DiBari and his menagerie
I always imagine, while eating at Dave DiBari’s soulful Cookery, that behind his swinging kitchen door is a sprawling Italian farm, where black-clad ladies roast wild game over smoky vine-trimmings, occasionally basting their beasts with brushes made from fresh herbs. Out back, across a courtyard, lies a chilly stone-fronted cave, where cheeses are aged on wooden shelves, and the ceiling is strung with salumi.
Imagination is a fine thing, isn’t it?
In reality, Yonkers resident Dave DiBari is a big fan of his Kitchen Aid. That’s right, the ubiquitous stand mixer that’s probably in your kitchen right now. “I grew up with one, but all these attachments are a new thing for me. It makes the machine so versatile, and you only need the one motor.”
For speed, the serene Chef DiBari—who has cooked with Mario Batali at Babbo—depends on a high-end Italian imported pasta roller at his trendy Dobbs Ferry restaurant (“Otherwise I’d get killed!”). But at home, in an apartment that he shares with nine assorted animals, he relies on his basic, 6-quart Kitchen Aid. “I use the pasta roller and the meat grinder, and I use the mixer for any type of dough. I also use it for all sorts of stuffings and fillings—I use it for everything.”
Evidently. We got this busy young chef to share some of his favorite Kitchen Aid tricks. Check out what a master can do with a great tool.
Creamy white polenta with lamb sausage, roasted swiss chard and apricot preserve
â– 12 oz lamb chuck
â– 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
â– 1 ½ tsp sugar
â– 1½ tsp whole fennel seeds
â– ½ tsp chili flakes
â– ½ oz hog casing
â– 2½ oz thick pork fat back
Soak hog casing in water for 30 minutes to hydrate. Clean the lamb chuck of any sinew and excess fat, then cut the meat into 1-inch cubes. Cut the fat back into 1-inch cubes, then toss with the lamb. Using the 1/3-inch die on the Kitchen Aid meat-grinder attachment, grind the meat and the fat together. Mix well with salt, sugar, fennel seed, and chili flakes, then place the mixture in the refrigerator until it is very cold.
Attach grinder to the Kitchen Aid fitted with the largest sausage-making tube (without the blade and grinding die). Set a sheet pan in front of the tube to catch the extruded sausage. Run water through the opening of the hog casing to ensure that it is open, then wet the sausage tube and slip the hog casing over the tube. Turn the Kitchen Aid to its highest speed, then guide the meat through the casing in a consistent flow. Using your other hand, push the meat into the grinder with the plunger. Push only a little meat at a time through the machine, and as it extrudes, form the sausage into a pinwheel on the sheet pan. After all the sausage is extruded, use a fine pin to pop any air bubbles visible through the casing (otherwise, the sausage might burst during cooking). Allow the sausage to cool completely before smoking, roasting, or poaching.
Creamy White Polenta
â– 1 qt milk
â– 2 oz unsalted butter
â– 4 oz Friuliana white polenta
â– 3 oz Grana Padano cheese
â– Kosher salt to taste
Bring milk and butter to a boil, then gradually stir in the polenta. Cook for 15 minutes, until the polenta is thick and creamy. When the polenta is finished, stir in the cheese and salt.
Roasted Swiss Chard
â– 1/8 oz thinly sliced garlic
â– ½ oz Academia Barilla extra virgin olive oil
â– Pinch chili flakes
â– 1 lb trimmed and washed red Swiss chard
â– Kosher salt to taste
Using a large pot, sauté the garlic, chili flakes, and olive oil. Add the swiss chard and stir with a wooden spoon. Allow the greens to braise in their own juices until they are tender. They should cook for about 10 minutes. Season with salt.
â– 1½ cups white wine vinegar
â– 1½ cups sugar
â– ½ cup water
â– ½ lb dried apricots
â– 1 star anise pod
â– 1 cinnamon stick
â– ½ oz yellow mustard
Heat the vinegar in a small saucepot. When the vinegar is hot, place the water and the sugar in a separate saucepan and cook until amber-colored and caramelized. When the caramel is ready, add the hot vinegar, apricots, star anise, cinnamon, and mustard seeds. Cook the mixture for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. The preserve will keep for months in a tightly sealed container.
