Chef Marco Canora
Chef Marco Canora

Marco Canora

F&W Star Chef » See All F&W Chef Superstars Restaurants: Hearth, Terroir (New York City) Experience: Gramercy Tavern (NYC), Cibreo (Florence, Italy), Craft (NYC) What recipe are you most famous for? Ribollita, a classic Tuscan vegetable soup. Every restaurant in Florence has its version of it and like everything in Italy, you go to 10 different houses and you get 10 different versions. They all have a few things in common: black cabbage, bread, olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Every version I’ve ever had has those ingredients. I put the bread on top and form a crouton for a textural component. To really disperse the black cabbage, I freeze it overnight and crumble it with my hands. It breaks into a million tiny pieces and infuses the soup in a deep way. I learned that trick from Fabio Picchi at Cibréo in Florence. Ribollita is a very forgiving soup and even bad versions are good. Throw a bunch of vegetables in a pot, let it sit overnight and the flavors come together and it works. I’m a firm believer that this soup is better the next day and it’s more than the sum of its parts. What’s one thing everyone should know how to cook? For a neophyte cook, I recommend making a tomato and egg dish, it’s sometimes called uova al purgatorio. You make a very quick tomato sauce in a skillet, stir in an egg white and then poach the egg yolk in the sauce. Understanding that recipe and seeing what unbelievable results you get encourages everyone to cook more at home. It’s so incredibly sexy, tasty, fast and easy to execute. It delivers on the health, the flavor and the “wow” component of what food can do. What are your favorite cookbooks of all time? My favorite cookbooks of all time are Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking; and Giorgio Locatelli’s Made in Italy. What’s one cooking skill you want to improve? I’ve always felt inadequate when it comes to making sausages. I will admit that I haven’t spent a lot of time practicing or researching, but they never come out exactly how I want them to. They’re always a little too grainy or they’re too full and they burst or they shrink and the casing is saggy. It’s always been a problem for me, but my chef de cuisine is better at it than I am and I’m learning from him. What’s the best bang-for-the-buck ingredient? Almost everything tastes better with a squeeze of lemon on it, and that jolt of citric acid is like a universal salt. It amplifies anything you put it on, from a steak to a piece of fish to roasted cauliflower. What’s your current food obsession? Firm and briny Japanese sardines. My fish purveyor has recently got a line on big, spotted Japanese sardines that are almost as long as my forearm and it’s ridiculous how good they are. We’re cooking them in the restaurant, and they’re so beautiful I decided just to grill them and serve them with a wedge of lemon. What restaurants are you dying to go to? Asador Etxebarri, a famous grill restaurant in Spain where the chef makes everything on a wood-fired grill. I want to go to Manresa, David Kinch’s restaurant on the water, south of San Francisco. I follow him on Twitter, look at his menus and idolize him from afar. I’ve been dying to get to Brushstroke in Tribeca; I’m a huge Japanophile and I want to see what Yoshiki Tsuji’s all about. Do you have any favorite food souvenirs from traveling? I have these mezzalunas I bought at antique markets in Lucca, Italy. I have them hanging at some of my restaurants. For me the mezzaluna is the perfect symbol of my cooking philosophy, and my appreciation for traditional approaches and simplicity. What ingredient will be talking about in five years? I have no idea, but I’m constantly amazed at what becomes in vogue. I’m in awe of this current trend of ash, where you carbonize stuff and crumble it into purees. I think it’s gross. I don’t want to eat carbonized anything. I have very little interest in innovation and what’s cutting edge.
Chef Marco Canora likes quinoa, a high-protein seed, because it mimics the satisfying texture and starchiness of a grain. He uses it in this crunchy and fresh winter salad. Slideshow:  More Salads with Grains 
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This is chef Marco Canora’s take on the pastina in brodo that his mother used to make. Here, tiny whole-grain amaranth stands in for pastina, the smallest shape of pasta. The broth takes time, but it simmers mostly unattended. The rich, deep flavor is fantastic with the nutty pop of the amaranth. Slideshow:  Healthy Soup Recipes 
“Despite its name, sweet brown rice isn’t sweet,” says chef Marco Canora. Instead, this short-grain glutinous rice resembles whole-grain sushi rice. Here, Canora uses it to make a hearty vegetarian risotto. Slideshow:  More Risotto Recipes 
Steel-cut oats are whole-grain oats that are simply chopped, so they’re super-nutritious and have a great chew. Chef Marco Canora likes to simmer them in whole milk and almond milk with sweet spices for a breakfast with staying power. Slideshow:  More Whole-Grain Breakfasts 
Chef Marco Canora likes spelt pasta, which is made with an ancient strain of wheat, but any good-quality whole-wheat rigatoni will work. Just check the ingredient list to make sure it's whole grain and doesn't contain sugar, colorings or other additives. Canora also recommends buying livers from pastured chickens because they're more nutritious than those from factory-farmed birds. Slideshow: More Chicken Liver Recipes
Farro is a chewy, earthy emmer wheat that’s grown in Tuscany, where chef Marco Canora’s mother is from. When cooked risotto-style, as it is here, the grain releases its starch into the broth, making it creamy. Slideshow:  More Farro Recipes 
Rye berries have a wonderfully aromatic, tangy flavor that goes well with the caraway in this Scandinavian-style dish from chef Marco Canora. Plus, they are a terrific source of fiber. Slideshow:  More Salmon Recipes 
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Chef Marco Canora makes this focaccia with freshly milled, small-batch whole-wheat flour. 
