This week’s cooking is going to be heavily inspired by the Michael Chiarello’s Bottega cookbook. I can hardly believe my last visit to Bottega, one of my favorite restaurants ever, was almost two years ago. Time for this girl to get back to Napa.
Saturday was a pretty lazy day; pretty much all we got done was some shopping and baking and getting my broken phone attended to. When 7:00 rolled around, I wanted a simple dinner, so I set to work making Chiarello’s Calabrese Romano Bean Ragu.
The ragu can be served many ways, in a sandwich, as the book suggests, over pasta, as a side, or on its own. I decided to make it a light dinner. And while it was very easy, it was full of spectacular flavor.
I started with about two cups of green beans which I chopped into thirds and set aside. I also chopped about eight small red potatoes into half moons.
First, the potatoes went into a pot of salted, cold water, and were brought to a boil and allowed to boil for a few minutes. I strained them out of the boiling water and threw the beans in.
I made sure the potatoes were nice and dry and added them to a pan of olive oil, about 1/3 cup that was being heated. I made sure that each potato had contact with the bottom of the pan and then left them so that they could a nice brown crust.
They came out lovely, tender, and golden.
Once the potatoes were done, I strained the beans and added the potatoes, beans, a can of crushed plum tomatoes, three cloves chopped garlic, salt, and crushed red pepper to a pot. I brought the mixture up to a simmer and let it do its thing for about 10 minutes. The smell in the kitchen was incredible. I thought the heat of the tomatoes would go well with a crumbled goat cheese topping, so while the ragu simmered, I crumbled some up.
I served us heaping portions of the ragu topped with the cheese, which got soft and melty and blended in with all of the other ingredients. We were only missing a crusty loaf of bread for dipping!
I love the Bottega cookbook, and I have a feeling you will be seeing a lot of it. The food is rustic, and many of the recipes very simple. If only I could make my gnocchi as perfect as it is at the restaurant.
Have you been inspired by any cookbooks lately?