Friday, January 2, 2009

It's been a couple of months since I ordered (and received) The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper. However, I have only just gotten around to looking through it, and that was prompted by my beginning efforts to reorganize my cookbook shelves again. You know how it is--you've been lugging dozens of books from one spot to another, and something new and interesting catches your eye. You pretty much have a moral obligation to stop and read the new book--at least that's how I see it.

So, a quick glance turned into a day and a half of close inspection. I can't even tell you how many of the recipes I want to try. There are many recipes that are vegetarian without this being a cookbook for vegetarians. Not much modifying I have to do, then. The recipes seem focused on relatively quick and easy weeknight dinners, something else that is a plus for me. And many of the recipes just have a fresh twist that seems to set them apart from a legion of others. That was certainly the case with Pasta with Chopping-Board Pistachio Pesto--at least in theory. I liked that the pesto focused on green onions (or chives), with basil providing back up instead of taking center stage. I really liked the idea of roasted, salted pistachios taking on another supporting role, especially since I just bought a big bag of them at Costco. And I loved the idea that cheese wasn't an integral part of the recipe, since the Husband doesn't like cheese. Easy enough to add it to my finished dish and leave it out of his.

Unfortunately, the finished dish was a disappointment. I didn't even take a picture. It looked boring. It was boring. I think I'm seeing a trend in myself that I just don't love unsauced pasta dishes. I did add back in all of the reserved pasta cooking water, but it was still dry and virtually flavorless. I added more salt, lots of grated Parmesan...still nothing to make my taste buds tingle.

So, now I'm trying to come up with some ideas that will lend some excitement to the quart of this recipe that's still sitting in the refrigerator. Any ideas? Feel free to share.


Pam said...

Gosh, I don't know, the recipe sounds pretty good. What about a little bacon or pancetta?

Michelle said...

Two years ago, I would have agreed with you. However, I'm now a vegetarian, so bacon is out. I have thought about adding some fried tempeh or some other non-meat protein, or maybe just roasting some vegetables and adding those. I'll do something, because I'm not willing to just waste half of an acceptable, but not exciting, dish.