Editor's note: This is the most recent piece in Sara's series about opening a new Italian restaurant in New York City. To try Sara's recipe for pennette pasta with Brussels sprout leaves and bacon, click here.
I really can't wait to get back into the kitchen. First I had to wait to get the gas on, then I had to wait for health inspection, which involved four trips in two days to the very special hell on earth that is the N.Y.C. Health Department. They almost could teach the Italians a thing or two about bureaucracy, although I still think the Italians have them trumped because everything official in Italy requires special pieces of paper with tax stamps on them. We don't have those here yet.
Meanwhile I just really want to get cooking in the brief window of time I have when the kitchen is all mine and I don't have to worry about prepping enough of the right food for the evening's customers or motivating my cooks. I can just cook and think about whether it tastes good or not. Obviously I have been thinking a lot about pasta. When I tell people I am opening a pasta restaurant they ask, "Will you make all your own?" And I am intrigued that for so many people it's the automatic assumption. In a way it's so very American, as I find we Americans are always so impressed by and obsessed with technique. I love to make pasta and I think I make a pretty great delicate egg pasta suitable for pappardelle or tagliatelle or ravioli, but it's not the technique that fascinates me—it's the whole dish, all the myriad shapes and sauces and pairings and the multitude of ways that some carbohydrates, perhaps a little protein, and some vegetables make a meal that people can and do live on day in and day out.