Kicking up Thunder Bay Tastitude with Chef House

Chef Richard Moorey always seems happiest in the kitchen kicking up some 'Tastitude'.
Chef Richard Moorey always seems happiest in the kitchen kicking up some 'Tastitude'.

Chef Richard Moorey always seems happiest in the kitchen kicking up some 'Tastitude'.
Chef Richard Moorey always seems happiest in the kitchen kicking up some ‘Tastitude’.

Tastitude in Thunder Bay Chef House Style

THUNDER BAY – Food Now – In Thunder Bay, Chef Richard Moorey, or Chef House, is a culinary force to be reckoned with. When I first met Chef House, it was over some amazing sushi as we discussed some food issues and websites. That was almost six years ago. His energy and passion for food might only be slightly smaller than his size.

There are many talented Culinary Wizards in Thunder Bay. Chef Richard Moorey, who is the Executive Chef at The Davinci Centre is likely one of the easiest to recognize. Towering up at a long way past six feet tall, Richard is a big man with a big heart and he cares about our city, and his full on passion for ‘Tastidude’ is epic.

Coming into my apartment all those years ago, Chef House was almost at risk of bumping his head on the doorways.

A Passion for Food, Family and Life

Talking with Chef House, you quickly realize his passion is for food and life. After a full, and long day in the kitchen at The Da Vinci the Chef shares, “I had a woman in the da Vinci last night. We served 650 people yesterday, and she asked me for a recipe for one of my dishes. She said ‘I know Chefs all like to share their secret recipes but can you tell me how you made that?”

Chef House stepped up to share. Not only that, after a gruelling day in the kitchen, “I spent an hour in the room last night talking to people about food after dinner and I explained the step-by-step processes; I gave them tips and tricks and yeah so I’m just want to know what’s in it but people like it may want to try it at home.  I could say, I created it, sure, but it’s food the whole world is meant to have it”.

Bring a Little Pasta Tastitude to Your Kitchen

by Richard Chef House
There aren’t many people out there that can resist terrific pasta, least of all me. There is just something about perfect al Dente pasta cooked in generously salted water then served under a finely crafted, decadent sauce that just makes mouths happy.

While dried pasta can for the most part be pretty decent and cost effective there are some artisanal pasta out there that are even better. Artisanal pastas, good ones anyway, are usually about twice as much as regular dry pasta but are often worth the extra money as they come out more delicate and tasty than your typical store bought dried pasta.

Next on my list would be a store bought fresh or fresh frozen pasta. These are generally the most expensive of the three and while you pay more still for these, they are in most cases far superior to dried pastas. They are tender and delicious and cook quite quickly making them a great way to enjoy a little of Italy at home.

But of course there is always something better out there and a way to achieve pasta perfection. Its inexpensive and quick to produce and more Smashmouth than any of the other options available. You’ve probably guessed already but if you haven’t we’re talking about from scratch pasta. Homemade pasta delivers on Tastitude and will satiate even the most stubborn and picky eaters at your table.

Homemade pastas aren’t complicated and usually consist of just flour, eggs, oil and salt with perhaps a little bit of water. In fact you can even make your dough ahead of time if you store it properly letting you have regular helpings of pasta at dinner time in just a few minutes and with minimal cleanup.

One of the tools that is a necessity in the making of quick and easy perfect pasta is the pasta bike. This indispensible tool takes just minutes to roll and cut pasta and they are easy to clean. For the average person a good manual pasta bike is more than adequate and for about 100$ you can’t go wrong. There are electric pasta bikes but I’ve made due with a couple of manual bikes so I’m guessing they’ll be good enough for the average pasta lover.

I like to make homemade pasta, it’s an amazingly simple recipe and all you have to do is top it off with a worthy sauce. Sometimes though a double dose of Tastitude is what your taste buds are calling for and you just need to take things to the great flavour beyond.

When it comes time to take your fresh pasta to the next level then it’s time to get stuffed. Ravioli, tortellini and agnolotti are some of my favourite ways to get stuffed with a perfect sheet of pasta and can be your favourite part of Smashmouth pastas too.

Combining gorgeous and tender pasta with decadent and rich fillings is the next obvious step in the Evolution of pasta’s Tastitude and I recommend you don’t miss out on a little pasta perfection of your own.

Here’s an agnolotti recipe to get you started.

Chef House’s Agnolotti Stuffed with Onions Caramelized in Duck Fat, Spinach and Ricotta

Pasta

  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Pile the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour. Add the eggs, salt and oil. Using a fork beat together the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour a little at a time. As you incorporate the eggs, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape the dough will come together in a ribbons when about half of the flour is incorporated.

Start kneading the dough. Add more flour, in ½ cup increments, if the dough is too sticky. Once the dough is a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape clean. Lightly flour the board and continue kneading for 3 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Continue to knead for another 3 minutes, dusting your board with flour when necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature or oil and wrap for the refrigerator for later use. Remember that if refrigerating, bring the cold dough to room temperature prior to use.

Filling

  • 4 tbsp duck fat
  • 1 white onion, julienned
  • 1 yellow onion, julienned
  • 2 small shallots, chopped
  • 500g ricotta
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Slowly caramelize the onions and shallot in the duck fat. When close to done add the spinach and lightly wilt. Remove and drain well then cool the mixture. Add the ricotta, egg and season with salt and pepper. Combine well.

Roll out sheets of pasta on your pasta bike until rolled at the thinnest setting. Place teaspoons of filling on the center line of the sheet about an inch and a half apart. Brush the exposed pasta with a little egg wash then fold the pasta over on itself.

Using the edge of your hands gently seal and push the air out of the pasta. Use half of a round cookie cutter to cut half moon (Perogy shape) agnolotti out. Dispose of the excess dough.

Cook pasta in gently simmering, well salted water for about 5 minutes and serve with your favourite sauce.