Porchetta’s Sara Jenkins Debuts Rustic-Italian Cooking App

Pork-2Credit: Douglas Singleton Porchetta

For the last year, when chef-owner of Porchetta, Porsena and Extra Bar Sara Jenkins wasn’t in the kitchen creating swine-centric plates and cozy pasta dishes for her East Village storefronts, she was working on a cooking app for iPad users.

“I want to encourage and enable people to pick up a zucchini or an eggplant at the farmer’s market on their way home from work and cook it,” said Ms. Jenkins, who launched the New Italian Pantry app this week.

As for encouraging home cooking, she’s not worried it will diminish her business. We’re not worried either — the roasted pork, slow cooked with spices, garlic, rosemary and wild fennel, still seems to run out regularly at Porchetta’s tiny Seventh Street storefront.

“I believe in home cooking. I don’t think I’m in any danger of going out of business if I encourage home cooking,” Ms. Jenkins said, laughing.

Ms. Jenkins partnered with Lazy Susan Media, a company created by Tasting Table’s founding editor Nick Fauchald and app-development company Mizaplas, to create the clever app advising home cooks which pastas and peppers to keep in the cabinet.

As the Italian chef sees it, it’s a “whole-new world” for cookbooks and recipe sharing. The app gave her the opportunity to show home cooks how to prepare delicious food step by step.

“There were some things we thought in particular would be really, really helpful like the shots of what does brown garlic look like and what does it look like when this happens,” Jenkins said.

recipeCredit: Lazy Susan Media Home-Style Porchetta recipe in app

The photo-heavy app is a guide to traditional Italian cooking. The experience entails filling your pantry with 16 staple ingredients — including dried pasta, extra virgin oil, wine vinegar, garlic, onions, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and salt-dried capers. All home cooks have to do is pick up some fresh produce, meat or fish when it comes time to prepare a meal.

There are 75 recipes available, a few of which will be recognizable to regulars to Jenkins’ sandwich and pasta shops. On the app, there’s a recipe for a “home-version” of porchetta, boned pork shoulder slathered with white wine and rubbed with herbs. On the tablet app, there are also recipes for Jenkins’ pastas and sauces.

Sara Jenkins’ New Italian Pantry app is $3.99 on iTunes.