This past Monday night I volunteered at the DC Taste of the Nation at the National Building Museum in DC. Some of the best chefs and restaurants from the DC Metro Area came out to this tasting event to help raise money to end childhood hunger in America. This event is part of Share Our Strength and it was awesome because 100% of the proceeds go directly to the cause. I had an amazing time! I tasted a beef panini from Top Chef runner-up Mike Isabella – he’s opening up his new restaurant in DC in May called Graffiato. I will definitely be checking that out because the beef panini was outstanding and also because his infamous pepperoni sauce that was on the season finale is rumoured to be on his menu. Yum! Brian Voltaggio, also a Top Chef runner-up (to his bro Michael) was there with his Frederick, MD restaurant team Volt. He was making liquid nitrogen lavendar ice cream. What? Yes, it was very cool to watch him make it. I snuck a few pics too.
Some other amazing samples I had were Creme Caramel and Foie Gras Croquettes from Michel Richard’s restaurant Citronelle. I had beef shoulder from Trummer’s on Main. YUM! I love Trummer’s on Main – we’ve been there before, and I’ve had their pork shoulder. It’s amazing, and I just love their style of cooking; it’s comfort food that uses the freshest and most local ingredients. I had sea salt gelato from DolceZZa. It was amazing and was truly the real deal (sometimes “gelato” in the U.S. is not always representative of Italian gelato). DolceZZa makes fresh batches of gelato every morning using local, seasonal ingredients. Take a look at what kinds of gelato they’re offering at their store right now: Grapefruit Campari, Ricotta Cardamom, Lime Cilantro, Kiwi, Honey Tangerine, etc. Uhh YUM!!!! Will definitely be stopping there soon.
Another memorable thing I tried was a beef tongue grilled cheese sandwhich. Yes, you heard me correctly… beef tongue. It was amazing! It was so tender and flavorful, not to mention it was smothered with gruyere cheese. All in all, it was a fabulous night. I bid on a dinner and wine pairing to a restaurant in Old Town that I’ve been meaning to try for a long time called Vermilion. I sampled some incredible food and most importantly, they raised a lot of money for a great cause!!!
Since I did not have the culinary gusto on Tuesday night to prepare some beef tongue or liquid nitrogen ice cream, I decided to make cavatelli with eggs and bacon – one of our favorite comfort foods. This is a simple and comforting recipe from Lidia Bastianich. It’s delicious and hails from the Province of Molise where my great-grandparents are from. Enjoy!
- 1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more for the pasta pot
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 slices of thick-cut bacon
- 2 large eggs, 2 egg whites
- 1 bag fresh cavatelli (I buy mine frozen)
- 2 cups Parmesan Cheese
- Fresh ground pepper to season
Fill a stock pot with salted water and bring to a boil.
In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon for 5 minutes or until it’s crisp and caramelized. Remove the bacon and allow to drain over paper towels. Once the bacon is cool, chop into small pieces and set aside.
Beat the eggs and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl until well blended.
When the water is at a rolling boil, drop in the cavatelli and return the water to a boil. Cook for 4 -5 minutes or until it floats to the top. Remove from the water and place in the skillet.
Over medium heat, toss the cavatelli with the bacon pieces. Pour the beaten eggs over the pasta, stirring and scraping the egg from the sides and bottom of the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes or just until the egg is lightly cooked and scrambled into the cavatelli.
Remove skillet from the heat, and toss the cheese over the pasta and eggs, mixing to combine.
Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and serve immediately.