Joel DiPippa is back in the kitchen:
Over the weekend, I had a few friends over for dinner and drinks. I decided to try my hand at an old comfort food my father would make and a cocktail I have been perfecting.
The meal was a southern-Italian style braciole. You take a piece of meat, flatten it a bit and spread a filling throughout before rolling it and securing it with butcher's twine. I used a mixture of bread crumbs, minced garlic, chopped celery, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, olive oil, and a touch of red wine. Once secured, it was seared in the cast iron skillet before being moved to the braising vessel with its red wine and tomato paste liquid, with some tomato sauce drizzled on top of the braciole. While this was sealed in the oven, the water for the linguine started. A simple olive oil with some garlic and cracked black pepper. We like our meat on the medium-rare side, as you can see.
I am calling this Manhattan variant an "Immigrant" as the Italians take over the drink - 2 ounces rye + 1 ounce sweet vermouth + 2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes. Shake well to incorporate the pepper flakes and strain into a cocktail glass with a maraschino cherry. It starts off tasted almost mulled, but the heat of the pepper intensifies throughout the drink. The cherry is very useful to cut the heat of that last sip.