Perhaps best known as head judge on “Iron Chef America” and “The Next Iron Chef” on the Food Network and also a regular contributor to the “TODAY” show on NBC, Chef Donatella Arpaia is an NYC mom to a 6-year-old son (with twins on the way later this year) and the brains behind Prova Pizzabar in Grand Central Terminal (where customers can enjoy pizza, either to-go or with appetizers, pastas, desserts, and drinks). To help usher in the season of tricks and treats in the tastiest way, we asked Arpaia to share two of her fave Halloween recipes—that are tasty, easy, and a little bit spooky—for the whole family!
Autumn Squash Soup with Pumpkin Seeds & Star Anise | serves 6-8
“This soup is intensely aromatic, so much so that your guests will want to pretend they’re sipping it by a fire after a day of skiing. Tying the spices up in the cheesecloth pouch is the key to infusing the soup with a hint of clove and star anise. I’ve served this for both formal and casual parties—it can go either way depending on what you serve it in. Peeling the squash takes some time so do it in advance if possible.”
Ingredients & Equipment:
• Blender or immersion blender
• 3 sprigs fresh thyme
• 4 whole cloves
• 1 star anise pod
• 1 tsp. multicolored peppercorns
• 1 large butternut squash or 1.25 lbs cubed squash
• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil plus extra for drizzling
• 3 shallots, thinly sliced
• 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
• 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tbsp. orange blossom, clover, or lavender honey
• 2-3 tbsp. hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted
Place the thyme, cloves, star anise, and peppercorns in the center of a piece of cheesecloth and tie into a pouch. Set aside.
If starting with a whole squash, use a vegetable peeler to remove all of the skin (it is very thick so be sure to get it all off) and halve the squash lengthwise. Remove the seeds and discard. Cut the squash into rough 1” chunks.
Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook about two minutes, until softened and fragrant. Add the squash, broth, salt, plenty of pepper, and the spice bag.
Simmer, partially covered, until the squash is tender, 25-30 minutes for raw squash and 15 minutes for frozen.
Remove the bag of spices and puree the soup until super smooth with an immersion blender or in a blender. To serve, ladle into bowls, drizzle with the honey, and garnish with the pumpkin seeds and add a final drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
Medusa’s Scary Hair Pasta
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
• 1 lb of squid ink linguine
• 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
• 2 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
• 1⁄4 cup grated parmesan cheese
• Zest and juice of 1 lemon
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 onion, diced small
• 1 tbsp. tarragon, chopped
• 1 jar salmon caviar
• Salt and pepper, to taste
Bring two quarts of water to a boil and salt heavily. Cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve one cup of pasta water. Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil. Add onion and garlic and cook until fragrant.
Pour in the heavy cream and stir until mixture thickens on low heat and continue to stir. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and tarragon. Season with salt and pepper. Add a heaping tablespoon of salmon caviar and stir.
Add the pasta to the cream sauce and toss. If too thick add some pasta water to the pan. Add parmesan cheese and toss. Garnish each portion with a dollop of burrata and salmon caviar.
To learn more about Donatella Arpaia, visit donatellaarpaia.com