My family’s Italian heritage is something I’m very proud of. Italian cooking is what I know best and, since I was a little girl, I have been surrounded by the best of the best pasta.
My grandma Ginny, in Philly, is known for her gnocchi. That woman can make them with her eyes closed; it’s like second nature to her. My mother, who is actually of Irish and English heritage but can cook just as well as an Italian, always made homemade pasta for us. So you have to understand, my standards are pretty high.
Enter Jenn Louis of Portland, Oregon’s Lincoln. I’m a HUGE fan of Jenn. She was named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs of 2012 and has taken the culinary world by storm. Her book, Pasta by Hand, is one of my favorite new cookbooks, and it really should be a staple in all kitchens. It’s full of step-by-step directions for shaping different types of hand-formed pasta, making each recipe a delicious DIY cooking project! Read it and you’ll become inspired to throw together a last-minute dinner party so you can create some of her signature dishes. I know I did!
Some colleagues and I were down in Portland in early May and had the pleasure of eating at Lincoln, which she runs with her husband David Welch. It’s safe to say we were all blown away. I knew from the second I took a sip of my rosemary-citrus spritz that I was in for a real treat.
David made sure we tried everything on the menu — everything! I seriously can’t explain to you how delicious it all was. The three pastas we tried were all heavenly; the corned lamb neck with mint salsa verde, mustard crema and onion agrodolce left me speechless; and the cornmeal onion rings with pimento aioli — once of David’s favorites — left me reaching for seconds and thirds!
If you find yourself in Portland, make sure you stop by Lincoln. I guarantee you’ll have a delicious night! If you’re not heading that way anytime soon, pick up a copy of Pasta by Hand and try some of her incredible recipes at home for yourself. You can even try one right now!
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