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Chefs have notoriously little spare time, so what do they make when they entertain at home? Almost anything, agreed the six Bay Area professionals I asked, as long as it's quick to prepare--in other words, simple dishes with a minimum of ingredients. "I don't want to wear myself out cooking when I have a houseful of people to entertain," says cookbook author Joanne Weir, who makes pasta packed with spicy sausage and greens. A rustic shellfish stew ladled over garlic toast is chef Paul Bertolli's choice. "There's not really much for the cook to do," he says. "All the flavors are already there.It takes just a few minutes to coax them out."

Published December 1998
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