A Birthday Meal from Chef Steve

Recipes,Special Occasions
June 5, 2012

Basil, chili peppers, ginger, lime, lemon grass, green extra-virgin olive oil, caramelized garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano, fresh herbs and, of course, pasta—they're the beginning of a beautiful meal.

Basil-and-Sign-Relish.jpg
Mark Boughton Photography
http://pgoarelish2.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/basil_sign_h.jpg

I'm into pure, hard-hitting tastes. Ingredients that smack you in the taste buds: basil, chili peppers, ginger, lime, lemon grass, green extra-virgin olive oil, caramelized garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano. Fresh herbs, if you leave out sage and thyme (and cilantro sometimes "skives me out" if it's really pungent). Chocolate is my weakness — I'm addicted.

So if I combine these favorite ingredients, I have the basis of Thai and Vietnamese cuisines, which explains my fondness for these ethnic foods. However, I have one more love: pasta. I crave semolina, rice and whole-wheat pastas. I dream of tortellini. I picture huge platters of orrechiete with steaming broccoli rabe and lick my chops thinking about the Vietnamese noodle soup pho I had recdently laden with hot chilies, lime and impeccably fresh bean sprouts piled in the center. I marvel at manicotti, lay awake thinking about what I can layer into lasagna. I'm happy with al dente angel hair and fresh-grated parmesan with green olive oil drizzled over the top before adding just a squeeze of fresh lemon and a grind of cracked pepper. Here are some of my favorite dishes using my favorite ingredients. I'm treating myself. After all, it's my birthday.

—By Chef Steve Petusevsky

Broccoli with Caramelized Garlic

Caramelized garlic and broccoli come together for a simple and soul-warming meal.

Rice Noodles with Basil and Chiles

The heat of the broth releases an amazing fragrance when mixed with the raw garnish ingredients.

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