Pasta of My Dreams: Spilled Milk #149
Chicken livers, rosemary and sherry combine to make a perfect cold-weather pasta dish.
Justin Smillie is one of those chefs whose food I adore — and have adored since his earliest days behind a stove. He worked in several NYC restaurants owned or operated by friends of mine before finally landing as the chef at Jonathan Waxman’s Barbuto. I always had my eye on what he was doing. His tastes and mine ran along the same paths, and he is a superb fellow as well. I love everything he cooks.
When he opened his first restaurant, Upland in NYC, many years ago, I went often, and the two things I ALWAYS had to have was his seasonal salad with anchovy vinaigrette. It was his take on a Caesar salad, and I make a version of it to this day.
People ask how I do it all. The truth is, I don’t. For a few dollars a month, you can support Spilled Milk and the team that makes it.
The other was his Estrella pasta, star-shaped tubes dressed simply with chicken livers, sherry, shallots, herbs and a bit of broth. It reminded me of the crostini de fegato at Trattoria Sostanza in Florence, a restaurant my father went to in 1955 on his honeymoon and that our family still goes to this day. Anyway, long ago Justin gave me the verbal “here’s how to make it” talk, and I make it many times in the cold weather months every year. I always make it the week after Thanksgiving, when I have plenty of poultry livers in the house.
This dish is perfection. It is simple with deep, complex flavors and I hope you love it as much as I do.
This is a technique with some guardrails, an inspiration, a loose recipe. If you cook off a portion or so of pasta, this works like a charm, and the video shows it all.