With New Year’s approaching, Italian chef, restaurateur, TV personality and cookbook author Lidia Bastianich, is looking forward to a quieter evening, a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of Christmas.
“New Year’s Eve is more about the wines and desserts and not so much on the food being the center of the meal,” she said. “I’ve been in the restaurant on New Year’s Eve, but for the last few years, I stayed home with my mom because I want to be with her.”
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t prepare delicious dishes. Grace your dinner table with Lidia’s light and refreshing scallops or Mario Batali’s hearty fusilli with sausage and butternut squash.
A couple of oranges
A splash of lemon juice
Some olive oil
1. Take a peeler and take some skin off the oranges. Put skins in a pan with some olive oil and some salt.
2. When the oil is infused, remove peels and cook scallops. Scallops will cook very quickly, like shrimp. Cook them for a minute then toss in a little bit of lemon juice.
3. Put top on, turn off heat and let sit for a minute and steam.
Italian-American chef and restaurateur Mario Batali offers up his hearty Fusilli Lunchi with Sausage and Butternut Squash, using ingredients from Eataly.
A perfect dish for the holidays to switch up your classic dinner table.
Fusilli Lunghi with Sausage and Butternut Squash
1 package fusilli lunghi
½ onion, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1 small carrot, roughly chopped
4 links spicy Italian sausage, casing removed and crumbled
1 cup plus 1/2 cup white wine
½ butternut squash, cubed
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, about 3/4 cup or to taste
extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 nice white truffle (optional)
For the fonduta:
½ cup cream
½ nutmeg, or to taste
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1. Bring 8 quarts of water to a boil in a large pasta pot. Add salt and drop fusilli into water, submerge and cook with the lid on for 1 minute less than package instructions indicate.
2. Add the roughly chopped onion, celery and carrot, a generous pinch of salt and few tablespoons of olive oil to the food processor. Chop until almost a paste, to make a soffrito.
3. Heat a large cast iron pot and add soffrito and another pinch of salt. Cook until translucent and just starting to brown—add pasta water to soffrito to slow the cooking process if need be. Add crumbled sausage, then cook until sausage is browned all the way through. Pour in a cup of white wine, then bring to a full boil for 1 minute. Pulse in food processor until smooth but not gravy-like, about 20 pulses.
4. Add 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and cubed butternut squash into emptied pot. Season with salt and sauté. When squash begins to brown, add 1/2 cup more white wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from bottom of the pan.
5. Add the soffrito back into the same pot with the butternut squash, continuously stirring for 4-5 minutes, until the butternut squash is tender and the raw alcohol has cooked out of the wine. If sauce becomes dry, add a ladleful of pasta water and continue to stir. Remove from heat and allow to sit until pasta is cooked.
To make the fonduta:
1. In a small saucepan, bring half a cup of cream to a boil and season with a generous pinch of salt. Using a microplane, freshly grate half a nutmeg into the cream. Remove from heat once it has thickened slightly and allow to cool for a minute or two. Add about 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano until thick, but still silky.
2. When pasta is ready, place sauce back on heat and add drained pasta, stirring together with another ladleful of pasta water for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigianno-Reggiano and freshly chopped parsley. Toss together like a salad.
3. Pour a small amount of the fonduta on the plate, then place the pasta and butternut squash on top. Grate more Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top. For a special occasion, add freshly shaved white truffles to serve.
For more on Lidia Bastianich and Mario Batali’s restaurants and some delicious recipes, see the following articles: