Scents of delicious herbs and spices wafted through The Daily Meal Test Kitchen on Thursday evening, August 12th, where Executive Chef of Maialino Nick Anderer hosted the fifth event of the Celebrity Chef Series.
Maialino, located in the Gramercy Park Hotel, is known for its superb encapsulation of Roman cuisine, represented by a warm and inviting atmosphere for guests, as well as an equally traditional menu. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Anderer and his staff go above and beyond to make their customers happy.
“I try to think of myself as a chef archive,” Anderer told us. And this holds true, as Anderer has developed his passion for Italian cuisine to allow others to experience his vision of classic Roman fare.
Anderer gave his guests at The Daily Meal the same hearty and homey experience, during his mouth-watering demonstration of preparing farro with wheat orecchiette and lamb sausage, topped with chickpeas and ricotta salata.
“Orecchiette,” Anderer said, “is the simplest of water pasta to make.”
While the menu may change as the Fall season rolls around, one Maialino item that provides for many variations and remains a popular on the menu is pasta.
Anderer explained that at Maialino, there are three full-time cooks dedicated to solely making pasta. One of the easiest and quickest meals to make, Anderer gave guests advice and tips on how to best prepare it. He explained for example, that freezing homemade pasta is the best thing you can do to keep it fresh.
“It rests the moisture level,” he said, “and gives you a visual indicator when it floats to the top that it’s ready.”
He noted some ways to add a little “unctuousness” as he called it, to the orecchiette, like adding egg yolk and allowing the pasta to be different sizes, for a more homemade look.
With twelve to fourteen different pasta dishes prepared in the Maialino kitchen, the staff works hard to materialize these unique entrees.
“Some pasta dishes require six or seven steps before the pasta hits the pan,” Anderer said. “Restaurant cooking is all about developing building blocks.”
Anderer also recently rolled out a new 'Quinto Quarto' menu at the restaurant, which showcases off-cuts and offal in dishes including rosemary and chicken heart skewers, prosciutto-wrapped sweetbreads and mushrooms, veal tongue with Castelevetrano olives and Parmesan, and pork and chicken liver tortelli with Balsamic and almond.