Maialino

Please note that is NOT a proper review. Among other things, a proper review requires professional standards like repeat visits and tasting through a significant portion of the menu. Instead, I offer some impressions meant to be helpful to readers but not meant to be misconstrued as an official review.

When I learned a few years ago that chef Nick Anderer had worked at Mario Batali’s excellent restaurant Babbo, I was excited to check out Anderer’s own two restaurants: Marta and Maialino. I got to Marta first, several years ago, and was delighted with their accurate recreation of such Roman classics as thin-crusted pizza (the only in the US I know of) and suppli. Last week Dillon and I finally had a chance to experience Maialino, Anderer’s first restaurant, embedded within the Gramercy Park Hotel and with beautiful views of Gramercy Park itself.

It was a good experience, but not a great one. And for the cost, it could hardly be considered a value. From the moment we arrived, we felt a certain indifference from the staff, not the warm and personable hospitality we’ve come to expect from the best restaurants. It was a busy time to be sure, brunch on a Sunday, and the place was packed. The staff seemed a little frazzled, but that’s part of the art of restaurant hospitality: to make guests feel completely at home even when things are getting a little harried.

In any case, we had a few minutes before our table was ready and we started at the bar for a snack and drink. It was brunch time, so we ordered a croissant filled with pistachio. It was solidly good and clearly made with care, even if it wasn’t the shatteringly crisp and and light perfection of the best croissants we’ve had at such places as Tartine in San Francisco or Roscioli in Rome. Our cocktails were excellent, though at $18 each they better have been.

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I apologize for the poor photo quality. We left our good camera at home and only had this smartphone.

The dining room has an attractive warmth to it, even while large windows offer a beautiful view of Grammercy Park itself. The menu is appropriate in scale, with enough dishes for variety, but few enough that the kitchen can really focus on each one. Knowing that American portion sizes preclude ordering a number of courses in a truly Italian way, we decided to order 3 courses to share.

Our appetizer was burrata with grilled bread. Burrata is mozzarella filled with cream and stracciatella cheese. It was excellent, and so I asked who the producer was. Our server didn’t know; somewhere in upstate New York, she said. Not exactly the sort of expertise one expects from such a restaurant. I pressed on, insisting someone in the kitchen must know where it came from, and I fear I offended her. She never really expressed any interest in us again. Turns out it wasn’t domestic at all, but imported from Italy. Ouch. The dish was excellent, and perhaps the nicest touch was that it was served simply with grilled bread. It wasn’t all gussied up in the American restaurant style with 3 or 4 superfluous ingredients. It was a nice dish.

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Just as nice was our next course: garganelli with tomatoes, rabbit & olives. Garganelli is a hand-formed egg pasta, somewhat similar in shape to penne. This was a very successful dish, perhaps the most impressive of the meal. It showed excellent taste and balance. And it reminded me that I don’t cook with olives enough, and that I should be cooking rabbit too!

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Less successful was the chicken scaloppine with mushrooms and arugula. To begin, it was way too big. Keep in mind that Dillon and I were sharing, and it was still impossible to finish. I’m not where the necessity to serve such large portions comes from, but it is an unfortunate trend in American restaurants, making it hard to eat multi-course meals in an Italian manner. The quality, however, was very good. It was breaded in the Milanese style, which is perhaps unimpressive to some, but when done well can be delightful. It was very successful from a technical point of view. The crust on the chicken was exquisitely crisp. But it perhaps lacked a certain something in personality, and topping it with braised mushrooms seemed a bit distracting, not to mention the fact that it moistened the exquisitely crisp crust.

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Even with sharing, we were too full for dessert. Instead we treated ourselves to a quartino of Barolo. Profound and nourishing, as only Barolo can be.

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We ended the meal with two macchiati, which were executed very well and brought the meal to a proper close. It’s always a good way to test whether a restaurant really cares.

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Would I return? I think I would, particularly for more formal dinner service. But I can’t deny that I was put off by the disparity between service and pricing. If a restaurant aspires to a certain level of quality, quality of service can’t be shortchanged and really must equal the quality of cooking. Maybe we just had a bad day, but I would certainly hope the service to improve on a return visit.

Please note that Maialino is part of a growing trend of American restaurants adopting a no-tipping policy. The service charge is factored into the pricing on the menu, and this explains why the dishes might seem surprisingly expensive at first. We’re thrilled that other restaurants are adopting this model, and we’re proud to have done so years ago.

