Wickwood Inn Notebook recipes
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"Everything you see I owe to spaghetti"   
Sophia Loren

In Wickwood's Kitchen ... Pasta Pasta Pasta

Not even the Italians know how many shapes pasta comes in, but they have long considered it among their greatest works of art. That spirit has indeed been contagious until today, most Americans eat pasta at least once a week. We hear Audrey Hepburn enjoyed it every day! Good idea!!      
Some of our favorites follow:

Pasta simply mixed with heirloom tomatoes


If you gather superbly ripened tomatoes and the finest quality ingredients, it makes cooking so much easier. Cooking is just coaxing out their flavors. Sometimes we add cracked green or Kalamata olives to this as well. Serves 4.

• 10 cloves of garlic
• 1 lemon’s finely grated zest
• ½ cup chopped Italian parsley leaves
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 2 pounds heirloom cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• ½ cup basil leaves
• ½ cup of Shards of Parmigiano-Reggiano (or ¾ cup fresh ricotta
• ¼ teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes (optinional)
• ¾ pound fresh or dried pasta, cooked al dente

Heirloom tomatoes
Heirloom Tomatoes

1. Mince 4 cloves of garlic and mix, in a small bowl, with lemon zest and half the parsley to make a gremolata. Set aside
2. Slice remaining garlic. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan. Add sliced garlic and remaining parsley and swirl over low heat for 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high and add tomatoes and salt and pepper (and red pepper flakes, if desired) to taste. Cook tomatoes, stirring, just until they start to collapse, 4-5 minutes. Check seasoning. Remove from heat. If pasta is not yet cooked, reheat tomatoes when it is.
3. Sprinkle half the gremolata on a large rimmed platter. Spread half the pasta over this mixture and cover with half the tomato mixture. Toss gently. Add remaining pasta and tomatoes, toss again to incorporate all ingredients. Dust with remaining gremolata and pass the cheese.

Pasta with toasted bread crumbs

A unique combination that’s simple to prepare as is or as a basis for a serendipitous pasta of whatever’s on hand. Remember with so short a list of ingredients, each must be the freshest and of the best quality. Serves 4

• 1 cup best-quality extra virgin olive oil
• 8 cloves garlic, minced
• 1½ cups fine bread crumbs (day old great bread)
• 1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
(or basil, dill, or chervil)
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
 ¾ pound pasta of choice, cooked al dente

Fresh Parsley

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add the garlic and sauté until just lightly golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
2. Add the remaining oil to the skillet. Add the bread crumbs and stir to coat evenly with the oil. Toast the crumbs over medium heat, watching closely so that they do not burn. Stir frequently until the crumbs are a deep golden. Remove from heat. Stir in the garlic and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with al dente pasta and Parmigiano Reggiano, if desired.

Indian Summer pasta with apricots

We’ve been making this unusual pasta to celebrate Indian Summer for over twenty years now and we continue to marvel at how new it always tastes. You might even add very crisp crumbled bacon, shredded proscuitto, or diced sauccisson seche to this. Serves 4

• ¾ cup best-quality olive oil
• 16 cloves garlic, 8 minced, 8 slivered
• 1 cup dry white wine
• 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely minced
• 1 cup dried apricots, cut into slivers
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• ¾ pound linguine, cooked al dente
• ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley


1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the minced and slivered garlic and sauté just until browned.
2. Stir in the white wine. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the rosemary and apricots. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 5-10 minutes longer.
3. Place the sauce, the pasta and parsley in a serving bowl, toss to coat and serve immediately.

Pasta with Walnuts, St. Andre and Proscuitto


With today’s marvelous Iberian Ham and St. Danielle proscuitto this can go really upscale, or  very thinly sliced country ham works too.  A great show stopper at a small dinner party and so easy. Serves 4

• 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
• 1½ cups walnut halves
• 1 pound St. Andre cheese, rind removed, cheese cut into small irregular pieces
• 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
• 9 ounces ham or proscuitto, shredded sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
• 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
• Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
• ¾ pound linguine, cooked al dente

St. Andre cheese
St. Andre Cheese

1. Combine the garlic, walnuts, St. Andre, parsley, ham, salt and pepper and olive oil in a large serving bowl. Let stand covered at room temperature at least 4 hours.
2. Just before serving, cook the linguine to al dente. Drain and immediately toss well with the walnut sauce. Serve immediately, Pass the peppermill and the grated Parmigiano.

Pasta with Brown Butter and Sage Sauce

This is one of our very favorite sauces for pasta and gnocchi alike. A cautious word thought, it is rich and probably best served as a first course or side dish with fish or poultry. Serves 4-6

• ½ pound (two sticks) unsalted butter
• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
• 24 sage leaves
• ¾ pound pasta cooked al dente
• 1 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano shards

Sage leaves
Sage Leaves

1. When the pasta is almost cooked, melt the butter in an 12-14 inch sauté pan, over high heat, until the foam subsides. Add the thyme and sages leaves, lower the heat to medium, continuing to cook the butter until it browns.
2. Drain the pasta and carefully add it to the pan with the browned butter. Toss very gently for 1 minute and immediately divide among four warmed pasta bowls. Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano shards over the top.

