Fresh Picks: Scott Conant
This Food Network all-star tells us what he’s loving right now.
After 15 years cooking in some of New York City’s finest Italian restaurants, Chef Scott Conant opened Scarpetta in New York and Miami Beach in 2008, where he serves seasonally inspired Italian cuisine. Both received critical success, including glowing three-star reviews from The New York Times and New York magazine, as well as a four-star review from The Miami Herald, the highest rating possible. The New York location received a 2009 James Beard Award nomination for Best New Restaurant. In 2010, Conant opened up the Scarpetta shop in three new locations. Conant is the author of two cookbooks: New Italian Cooking and Bold Italian. He appears regularly as a judge on Food Network’s Chopped and hosts the Food Network competition series, 24 Hour Restaurant Battle. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Meltem, and their daughter.
It’s definitely not delivery—it’s pizza perfection.
Growing up, Easter was one of the biggest holidays of the year. I saw a recipe in The New York Times for Pizza Rustica, and I had to try it. It’s adapted from Carlo's Bakery. It brought me right back to being home as a child. A great and exciting recipe find.
Pizza Rustica This recipe was originally published by The New York Times, and is adapted from Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, N.J.
Time: 2 1/2 hours, plus time for cooling
Ingredients for the dough: 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 pound chilled salted butter, cut into large pieces 5 large eggs, beaten
Ingredients for the filling: 12 ounces prosciutto, in 1/4-inch dice 8 ounces boiled ham, in 1/4-inch dice 8 ounces pepperoni, in 1/4-inch dice 8 ounces soppressata, in 1/4-inch dice 8 ounces mozzarella, in 1/4-inch dice 8 ounces provolone, in 1/4-inch dice 2 pounds ricotta 4 ounces grated pecorino Romano 10 large eggs, beaten 1 teaspoon pepper 1 large egg, beaten, for brushing crust.
For the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together 6 cups of flour and the salt. Using a pastry cutter, large fork, or two knives, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add eggs and knead for 1 minute. Add about 1 1/4 cups ice water, a little at a time, to form a cohesive dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it forms a large smooth ball, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.
For the filling: Mix the meats, cheeses, the 10 eggs and pepper in a large bowl.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Divide the dough into two pieces: two-thirds for the bottom crust and one-third for the top. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger portion of the dough into a rectangle to line the bottom and sides of a 10-by-15-inch glass baking dish, with some overhang. Add the filling and smooth it lightly. Moisten the edges of the dough with a little water.
Roll out the remaining dough to cover the top of the dish with some overhang. Trim off excess dough and crimp the edges to seal. Poke several sets of holes across the top with a fork. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush top and edges with the beaten egg, then return to the oven until golden brown, another 45 minutes. Let pie cool completely before serving.
Yield: One 10-by-15-inch pie.
Deliciously authentic Portuguese cuisine like you’ve never had is not as far from your plate as you think.
I love Aldea in NYC. George Mendes' soulful yet modern approach to Portuguese food is both satisfying and interesting. He creates artful food that is still as honest as the root of the cuisine he uses for inspiration. The space is in perfect harmony with the service and the menu, designed by the artful and tasteful Stephanie Goto.
Buyer beware: This book is for true Italians only—and not written in English!
Le Ricette Regionali Italiane by Anna Gosetti Della Salda. This is a composition of regional Italian food. Written only in Italian, it represents the enormous range of food items and various approaches to products. It’s an amazing cultural tool as well. In my restaurants, we refer to this as the food bible.
Forget Rome and Naples and head to real, tourist-devoid Italian countryside.
I love touring through Le Marche in Italy. I especially love Ancona, Senegalia, and Portonovo. The restaurants are amazing and the food and products are still undiscovered compared to the rest of the country.