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 Suhanosky

Ron 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.

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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.

Rigatoni, Five Cheeses in Parchment

Click here to download a printable PDF file of this recipe. SERVES 6

Cooking food in parchment paper allows the flavors to be absorbed one into another while keeping ingredients moist. You’ll find versions of pasta cooked in parchment all over Italy, from Palermo up to Milan.

This is my fancy version of macaroni and cheese. There’s a special surprise awaiting the diner when the packet is opened.

4 cups whole milk
1 pound good-quality rigatoni
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup cubed fontina cheese
¾ cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
¾ cup coarsely chopped
Parmesan cheese
¾ cup cubed Montasio cheese
1/3 pound goat’s milk cheese (see recipe below)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Six 24 by 13-inch sheets parchment paper

1. Scald the milk in a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Turn off the heat.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni to the boiling water and cook for 6 minutes. Drain and reserve in a colander.

3. MAKE A BÉCHAMEL SAUCE: Add the butter to another nonreactive saucepan over high heat and brown. Add the flour, stirring continuously until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add ½ cup of the already warmed milk to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Add everything back into the rest of the warm milk. Lower the heat to medium. Continue to stir until the sauce is as thick as sour cream, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the fontina, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, Montasio, and goat’s milk cheeses to the béchamel. Use a whisk to thoroughly combine. It’s important to stay with the sauce, continually whisking in order to achieve a thick, smooth finish—and so it won’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the salt and pepper.

5. Return the rigatoni to the pasta pot or place it in a large mixing bowl. Strain the cheese sauce through a sieve onto the pasta. Stir to combine. Let cool.

6. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Fold each piece of parchment in half. Divide the rigatoni into 6 equal portions and place in the center of the parchment. Fold the tops of the paper over the bottoms and twist the ends to seal. Place the bundles on a baking sheet with sides. Bake until the parchment turns pale brown and you can almost see the pasta turn brownish gold through the paper, about 45 minutes.

7. Serve immediately.

Please see page three for the Goat's Milk Cheese recipe

Goat’s Milk Cheese

When we opened our Sfoglia restaurant on Nantucket, Colleen immediately began to look for a source for fresh milk to make her gelato. We had already established a relationship with Ray Owen, a local farmer from whom we got chicken eggs. Because Ray had been a dairy farmer on the mainland before he moved to the island, Colleen asked him if he knew anyone in Massachusetts who could supply fresh milk. His answer to that question came when he walked into our kitchen one day with the news that his sons, who had taken over his mainland farm, had sent him a female goat and he wanted to breed it. He wondered if we’d be interested in fresh goat’s milk. Colleen decided to adapt her gelato recipe for it. Pleased with the results, she began to experiment with making cheese. This, too, was a success. To meet our demand for more milk, Ray kept breeding goats.

Once we had this infallible recipe for goat’s milk cheese, we realized that the cheese, with its distinct tangy flavor and creamy texture, could be added to our ravioli and lasagne fillings and to cheese and vegetable terrines, and used as a garnish on everything from pastas to antipasti to side dishes. If you don’t have the time that’s required to make this recipe, substitute with a store-bought, soft goat’s milk cheese.

1 gallon fresh goat’s milk
¼ teaspoon powdered mesophilic DVI (see Resources, page 194)
1⁄16 teaspoon liquid mesophilic DVI (see Resources, page 194)

Editor's Note: Mesophilic DVI is a direct vat innoculant cheese culture which can be purchased from farm supply stores such as Leeners in Ohio.

Cheesecloth

1. Heat the goat’s milk in a large nonreactive saucepan over medium heat until the temperature reaches exactly 75°F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from the heat.

2. Add the powdered and liquid mesophilic DVI to a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the warm goat’s milk to the bowl and thoroughly combine. Add the mixture to the rest of the milk in the saucepan. Let sit, covered and undisturbed, overnight.

3. Cut the set-up cheese into quarters. Completely cover a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth. Place the colander over a large bowl. Carefully pour the cheese quarters through the colander. Let sit until all the whey, or liquid, has been strained (see Note). Place the cheese in an airtight container.

STORAGE: The cheese can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and in the freezer for up to 1 month.

NOTE: If the whey that you’ve collected is very cloudy, then you might try to make ricotta (see Variation). If not, discard.

Pasta and Farrotto like you've never had before.

Butternut Squash Farrotto with Sausage
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.

Five Cheeses Rigatoni in Parchment
This is my fancy version of macaroni and cheese. There’s a special surprise awaiting the diner when the packet is opened. Cooking food in parchment paper allows the flavors to be absorbed one into another while keeping ingredients moist.

Photos by: Ben Fink