Pasta is a lifesaving commodity for any home cook. It’s where I turn when I’ve had a crazy day, everyone is hungry and cranky and I’ve got little time and even less inspiration. I know pasta will satisfy and now I’ve got a whole book full of inspiration.
The Glorious Pasta of Italy.
You already have ‘met’ Domenica Marchetti. She helped me develop the Italian sausage recipes for this month’s Charcutepalooza and whipped up a version of her Baked Rigatoni al Telefono with Smoked Mozzerella with some of that sausage. One of the wonderful things Domenica gave me that day was permission to fiddle around with the recipes. After all, she went and added sausage!
The book is approachable and constructed perfectly for use in the kitchen, with mouthwatering photos, enchanting headnotes, easy to read ingredient lists, and clear instructions. The recipes run the gamut from classics, sauces, “showstoppers”, soups, and one of my favorite ways to enjoy pasta – al forno – or baked. There are recipes for every season, every occasion, and every circumstance. And I just loved the tutorial on pasta making.
I’ve tried a few of the recipes in the book – Laura’s Black Pepper, Parsley and Parmigiano Pasta was perfect for lunch one day. Mafalde with Roasted Tomatoes, a satisfying Robiola and Crushed Fennel Seeds for dinner, and the Grated Spinach Pasta Soup which was like nothing I’d ever had before. FANTASTICO. I can’t wait for an excuse to cook up one of the truly spectacular recipes like Roasted Buttercup Squash and Pear Triangoli with Cambozola Sauce.
Today, I’m honored to be one of the bloggers participating in Domenica’s online pasta party. Bloggers across the country are celebrating the publication of The Glorious Pasta of Italy. I selected a vegetarian friendly dish, Orecchiette with Creamy Broccoli Sauce, a velvety, creamy good-for-you sauce that collects in the lovely little cups of orecchiette.
I even made my own orecchiette. First time. And I’ll never turn back. Homemade, these toothy pasta scoops are so much more tender than store-bought. I substituted oat flour for the wheat as Dennis and I prefer it. You could substitute any flour – barley, buckwheat, spelt – for about 1/3 the total flour used in a pasta dough. I also had duck eggs on hand, which made the pasta a little more yellow in color, with a richer flavor.
To make the sauce, Domenica has you steam the broccoli and then saute garlic cloves (or shallots, if you over-garlicked something last week and your spouse hasn’t yet recovered.) Add the broccoli to the garlic and olive oil, saute for a few minutes until tender. Salt and cayenne elevate the flavors. Finally, deglaze the pan with white wine.
When the broccoli has cooled, blitz it in the blender with some broth (I used vegetable.) Once pureed, put the sauce back in the pan, heat it through, adding a dollop of cream at the end to pull it all together.
With Domenica’s encouraging writing throughout the cookbook, she nudged me to make the dish my own.
In the refrigerator, I spied the leftover grilled salmon… and remembered a conversation with my friend Jennifer. She was raving about a recent dinner, and even showed me the leftovers, caramelized onions, oriecchiette and big flakes of broiled salmon. Without thinking twice, I flaked leftover salmon on the broccoli sauced pasta.
Domenica, my friend, I realize I broke the cardinal rule – there was cheese and there was fish. But it was sooooo good! Will you forgive me?
So – my wonderful readers – are you ready to win something? I’m going to make it easy. Just tell me your favorite pasta dish in the comments section and Friday morning, 6/3, I’ll randomly select one of you to receive a copy of this fantastic new cookbook. And when you have a frazzled day, you’ll turn to it, and you will make your family a wonderful dinner with Domenica at your side, inventive, reassuring and companionable.
Invio milione abbracci e di tutti gli nostri auguri per il tuo nuovo libro, il mia amica, Domenica.