Saturday, December 1, 2012

Kitchen Closeup - Abraxas Osteria, Pozzuoli (Na)


Saturday - late afternoon.  After enjoying a spectacular sunset from the parking lot of Abraxas Osteria, I opened kitchen door.  And there he was, in the back corner, quietly slicing broccoli for the evening dinner service.  Chef Tommaso Di Meo calmly preparing for another Saturday night at one of  Napoli's hottest dinner spots.  Like he has been doing for the past 8 years or so.
Chef Tommaso Di Meo
Di Meo,   the eye of the hurricane, while around him his staff prepared appetizers, side dishes, desserts...slicing, dicing...a comfortable chaos.

I wanted to talk with Di Meo's about some of his dishes on the menu, maybe get a recipe or two.  But Tommaso had another idea...

Karen, grab the menu, pick something out, and I'll show you how it's done...

Sounded easy enough, but there were so many dishes that I wanted to try.
Decided.
Spaghetti.
A twist on Napoli's classic spaghetti, aglio, olio, and peperoncino (garlic, evo, and chili peppers).  Something quick that I could try at home if I wanted...

A few ingredients...
italian bread crumbs

toasted pine nuts and walnuts

collard greens

black olives

garlic and evo

and spaghetti...of course

.Then step by step, Di Meo showed me how he added each ingredient to the pan...


 along with a ladle or two of l'acqua di cottura, water used to prepare the spaghetti...


When the spaghetti was al dente, he added it to the pan, tossed it several times as it finished cooking along with the sauce.


Then plated it up...

The best seat in the house is in the kitchen.  Where I grabbed my dish of spaghetti and a fork and stood over in the corner to watch Abraxas Saturday Night in action...Where owner Nando Salemme joined us for a quick chat, a smile, and then it was back to work.   Di Meo back in his corner continuing with preparations. His team continuing their business as usual.   The aromas in the kitchen intensified as the clock approached the dinner hour. 

Grazie, Abraxas...
Grazie, Chef...
Buon lavoro...

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