I thought I would start this post out by sharing one of my favorite recipes. I call it Chris’s Favorite Pasta. Here is what you will need to make it:
Sundried tomatoes – I like the ones packed in oil. Depending on what I’m doing, sometimes I get them whole and sometimes I buy the julienne. For this recipe you’ll want to buy the julienne. The next time you make this you can change it up if you want to and add fresh cherry tomatoes instead of sundried.
Parmesan – You can buy whole and grate it if you want, but I’m lazy and just buy it already shaved.
Prosciutto – sliced or diced
Pesto – I like many of the store brands, but you can easily make your own in a food processor, or the proper way…in a mortar using a pestle. This is actually where the sauce gets it’s name, pesto. Pesto can be just about anything too. It doesn’t always have to be basil. You can make asparagus pesto, walnut pesto, mushroom pesto. The possibilities are endless!!
The name is the contracted past participle of the Genoese word pestâ (Italian: pestare), which means to pound, to crush, in reference to the original method of preparation, with marble mortar and wooden pestle. The ingredients in a traditionally made pesto are ground with a circular motion of the pestle in the mortar.
Farfalle Pasta – most American’s call this “bowtie” pasta.
Fill a large stock pot with water and salt the water liberally. This will be the one time you have to properly season your pasta as it cooks.
Dump a few handfuls of pine nuts into a skillet and lightly toast them. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Once they are just starting to tan a bit, add a tablespoon of minced garlic and two tablespoons of olive oil. Dice the prosciutto and add this to the skillet mixture now. Once the prosciutto starts to brown a bit, remove skillet from heat and set aside.
Drain the cooked pasta, but leave it a bit damp. Do not rinse!!
Put pasta back in stockpot and toss with pesto, add sundried tomatoes with the oil they’re packed in, pine nuts, etc, from skillet. Toss again. Serve in a nice pasta dish and sprinkle liberally with Parmesan and crumbled feta cheese.
How often do you really use your cookbooks?
I have a lot of cookbooks and many of them are my favorites. I love getting a new cookbook and will open it up and read through the entire book, just like it’s a novel. I love every cookbook I own from the Barefoot Contessa and Nigella Lawson. My first cookbook is a go-to of mine for so many recipes. It’s called Great Good Food by Julee Rosso. She also wrote The Silver Palate Cookbook. Amazing recipes that really do work.
That’s something not too many cooks know…there are recipe books out there with a lot of worthless recipes in them because the recipes never work. This happens when someone writes a recipe that they have never tested. That’s right! Sometimes it’s not your fault it turns out flat.
Here’s something I do with my own cookbooks that you might like to try. I get out some post-it notes, or you can use torn bits of paper to mark places in the book, and I pick recipes that I’d like to cook that week. Sometimes I will ask my husband to pick some too. I can make my shopping list for the market at the same time and I’m ready to go!
If you pick a different cookbook each week, you’ll eventually use all of your cookbooks and have a lot of fun exploring new recipes too.
I like turning the pages of a cookbook, but some folks prefer to go the digital route. I look up recipes online all the time, especially when I know I won’t be able to find it in any of my own cookbooks. My favorite website for tried and true recipes is The Food Network website. I know these recipes work because I’ve watched many of them made on their television shows and they have a nice catalog of great cooks and chefs.
My friend Joann has been cataloging her own recipes online for many years now and has quite a collection. Currently she is on a paleo diet and has been adding her favorite paleo recipes. She has everything on here from Indian cuisine to how to make your own sweetened condensed milk!! If you would like to check her out you can find her recipes at the link provided below. Check back often because she adds new ones all the time.
I hope everyone out there gives this idea a try. I look forward to hearing all about your cooking ideas and suggestions. Let’s do something together this year. Let’s cook something!! Good luck out there and Bon Appetit!!