch tomato cubes

6 basil leaves, chopped

1 pound spaghetti

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream, approximately

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts.

Instructions

  1.  Trim broccoli and break into florets. Trim off ends of the zucchini. Cut into quarters, then cut into 1-inch or slightly longer lengths (about 1 1/2 cups). Cut each asparagus into 2-inch pieces. Trim beans and cut into 1-inch pieces.

  2.  Cook each of the green vegetables separately in boiling salted water to cover until crisp but tender. Drain well, then run under cold water to chill, and drain again thoroughly. Combine the cooked vegetables in a bowl.
  3. Cook the peas and pods; about 1 minute if fresh; 30 seconds if frozen. Drain, chill with cold water and drain again. Combine with the vegetables. 
  4. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat the peanut oil and add the mushrooms. Season to taste. Cook about 2 minutes, shaking the skillet and stirring. Add the mushrooms, chili and parsley to the vegetables. 
  5. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan and add half the garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook about 4 minutes. Add the basil. 6.
  6. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet and add the remaining garlic and the vegetable mixture. Cook, stirring gently, until heated through. 
  7. Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until almost (but not quite) tender, retaining a slight resilience in the center. Drain well. 8.
  8. In a pot large enough to hold the spaghetti and vegetables, add the butter and melt over medium-low heat. Then add the chicken broth and half a cup each of cream and cheese, stirring constantly. Cook gently until smooth. Add the spaghetti and toss quickly to blend. Add half the vegetables and pour in the liquid from the tomatoes, tossing over very low heat. 
  9. Add the remaining vegetables. If the sauce seems dry, add 3 to 4 tablespoons more cream. Add the pine nuts and give the mixture a final tossing. 
  10. Serve equal portions of the spaghetti mixture in hot soup or spaghetti bowls. Spoon equal amounts of the tomatoes over each serving. Serve immediately. 

*I put together this story after reading John Mariani’s book How Italian Food Conquered The World.  Most of the facts came from that book; others were culled from the Le Cirque website.  The recipe is from the original NYT article.