During the winter, we eat a lot of hardy squashes. Like most cooks, we usually cut them into wedges or cubes, throw them in oven until they’re caramelized and tender and call it done. During our stay in Sicily, Fabrizia Lanza made us a dish of grilled winter squash that forced us to look at the vegetable in a completely different way and showed off the depth and subtlety of Sicilian food. Cooking sliced delicata rings quickly over a grill produces squash that still has a bit of snap and a flavorful hint of its vegetal roots, one that doesn’t surrender completely to its sugary nature.
.25cupwhite wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Cut off one end of each of the squashes to reveal the seeds and core. Using a long-handled spoon, scrape out the seeds and discard (or save for another use). Cut the squash crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices.
Heat a grill or a grill pan over moderate heat. Do not oil the grates of the grill or the pan, but make sure they are very clean. Have a platter and a piece of foil on hand.
Dry-grill the squash until charred on one side, about 5 minutes, then use tongs to flip the squash and continue to cook until the slices are well browned and almost tender, about 5 minutes more. As the slices are grilled, transfer them to a platter and cover with foil. Season lightly with salt and keep tightly covered while you make the agrodolce.n sheet about 5 minutes before placing on a wire cooling rack until cooled completely.
Combine the shallots and olive oil in a skillet over moderate heat and cook, stirring from time to time, until softened and golden brown in spots, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the raisins, vinegar, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper and simmer until the mixture has reduced to a juicy glaze, about 2 minutes.
Immediately pour the shallot mixture over the squash and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving.
1MediumKabocha SquashI used a kabocha and a pumpkin
1local onionrough chop
3local carrotspeeled & rough chop
2inchpiece of gingerpeeled and rough chop
4-6cupsVegetable or Chicken Stockdepending on squash size
1Canfull fat coconut milk
2-3tspsea saltto taste
Fresh ground black pepperto taste
Slice the squash in half and remove the seeds. Place on a sheet tray lined with parchment, skin up for 30-40 minutes or until tender. Set aside to cool. While the squash is cooling, prepare the other ingredients.
Sauté the onion in olive oil until translucent about 3 minutes. Add ginger and garlic, sautéing until fragrant 1-2 minutes. Add veggie/ chicken stock. Once squash is cool, scoop the flesh out of the skins and add to the warm stockpot. Add garam masala, sea salt and black pepper. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes to infuse flavors.
Using a Vitamix or high-speed blender carefully add the soup to the Vitamix in small batches (I fill about ½ way with hot liquids) I add about ¼ - 1/3 C full fat coconut milk to the blender while pureeing. If too thick, add a touch more of the cooking stock. Taste, and adjust seasonings before moving to the next batch, if needed.
OPTIONAL GARNISHES: Extra coconut milk to swirl on topPecansCilantroToasted pumpkin seeds
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer cream together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs one at a time and then beat in vanilla extract.
4. In a large bowl sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add taro chips and coconut. Add to the wet mixture in three additions, then stir in white chocolate chips.
5. Place about a tablespoon of batter an inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8-12 minutes until the edges start to brown. Cool on sheet about 5 minutes before placing on a wire cooling rack until cooled completely.
WRITTEN BY ELIZA ESCAÑO PHOTOGRAPHY BY MYKLE COYNE
MY AFFECTION FOR SALE PEPE WAS INSTANT. In 2014, barely a few weeks into their opening, the word about Maui’s brand new Italian restaurant had gotten around swiftly. Maybe it was the spirited Italian banter between the kitchen and the servers, the intoxicating scent of garlic and herbs wafting through the space, the sacks of Italian flour or the cans of San Marzano tomatoes stacked by the counter. Who knows – but something delicious was clearly happening.
Diners flocked to enjoy dishes created by Chef Michele Di Bari and his business partner and wife, Qiana Di Bari. The couple set the bar for Italian cuisine on Maui, enriching the neighborhood and our palates in the process.
Michele rolls and cuts the pasta and pizza dough every morning. He learned the art of pasta making from his mother and was schooled at La Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli (The Italian School of Pizza). His food marries locally sourced ingredients with the rich traditions he grew up with in Rozzano, Milan and his deep familial roots in southern Italy’s Lavello and Lacedonia, where the Di Baris are currently building their dream home. The cooking is simple and honest; the end-result, superb. Kauai prawns top house made grilled crostini; arancinis rest on Maui Cattle Company Bolognese; and a fresh, local catch can be found on the special most evenings.
