Paul's kitchen (Papa's Lemon Pasta II)

So, the Papa’s Lemon Pasta thread seemed quite popular. I am posting Paul’s recipes for PLP and the Papa’s Mornay sauce. Let’s keep more culinary stuff rolling. I have asked the moderator if we could make this a separate subsection here (so no one thread gets too bloated or convoluted), so we’ll see. High end culinary treats for high end audiophiles!


Papa’s Lemon Pasta:

"The sauce is the deal. You can use any pasta you like though I prefer the smaller penne type myself.

The trick to this recipe is low heat and a good pan. I use All Clad pans because of their even heat but cast iron would be almost as good (its hysteresis is hard to deal with).

On the lowest heat possible melt a half stick of unsalted butter and a reasonable amount of excellent olive oil (enough of both to fill the bottom of the pan.

Slowly cook a handful of chopped shallots and garlic (maybe three cloves of garlic) so they gently turn translucent. To that add the zest of an entire lemon. :lemon: Stir on occasion (meanwhile the pound of pasta is cooking).

Once the smells of garlic and olive oil permeate the room gently add a few handfuls of peeled and chopped (I like big chunks of firm tomatoes) heirloom tomatoes. Slowly cook these until they begin to integrate into the sauce just a little (but
maintain a semblance of their original chunks). Now, squeeze 1/4 of a lemon into the sauce, add a small portion of red pepper flakes, a handful of fresh basil, sea salt to taste (you’re cutting the acidity of the lemon to the point where it flips to savory)
and gently infuse.

As soon as the smells reach a point of near orgasm, remove the heat and add the pasta, tossing as you do to coat the pasta evenly. The sauce will likely be a bit thick if you’re using an entire pound of pasta, as I do. Scoop out a cup or so of
the pasta water with all that nice starch and add to the sauce to get the consistency of a sauce. Toss in just a smidge more fresh basil until you can smell it, then serve.

I often add a touch of grated Regiano Parmesan if people want it."

Papa’s Mornay sauce:

" Well, this is a recipe for one of the basic sauces I learned to make years ago. It is a béchamel sauce with shredded or grated Gruyère cheese added. Some variations use different combinations of Gruyère, Emmental cheese, or white Cheddar. is a savory sauce, made from a roux and a light stock. It is one of the five “mother sauces” of French cuisine.

At first, the idea of French cuisine made me nervous until I actually learned how to make the sauce and then realized it’s as simple as possible. It always impresses and you get ooohs and aaahs.

Mine is the vegetarian version but when I first developed the sauce some 35 years ago, I used Campbell’s canned chicken stock (if you’re going chicken, there’s no better type). So just replace the Not Chicken bouillon cubes with your favorite chicken broth.

This basic sauce starts with a roux (butter and flour) then depends on slowly adding hot broth, then the finishing touches. The broth MUST be hot for this to work.

  • One clove garlic
  • One small clove shallot
  • Half stick butter
  • 3 cups water (with bouillon cube (or chicken broth))
  • Tablespoon all purpose flour
  • Whipping cream
  • Lemon
  • White pepper
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Reggiano Parmesan

First step is to heat up the stock. In my case, I use a single Not Chicken bouillon cube in a few cups of water. Set it to heat up while you work on the rest.

Mince a clove of garlic and a small shallot and have at the ready. Gently heat half a stick of unsalted butter in a saucepan. Here’ it’s important to go easy on the heat (and have a heavy bottomed pan) as you don’t want the butter to separate. Just gentle heat. Throw in the garlic and shallots and gently cook until you smell the garlic and butter mix wafting through the house (a lovelier smell I don’t know).

Drop in a heaping tablespoon of flour and, using a whip , cook the flour for maybe a minute. It should coagulate in lumps (gentle heat!). Slowly, pour in the hot broth while whisking the mixture to integrate the broth. Pour in just enough to liquify the mixture. Keep whisking until it again thickens and then add more broth and repeat the process until you have enough sauce for your need (too much broth and not enough flour and you’ll thin the sauce too much). Keep the consistency a bit thicker than you want for the end result.

Slowly add some half and half or full whipping cream until the sauce turns a gorgeous white. Keep stirring with the whisk the whole time and keep the damned heat low! Gentle is the key here.

Squeeze a smidge of lemon juice into the mix and whisk in. Shake a small amount of white pepper in. Add a touch of ground nutmeg. Keep whisking.

At this point, you have a beautiful velouté sauce that is ready to put onto a plate and tickle palates. To turn it into a Mornay (béchamel) sauce you now need to add cheese (depending on the food you want to serve this with you may or may not need to add cheese). I used to use a Monterey Jack but over the years found it a little too heavy and now just use heapfuls of Reggiano Parmesan. Just load that sucker up and keep the whip moving to make sure it stays a velvety texture.

That’s it! Papa’s White Sauce is then spread over the plate and the entre placed atop it. In the old days I would pour the sauce over the entre item but it looks classier to put the sauce down first then the intended main course.

Few things get kids and adults alike reaching for the bread to sop up this wonderful fattening delight."

I wasn’t going to admit it, but I’m somewhat embarrassed to say what I did to a perfectly classic French bechamel, by going back and doubling the Jack cheese, and adding a finely chopped serrano, and throwing in sliced jalepenos, which turned it into the perfect Julio’s queso dip, sorry Paul, yikes… :wink: