When your best friends happen to be personal chefs in Bel-Air, you pick their brain for professional cooking tips! We decided to spend an evening together, shopping for the freshest ingredients at Eataly in LA and then hitting the kitchen for some lessons in cooking a good Italian dinner! Eataly has everything you could dream of, from a meat and seafood counter, to produce and pastas. We could’ve spent hours in there! I think we did!
We put our heads (and cravings) together and came up with a menu of:
A Charcuterie board, sautéed cauliflower and spinach, roasted beets and burrata salad with truffle honey, toasted hazelnut carrots, squid ink pasta and clams in a white wine sauce, and pasta Bolognese! Be still my heart!
At Eataly, we tasted cheeses, salamis, and prosciutto that were heavenly! I highly recommend doing this before purchasing your meats and cheeses for a charcuterie board to ensure that you absolutely love the flavors of each component.
Charcuterie!!! Daniel grilled the crostini and what a difference!
We found freshly made squid ink tagliatelle and spaghetti alla chitarra at the pasta counter where you can watch the employees knead, roll, cut, and shape pasta by hand!
My friend Daniel wanted to do a Bolognese with a mixture of veal, pork, and beef so we bought a combination of those meats and he magically mixed and seasoned it to perfection using salt, pepper and italian seasonings. Then he formed the mixture into one large patty.
Pro tip from Chef Danny, as I like to call him: sauté your meat in one large formed patty and “do not disturb.” This creates a golden brown charred outer crust. Once you’ve browned the giant patty, remove from heat and hand-crumble it so that the pieces are not all the same, but more organic in shape and size.
The sauce for the Bolognese was made from scratch, by sautéing carrots, onions, heirloom tomatoes and garlic in EVOO, deglazing with red wine, adding in tomato purée, and finally returning the meat back to the pan.
Pro tip from Chef Danny: Use tomato purée instead of tomato sauce for better sauce consistency.
I also saw him sneak some a couple spoonfuls of the starchy pasta water into the sauce at the very end, to slightly thicken the pasta sauce. So sneaky!
The fresh pasta was al-dente in just about 6 minutes.
My best friend Racquel made the most amazing clam and white wine sauce that I could eat every night! It was light, but rich at the same time, if that’s even possible! I fall in love with her more every day!
They also taught me a shortcut to shaving cauliflower, which is simply slicing thinly with a sharp knife as opposed to making a mess of it all with a grater or a food processor. Duh!
If you’ve never had burrata and beet salad… This is amazing!
Here’s our finished Bolognese! It was to die for!
After all that cooking, all that’s left to do is choose a wine to enjoy with dinner!
I cannot thank my friends enough for an amazing night of shopping and cooking, laughing and sharing. Follow them on Instagram!
Chef Danny: https://www.instagram.com/thefreshchefofbelair/
Chef Rocky: https://www.instagram.com/rockymercedes/