9/27/09

Guest/Restaurant Attempt: Osteria Mozza's Orecchiette with Sausage & Swiss Chard

Dear Readers:
Have you had the extreme pleasure of dining at Mario Batali's Osteria Mozza? Were you fortunate enough to order the orecchiette with sausage and swiss chard?

OK, well, our friends Sara and Sean had and decided to take on the challenge of recreating it.

Being the rare (never done before) restaurant attempt, we had to get a little unorthodox when it came to the "their version" photo. We found this one via Food GPS and it's taken of the actual dish served at Mozza.
Osteria Mozza's version:

Sara and Sean's version:
I wish every attempt were like this attempt. Not just because Matt and I didn't have to do everything or because it was delicious, but because it was picture perfect, and by that I mean: Sara knows how to take a picture that is perfect.

This recipe is mainly about the homemade pasta. And the homemade pasta is mainly about hard work and semolina flour, the latter of which Sean was worried about procuring but ultimately did at Surfas in Culver City.
Once the dough was made, it was rolled into a long tube and sliced into thin ovals.
Then, Sean and Matt placed each of the little ovals in the palm of their hands, one by one, and pressed with their thumbs from their other hand, forming the "little ears."
The sauce was interesting because, despite the reddish hue in the Batali picture, no tomatoes were involved. Swiss chard, on the other hand, is involved. Big time.
Much like our last Batali attempt, the sauce in comparison to the pasta seemed relatively simple: you remove the casings of both hot and sweet sausages and cook the meat with the chicken stock, garlic, swiss chard and hot pepper flakes, adding the olive oil and parmesan cheese at the end.
OK, so truth be told, there's more to why this attempt holds a special place in my heart.
1. Sara made these little menus that deemed the meal my birthday "feast attempt."
2. They served us burrata and heirloom tomatoes as the salad course.
3. Sara made tiramisu and made me blow out a candle, which I haven't done since I was sixteen, possibly longer.
SIDEBAR. I'd like to quote an email just in from Sara: "Go ahead. Rip on the tiramisu. That sh*t was truly dismal. And I blame Batali." OK, so I won't go crazy on the tiramisu (which was also a Batali recipe), but I will say that I think Batali's brandy proportion was a bit off. Every few bites you'd run into what one might call an extreme brandy situation.

4. We topped off the night with a few intense rounds of Memory with this amazing modern / designy version of the game, which reminded me that I have the memory of Izzie Stevens on last season's finale of Grey's Anatomy. Speaking of which, I missed the premiere this season. Did she die or what?
RECIPE via Cook's Illustrated

Note: Osteria Mozza does not just give out their recipes. So, according to readers on chowhound, this is as close as it gets to Mozza's version.
Another Note: We substituted swiss chard for broccoli rabe.
Triple NOTE: We tripled this recipe.

INGREDIENTS
Table salt
1/2 pound orecchiette (any from-scratch recipe should do if you are going for homemade)
4 ounces hot italian sausage , casings removed
3 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (1 tablespoon)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 pound broccoli rabe , thick ends trimmed, remaining portion cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Bring 4 quarts water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Drain and return the pasta to the pot.
2. While the pasta is cooking, cook the sausage until browned in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it into 1/2-inch pieces with a wooden spoon, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant and slightly toasted, about 1½ minutes. Add the broccoli rabe and chicken broth, cover, and cook until the broccoli rabe turns bright green, 2 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the broth has evaporated and the broccoli rabe is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
3. Add the sausage-rabe mixture, oil, and cheese to the pot with the pasta and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
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18 comments:

  1. Why are you doing this to me on Yom Kippur?

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  2. This meal was amazing. I had Mozza's Orecchiette and Sean and Sara's was better.

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  3. OMG - Yours seriously looks like 10 times better than the one from Osteria Mozza. I've always wanted to try to make my own pasta, maybe now I'll give this dish a try!

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  4. all i can say is BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL. Or in RZ-speak, I DIE I DIE I DIE.

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  5. i would like to know. which was better? the georgian cheese bread or the provolone popovers?

    discuss and get back to me please, Bon Appetempt.

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  6. I'm pretty sure your version looks tastier. anyone else agree with me?!

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  7. Mary Anne: OK, this may upset Matt to admit, but shouldn't since he made the popovers, but I'm going to have to say that because I could taste all that excess flour on the Georgian cheese bread, the popovers.

    Sans all that flour, though? I think it would be the cheese bread.

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  8. I agree with Anna. Your version looks way better. I just ate dinner, but after reading this, I'm ready to eat again. I wish Sean and Sara were MY friends and they invited ME to a special birthday dinner.

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  9. This is an absolutely fabulous dish. It must take a lot of patience to make those beautiful little pasta ears.

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  10. Where'd you get that memory game?

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  11. true or false?

    i didn't write this entry because my version would have involved the words flaccid and penis. and this is a family blog (hi mrsameliasmom!)

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  12. All of that is TRUE, except for the allusion to my mom actually reading this blog because of course, she does not.

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  13. Heather blogged about your blog so obviously I had to visit your blog as one writer to another. This all looks amazing and scrumptious, and I can't wait to visit non-stop. xo!

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  14. megan! the first sentence of your comment is awesome. thanks for stopping by!

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  15. I love the tiramisu in the wine glass!

    Courtney
    www.dumpstersbuffet.com

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  16. I stumbled across your blog desperately searching for Mario Batali's Orrechiette w/swiss chard recipe which I JUST had at Mozza a few nights ago. HOW they get that deep rich dark flavorful sauce is BEYOND me. I've tried to recreate - but never thought to cook sausage WITH broth in same pan. Hmm...think maybe he uses beef broth?

    Anyway, I had to say I LOOOOOVE your blog! LOVE that you attempt to recreate recipes. I blog too at www.MommyLiteOnline.com. If you have kids or hate parenting (sometimes...or more often than others) ...feel free to check it out. I'll be following you.

    Best,
    Sarah Maizes
    Mommy Lite

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  17. thanks, Sarah! we used chicken broth and honestly, it was sooooooooo good. It's been over a year and I still remember how good it was.

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  18. Amelia,

    JUST FYI, been scouring the planet for other interpretations of this recipe and came across a secret ingredient - Balsamic vinegar. Not a lot. Just like an 1/8 of a cup - gave it a LOT more of the body like in the restaurant. Too afraid to add more. Next time, maybe... :)
    Sarah

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Thanks for your thoughts!