My idea of a restaurant

Italian cooking is not the created, not to speak of the “creative”, cooking of restaurant chefs… It is cooking from the home kitchen… Food, whether simple or elaborate, is cooked in the style of the family. There is no such thing as Italian haute cuisine because there are no high or low roads in Italian cooking. All roads lead to the home, to la cucina di casa – the only one that deserves to be called Italian cooking.

Marcella Hazan, The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

Last year, I asked Luca di Vita of Osteria alle Testiere in Venice why the cooking there was so exceptional. His answer was a validation of my own thinking about restaurants. Luca explained that they thought of it not so much as a typical restaurant at all but more as the French concept of an atelier, a kind of workshop or studio in which a master works, with utmost attention to materials and quality.

Nothing could be further from the approach of the typical American restaurant. Here, almost always, quantity wins out over quality. The chain restaurant, in which a restaurant becomes a kind of mass-production factory, is able to produce food all over the country that is the same at every location, even if it lacks any sort of character or personality.

But even in so-called “fine dining” restaurants, the image of restaurant as assembly-line-factory is far too common. One person handles the pasta station, another is assigned to salads, yet another to desserts. As is true in all factory work, the creation of a product is chopped into smaller pieces so that less skilled workers can produce a part of that product even while none of them has the knowledge to produce the whole. Line cooks are notoriously poorly paid, even less than servers in the front of the house. Products become less expensive this way, but at a cost.

A restaurant needs to produce dishes quickly as orders come in, and frequently this means producing certain dishes far in advance and reheating them as needed. For example, perhaps the braised pork I’m eating on Tuesday was made in advance on Sunday, enough to cover orders for the whole week. An order comes in, it gets pulled from the fridge, reheated, and out it goes. Risotto takes 25 minutes to cook, and while most quality restaurants in Italy remind diners of the wait time, it’s far too long for most American diners to wait, so in American restaurants risotto gets pre-cooked halfway in advance and finished off when the order comes in. Efficient, yes, but at a cost.

Profit margins are tight in the restaurant business, usually about 10%. I learned this years ago when a restaurant where I was working was thinking about switching from paper to cloth napkins for lunch service. The laundering bill would be $100 a week, which would require selling $1000 more food per week to pay for it! Most restaurants are dependent on turning tables to be profitable. That is, they need the same table occupied by two different groups each night in order to make money. Guests need to eat quickly and go, to make room for the next. The logical extension of this approach is to expand and open a second or third or fourth restaurant. A successful chef becomes well known and leaves his first restaurant in “capable” hands in order to open another, and then another, and another. Celebrity chefs begin to resemble CEOs more than artisans of a craft. Profitable, yes, but at a cost.

I can’t fault conventional restaurants for embracing these tendencies. It’s a tough business. And the results can still be excellent, despite the shortcuts. But it’s not an approach that appeals to me. Whenever Marcella Hazan writes about a great restaurant in Italy, it’s always a place with a remarkable chef who somehow transmits his personality into his cooking. It is cooking which is dependent on having good taste and judgment, skills which are difficult to transmit to others. It’s not the anonymous cooking of the assembly line, but the personal cooking of a master. This is the kind of cooking I experience from the kitchen at Alle Testiere in Venice, operated by Bruno Gavagnin (business partner of Luca di Vita, who manages the front of the house). In Bruno’s kitchen there are no line cooks or pasta stations or reheated sauces from three days ago. It’s just Bruno, one assistant, and the day’s fresh catch from the lagoon. And the food tastes just like what it is: the careful and personal cooking of a master. Could Bruno train a low-wage line cook to produce the same dishes? Could he open three other restaurants in Venice, leaving Testiere in the capable hands of another professional? He most certainly could, but only at a cost; one which, thank God, he has been unwilling to pay.

People often ask us why we don’t expand our restaurant, assuming that every proprietor wants to grow his or her business. Why do we only do one seating per night? Why do we only seat 16 people per night? Why do we offer only a set, prix-fixe menu? The answer is simple: our little restaurant is as large as it can be without taking shortcuts. How many guests can my wife Dillon, our manager, comfortably serve and properly attend to? How many dishes can I send out of the kitchen and still have time to make sure each one is perfect? We’ve chosen not to hire staff. It’s just the two of us: Dillon in the front of the house and me in the kitchen. This imposes limits on what we do that help us maintain focus and provide exactly the experience to our guests which we want them to have.

