Tag Archives: Cooking at home

Malloreddus alla Campidanese

Malloreddus alla Campidanese
Malloreddus mis-en-place
Malloreddus alla Campidanese

Malloreddus alla Campidanese is a pasta dish that comes from Sardegna. It’s basically a sausage and tomato ragu with saffron and onions that is finished with pecorino cheese. Malloreddus is a short pasta that looks a little like cavatelli and is usually made with semolina flour, water, and saffron. Some alternative pasta shapes that would work well in this dish include gnocchi, cavatelli, fusilli, penne rigate, rigatoni, and pappardelle.

This pasta is delicious and it all comes together in about 30 minutes.

4 servings

2 T. extra virgin olive oil
15 g. garlic, thinly sliced
200 g. red onions, diced
285 g. sweet Italian sausage (roughly two links, removed from the casing)
1–28 ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes (passed through a food mill, pureed, or crushed by hand)
.5 g. saffron threads bloomed in 3 T. hot water
228 g. dried malloreddus or other pasta cooked per instructions on the package–drained and cooled
2 t. kosher salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
12 leaves of fresh basil
1 c. grated pecorino cheese (more or less to your liking)

1. Film a saucepan with the olive oil and add the garlic and onions. Sweat until they are tender–a little color is fine.

2. Add the sausage and cook, stirring often to keep breaking the sausage up until most of the pink color is gone.

3. Add the saffron and the soaking water along with the canned tomatoes.

4. Add the salt and pepper and bring the contents of the pan to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until it has reduced by 25% and has thickened.

5. Add the pasta to the sauce and allow the pasta to heat through and absorb a little of the sauce.

6. Add the basil leaves and stir to combine.

7. Spoon equal amounts of the pasta and sauce into 4 bowls, drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil and top with pecorino cheese.

Malloreddus alla Campidanese
Malloreddus pasta
Malloreddus alla Campidanese
Malloreddus Ragu before tomatoes



Two weeks ago I had the great good fortune to shoot some television with my friends Steve Haweeli, from Wordhampton PR, and Chef Michael Rozzi from the 1770 House in East Hampton, NY. I’ve known both of these guys for over 20 years and they’re both NY Yankees fans. As a Chicago Cubs fan, this was a good year for all of us to catch up. Steve currently hosts a show called “foodTalk” on LTV in East Hampton and this is where we shot the show.

Most of our conversation focused on cooking and farming on the east end of Long Island. It is one of the few places in the United States where farming, fishing, winemaking, and more, happens in one place. There are also a lot of food entrepreneurs, coffee roasters, makers of spirits, and textiles in the area. It’s a great place to cook because of these close relationships. 

We also covered olive oil, gardening, golf, eggs, ramen, and life in general on the east end. It is a fun 27 or so minutes that goes by in a flash, with no edits just to keep it edgy.

Here is a link to the video of the discussion. Check it out and feel free to share it all over the place. 

My Instagram Photos and Social Media

My Instagram Photos and Social Media

Please feel free to check out some of my Instagram photos and social media. I don’t post much to Facebook. It’s a bit of a chore and a bit of a bore. Instagram is a little cleaner, easier, and more to the point of what I want to showcase on social media. I don’t need to put my entire Instagram feed on here, so I will be posting more photos of things that I really like–from the garden and the kitchen–things that I make instead of things other people make. If you want to see more you can always click over to my feed and follow me. I encourage people to do it. 

Right now, with the help of a few friends, I am planning next year’s garden projects. There will be old favorites and new experiments, just as there are each year. The garden, in this sense, is very much like the kitchen. 

As a reminder, feel free to follow me on Twitter and Facebook as well. 

A Midsummer Night’s Cooking in the Hamptons

A Midsummer Night’s Cooking in the Hamptons

This is my 25th season of cooking in the Hamptons during the summer. The first 23 seasons were spent in restaurant kitchens (The 1770 House, Della Femina, and cittanuova for the most part) and the last two have been in a private setting.  I could write many posts about how the worlds of private and public cooking differ, but I will save those for a book.

Here are some photos of dishes that I have been working on this summer. At some point, I will post some recipes as well. I will also note that I love cooking from the Continue reading A Midsummer Night’s Cooking in the Hamptons

The Chef Cooks at Home

The Chef Cooks at Home

I still cook in restaurants at times, as a part of my consulting work. But these days, even more than cooking in restaurants, the chef cooks at home and in the homes of other people. The techniques and methods involved are not radically different. In both settings, I spend my time creating new recipes or adapting older ones.

