New year, new blood: Longtime executive chef Scott Howard has passed the top spot at Brick & Bottle to chef Bob Simontacchi, whom he worked with at Fork in San Anselmo and at Five in Berkeley. Simontacchi learned the ropes in San Francisco before beginning his chef’s career in Dallas, Texas, assisting in three successful restaurant openings. It didn’t take long to return to his culinary roots. The chef will embrace B&B’s emphasis on house-made and local ingredients, starting with a Swiss Chard–Pine Nut Ravioli dish. “The recipe comes from my love of cooking for friends and family and is all about what you make of the ingredients — you can buy ready-made fresh ravioli pasta at most markets now, and then experiment,” Simontacchi says. “Most of my friends would rather make a reservation, though, and I look forward to sharing my love of food with them and others at Brick & Bottle.”
Swiss Chard–Pine Nut Ravioli
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, diced and softened 2 shallots, sliced thin
1 cup dry white wine
Dash of peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
2 Meyer lemons, zest and juice
1. Melt butter in sauté pan over medium heat.
2. Add shallots.
3. Cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
4. Add in wine, peppercorns, bay leaf and thyme and reduce by half.
5. Over medium heat, add cream and reduce by half again.
6. Add lemon juice and lemon zest and simmer for approximately 2 minutes.
7. Strain through fine mesh strainer and set aside.
2 tablespoons butter
1 bunch Swiss chard, cleaned and chopped 1⁄2 cup Madeira wine
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
1⁄2 cup toasted pine nuts
Salt and pepper
Prepared pasta sheets (found in local
specialty/grocery stores)or homemade pasta rolled out into wide ribbons, about 1⁄4 inch thick
Finely cut chives for garnish Fennel pollen
1. Melt butter in sauté pan over medium heat and add shallots. Cook until caramelized.
2. Add cleaned and chopped Swiss chard and cook for 2–3 minutes.
3. Add Madeira and cream and stir until thick.
4. Add pine nuts and season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Place a rounded tablespoon of filling on pasta sheets every 3 inches.
6. Whisk 1 egg and use pastry brush to lightly coat pasta around filling scoops with egg.
7. Add top layer of pasta and seal with ravioli press. Cut with ravioli cutters or knife and seal each piece with fork.
8. Boil ravioli for 4–5 minutes and strain.
9. Once pasta is dry, add desired amount of sauce to coat ravioli in sauté pan. Mix over low heat for 1–2 minutes. Add parmesan, chives, and a pinch of fennel pollen for garnish.
This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition under the headline: “New Chef in Town“