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    Giancarlo Giametti

    One of my dearest friends in the world is an Italian gentleman by the name of Giancarlo Giametti. He is the longtime friend and partner of fashion legend Valentino Garavani, another dear friend. Giancarlo lives in incredible style – I’ve never seen the likes of it. GG, as he is affectionately known, has an amazingly talented chef who makes rustic Italian food to die for. I asked Pablo to let us into his kitchen to share my three favorite dishes, the ones that can get me over there on the darkest and rainiest of London nights.

    Buon Appetito!

    Love,
    gp

    Parmesan Crisps

     

    It took a lot of parmesan to figure out how to make these just right. But it yielded the easiest recipe of all time. The cheese must be grated coarsely to get the most flavor and the right texture – crisp edges with a barely chewy middle.

    Serves: 4
    Time: 5 minutes

    • 1 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese (don’t use a Microplane – use the biggest holes on a box grater)

    1.Preheat the oven to 400°F.

    2.Evenly space tablespoonfuls of parmesan on a large nonstick or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Using a small spoon or your fingers, spread the parmesan so that each small pile becomes a thin circle roughly 3" in diameter. Bake for exactly five minutes or until the cheese is completely melted and bubbling and light golden brown. Be sure not to brown them too much or they will taste bitter. Let the crisps cool a minute, then slip a thin spatula or dinner knife underneath each one and remove to a rack to cool completely before serving.

    Best Eggplant Parmesan

     

    This recipe skips heavy breading and goes for a light dusting of flour. With good cheese and a bit of fresh basil, the end result is wonderfully flavorful. Leftovers make a killer sandwich.

    Serves: 4
    Time: 1 hour

    • 4 small eggplants (about 2 1/2" in diameter) or 3 regular eggplants
    • Coarse salt
    • 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
    • Olive oil
    • 2/3 cup of your favorite tomato sauce*
    • 1 large ball fresh mozzarella (about 4 1/2 ounces)
    • Small handful of basil leaves, roughly torn
    • 3/4 cup finely grated parmesan (about 2 ounces)

    1.Slice the eggplants into about 1/3" discs. Sprinkle slices with a small pinch of coarse salt on each side and place in a single layer between two clean kitchen towels. Place a cookie sheet on top and weigh down with something heavy (a few cans of beans or tomatoes will do). Let the eggplant sit for 20 minutes.

    2.Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    3.Lightly dredge the eggplant slices in the flour. Heat 1/4" of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When a pinch of flour sizzles on contact, add the eggplant slices in a single layer, turn the heat to medium-high and cook for about one and a half minutes on each side or until dark golden brown. Drain the eggplant on paper towels and repeat in batches until all of your eggplant is cooked, adding more oil as necessary.

    4.In a 13" x 9" baking dish, arrange as many slices of eggplant as can fit snugly in a single layer. Top each slice with a small spoonful of tomato sauce, a few small pieces of torn mozzarella, a bit of basil and a dusting of parmesan. Continue the layers, evenly distributing all the ingredients, until everything is used up.

    5.Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cheese is melting and bubbling and the house smells divine.

    6.*For my simple homemade, never-fail tomato sauce that's always in my fridge...In a large saucepan, slowly cook six cloves of thinly sliced garlic in a couple tablespoons of olive oil for five minutes over low heat. Add two large, fresh basil leaves and stir for a minute. Add two 28-ounce cans of whole, peeled tomatoes along with their juice and two more whole basil leaves. Bring the sauce to a boil, turn down the heat, season with salt and pepper and let it bubble away on low heat for 45 minutes. Cool and refrigerate.

    Penne Arrabiata

     

    “Arrabiata” translates to “angry,” an appropriate name for a spicy sauce. Pablo usually begins this dish by dicing three slices of bacon and browning the pieces in the pan before adding the sauce and chili. I prefer it without but if you’re a pork lover, go for it.

    Serves: 4
    Time: 1 hour

    • Coarse salt
    • 1 pound penne
    • 2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce (see the recipe included with the Eggplant Parmesan)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 long red chili, cut into quarters (remove seeds if you don’t want it too spicy)
    • 1/2 cup firmly packed, finely grated pecorino cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)

    Set a large pot of water on to boil and season with a few big pinches of salt. Boil the penne for two minutes less than the package tells you to. Meanwhile, heat the tomato sauce with the pieces of chili in a large frying pan over low heat to infuse the chili into the sauce. Reserving about a teacup of boiling water from your pasta pot, drain the pasta and add it to the frying pan with the tomato sauce. Stir the pasta and sauce together with the olive oil and let it cook on low heat for two minutes, adding a bit of the reserved pasta water if necessary. You want the pasta to be just coated by the sauce, not swimming in it. Turn off the heat, remove the pieces of chili, stir in the pecorino and serve.

    Be sure to check out the brilliant documentary, The Last Emperor, that chronicles Valentino and Giancarlo’s partnership over the past 45 years and is in theaters now.

    The goop collection

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