When Sfoglia came to Manhattan in March of 2006, after gaining fame with the origina l-- and still open -- location on Nantucket, the food faithful of the Upper East Side were all abuzz. The inventive, seasonal, and fresh food of Chefs Ron & Colleen Suhanosky was a breath of fresh air in an area long dominated by tried and true Italian restaurants. With their ever-changing menu, based on the freshest in season ingredients, the Suhanosky's have won a dedicated following that has turned this modest neighborhood spot into a destination, which is pretty darn hard for an Italian restaurant in Manhattan.
With their newfound fame came long waits for tables and all the difficulties that accompany popularity. While once it was easy to snag a table on a Saturday night, now it can be a challenge. With the Pasta Sfoglia cookbook you can create their classic, yet inventive, pasta dishes at home and duplicate (almost) a night out at one of their great restaurants. Of course, you'll have to do the dishes, not to mention clean the kitchen, but with such inspired recipes I'm sure it'll be worth the effort!
Ron & Colleen SuhanoskyRon Suhanosky and Colleen Marnell-Suhanosky are graduates of the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park. They opened their first Sfoglia restaurant in 1999 and Tutto Sfoglia in 2007 on Nantucket Island, and opened another Sfoglia restaurant in Manhattan in 2006. They live in New York City with their three children and spend the summertime and holidays on Nantucket.
Click here to download a printable PDF file of this recipe. SERVES 4–6
My first experience with farro was in Umbria when Colleen and I spent a summer working at Il Poggio dei Petti Rossi. I noticed that the grain was used there a lot, mostly as part of soups, or, when the grain was SPEZIATO—cracked—to thicken them. I became curious, so I picked up one of the cookbooks that was part of the kitchen’s collection and started to read about the ancient grain. I learned that in addition to being used in its whole grain and cracked forms, it is also ground into flour and used for bread, pastries, and pasta.
This substantial grain is a good complement to autumn and winter ingredients. In preparing it, my method is like the one I use when I make risotto—which, I imagine, is why I call the dish FARROTTO.
One 1 3/4- to 2-pound butternut squash, wrapped in aluminum foil
3 tablespoons grape seed oil
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
2 cups whole grain farro
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 cups water
3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2⁄3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake the squash until soft enough that a tester, or the tip of a sharp paring knife, slips easily into its thickest part, about 1½ hours. Let cool. When cool enough to touch, peel the squash and remove the seeds. It should yield about 2 cups of squash.
2. Add 2 tablespoons of the grape seed oil and the onions to a heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan. Turn on the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. (It’s important that the onions don’t take on color.)
3. Add the farro to the pan. Let it “toast,” or dry out, about 1 minute. Agitate the pan from time to time to keep the farro from sticking to the bottom. Add the white wine and cook until evaporated. Begin to add the water, 2 cups at a time. Stir continuously to keep the farro from sticking to the pan. When a wooden spoon dragged through the farro reveals a pathway, add the next 2 cups water.
4. Make the topping while the farro is cooking: Add the remaining 1 tablespoon grape seed oil to a 10-inch skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the sausage. Use a wooden spoon to break it up into smaller pieces so it can thoroughly render its fat. Cook until the pink has disappeared and the sausage starts to brown, about 4 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and let it brown. Add the oregano. Turn off the heat.
5. Add the squash to the farro along with the remaining 2 cups water. Incorporate, leaving some chunks. When the farrotto is a few minutes from completion—the sauce is creamy and the grains plump—add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, the salt, and pepper. When the butter has melted, add the Parmesan cheese. Continue to cook until the Parmesan has melted and become part of the sauce. Farrotto should be a slightly soupy, wet dish.
6. Add the farrotto to a warm shallow bowl. Place the topping in the center and let it sink into the farrotto. Alternatively, make individual plates for each person to be served.
7. Serve immediately.