(one 9-inch pie, serves 8)
Parmigiano Short Dough
â– 3 oz of cold, cubed butter
â– 2¼ cups of King Arthur All Purpose flour
â– 3 oz grated Grana Padano cheese
â– 1½ tsp whole fennel seeds
â– 1 pinch each cayenne pepper and salt
â– 3 egg yolks
â– ½ cup heavy cream
In a Kitchen Aid mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix butter, flour, cheese, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add egg yolks slowly, then the cream, and mix until the dough forms a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Pizza rustica Filling
â– 3 oz diced hot soppressata
â– 3 oz diced sweet soppressata
â– 2 oz diced Genoa salami
â– 12 oz Montena Teranto cheese
â– 1 egg yolk
â– 2 eggs
â– ½ cup grated Grana Padano cheese
â– Pinch of cayenne
Preheat oven to 300°F. Run both soppressatas under warm water to loosen the skin (this will help to make peeling them easier). Peel and dice the soppresatas and salami. Combine the meat, ricotta, yolk, one of the eggs, Grana Padano, and cayenne in a mixing bowl. Reserve the other egg to brush the dough before it goes in the oven.
Roll out savory Parmigiano short dough to line a 9-inch pie plate (recipe on page 30). Fill the lined pie plate with the meat/egg/cheese mixture, and fold over the edges of the dough onto the filling.
Lightly beat the reserved egg and, using a pastry brush, brush the edges of the dough.
Bake the pizza rustica for about 40 minutes. Cool, chill and slice.
Tagliatelle with lamb Bolognese
Basic Pasta Dough
â– 1 tsp kosher salt
â– 4 whole eggs
â– 10 egg yolks
â– 1½ tsp extra-virgin olive oil
â– 1 lb flour
In a Kitchen Aid mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix salt, eggs, and olive oil. Slowly add flour until the dough forms a ball. Add a little more flour if the dough seems wet; the dough should form a ball, but will be slightly sticky. Divide into 4 equal portions and wrap them in plastic. Allow to rest for about half-an-hour before proceeding.
After the dough has rested, roll it out on a floured surface into a long ½-inch thick rectangle. Flour both sides of the pasta rectangle, and attach the Kitchen Aid’s pasta roller. Begin to roll the rectangle through the rollers, and after each pass, decrease the width of the rollers. Roll the dough down to the second-to-last thickness.
After all the pasta sheets have been rolled through the second-to-last setting, cut the pasta to the length you desire, then attach the pasta cutter to your Kitchen Aid, and run the sheets of pasta through. Have a floured sheet pan ready to catch the cut pasta. Lay the pasta flat on the sheet and let it dry for 15 minutes before cooking.
â– ¾ lb ground pancetta
â– 4 lbs coarsely chopped lamb
â– 1¼ Tbsp Kosher salt
â– 1½ tsp sugar
â– 1 tsp whole fennel seeds
â– 1 tsp chili flakes
â– 1/8 ounce chopped fresh rosemary
â– ¼ onion
â– ½ stalk celery
â– ¼ oz garlic
â– ¼ carrot, minced
â– 6 cups canned, crushed plum tomatoes
â– 3¼ oz heavy cream
In a Kitchen Aid mixer fitted with a meat grinding attachment, grind the pancetta. Mix the lamb, pancetta, salt, sugar, fennel seeds, chili flakes, and rosemary together. Using the meat grinder, grind all the vegetables including the garlic and keep them separated from the meat.
In a large stockpot, brown the lamb mixture with olive oil. Keep stirring the meat to avoid large chunks. Drain the fat as the lamb browns. When all the meat is brown, add the vegetables and cook for about ten minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for at least 1 hour. When the lamb is tender add the heavy cream and remove from the heat.
Julia Sexton is a Westchester-based food writer whose CRMA Award-winning Eater blog appears at westchestermagazine.com.