In celebration of The Inn at Little Washington’s 30th Anniversary, we are very excited to feature Patrick O’Connell, proprietor and chef extraordinaire of the Inn! If you haven’t already purchased your tickets to the 30th Anniversary Gala on Wednesday, you better hurry as they are almost gone and the gala benefits Five and Alive, a program dedicated to improving the health of children five and under in more than 30 countries.
What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
I think every home cook should invest in a chinois – a very fine mesh strainer — that will improve the texture of all of your soups and sauces.
What is the most overrated food/technique in restaurants today?
I’ve never been a fan of julienne vegetables or foam. Foam usually looks like cat vomit. The julienne vegetables are too long to fit into your mouth and they’re just silly.
If you were to open a restaurant with a different type of cuisine than what you are cooking now, what would it be?
Instead of refined American cuisine it might be would be rusticated American cuisine.
What is your favorite local product or purveyor to work with? I love the incredible versatility of Virginia Country Ham as an accent to any variety of dishes. Tom Calhoun in Culpeper has been supplying The Inn with ham for 30 years.
What is your biggest customer pet peeve?
At The Inn at Little Washington, we enjoy difficult and demanding guests with impossible expectations. They are really very simple to please.
What do you drink/eat after work?
Why wait until after work? I find nothing more refreshing and nourishing than a Guinness in the middle of the evening. After work is a different story.
What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
There is nothing more comforting than a simple bowl of pasta. The simpler the better. This dish has been nicknamed “Spaghetti Lovin’” by the boys in the kitchen. It is real “momma” food and it only takes 9 minutes to make.
As with any bone simple dish, all of the ingredients need to be stellar, especially the parmesan cheese and olive oil. Click below for the recipe!
Patrick’s 5 P Pasta
1 pound of spaghetti or capellini
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly grated, aged parmesan reggiano cheese
½ cup lightly toasted pine nuts
¼ cup roughly chopped flat leaf Italian parsley (stemmed and well washed)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cook the pasta to al dente. Drain and place in a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Add the oil and butter and toss to coat the pasta completely.
- Add the parmesan, pine nuts and parsley. Season with the salt and black pepper. Toss once again to thoroughly combine and serve immediately.