Ryan DePersio, owner of Fascino, 331 Bloomfield Ave, Montclair, and Bar Cara, 1099 Broad St., Bloomfield, spent an evening giving the Baristas a cooking lesson. (In the photo, from left: Erika Bleiberg, Stacey Gill Dastis, Debbie Galant, Ryan DePersio, Liz George, Georgette Gilmore, Melody Kettle)
We worked along side the Chopped Chef as he taught us how to make Ricotta Gnocchi, Sweet Sausage Bolognese and Tuscan Fish Stew. Like Fred Astaire on the dance floor, DePersio made his art look easy. Watch the video to see the editorial team get their hands in the mix and try to imitate his every move.
Ryan shared his recipes with us. Here they are:
3 lb. ricotta (drained)
3 cups all purpose flour
In a bowl, mix in ingredients until a soft dough forms. If the dough is a little sticky, you can add a little flour to form a dough consistency. Take pieces of dough and roll and cut into gnocchi form. Blanch in boiling water and shock in ice water. Or, you can sear with brown butter or heat with melted butter.
Sweet Sausage Bolognese
3 lb sweet sausage (removed form casing)
1 can whole tomatoes in juice
1 cup white wine
1Tbsp chopped basil
In a large pot add canola oil. When the pot is hot, add sausage. Distribute around the pan evenly to get food color. Once the sausage is browned, add onions and stir every three minutes until the onions are caramelized.
Deglaze with white wine. Reduce for five minutes and add canned tomatoes. Cook on low for forty-five minutes. Use a potato masher to break up the sausage if it is still holding its shape. Season with basil, salt and red pepper flakes, then cool in an ice bath
1 cup mirepoix (small dice of carrots, onions, celery)
¼ cup of small dice of fennel
½ cup of diced potatoes
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
¼ cup of basil (julienne)
6 Little Neck Clams
4 Black Tiger Shrimp
¼ cup Peekytoe Crab meat
1 cup white wine
1 cup brandy
½ cup heavy cream
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cayenne
Place all spices in a sauté pan and toast on medium heat for four minutes, constantly stirring. Set aside on a plate until cool, then grind.
Place oil and butter in a large pot on high heat. When butter begins to foam add mirepoix and fennel and sweat on medium heat for ten minutes. Add spice mixture, potatoes, garlic, clams, mussels, and shrimp. Deglaze with wine and brandy, then cover. When clams begin to open add cream and cook on low heat for five minutes. Add crab meat and basil. Serve.