White Peach Tart
Rating: Unrated
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"This crust is not what you'd expect," Marco Canora says. "Instead of being crunchy, it's puffy and cakey." The dough is terrific for impromptu baking, because it doesn't need to be chilled before it's rolled out. For the filling, Canora recommends using peaches that are ripe but still firm, as drippy fruit will make the soft crust soggy. More Fruit Desserts
Rye berries have a wonderfully aromatic, tangy flavor that goes well with the caraway in this Scandinavian-style dish from chef Marco Canora. Plus, they are a terrific source of fiber. Slideshow:  More Salmon Recipes 
Chef Marco Canora makes this focaccia with freshly milled, small-batch whole-wheat flour. 
White Peach Tart
Rating: Unrated
2
"This crust is not what you'd expect," Marco Canora says. "Instead of being crunchy, it's puffy and cakey." The dough is terrific for impromptu baking, because it doesn't need to be chilled before it's rolled out. For the filling, Canora recommends using peaches that are ripe but still firm, as drippy fruit will make the soft crust soggy. More Fruit Desserts
Warm Summer Vegetable Salad
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In this hearty salad, chef Marco Canora cooks the vegetables until their flavor is fully developed before tossing them with a pungent anchovy dressing. Slideshow:  More Delicious Summer Salads 
Summer Farro Salad
Rating: Unrated
3
Marco Canora says you can swap in any starch—like bread or pasta—for the farro (a nutty Italian grain) in this recipe.A Lesson in Farro Canora simmers farro in water with sautéed onion, carrots and celery. The aromatic vegetables add delicate flavor to the cooked grains. Delicious, Quick Side Dishes
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The pasta for this tortelli (a larger version of tortellini) is extremely silky and supple, which makes it excellent with the creamy ricotta-and-spinach filling. If there's any dough left over, cut it into noodles, as Marco Canora does, then dry it and store it in bags in the refrigerator to have on hand for last-minute dinners.A Lesson in Fresh Pasta When making fresh pasta, Canora says to knead the dough until it feels soft and silky, a process that can take up to 10 minutes. More Great Pastas
"This is one of my favorite things on the planet," says Marco Canora about his savory rabbit stew. He loves sharing the recipe with his students because it's an opportunity to teach them about making battuto (similar to soffrito), a mixture of sautéed onion, celery and carrots that's the base for many Italian dishes. Slideshow:  More Hearty Stews 
Paul Grieco of Terroir in Manhattan is one of the few sommeliers to serve wines from Sicily's Frank Cornelissen, who favors a hyper-natural approach and the use of amphorae for red wines. Chef Marco Canora's pasta with braised duck is just the thing with Cornelissen's red; this version calls for duck confit. More Great Pastas
Italian Seafood Stew
Rating: Unrated
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In this luscious, tomato-rich stew, Marco Canora cooks calamari slowly until it becomes supertender. He says calamari is absolutely essential to the success of the dish, because it releases its liquid as it simmers, which adds a huge amount of flavor to the sauce. "I'm a big fan of substitutions," he says, "but not in this case." Plus:  F&W's Ultimate Fish Cooking Guide 
Fried Zucchini Blossoms
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Marco Canora grew up in New York's Hudson Valley with a fantastic vegetable garden that produced an abundance of zucchini. "I'd pick the flowers," he says, "then my mother would stuff them with any combination of things and fry them up in a simple pastella [a classic Italian batter of flour and water]." Here Canora fills the blossoms with anchovies and mozzarella before cooking them until crispy. More Delicious Fried Foods
Eggs in Tomato Sauce
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Mediterranean cooks make many versions of eggs poached in tomato sauce, but this one is slightly unusual because it involves cooking the egg whites in the sauce, almost like egg drop soup, to add substance. Marco Canora got the idea from Fabio Picchi, owner of the legendary Cibrèo restaurant in Florence. More Italian Recipes