Last night I went to a class at BU called "All About Sausage" [insert dumb joke that I've already heard from at least 3 people here] Johanne Killeen and George Germon are the owners of Providence restaurants Al Forno and Tini, pasta lovers and sausage enthusiasts [go ahead, I'll wait...]. After cooking and running restaurants for over thirty years, Germon and Killeen had A LOT to say on many different topics, including how to get the best flavor in your homemade sausage, some tricks to cooking good pasta, and even their own thoughts on how much food has changed over the years and how the younger generation is pushing to get back to what it was(go us!). This is what I got to taste tonight (Please excuse the camera-phone photos):
Not pictured: Crostini with Sausage and Stracchino cheese. But trust me, it was awesome.
|I got to take home their cookbook!|
I don't remember the names of the wines they gave us. Just know they were Italian and I drank them both. Johanne said she likes to keep wines in the restaraunts at 13.5% alcohol or lower, because otherwise "it isn't a beverage. It's something else." A frat party?
|Johanne Killreen and Tini's head Chef David|
Chef David is the sausage expert. He orders casing from their butcher, but said Whole Foods will order them for you, too. And you don't have to have a meat grinder to make them-- you can have a butcher grind your meat for you, or you could do it yourself at home with a very sharp knife. Don't use a food processor- it ruins the texture.
|Pasta Shells with Spicy Sausage Red Sauce|
Johanne and George are not the first professionals I've heard give this advice--
You need A LOT of water and A LOT of salt for cooking pasta. NO OLIVE OIL. It just isn't necessary. Another tip that I will be adapting is this: cook the pasta al dente, and then finish cooking it in your sauce. That will allow the pasta to take on more of the other flavors.
|Roasted Sausages and Grapes with Al Forno Mashed Potatoes|
This is one I am definitely going to try to replicate. Johanne said that a lot of inspiration for their recipes comes from random conversations they have with people about food and from photographs. Roasted Sausages and grapes was an idea that she got from a photograph of an italian woman holding a pan of a pork roast surrounded by red and green grapes.
It's interesting. In graphic design, you learn to look for ideas and inspiration in everything. Color combinations and layout ideas are everywhere, patterns start to slap you in the face. Why should food be any different?
If you are reading this in Boston, I highly recommend you check out BU's culinary seminars each semester. They are excellent. The speakers are thoughtfully chosen, the topics are relevant, the food is amazing, the price is right. The semester is just about over, but keep checking in with Boston University Food and Wine to find out about upcoming tastings and demonstrations. In the meantime, there are a TON of classes offered at Boston Center for Adult Education.