Sous Chef Series | Chris Delaney

Pasta 2.0 from a Southern chef

When Chris Delaney moved to Charleston, South Carolina, eight years ago, he quickly adapted to the Southern lifestyle, or at least its food. "Boiled peanuts blew my mind," says the 29-year-old chef de cuisine of The Macintosh. He goes on to list the other discoveries he made, including Allan Benton's bacon, Carolina Gold rice, and whiskey–which, he jokes, "fosters good feelings until the fighting starts."

A native of Massachusetts, Delaney attended Johnson & Wales in Providence, Rhode Island, then spent two years cooking at Al Forno, Johanne Killeen and George Germon's seminal Italian restaurant. In 2004, he and his wife had plans to move to New Orleans that were derailed by Hurricane Katrina. They chose Charleston instead, a city Delaney had never visited. He spent five years working with Sean Brock at McCrady's before joining the crew at The Macintosh.

We spent the day with the Southern transplant, visiting his chickens and his restaurant (click here for the slideshow) and mastering Delaney's recipe for spring pasta with peas and radishes, boosted with a full-flavored compound butter.

Recipe adapted from Chris Delaney, The Macintosh, Charleston, SC

Pasta With Chive-And-Pickled-Scallion Butter
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Pasta with Chive-and-Pickled-Scallion Butter from Chris Delaney at The Macintosh, Charleston, SC
Servings
8
servings
Ingredients
  • Pickled scallions
  • ½ cup Champagne vinegar
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped jalapeño
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1½ pounds scallions (about 36 scallions)--thoroughly cleaned, dried, ends trimmed and green tops removed (reserve half of the tops and discard the rest)
  • Scallion Butter
  • 3 scallion tops
  • ½ bunch chives
  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pasta
  • 14 ounces dried or fresh pasta (preferably a short, grooved pasta such as cavatelli)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 bunch radishes (preferably breakfast radishes), trimmed and quartered lengthwise
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1½ cups grated Pecorino cheese
Directions
  1. Make the pickled scallions: In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, bring the Champagne and cider vinegars, ½ cup water, sugar, jalapeño, bay leaf and coriander seeds to a boil. In a 9-inch-square baking dish, add the scallion bottoms. Pour the pickling liquid over the scallions; make sure the scallions are submerged. Cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 weeks.
  2. Make the scallion butter: Fill a medium bowl with ice and water and set aside. Bring a medium saucepan filled with water to a boil. Add the scallion tops and once they wilt, after about 1 minute, use tongs to transfer them to the ice water to stop their cooking. Place them on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.
  3. Heat a grill pan over high heat until smoking, about 2 minutes. Add the chives and char on both sides, about 2 minutes total. Add the charred chives to a food processor. Squeeze out the excess water from the cooked scallion tops and add them to the food processor along with 3 finely chopped pickled scallions, the butter, salt and pepper. Process until smooth, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until the butter is chilled.
  4. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta about 2 minutes shy of the package instructions for al dente. Add the radishes and, after 1½ minutes, the peas. Finish cooking the pasta until al dente, the radishes until crisp-tender and the peas until warmed through, about 1 minute more.
  5. Drain the pasta and vegetables in a colander and place in a large serving bowl. Add about half of the scallion butter (reserve the remaining butter for another time) and stir until melted. Top with lots of grated Pecorino, toss and serve immediately.
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