The highest praise I receive about my cooking is that it tastes honest and fresh. I’m convinced this is largely the result of the fact that nothing that we cook is prepared far in advance. Pasta sauces are cooked, rest a short time, and are served. Slow-cooked braises spend the day in the oven and come out just in time to serve. Pasta dough is made at 4:00 and served at 7:00. Nothing comes out of the fridge and nothing sits under heat lamps waiting for the rest of an order to be ready. When Dillon and I dine out, we’re always seeking meals that don’t taste like “restaurant cooking”.

In effect, the cooking I do at Old Tioga Farm is closer in execution to good home cooking than conventional restaurant cooking. Of course it is careful and elegant, beautiful and balanced, I hope. But I also hope it is fresh and full of character and personality, that it tastes like it was cooked by a particular person, that it was cooked not for profit but with love. Rather than try to impress guests with extravagant preparations which look beautiful but taste of nothing, I prefer to cook dishes which are straightforward and full of rich but recognizable flavors. These are all traits I associate more with the home than the restaurant, and for us there’s no doubt that Marcella is right to say that one of the highest compliments a customer can pay to a chef in Italy is to remark that his or her cooking tastes “of the home”, even if this sounds odd in America.

This approach isn’t going to make us rich. Restaurant empires are for that. Perhaps this approach – more of an atelier than a restaurant, as Luca says, or perhaps more of the home – will never be the norm, but I like to think of it as an ideal that more chefs could aspire to. I’d like to see more restaurants that see themselves as the expression of a particular person with good taste. But for that to happen, that particular person needs to be the one doing the actual cooking. I like to think that it is an approach that has integrity and that creates a dining experience that is more personal, more intimate, more meaningful, and more delicious than that of a conventional restaurant. Although I never knew her, I like to think that Marcella would be pleased.

Lament for a once-great restaurant

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Now that’s a sad bread basket. Salt shaker is a nice touch too.

When my wife Dillon and I first visited Italy more than 10 years ago, the city of Bologna was on our short list of places to visit. Although not on the typical tourist circuit, I’d become intrigued about Bologna from the writings and cookbooks of Marcella and Victor Hazan.

Marcella ran a cooking school in Bologna in the ’70s and ’80s before relocating to Venice, and she writes about numerous Bolognese people and institutions: the Simili sisters, a country trattoria called Perla, al Cantunzein (“perhaps the greatest pasta restaurant that has ever existed”), and above all, Ristorante Diana.

Diana was and is a Bolognese institution. Marcella describes it as “Bologna’s great classic restaurant.” She includes recipes from the kitchen of Diana, including their custard gelato and bollito misto, or mixed boiled meats. I understand that many readers will not appreciate a dish with such an unappetizing name in English, but trust me (and Marcella): bollito misto is lovely. It is also Herculean in scale, so much so that it is vanishing from restaurant and home tables. Various cuts of meat, including cotechino sausage and a whole chicken, are gently simmered until meltingly tender and served with a series of piquant and flavorful sauces. It is a meal fit for a crowd.

Marcella has not been the only one to sing the praises of bollito misto and Diana’s version of it. Mario Batali as well has written effusively of the dish and the restaurant, and it has appeared on Mario’s own menu at Babbo.

Diana is one of the few restaurants in Bologna that stills prepares bolito misto, and the sight of the bollito misto trolley being wheeled around the dining room is memorable. When the meats are lifted from their warm bath of broth, the dining room is infused with steam and the aroma of comfort. The meats are cut to order for each patron, and one feels like a king.

Except that the cooking at Diana today is a sad and pale shadow of what it once reportedly was. On our first trip ten years ago, I was feeling under the weather and could eat little. For various reasons, I hadn’t been back until this year. I’m not sure when things went so downhill for Diana, but my meal there several days ago was certainly one of the worst I’ve ever had in Italy.

To start, the bread seemed days old, and the breadsticks came in plastic wrappers. The tagliatelle with truffles was lifeless and poor in aroma (It’s pretty hard to screw up truffles). Most disappointing of all, the bollito misto I’d read about for more than a decade and which I’d finally come to eat was a complete failure. The cuts of meat were poor, some with more fat than meat, not especially tender, and they were accompanied by a single, unmemorable sauce. I didn’t each much, mumbling something about how it was good but too much. My cameriere seemed to read between the lines. But he himself wasn’t trained properly to work in such a place and frankly couldn’t have seemed to care less. The icing on the cake was the monumental mirror on one of the restaurant walls, a beautiful piece of decoration which had been cleaned so badly it looked as if it had been wiped down with a dirty cloth.