Brooklyn-raised Qiana manages front of the house. No stranger to building a following on the laurels of authenticity and artistry, Qiana managed one of the best hip-hop groups from the genre’s 1990’s golden era, A Tribe Called Quest, before becoming a restaurateur. Her gentle demeanor, warmth and sharp wit lend a sincere hospitality to the dining room.
SALE PEPE GROWS AND BU’ONO PASTA FRESCA IS BORN
Bu’ono, you might guess, is a combination of buono and ‘ono, respectively Italian and Hawaiian for delicious. The initial launch was done in collaboration with R. Field Wine Company, the gourmet and artisanal section of Foodland Farms Lahaina and Foodland Kehalani in Wailuku. Soon, Bu’ono will be available at Whole Foods Market on O’ahu and Maui, quite a win for this family endeavor.
Three types of pasta will be in production: spaghetti rigatoni, penne and strozzapreti, which literally means priest choker as it was traditionally served as an after-mass meal where the priests supposedly overindulged on pasta. Bu’ono offerings also include vibrant marinara, and a pesto sauce that highlights beautiful basil by local growers like Kumu Farms and Oko’a Farms. The fresh pasta and sauce provide a quick, wholesome and well-crafted dinner option for a family.
While Michele credits Qiana for most of the new menu specials and big-picture ideas, Qiana is quick to deflect some shine back on her partner. “We collaborate, that’s our thing,” shared Qiana. “He’s always moving, he’s never still. There’s not a lot of time for reflection. It’s hard for me to keep up with him during the day cause he’s just flying. His speed and power are really strong. But then he’ll stop in the middle of a dash, and say, ‘I remember when I was little; we would always eat panzarotti at the beach. I think I’m going to do that today.’ And he’ll come out of the blue with something epic. It is totally reciprocal.”
TRAVELING TO ITALY INSPIRES
“We go to Italy to connect with the roots and to remember how to maintain the Italian standard,” said Qiana. “What happens in Italy is that we’ll be sitting at the most mundane table somewhere, maybe someone’s house that I’ve sat in a million times or maybe a café. And something will come out on the table and I’ll say, ‘Why don’t we show people that?’ Then we go to New York, and it gets me excited about the future.”
Italian travels are for visits to Michele’s family who now live in Ripaldina, two hours from Milan. The time is also spent sourcing better products. “There are always new products we can find,” said Michele. “Better prosciutto, better flour, better olive oil, better semolina, and that’s a big deal.”
Last summer, he spent a birthday dinner at a farm with the family, something he hadn’t done in 20 years. Sunday suppers are called pastasciutta and consist of “slow, legacy cooking of braised meat and pasta that roots the rest of the week.” Michele’s mother would make ravioli and orecchiette, and the family would spend hours eating and enjoying each other’s company. Michele’s mother holidays on Maui at times, and when she does, she can often be seen making her own special pastas for the restaurant; it’s a sight to behold.
“We work hard because we see how much people love it,” said Qiana. “We are motivated by our community, the locals and the visitors, but we want to get excited too. We want to be titillated by our creative process.”
Recipe Courtesy of Michele Di Bari of Sale Pepe, Lahaina, Maui HI
Photography by Mykle Coyne
3 to 4 cups Italian Arborio rice cooked al dente, cooled
¼ cup basil, chopped
¼ cup capers
¼ cup pickled pearl onions
¼ cup green olives, pitted
¼ cup black olives, pitted
¼ cup green peas
¼ cup corn
¼ cup chick peas
¼ cup cannellini beans
¼ cup black beans
1 small or ½ large red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
½ cup carrot, chopped
2 tablespoons honey mustard
¼ cup vinaigrette, made with extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar, plus more as needed
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
¼ cup Grana Padano cheese
1. Combine the honey mustard, olive oil and red wine vinegar in a small dish.
2. Put the rice and all the vegetables in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette and use two big forks to combine. Add the Grana Padano cheese, tossing gently to separate the grains.
3. Stir in the parsley, taste, and adjust the seasoning or moisten with a little more vinaigrette. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate for up to a day, bringing the salad back to room temperature before serving.
Recipe Courtesy of Michele Di Bari of Sale Pepe, Lahaina, Maui HI
Photography by Mykle Coyne
1½ pounds eggplant
Olive oil as needed (at least ½ cup)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon onion, chopped
1½ pounds of San Marzano canned peeled tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
¼ teaspoon basil
1 pound of Bu’ono rigatoni
¼ teaspoon parsley, chopped
½ cup grated Ricotta Salata or Pecorino Romano
1. Slice the eggplant about ½ inch thick. Cook in abundant olive oil, without crowding, sprinkling with salt and adding more oil as needed. You will undoubtedly have to cook in batches; take your time and cook until the eggplant is nicely browned and soft. Remove to a plate. Meanwhile, put a large pot of water on to boil and salt it.
2. After cooking the eggplant, the pan will ideally have a couple of tablespoons of oil left. If there is more or less, drain some off or add a bit. Turn the heat to medium. Add the garlic and onions and cook until the garlic and onion color a little bit. Add the tomatoes, oregano, and basil along with some salt and pepper; cook until saucy but not too dry, stirring occasionally.
3. Cook the pasta until al dente, about 1 minute and half, While the pasta is cooking, cut the eggplant into strips and reheat for a minute in the tomato sauce. Drain the pasta and toss it with the tomato sauce and the eggplant. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then top with the parsley or basil and grated cheese and serve.
Recipe and Photography Courtesy of Kate Winsland and Guy Ambrosino • Serves 6
FOR THE DOUGH
1½ cups all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
FOR THE ONIONS
1½ pounds pearl onions
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1. Combine the flour and ¼teaspoon salt in a bowl and, using your hands or a pastry cutter, quickly work in the butter, squeezing or cutting it until the floury mixture is filled with pea-sized lumps. Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water over the mixture and stir with your hands or a fork until it just holds together when squeezed. Add the remaining water if necessary.
2. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten slightly, then wrap well in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to a couple of days.
3. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop the onions into the water and blanch for about 30 seconds. Drain well and run under cold water. When cool enough to handle, peel and trim them.
4. Heat the butter in a heavy 10-inch skillet, preferably cast-iron, over moderately high heat. When the butter has melted and foamed, sprinkle the sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan, followed by ½ teaspoon salt.
5. Lay the onions in the skillet and cook, without stirring, for about 8 minutes. Give the skillet a shake to jostle the onions around a bit then continue cooking until nicely browned all over, another 4 to 5 minutes. Don’t worry if the onions are not fully tender; they will continue to cook in the oven.
6. Drizzle the vinegar over the onions then scatter the thyme leaves over top. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vinegar is reduced and syrupy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
7. Heat the oven to 400°F. Roll out the pastry dough into an 11-inch round. Lay the pastry round directly over the onions, folding any excess dough up over the top. Bake until the pastry is golden brown, about 25 minutes.
8. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the skillet, then place a serving plate over the skillet and carefully invert it to unmold the tarte tatin. Don’t fret if you lose any pearl onions in the transfer, simply pop them back into place. Cut into wedges and serve warm.
If you just want some delicious glazed onions, omit the crust and simply cook the onions until they are fully tender before adding the vinegar, which should take about 10 minutes longer than noted above.
Recipe and Photography Courtesy of Kate Winsland and Guy Ambrosino Serves 6
2 pounds mixed small onions, such as pearl onions, cipollini and/or shallots
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 strips bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop in the onions and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain well and run under cold water.
2. When cool enough to handle, peel the onions and trim the root ends, dropping the onions into a mixing bowl as you work. Add the olive oil and season with ½ teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper.
3. Arrange the onions in a single layer in a medium baking dish and put in the oven. Roast until tender and lightly browned in spots, about 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a small skillet over moderately high heat, stirring from time to time, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the bacon and transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Keep any fat that remains in the skillet.
5. Return the skillet to the heat and add the vinegar, mustard, sugar and ¼teaspoon salt, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
6. Pour the hot dressing over the roasted onions, along with the crisped bacon. Toss everything gently together, garnish with the parsley and serve warm.
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