KCBS Foodie Chap Podcast:
Anthony Strong, might be known for his way with Italian cooking, but like many Chefs, he cut his teeth on French technique, working as the Sous Chef at Vincent — a contemporary upscale French restaurant in Minneapolis. From there the Iowa native went on to New York City to work at chef Eric Ripert’s world-renowned Le Bernardin where he learned discipline and refined techniques, but it took moving to San Francisco where he was hired to work at Delfina in 2005, by James Beard Award winning Chef Craig Stoll, to be humbled by the simple things, he says. For example, pizza dough, the deceptively finicky basic with a life of its own that Strong had to master for Pizzeria Delfina. To do this, Strong went on annual pilgrimages to Naples and the Almafi Coast. With every visit his love for ingredients such as ricotta, fresh mozzarella and garum—the Italian version of fish sauce—grew. These staples and more are the basis for much of the rustic sophistication that Delfina and its two pizzerias have become famous for; famous enough to have their “Panna Pie” be ranked third in the U.S. by GQ’s lauded critic Alan Richman.
Today, Strong serves as Executive Chef of Locanda. After spending the summer of 2010 on a trip to Rome, Strong took the deep-dive into the cuisine, including Quinto Quarto (or offal) dishes, liberal doses of black pepper and guanciale and of course, the ancient city’s famous pastas such as bucatini all’amatriciana and spaghetti carbonara. Strong was awarded Rising Star Chef 2012 by the San Francisco Chronicle and led Locanda to a Best New Restaurant Award by 7×7 Magazine the same year.
Locanda is a spot where you can enjoy a taste of your own Roman holiday for dinner only, seven nights a week. The cocktails are knockout. The wine list is also to be explored, the selection sourced from Roman outposts such as France and Spain.
Christmas Eve is a special time at Locanda when Chef serves up his “Feast of Seven Fishes” – a multi course dinner of Roman inspiration showcasing festive seafood specialties such as Gulr Shrimp and Burrata Panzarotti. Tickets for the Italian feast are snapped up quickly, so book soon to avoid disappointment.
Meantime, enjoy my Foodie Chap chat with a rock star Chef who knows his Roman cuisine; yes, pastas and pizzas, but so much more. We taped our interview recently at the Valencia Street, Osteria & Bar, in San Francisco.
“Pecora e Pecorino” Radiatore
With Lamb Ragu, Pecorino and Mint
1 rack of lamb riblets
8 oz.. extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 lb. lamb, ground
2 ribs celery, finely minced
4 carrots, finely minced
2 onions, finely minced
12 oz.. white wine
(1) 8 oz.. can peeled tomatoes’in juice
1 pint chicken stock
1 small bunch dried thyme
4-5 dried bay leaves
½ bunch parsley
8-10 oz. radiatore, or other dried pasta
4 oz. pecorino romano, finely ground
1 small bunch of mint
Over a medium-high flame, heat a wide, heavy bottomed pan that is large enough to accommodate all of the ingredients. Season the lamb riblets liberally with salt and black pepper. Add half the amount of olive oil to the pan when it is hot, then sauté the lamb riblets until deep brown. Remove the lamb riblets from the pan and set aside. Add in the minced onion, celery, and carrot to the pan, and turn
the heat down to low so they slowly cook until translucent. Add in the ground lamb, and using the back of a large wooden spoon, press the meat until it breaks down into a fine paste. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring the mixture constantly until it is well incorporated.
Add in the white wine, reduce it by half, then add the chicken stock. Pass the tomatoes through a food mill, and add this to the pan.
Wrap the thyme, bay leaves, and parsley in a piece of cheesecloth and tie tight with string, add it to the pan along with the rack of riblets. Continue to cook the ragu on low heat for about an hour, occasionally stirring and pressing on the herb sachet with a spoon to get its flavor incorporated into the sauce.
Once the lamb riblets are tender, remove them from the pan. Pull the bones away from the meat, and dice it into peanut-sized pieces. Add the cut riblets back into the ragu and discard the bones. The ragu can be made to this point and held for a couple of days.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Meanwhile gently heat the ragu in a separate pan, if the sauce has been made in advance it may need a bit of water to loosen it up, tear the mint leaves with your hands and add them to the pan as well. Boil the pasta 2 minutes less than the recommended cooking time. Drain the pasta and add it to the ragu. On medium-high heat, continue cooking the two together until
the pasta is well coated. Finish the pasta by adding in the grated pecorino, the second half of the olive oil, and by seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
Vist LOCANDA for Christmas Eve!
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