Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I know I've made my own ricotta before, and was reminded by last week's NYT how easy it is. So I made some, and then made this pasta. I did it for my husband, because I am not a huge pasta fan, and I usually only like pasta smothered in bechamel. I certainly do not like pasta with tomato based sauces, and I especially do not like pasta with light brothy sauces. I do not know if it was the fresh ricotta or what, but I LOVED this pasta. I ate my whole serving and then some. I am going to make it again this summer- again with the broth using a base of carrots and onions and basil and fresh tomatoes all from the garden and homemade ricotta, and then I will die of smug domesticity.

I recently had an Amazon gift card and was torn between two books I've long coveted- Italian Easy and Spice. I had made a ricotta and tomato thing from Italian Easy way back when it was run in the NYT and loved it. I had also made crispy persian fried chicken and beet tzatziki and a red pepper goat cheese spread from Spice about a trillion times and was curious to see if the book had her Casablanca scallops recipe. I wound up getting some stuff from the Body Shop with the gift card and both books from the library.

Italian Easy was, well, easy. I already have the sformata di ricotta recipe and do not really need a whole book of ideas on things to put on bruschetta and things to throw on the grill with some olive oil and lemon. If I had never ever cooked before and needed a first cookbook of things that were simple and delicious, this would be great. But I don't need to buy it now.

Spice, though? This book, I need. I made the vanilla-scented carrots about five times. (Alongside just about everything, but with the tamarind braised beef short ribs they were indeed the best.) The scallop recipe was not identical to those I remember from Casablanca, but with orange-saffron butter and crispy rice cakes who is complaining? (And her method of cooking scallops- searing on one side only til cooked through- is brilliant and makes for a tender, seared, but not overcooked scallop.) Crispy roast chicken with za'atar and lemon confit. Phenomenal onion tarts. I hated to return this book and definitely will be buying it.

Lastly, do yourself a favor and make this chicken chili. Have plenty of sour cream and lime on hand.


Anonymous said...

gotta admit, you're like the 3rd blogger who has tried their hand out making ricotta. you're inspiring! i've gotta do it, damn it, once and for all!

Blogger said...

There's a chance you are qualified for a free $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.