Mix Master

Dave DiBari of The Cookery and His Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.



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DiBari and his menagerie

 

I always imagine, while eating at Dave DiBari’s soulful Cookery, that behind his swinging kitchen door is a sprawling Italian farm, where black-clad ladies roast wild game over smoky vine-trimmings, occasionally basting their beasts with brushes made from fresh herbs. Out back, across a courtyard, lies a chilly stone-fronted cave, where cheeses are aged on wooden shelves, and the ceiling is strung with salumi.

Imagination is a fine thing, isn’t it?

In reality, Yonkers resident Dave DiBari is a big fan of his Kitchen Aid. That’s right, the ubiquitous stand mixer that’s probably in your kitchen right now. “I grew up with one, but all these attachments are a new thing for me. It makes the machine so versatile, and you only need the one motor.”

For speed, the serene Chef DiBari—who has cooked with Mario Batali at Babbo—depends on a high-end Italian imported pasta roller at his trendy Dobbs Ferry restaurant (“Otherwise I’d get killed!”). But at home, in an apartment that he shares with nine assorted animals, he relies on his basic, 6-quart Kitchen Aid. “I use the pasta roller and the meat grinder, and I use the mixer for any type of dough. I also use it for all sorts of stuffings and fillings—I use it for everything.”

Evidently. We got this busy young chef to share some of his favorite Kitchen Aid tricks. Check out what a master can do with a great tool.

 

Creamy white polenta with lamb sausage, roasted swiss chard and apricot preserve
(serves 6)

Lamb Sausage

■ 12 oz lamb chuck
■ 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
■ 1 ½ tsp sugar
■ 1½ tsp whole fennel seeds
■ ½ tsp chili flakes
■ ½ oz hog casing
■ 2½ oz thick pork fat back
Soak hog casing in water for 30 minutes to hydrate. Clean the lamb chuck of any sinew and excess fat, then cut the meat into 1-inch cubes. Cut the fat back into 1-inch cubes, then toss with the lamb. Using the 1/3-inch die on the Kitchen Aid meat-grinder attachment, grind the meat and the fat together. Mix well with salt, sugar, fennel seed, and chili flakes, then place the mixture in the refrigerator until it is very cold.
Attach grinder to the Kitchen Aid fitted with the largest sausage-making tube (without the blade and grinding die). Set a sheet pan in front of the tube to catch the extruded sausage. Run water through the opening of the hog casing to ensure that it is open, then wet the sausage tube and slip the hog casing over the tube. Turn the Kitchen Aid to its highest speed, then guide the meat through the casing in a consistent flow. Using your other hand, push the meat into the grinder with the plunger. Push only a little meat at a time through the machine, and as it extrudes, form the sausage into a pinwheel on the sheet pan. After all the sausage is extruded, use a fine pin to pop any air bubbles visible through the casing (otherwise, the sausage might burst during cooking). Allow the sausage to cool completely before smoking, roasting, or poaching.

Creamy White Polenta
(6 cups)
■ 1 qt milk
■ 2 oz unsalted butter
■ 4 oz Friuliana white polenta
■ 3 oz Grana Padano cheese
■ Kosher salt to taste

Bring milk and butter to a boil, then gradually stir in the polenta. Cook for 15 minutes, until the polenta is thick and creamy. When the polenta is finished, stir in the cheese and salt.

Roasted Swiss Chard
(6 Servings)
■ 1/8 oz thinly sliced garlic
■ ½ oz Academia Barilla extra virgin olive oil
■ Pinch chili flakes
■ 1 lb trimmed and washed red Swiss chard
■ Kosher salt to taste

Using a large pot, sauté the garlic, chili flakes, and olive oil. Add the swiss chard and stir with a wooden spoon. Allow the greens to braise in their own juices until they are tender. They should cook for about 10 minutes. Season with salt.