Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dinner for 4, Food for 14

When I saw all of the food arranged on Boogie's counter top, stacked in the fridge, and bubbling away on the stove, I couldn't help but think of the night's guest list. Me...check, Teddy...check, Boogie...check, his roommate Benji...check. Who the f*ck is going to eat all of this food then? I actually took a small spin around the apartment to make sure people weren't hiding behind furniture waiting to spring out for a surprise party/intervention of some sort. Nobody popped out of the shadows though. Well then, time to ditch the belt, do some precautionary stretches and get down to business.

Italian Sausage Soup

‘Packets of Mackerel’ in a Red Pepper & Caper Sauce

Fettuccine w/Rabbit Ragu

Stuffed Veal Breast w/ Baked Cheese Polenta

Zuppa Inglese (Italian Trifle)

The starter (it can only be referred to as that because it happened to come first) was sort of a play on an Italian Wedding Soup. Every bowl was filled to the brim with a rich, and herbaceous tomato broth and just a few handfuls of sweet and hot sausage links.

It had just the right amount of spice and was topped with a dusting of parmesan for an extra savory kick. An excellent soup (you can find the recipe below on this blog); it took a great deal of restraint not to overload on this first course because of the amount of grub to I only had 2 small bowls.

Next, I saw 6 whole fish rolled up in a pinwheel fashion and crammed into a sautee pan with herb butter, white wine and clam juice. The mackerel started with a quick sautee and ended with a lengthy bath in all the juices. They drank up all the liquid and stayed super juicey with every turn of the fork. The sauce underneath added a great punchy pepper flavor and a briny kick that could only come from the mighty caper.

Again, the portions were healthy, but the impromptu eating competition rolled on.

The pasta course was exactly what a ragu should be. Chunky, slow cooked meat (rabbit in this case) with a reduced sauce. The thick steamers of fettuccine were dyed orange from the oil of the sauce like a load of laundry whites tossed in with a lone red sock.

All of our forks twisted on to the delight of our chef....not only had we made it to the 3rd course, but clean plates to boot? The food was that good.

Damn. Spoke too soon. We should have kept on cramming in food. Instead, we took a break to chat and we lost valuable momentum. The veal breasts were immense in size and stuffed with a breadcrumb, parmesan, and caper mixture. The outside was cooked picture perfect with a nice thick crispy skin followed by moist flesh.

A beautiful pan gravy was concocted by combining the pan drippings, shallots and veal stock with another separate sauce with mushrooms. One problem though.....we didn't have much room left to fit in this monster. By the time the enormous slabs were plated next to a slice of polenta and covered in the velvety sauce, we could do little but laugh (between deep breathing and shallow belches).

We tried our very best though, and it was damn tasty. I'm envious of the leftovers that Boogie enjoyed for the next few days though. A grand sandwich indeed.....

Just a touch of something sweet to finish off of the night. Sweet? Yes. Boozy? Hells yes. The Italian Trifle contained enough alcohol to kill off any Italian and the raisins on top could double as a successful party snack if the party's theme was competitive drinking. That being said, the cake was sweet, dense and the cream throughout was delicious.

Needless to say, we ended up forgoing our usual post-meal drink and slothed all the way back to Brooklyn. Bravo Boogie, a meal fit for a king....and his wife, kids, and half the damn kingdom.

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