For chef Leah Cohen and her husband Ben Byruch of the Lower East Side’s Pig & Khao, becoming partners in both life and business certainly wasn’t planned. “We met when the restaurant first opened almost five years ago,” Cohen says. “My husband initially came in to help with the opening and wasn’t planning on staying more than six months… he’s still here.”
While it’s proven to be challenging, they make it work “because we each have our own areas of expertise and work together to make the restaurant successful.” Cohen is in the kitchen, while Byruch serves as operations manager and beverage director. Though they’ll be working on Valentine’s Day, we have their idea for how to celebrate: homemade gnocchi with bolognese and a red sangria.
Gnocchi with Bolognese Sauce
For the Bolognese
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion small diced
6 cloves garlic minced
1 small carrot minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon chili flakes
1 can whole peeled tomatoes (smashed by hand)
1 cup water
Salt to taste
In a medium saucepot, heat up olive oil and brown the beef. Add the onions, garlic and carrots and cook until soft. Add the tomato paste and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, water, chili flakes and salt. Bring up to a boil and then down to a simmer. Cook for one and a half hours on low heat.
5 sprigs Italian basil chopped
Finishing olive oil
Freshly grated parmesean
For the gnocchi
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes diced
140 grams all-purpose flour
4 ounces softened unsalted butter
4 egg yolks
1/2 ounce grated parmesan
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until the potatoes fork tender. Drain the potatoes very well and then pass through a tammy.
While the potatoes are still hot lay them out on a clean work- space in a thin layer. Evenly distribute the egg yolks, salt, grated Parmesan, butter and nutmeg.
Finally, sift the flour on top of the potatoes and then with a metal bench scraper mix everything until incorporated, try not to over work the dough.
Once everything has come together form a flat rectangle and refrigerate. When the dough is cold, cut into long pieces and then cut into gnocchi size.
Cook in salted boiling water, once the gnocchi rises to the top cook for another 30 seconds and then take out and add it to the sauce and cook for another minute. Add 1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil, 2 tablespoons good finishing olive oil and finish with grated parmesan.
It’s best to make this by the pitcher and let it sit overnight.
1/2 cup brandy
2/3 cup orange juice
1 bottle of pinot noir
1/4 cup simple syrup
1 orange, cut into segments
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 pear, peeled diced
Mix everything together in a large pitcher. Let the mixture sit overnight in the refrigerator. Serve over ice in a wine and finish with a splash of club soda and an orange wedge.