Pairing Two Cuisine Cultures, Off the Cuff

The Dish: Italian Pasta, Chinese Technique


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As a co-founder and co-owner/operator of Chinese restaurants RedFarm and Decoy in New York City, Ed Schoenfeld knows a thing or two about navigating the kitchen. He got his start in the early ’70s as the maitre’d at Uncle Tai’s Hunan Yuan, one of the first restaurants ever to feature a dish called “General Tso’s Chicken” on its menu. He’s since moved on to open a string of other successful ventures, becoming one of the true magnates of the New York City restaurant scene.

RECIPES: Game Day Wings | Mussels with Bacon and Apple | The Pappy Van Winkle Old Fashioned

Below is what Schoenfeld whipped up for us when we visited his home in Newark, New Jersey in search of an extraordinary pantry: a recipe for ribbed paccheri pasta with Italian sausage and vegetables, cooked with Chinese techniques and flavors. It’s a delicious example of what chefs like to call “cooking off the cuff”: using skill and knowledge to harmonize ingredients available on hand into a delicious end product. Substitute pork sausage with ground beef or poultry, and feel free to add other vegetables, such as cabbage or peas. Taking anything too seriously is bad for your health, so don’t get caught up with specifics at home. Cooking off the cuff means following your senses.

INGREDIENTS: (Serves 3-4)
3 handfuls of dried paccheri pasta
2 cups of fresh ground sausage, removed from casing
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 red bell pepper, cubed
1 medium onion, cubed
1 shallot, diced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sesame oil
A splash of rice wine vinegar
Butter
Soybean oil

Glaze:
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons white sugar
A splash of rice wine vinegar

Preparation:

1. Boil pasta, straining just before it hits al dente (it will finish cooking during later step). 2. In a shallow pot, sauté sausage with shallots in soybean oil. Don’t work too much; allow large chunks to form. Before it browns, move to back burner on low heat. Add a splash of rice wine vinegar and cover to capture steam. 3. In separate pot, flash fry broccoli florets in small pool of soybean oil at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 seconds. Ed calls this “passing through oil”. Reserve excess oil for next step. 4. In a wok, add a few tablespoons of used oil and sauté broccoli on high with onion, pepper, celery. 5. Add pasta and sausage to wok to finish cooking. 6. Make glaze and pour on top, coating the pasta, sausage and vegetables evenly. 7. Reduce the liquid and add butter, emulsifying into a sauce. 8. Turn heat to low and add sesame oil, stirring evenly. 9. Once there is a shiny glaze over the pasta and vegetables, plate and add scallions.