*thanks to Martín RIos, Lynn Cline, Paddy Rawal and Natalie Bovis

It’s a dreaded moment felt by all: Friends or family are coming over and there’s only so much excitement that deli platter you’ve been eyeing at Albertsons can spark. Want to wow them? Do like the city’s gourmands do, and whip up a cookbook-worthy dish that’ll cement your home’s reign as the place for Scrabble night.

1. Dungeness Crab Lasagna with Roasted Garlic Sabayon and Fragrant Herbs

(serves four)

This elegant lasagna is actually individually stacked portions of tender egg noodles with a crab, vegetable and apple filling, crowned with a deliciously frothy sauce.

Lasagna Dough

  • 2 ⅞ cups durum flour
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • a generous ½ cup unbleached all-
  • purpose flour
  • 9 to 10 large egg yolks
  • 4 ounces water
  • 1 ounce olive oil
  • kosher salt and ground white pepper

Dungeness Crab Filling

  • 4 ounces portobello mushroom caps, julienned
  • 4 ounces peeled celery root, julienned
  • ½ unpeeled Granny Smith apple, julienned
  • 2 medium shallots, julienned
  • ¼ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 4 ounces lump Dungeness crab meat
  • 2 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian
  • parsley
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • kosher salt and ground white pepper

Roasted Garlic Sabayon

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 6 ounces
  • crème fraîche
  • 4 ounces light chicken stock
  • 4 ounces sparkling wine or dry
  • white wine
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon roasted garlic purée
  • ¼ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons Champagne vinegar
  • kosher salt and ground white
  • pepper

Prepare the pasta dough. Combine all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, and mix together with your hands into a rough dough that holds together. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead the dough, pushing down on it with the heel of your hand, and then folding it back over itself continually, for about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and supple. Form the dough into a disk, then cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the lasagna filling. Warm the oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Stir in the mushrooms, celery root, apple, shallot and garlic. Cook until the mixture has given up most of its liquid and browned lightly. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and cover to keep warm.

Prepare the sabayon. Whisk together all of the ingredients in the top pan of a double boiler and place it over its simmering water bath. Continue to whisk the mixture until it becomes silky and thick enough that you can see a trail through the bottom of the pan as you whisk. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve and cover to keep warm.

Pat out the pasta dough as needed to roll it through a pasta machine to its thinnest setting, according to the manufacturer's directions. Cut the pasta into 12 2-x-4-inch rectangles.

Putting It All Together

Bring a large pan of well-salted water to a rolling boil. Spray a baking sheet with oil. Add the pasta to the water and cook for about 3 minutes, until just al dente. Do not overcook. Drain the pasta. Scoop it out with a slotted spoon, rather than pouring the whole pot into a colander, which can smash the pasta. Lay out the noodles on the baking sheet.

Place a pasta section in the center of a plate or a shallow pasta bowl. Top with one-eighth of the filling. Arrange another noodle over the filling and add more filling, followed by one more noodle. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to form three more portions. Pour sabayon equally over and around the lasagna. Serve right away.

2. Los Gallos Green Chile Lamb Stew
(serves eight)

A rich and hearty stew, spiked with red wine and bearing the heat of green chile

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds boneless leg of lamb, cut into
  • 1 ½-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup red wine, such as cabernet
  • sauvignon
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 3 cups chopped roasted green chile
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced

Put the flour in a wide, deep bowl and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the lamb in the seasoned flour and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat and, working in batches, cook the lamb until well-browned all over, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer meat to a separate bowl as it is browned.

Using the same heavy pot, cook the onions and garlic for about 1 minute. Add the wine and stir to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Add the potatoes and broth. Return the meat and any accumulated juice to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until meat is tender enough to be pierced easily with a fork, about 1 hour. Stir in the green chile and red bell pepper, and cook for another 20 minutes.

3. Stuffed Poblano Peppers

  • 1 small Poblano pepper
  • 1 mashed boiled potato
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chaat masala
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
  • 1 pinch baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons gram flour oil for frying and salt

Mix the gram flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Add water to bring batter to a thick pancake consistency.

Place the mashed potato, salt, cumin, garam masala and chaat masala in a separate bowl. Mix well.

Char-grill the Poblano, to help de-skin the pepper. Make a slit, and insert the potato stuffing.

Dip the Poblano in the batter.

Heat oil to medium-high; deep-fry the Poblano for 3 minutes.

Serve.

4. Bacon Cherry Creek  Cocktail

Bacon and cherries may sound like an odd idea at first, but when you think about it, meat and fruit are often used together. Applesauce on pork, duck à l'orange and cranberry relish for turkey are combinations we love, particularly in the United States. So, taking those ideas into account, this cocktail is a winning combination.

  • 2 ounces bacon-washed bourbon (Knob
  • Creek bourbon is a great base)*
  • ¾ ounce cherry-cinnamon syrup**
  • ½ ounce ruby red port
  • garnish: flamed citrus rind and a strip of
  • cooked bacon (optional)

Stir or shake bacon-washed bourbon, syrup and port with ice, until very cold. Strain into a cocktail glass. Flame orange rind over the drink and drop inside. If you want to make a point, serve with a strip of cooked smoked bacon across the rim of the glass.

*Soak 6 strips of cooked bacon in entire bottle of bourbon for 2-4 days, strain and discard bacon.

**Bring 2 cups of cherry juice, 2 cups of white granulated sugar and a whole cinnamon stick to a boil in a saucepan, stirring often. Lower heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Cheers!