Welcome to “More Ketchup, Please,” our newest series that’s spilling the beans on all the different ways we cook for, and with, our kids. We've got some great guests stopping by, to get schooled by their little ones on how to perfect family favorites. The more (cooks) the merrier? We think so.
Sometimes the toughest crowd, even for a celebrated chef, is his own family—as Loring Place’s Dan Kluger attests to when he steps into our kitchen with daughters Ella (13) and Georgia (10). “My first food memory is creamy, buttery rice with rosemary chicken. But he didn’t make it,” says Georgia, “she did,” she adds, pointing to her mom. “Look at the shade I get,” says Kluger.
Of course, Kluger’s got tricks to please. We all know he has a way with vegetables, and family-style pasta is something everyone can get behind, so it’s easy to believe that his ricotta cavatelli—plain with a side of roasted veggies (“no cheese, please”) for Georgia, and marinara for Ella (“more cheese, please”)—draws raves from everyone.
Dan Kluger’s response to picky palates is to find a middle ground—and occasionally, omit the details. “How would you even know if I put mushroom in something? Or sardines?” he asks the girls. His other trick? To get them involved in the kitchen.
And he does. Kluger grew up in a family where cooking always played a major role, so he is a big believer in having food be a major part of home life. “I give them little tasks,” he says, “like you're going to cut some herbs, and you're going to peel some garlic, or whatever. Basically having everything ready to go, and not being in a situation where I need this right now.” “Or, you could just let it go our way,” says Georgia (aka Kluger’s hype girl—watch the video).
And with this cavatelli, their way it was. Its allure lies in its minimalism, in being both fun to make and deceptively simple. So make a triple batch and freeze it—and bring it out, with mix-ins of your choice, every time you need to please a crowd. Or your family.