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.
If you have a bad day, try this pasta for dinner. Quick, easy, dare I say cheap? It will raise your daily success rating. Use the lemon juice after zesting for the pasta recipe in an EZ vinaigrette or to marinate chicken with garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano. No waste. 🙂 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.
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!
…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.
I say this with love…even my husband can make this tomato sauce. He was the first to call me and discuss the obit of our grand dame of Italian cooking, Marcella Hazan. That's where I saw the recipe, ringing bells about butter and tomatoes that had faded from memory. (Click here for the recipe)
My advice – add this weapon to your arsenal of kitchen favorites. The handful of ingredients are readily available from pantry and fridge – a savior for last minute family dinners or entertaining.
And let's not pretend that you are butter averse…I saw you eating over-priced pastries at the farmer's market. 😉
Btw – I didn't have enough canned tomatoes, adding chunks of late summer faves doesn't hurt a bit.