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New York chefs take inspiration from Mom

Marc Forgione

Marc Forgione

In honor of Mother’s Day, we asked food-minded New Yorkers to share their favorite recipes handed down by their mothers. From strudel to pasta, mom always knows how to make everything better.

You may already be familiar with Marc Forgione’s dad, the seminal American chef Larry Forgione. But the scion — now famous in his own right, what with his “Next Iron Chef” win and well-reviewed restaurant, Forgione — pays tribute to his mom this Mother’s Day with her favorite dish: lobster.

Forgione’s chili lobster with Texas toast — a mash-up of full-on Asian and American flavors — will be on the menu on Sunday for all moms to enjoy.

Forgione (134 Reade St., 212-941-9401) is serving brunch on Mother’s Day from 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. and dinner from 5-9 p.m.

Marc Forgione’s Chili Lobster with Texas Toast

4 ½ lb. cull lobsters, claws removed
1 c. lobster stock
2 tbsp. Sriracha
1 tbsp. light soy sauce
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. chopped ginger
1 tbsp. chopped garlic
1 lime
1 tbsp. mint chiffonade
4 thick slices sourdough bread
2 tbsp. canola oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the claws for 5 minutes and let cool to room temp. Remove meat from claws and knuckles and set aside.
2. Cut tails (with shells on) into 1-in. pieces. Get a wok or large sauté pan and add canola oil until smoking. Add lobster tails and cook for 1 minute. Add garlic and ginger and deglaze w lobster stock. Remove lobster and arrange on 4 plates.
3. Reduce stock by half, add Sriracha  and whisk butter into the wok. Add soy sauce and squeeze of a lime, salt and pepper to taste. Add the claw and knuckle meat and finish with mint.
4. Spoon sauce onto plated lobster.
5. Garnish each plate w a slice of toast and some chopped scallion.

Given that Anna Boiardi’s family created the original Chef Boyardee, kid-friendly Italian cooking is in Boiardi’s genes.

One of her favorite mom-commissioned dishes to re-create was passed down when she was on the cusp of childhood and adulthood and was going away to college. It’s appropriately titled Leaving-home Penne Rigate with Broccoli. But making the dish for the first time wasn’t without its challenges.

“I was at the grocery store with recipe in hand and I realized that I couldn’t actually read it — I never could read my mom’s handwriting. But there I was, first time out, walking up to strangers in the supermarket asking, ‘Can you read this?’” Boiardi says in her new cookbook "Delicious Memories."

Needless to say, she ended up figuring out the recipe. “This was one of the first dishes I had the courage to cook on my own, and it became a staple of my college years,” she said.

Anna Boiardi’s Leaving-home Penne Rigate with Broccoli

1 ½ lb. broccoli, washed, stems discarded, cut into bite-size florets
1 lb. penne rigate
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup finely grated pecorino cheese, plus extra for serving
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a big pot of water to a boil, then add a good handful of salt (about ¼ cup) — enough that you can taste it. Set a fine strainer in the sink.
2. When the water comes to a boil, add the broccoli and wait until the water returns to a boil.
3. Add the pasta and set the timer to the number of minutes recommended on the box. When the timer rings, drain the penne and broccoli in a colander, then dump them into a large serving bowl.
4. Add the olive oil and mix well with a wooden spoon so that the pasta is coated and the bits of broccoli are well distributed throughout. Add the cheese and stir well until you have a nice, green-speckled sauce.
5. Sprinkle with a little extra cheese, and add some pepper.

(Reproduced with permission from "Delicious Memories" by Anna Boiardi/Stewart, Tabori & Chang)

Austrian born chef Kurt Gutenbrunner — of Wallse, Blaue Gans and Cafe Sabarsky — appreciates that Mother’s Day takes place when springtime treats such as rhubarb come to the market — perfect for making strudel.

“I have fond memories of my mom’s strudel, which this recipe is based on," he said. "In Austria we change out the strudel fillings as the year progresses.”

As a boy, young Kurt stayed inside baking with his mother while his brothers were outside climbing trees, making it is safe to say that his self-professed fear of heights led him to providing the city's best Austrian pastry.

For Mother’s Day, Wallse (344 W.11th St., 212-352-2300) plans a $65 prix fixe menu from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Kurt Gutenbrunner’s Rhubarb Strudel


Sweet bread crumbs
1 tbsp. butter (preferably clarified)
1 tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs

Strudel filling
4 ½ c. rhubarb, peeled and chopped into ½-inch pieces
½ c. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. crème fraiche
¾ c. sweet bread crumbs
2 c. bread crumbs

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
5 sheets phyllo
2 tbsp. powdered sugar


To make the sweet bread crumbs:
In a small pot melt the butter over low heat, whisk in the sugar and cook for a few minutes until incorporated. Vigorously stir in the bread crumbs until they’re well-coated. Spread the bread crumbs on a cookie sheet and cool.

To make the strudel filling:
Mix the rhubarb, sugar and vanilla together in a bowl then sauté  in a large pan over medium heat for five minutes until tender. Remove from flame, strain off any liquid, cool, then mix in the crème fraiche, lemon zest, and sweet bread crumbs.

Pre-heat an oven to 425 degrees. Place one sheet of phyllo on a work surface and brush with  butter then dust with powdered sugar. Repeat the process with a total of five sheets, stacking them on top of one another. Place the strudel filling in a small mound, lengthwise, three inches from the bottom. Tightly roll-up the phyllo around the filling, place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, dust with powdered sugar and bake for approximately 15 minutes.



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