Pasta with Artichokes

Raphael once worked in our kitchen at The Silver Palate and taught us this sauce which became very popular. It’s a great "last minute, I don’t know what to cook tonight pasta" as everything comes from the pantry. Serves 4

• 2 jars (6 ounces each) best quality marinated artichoke hearts in oil (Italian are superb)
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 2 cups chopped onions
• 2 tablespoons minced garlic
• ½ teaspoon dried oregano
• ½ teaspoon dried basil
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• Pinch of dried red pepper flakes
1 can (28 ounces) Italian plum tomatoes, with their juice, imported are best
• ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
• ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


1.  Drain the artichoke hearts, reserving the marinade
2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions, garlic, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and reserved artichoke marinade. Sauté over medium-low heat until the onions and garlic are soft and translucent, 10-12 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes longer.
3. Add the artichoke hearts, Parmigiano and parsley. Stir gently, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add to the hot pasta (drained and in it’s cooking pot) and over low heat toss it well.

Cooks Notes ...

"Life is not linear. It's not about rushing to the finish line."
- Olya Thompson


For cheeseboards, grating over soups and pastas and cooking, there’s only one Parmigiano in our kitchen. It’s the real deal. We can only encourage you to do the same. We’ve been known to have it FedExed, stash it in our suitcases when we travel, and beg pals to schlep it home from Parma for us.

One of the most popular cheeses in the world, there are many imitators but the real Parmigiano-Reggiano is made under very rigid restrictions and trademarked. Strictly regulated Pamegiano-Reggiano can only be made in the provinces of Parma, Emilia, Modena, Bologna to the west of the Reno River and Mantua to the east of the Po River. It is handmade just as it was eight centuries ago, and starts with only milk from the afore-mentioned areas.

"We must eat to live and live to eat." - Henry Fielding

It all starts with the milk. Then it is cooked, in copper kettles, with only the addition of rennet, a natural enzyme. The solids sink to the bottom, forming a compact mass that is pressed into the typical loaf forms. Weights squeeze off the excess liquid. The cheese is then immersed in brine for 28 days with the cheese absorbing the salt needed to flavor it during it’s long aging process typically between 18-36 months. It must be inspected and branded with age and origin before it leaves to be sold. The older the Parmigiano, the more expensive it is!

For everyday use, our choice is between 28-30 months, but it’s a good idea to do your own tasting of a range of ages to determine what your palate and your pocketbook prefer. And, should you find yourself in Piedmont, be sure to try 5 year old Cravero Parmigiano! You’ll never be the same. Stateside, if you need a source try:

Roast Leg of Goat
"You don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note."
- Darryl Floyd

The Newest Hot Meat!!!

Goat may be the world’s most popular meat you’ve never eaten. If you’ve been lucky enough, you've dined upon it in Italy, Spain or Greece, but chances are you’ve yet to discover this gem.

Goat is prized around the globe for being high in protein, low in fat and with a flavor that has a meaty richness, yet isn’t gamy. We love it and for years have sought it out from our local farmer so that year round we can roast or grill it much like a leg of lamb. It always transports us to Mediterranean memories.

Today it’s being called “a chef’s food”, the darling of the trend setters ... and the price has tripled in the past five years. We suggest you find yourself a local farmer and begin roasting, stewing, braising or grilling goat. You’ll suddenly feel like ordinary/affordable meat tastes the way it used to. Check:

Sun Dried Tomatoes

Roasted Plum Tomatoes

Caramelized roast tomatoes have a myriad of uses. Here, we describe our basic technique and once you’ve tried it and tasted the tomatoes, you’ll adapt the quantity to fill your needs each and every time you roast them. Then, in all likelihood you'll have plum tomatoes ripening on the windowsill year round as we do, ready for roasting.

• Plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
• Olive oil
• Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Dried thyme, Dried rosemary or Italian herbs

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line shallow baking sheet with foil. Spread tomatoes evenly on baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper evenly over tomatoes. Crush herbs between the palms of your hands and sprinkle tomatoes lightly. Roast for 1-1 ½ hours depending on size of tomato and desired juiciness, checking every 10 minutes during the last half hour. If too much juice remains in tomato- use the back of a spoon to press down on the surface of the tomato slightly releasing the juice and then allow to air dry until perfect.
2. For a tomato with a texture similar to a sun-dried tomato, quarter the tomatoes, oil and season as in Step One. Roast the tomatoes 1¼ hour and; let them rest in an oven heated by a pilot light; or on top of an oven that is periodically heated or as we do atop our Garland’s broiler/griddle until they’ve air dried further with gentle heat, anywhere from 4 hours to 2 days depending on your preference. If not using immediately, place in a bag with a little olive oil and refrigerate.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirlooms are old varieties of tomatoes that have not been grown commercially for some time and are in danger of disappearing from our tables. Over the last decade or so, many small scale farmers began growing heirloom varieties again in an effort to make them agriculturally relevant, and, therefore, keep them around. This was especially beneficial to lovers of good tomatoes. Most heirloom tomato varieties are temperamental. They must be picked ripe, are very sensitive, to rain and humidity, don’t store well, and travel even worse. For commercial growers and retailers, these traits meant they were weeded out of the mainstream food supply.

The renaissance of heirloom tomatoes in all of their shapes and sizes make the Farmer’s Market more exciting than ever!! It’s hard to ever get enough of the taste of tomatoes during their short season! Everyone has their favorite, tiny heirloom “Gold Rush Currants” or hefty two-pound “The 1884’s”, survivors of The Great Ohio Valley Flood. Some prefer pear shaped and golden, some sweet as candy, others want a little more acidity, of those they remember from childhood. Part of the fun is the quest ... so many to taste, so little time.

Most folks we know try to grow at least a few plants of their own, exchanging varieties among friends at harvest to trade tastes and some seeds.

Heirloom Tomatoes  Heirloom Tomatoes

Wickwood Inn   |    510 Butler Street P.O. Box 1019   |   Saugatuck, MI 49453
Tel (800) 385-1174   |  www.wickwoodinn.com  |    Bill and Julee Rosso Miller, Proprietors