Ennui (noun) – a feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction. Miriam-Webster.comKitchen ennui (noun) a a feeling whereby the cook lacks inspiration. An infectious state of culinary boredom, weariness and dissatisfaction. Betsy Karetnick
It’s not for lack of actual cooking that I’ve been absent these past few months. I’ve actually committed quite a few dishes in two kitchen in as many states. I think maybe I caught a case of kitchen ennui, possibly sparked by packing one kitchen into another, at times a little like ill fitting Tupperware. There were even a couple of seminal dishes I will recount at a later date – I’m talking about you spiced nut, citrus salad! Or perhaps it was the 6 inches of April?
Regardless, summer produce has romanced the cooking stones right out of the cabinet. The attached recipe is a reminder that a simple and delicious dinner is a google search away…even if the tomatoes aren’t from Jersey. 😉
I followed the recipe but feel free to abandon or reduce the basil. Cooking with fresh thyme and/or oregano would be great too. Don’t bother to strip or chop a few sprigs, just layer them in and remove before serving. Also don’t cheat the olive oil, or garlic. Have some guts.
Mr. Batali saved me a trip to the grocery. And he can save you too if you have a head of cauliflower, pasta and a handful of pantry/fridge staples. I'll tell you flat out I reduced the pasta by 25% and could have done with even less. I also added 3 pinches of pepper flakes (much less) and had a free hand with the cheese (atrophied piave in my case but perfect for grating.).
Btw the recipe uses the whole head of cauliflower, stems included. Leave an hour for slow cooking. It's worth it. Vegetarian! Can be gluten free. Click here for the recipe.
As promised … Pasta with vodka sauce. Not penne. Blame Trader Joe's, I do. Plenty of rice and gluten free options. Am I now a minority? So linguine stepped in and twirled its way round our hearts. Two kids took home leftovers, an endorsement if ever there was one. Any way you toss it, Ina did a great job with the recipe. I lightened the load a bit on the hot pepper flakes. I also think it covers more than a pound of pasta.
Click here for the recipe.
Mangia – B
Note: obviously can be gluten free. Just ask Trader Joe's.
Shop if you must, slide if you can.
With one large or a couple of medium, summer perfect tomatoes and a pantry, this dish is done in 13 minutes. Double down to feed a crowd.
Pasta of your choice
Parmesan or similar grated cheese
Boil a big pot of salted water. Add 1/2 bag of tbd pasta.
Meanwhile chop tomato and throw in bowl. Drain pasta (not too well). Add to tomatoes, drizzle with good olive oil, add basil and a fair amount of grated cheese. Mix. Salt and pepper to taste.
Eat – B
You know what's better than Sunday night dinner? Sunday night potluck with friends and family! It spreads the work and increases the company. (Also I now have leftover open wine – good for a weekday glass or two!)
Speaking of friends, I met Andrew Carmellini when he visited my radio show. Nicest guy and a very talented chef. I enjoy his restaurants in New York, Locanda Verde and Lafayette among them. But if you can't get to NYC, he shares the same spirit in “Urban Italian”.
Here I share his lamb ragu. (Click here for the recipe). It's NOT an all day cooking affair, but you do need to set aside a couple of hours to be at home. Serve day of, or make ahead!
Eat – B
…I say that with love as I had a tasty and healthy upbringing. But never, not in million years, would my mother lace pasta with bacon and cream for an everyday, weekday dinner. What you do with this Bon Appetit recipe is up to you and your cardiologist. (Click here for the recipe)
However, if you need an excuse, invite friends over on a Friday. It's that simple to put together at the end of a work week. Really.
Notes: I switched out the pasta for what I had and reduced the quantity by a quarter. I also subbed dried thyme for fresh and cut the amount in half.
Mangia – B