Agreement about Diana’s decline seems to be nearly universal. My Bolognese friend and mentor Andrea speaks of growing up with Diana as the pinnacle of Bolognese dining. He’s not sure what happened either. Oddly, Mario Batali still lists it on his website as a top choice for Bologna. He says, “The cart of bollito misto alone can bring me to tears.” Me too, but not tears of joy! Let’s just assume Mario hasn’t been in a while and is due to update his recs soon.

The Hills of Bologna

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A beautiful but harrowing adventure

I almost died last week. Well, okay, not really, but I felt like I might die. I found myself in the Colline Bolognesi, the hills of Bologna, leading a group of clients to visit a producer of parmigiano-reggiano cheese near Santa Lucia. Should I have previewed the trip earlier by doing a run through of the route? Absolutely. But time was at a premium. And I had a GPS. Nothing to fear!

Except GPS systems are infamous for choosing routes with minor roads and excessive complexity, all in the name of saving half a kilometer.

So here I was with a van full of clients climbing into the hills of Bologna, except “hills” are an understatement. Really it is the beginning of the massive Apennine mountain range which cuts through Italy like a spine, and these were no hills. Instead there were kilometers of steep ascents and hairpin turns around every corner. And instead of choosing a direct route, the GPS system took us on back mountain roads, including one which had literally disintegrated into rubble.

But the low point was at the top of the mountain when the brake fluid light came on. How could anything be worse? It was all I could do to keep my composure and continue to the caseificio, which miraculously was found, and with five whole minutes to spare.

The visit was amazing, and all was forgotten temporarily. We started down the mountain toward lunch at Amerigo dal 1934 in Savigno, which was so tremendous that I was once again able to focus on something other than failing breaks. The brake fluid light hadn’t come back on, and everything seemed to be working fine.

But just as we were almost home free, the GPS had other ideas. As I learned later from studying the route, for the sake of saving us a kilometer, the GPS led us on a “short cut” back up over another harrowing mountain, requiring speeds of 30 km/h, and turning what should have been a 25 minute trip home into an hour-long, hair-raising ordeal.

But one of my clients was an excellent co-pilot and helped me keep up my nerve. I was sweating bullets, it was dark, I was coming down out of a mountain totally unfamiliar with hairpin turns every kilometer or so for 15 kilometers.

Needless to say, the first destination after returning to the villa was a soak in the hot tub. Nothing had every felt so good. But the remarkable thing is that the harrowing adventure up and down the mountains became the favorite memory of the whole week for many of my clients. Even I can now look back with nostalgia on what at the time was pure hell.

This past week I took a more sane and direct route to the caseificio with my second group of clients, and although it was by far a more relaxing trip, I can’t say part of me wasn’t craving the drama and adventure of the earlier trip. Maybe just not so much as to actually do it again.

 

 

Never a bad meal in Italy?

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Poor, stale bread. Sorry for the mediocre photo. Low light and a smart phone.

I’m always skeptical when friends or customers return from Italy and report that they never had a bad meal. I get it though. Everything certainly seems and tastes better on vacation, and Italian food is frequently done so poorly in the US that experiencing the cuisine on its home soil can be a revelation, even when executed imperfectly. And, of course, taste is subjective.

Still, as Victor Hazan has recently noted:

It’s a myth that everybody cooked well [in the old country]. Only a few people cook really well. It is a form of craft.

In Italy, the gift of cooking is not distributed equally and everywhere. It’s true that in general standards are higher and there is a more widely distributed cultural sense of what tastes good, but it is still possible to eat well or mediocrely based on the taste and personality of the cook or chef.

In Bologna tonight, I had a mediocre meal at a restaurant I won’t name. I did something I know better than to do…follow the recommendation of an American journalist writing about the best places to eat in Bologna. He said all the usual things…”in an out of the way neighborhood….unkown to tourists….the favorite of a Bolognese friend since boyhood”. 

But if there is one myth that needs to die, it is that locals eating at a restaurant in Italy is proof of its quality. It’s true that many restaurants become touristy and lose their way, not caring enough because they don’t have to. But the opposite can also be true. At Armando al Pantheon in Rome, more than 50% of the clientele seem to be tourists, but Claudio has the gift, and he cares, and he sends out from his kitchen the best, most careful cooking.