Cooking at Home

This past weekend I cooked a couple of things that seemed suitable for the weather and the people I was feeding. It seems like the right thing to share them here. Continue reading The Chef Cooks at Home

“Cooked” by Michael Pollan

Some thoughts on “Cooked” by Michael Pollan on Netflix

This past Friday, February 19, Netflix added a four-part documentary to its programming line-up. It is called “Cooked” and it is based on a book of the same name by noted food journalist and accomplished home cook Michael Pollan. Continue reading “Cooked” by Michael Pollan

My Meatloaf Recipe from the 1770 House

My Meatloaf Recipe from the 1770 House

My good friend, Ina Garten, has popularized my meatloaf recipe that I made at the 1770 House in East Hampton, NY. We have made it together on her show, The Barefoot Contessa. It should feed six to eight people with additional sides and perhaps a salad to start the meal. Please enjoy my meatloaf recipe from the 1770 House. You can catch a video demo here on The Barefoot Contessa. Continue reading My Meatloaf Recipe from the 1770 House

Private Chef Service: Photos 2015

Private Chef Service: Photos 2015

This past summer I made my first foray into the world of private chef services. Until this summer, I had prepared an occasional private event, usually for good customers of the restaurants I was involved with, or for friends. But I have found that I really enjoy this type of work and now I want to make it a larger part of the services I offer.

This service will be a premium one. I don’t want to do weddings for 300 guests but, instead, private dinner parties with customized menus. The menus may be presented as buffets, plated and coursed events, or as tasting menus with a variety of options. I will also offer paired food and beverage menus that reflect the use of locally grown fruits and vegetables, locally sourced fish and meats and locally produced wines, beers, ciders and coffee. I also prefer to work with organic and bio-dynamic foods. Continue reading Private Chef Service: Photos 2015

Burgers and The Food Lab Cookbook

I have been reading through an excellent new cookbook called “The Food Lab” by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. First of all, if you like to cook, buy the book. Kenji does a great job of demystifying the process on a number of levels and his book is also fun to read and easy to follow. The recipes are very well-tested and explained and the photography really helps with the explanatory process. As a working chef who has spent over 30 years in restaurant kitchens, I can also attest to the deliciousness of the recipes.

Lately, I have been reading through his discussion of burgers and the logic behind cooking them well. He does a great job of nailing the “smash” burger technique and his “pub-style” burger discussion is also excellent. If you read them and follow his lead you will be cooking outstanding hamburgers at home (pay special attention to his discussion of beef at the beginning of the section).

Back in 2008, when I was the executive chef of the 1770 House and cittanuova in East Hampton, NY, we decided to overhaul our burger operations at both restaurants. The first move was to come up with a better beef blend for the burgers. We had always used ground chuck that typically was eighty percent lean and twenty percent fat (80/20) and we had a pretty solid burger. But I wanted something more indulgent. I approached my friends at Main Street Meats in Farmingdale, NY about the project and after testing a lot of blends we came up with one that used beef chuck as the base and we added brisket, flap meat, and aged rib cap to finish it. The flavor was great, but the texture was not what I was looking for. We tried a grind that was coarser and we finally had our blend. The coarser grind allowed the fat to melt more slowly and gave the burger a better chew. And it was very indulgent.

My burger, originally designed for the 1770 House
My burger, originally designed for the 1770 House. Note the coarse grind of the meat.
Seasoned burger, originally designed for the 1770 House in East Hampton, NY.
Seasoned burger is ready to be smashed and griddled. Use plenty of salt and pepper.

From the standpoint of technique, the burger was already cooked using the “smash” method on a griddle but it was an eight ounce burger, closer to what Kenji refers to in his book as a “pub-style” burger. So the burger I developed for the restaurants was a mash-up of the two styles of burgers he discusses in The Food Lab. Check out my photos (from 2009 I think) and buy Kenji’s cookbook. It’s all good fun.

Toasted burger bun
Toasted burger bun is first buttered
Seasoned burger, on the griddle.
Seasoned burger, on the griddle, after the smash.
On the griddle. Designed originally for the 1770 House in East Hampton, NY. Typically between 75/25 and 80/20, ground chuck, brisket, aged rib cap.
On the griddle and after the flip. Typically between 75/25 and 80/20, ground chuck, brisket, aged rib cap and flap meat.

copyright 2015 Kevin Penner

Summer Food 2015 in Pictures

Here is a photo recollection of the things I cooked this summer and some photos of local foods as well–the things I get to cook.

Copyright 2015 Kevin Penner