Another myth that needs to die is that bread in Italy is of high quality. This perhaps was my greatest surprise and disappointment on my first trip to Italy in 2005. Most bread in Italy is terrible: industrial, stale, and completely lacking in character. A bread revolution has been sweeping the US in the past decade or two, but one disadvantage of having a traditional food culture like Italy is that change is slow. Italians have a lot to learn about the best baking going on in America, but to most Italians, the idea of learning from an American chef or baker is laughable, even though it is completely necessary.

What was wrong with my meal tonight? What made it mediocre? This is always hard to put in words. But for me the best cooking is characterized by its freshness, balance, purity, and lightness. Tonight, after the stale bread I was served a glass of overly warm “house” sangiovese, without enough respect for the winemaker to even show me the bottle. This, despite having asked for a glass of Lambrusco Secco, the lovely spritzy wine famous throughout the region. There was an amuse bouche appetizer plate, but the vegetables included just tasted re-heated and old. My tortellini in brodo were oddly hard, like they had been partially dried and then not cooked properly. At this point, I called things off. Not wanting to waste time, money, or appetite on mediocre dishes, I scrapped plans for ordering anything else and instead begged for my bill. Is it fair to judge a place on just a few dishes? Of course not, and this is nothing like a proper review. But I’ve eaten enough to know the signs, and they weren’t encouraging. 

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Tortellini in brodo. Not the best I’ve ever had, but I have great appreciation for the labor involved, shaping each tortellino by hand. Sorry for the mediocre photo. Smart phone in low light.

In Italy, people go to a place because it is in their neighborhood, or just familiar and comforting, or they’ve just always gone there. This can lead to staleness for sure. For me, one warning sign is the checkered tableclothes so associated with old-world restaurants in Italy. No doubt some good cooking can come out of such places, but I can’t say I’ve personally ever had a good meal at one of them. I certainly want the cooking in Italian restaurants to be deeply traditional, but I also want their approach to be modern in the best ways, with proper wine glasses and wine storage, an insistence on freshness and the best, high-quality ingredients, and a sense of doing things not as they’ve always been done but on how they can be done the best.

Restaurants like this are not always easy to find, in Italy or at home. But when one does find one, it is a gem to treasure and enjoy wholeheartedly. 

Another love letter to Armando al Pantheon

Learning to season correctly is the most important skill a cook can learn.

Marcella Hazan, Ingredienti

A few years ago I wrote a love letter of sorts to Armando al Pantheon, my favorite restaurant in Rome. I have to do it again. I’m here in Rome for one night on my way to teach two weeks of cooking classes in Bologna, and once again I was just blown away by the meal I enjoyed at Armando. I have had the pleasure now of introducing many clients to Armando over the past few years, but I have not dined there alone in a while. No restaurant is perfect. Last year they seriously undercooked our pasta. But I know of no restaurant in Rome that more consistently delivers perfection time and again than Armando.

What’s so amazing about it is that being a stone’s throw from the Pantheon, they could do a great business without caring at all, just dishing out mediocre food to tourists who would be delighted to eat anything while on vacation in Rome. What’s amazing is that Armando still cares. They understand the elusive quality of good cooking, and they deliver time and again. They understand that cooking is personal, not something one can just train anyone to do well. Good cooking must have character. And as Marcella has emphasized, good cooking must be seasoned properly.

When I think of Armando, seasoning is what I think of. I’ve written a lot about salt, and rightfully so. What has so impressed me about the cooking at Armando is the perfection of their seasoning. It is tempting in restaurants to go overboard, to ensure that the first bite is overwhelmingly delicious but to create the problem that the more one eats the more one finds the dish too intense. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten food that is so correctly seasoned as at Armando. It gives the illusion that the food hasn’t been salted at all. It is so discreet, so much in the background that it never draws attention to itself. Yet, the seasoning is playing the key role in the deliciousness of the food. The other key is moderation. The first dish I ever ordered at Armando years ago was Spaghetti alls gricia (with guanciale). When it arrived I was surprised to see an extremely lightly dressed pasta, with just a few pieces of guanciale. And perhaps the first bite underwhelmed. But unlike many restaurant dishes, the more I ate the better it got. Armando understands the principal that it is just as important what you keep out of a dish as what you put in. The result is cooking which is light, balanced, and clear.

We still have seats available for our next culinary tour to Rome in March. If you’d like to join us for a week of cooking, culture, and fellowship, e-mail me: justin@oldtiogafarm.com. You too can discover the magic of Armando.

Spaghetti with truffles

Spaghetti with truffles (Sorry for the poor photo quality. Smart phone in low light.)

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Grilled lamb (Sorry for the poor photo quality. Smart phone in low light.)

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Braised artichoke (Sorry for the poor photo quality. Smart phone in low light.)

Chocolate mousse, not sure the whipped cream is necessary. (Sorry for the poor photo quality. Smart phone in low light.)

Baked Peaches with Amaretti

img_0440In my last post, I mentioned a dessert I hoped to make at the restaurant in August if I had perfect peaches to work with: baked peaches with amaretti cookies. The truth is, it’s still a great dessert even with imperfect peaches. And if there are still peaches in your market, I highly recommend giving this one a try. Actually, this might be the best time of year to make it because although it’s made with warm-weather peaches, to me it’s perfect on a cool September night like tonight.

The recipe is an Italian classic, memorialized by countless Italian cooks and cookbook writers. My version is derived from Rachel Roddy’s wonderful book My Kitchen in Rome, which deserves a blog post in its own right. The only place I differ from Rachel is in cooking time. She recommends a 40-minute bake time. I like even longer, at least an hour, or even more depending on the oven. I like them really concentrated, though not burned.

The only challenging thing about this recipe is finding amaretti cookies, especially finding the best ones. For many years I used a domestic brand, which was fine. But when I finally used a high quality imported brand, the difference was obvious. Amaretti are made from bitter almonds, and good ones taste of it. Here is the one I’ve been using recently.

Baked Peaches with Amaretti Cookies

  1. Slice three or four peaches in half, scoop out the pit, and place skin side down in a baking dish.
  2. Combine 6 crushed amaretti cookies with ¼ cup sugar (white or raw), 1 egg yolk, a little lemon zest, and 4 tablespoons softened salted butter.
  3. Spoon the filling into each cavity and bake at 375 for one hour, or even longer. The peaches should be concentrated and maybe a tiny bit crisp at the edges.
  4. Serve immediately or later at room temperature.

Peach Sorbet

I often wonder why produce, and fruit in particular, often tastes better in Italy. The soils in Italy aren’t especially great. Perhaps it’s the more temperate climate, or perhaps the varieties are different, more carefully bred for flavor rather than other qualities such as uniform ripening or the ability to be shipped.

In any case, it’s been a disappointing year in our area for peaches. Both flavor and texture have been somewhat imperfect, and this can make it a challenge to do the sort of transparent cooking that we like. We had hoped this month to roast peaches in the oven with amaretti cookies, but the peaches we had access to just weren’t perfect enough for this preparation. So we decided on a perfect use for imperfect fruit: sorbet.

This is hardly a sacrifice. We probably serve various types of sorbets more often than any other dessert at the restaurant because sorbet is one of the most delicious ways one can end a meal, and no dessert is more light and refreshing. Of course, the best fruit makes wonderful sorbet, but it is one case where an imperfect ingredient can be transformed into a dish of great satisfaction.

Unlike gelato, sorbet can be made wonderfully at home in an inexpensive ice cream freezer. Because home models require about 20 or 25 minutes to freeze the gelato or sorbet (compared to less than 10 for commercial machines), ice crystal formation is nearly inevitable, which is a deal breaker for gelato – which is always milk/cream based – but not for sorbet, which is always water based.

We have two machines, a two-quart Cuisinart model and a one-quart Cuisinart model. I’m not sure there’s much difference from brand to brand, but for home use we recommend a one-quart model. After a number of hours in the fridge the sorbet will become rock hard and useless. It’s always best to eat sorbet the same day it’s made, just the way you would in Italy.

If you’re looking for further sorbet/gelato inspiration, make a trip to Capogiro in Philadelphia, the East Coast’s premier gelateria.

Peach Sorbet (Makes 1 quart)

  1. Peel and cube 1 pound of peaches. (That’s 1 pound after removing skin and pit.)
  2. Place the peaches in a blender along with 2 cups water, 1 cup sugar, juice from 1 lemon, and the tiniest pinch of salt. Process for 30 seconds or so until completely smooth.
  3. Chill for at least 8 hours or preferably overnight, then freeze in an ice cream machine according to the machine’s instructions.
  4. When the sorbet comes out of the machine, it will probably be too soft. Freeze for a few hours until it firms up just a a bit, but keep an eye on it because after too many hours it will become hard as a rock and not easy to use.

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