Friday, February 4, 2011

The Namesake

Yesterday I wanted to make a real meal. With meat that you slice yourself as you're eating it. No more of this chunks of chicken in curry business..for Ryan's sake.

Plus, starting this blog inspired me to pull out the package of Trader Joe's pasta that had been on my shelf waiting for the perfect recipe. This was actually the first time I'd made Pappardelle. You may be surprised about that...but look for it at your average grocery store next time you go and you'll see why.

You might be wondering what that perfect recipe was! It's called Pappardelle with Mushrooms...but it really should be called Pappardelle with Goat Cheese, because that's what is amazing about it! I allow myself a little gourmet splurge every now and then, as long as I stay within our budget. And this week it was goat cheese. If I had my way, I would go without milk just to have goat cheese constantly in my refrigerator, ready to be consumed on a whim. But...I have a feeling Ryan wouldn't like that very much. He's a milk person.

The recipe is actually from Williams-Sonoma's Pasta cookbook. Fabulous recipes in there. But I tampered with it just a little. First off, whenever I'm reading over a recipe I have to automatically ignore such things as onions, shallots, and chives. Ryan abhors onions. True, the raw stuff is nasty. But those tender, caramelized little slices can be so delicious! So nowadays I only slip 'em in when company's coming.

The next thing I changed was the predominant herb in the recipe. They called for tarragon, but I happen to know I'm not a fan. So...of course I changed it to rosemary! The queen of herbs!

Don't worry. In all this excitement I didn't forget about making some meat. I whipped out my handy-dandy Best Meat Recipes cookbook by Cook's Illustrated. That book has never failed me. It has transformed many a meager cut of meat into a feast. I settled on Easy Pork Chops with Mustard Sage Sauce.

During my cooking preparations tonight, I realized that my oven actually has one good quality. Now, this oven takes forever to preheat and then never gets hot enough unless you crank it to 25 degrees higher than directed. It also makes the fire alarm go off when you open it to take something out. The electric burners are all wobbly....making it quite dangerous with hot liquids...and only three of them work. The fan also just spits out 90% of the smoke it takes in...making it nigh impossible to cook without filling our apartment with a cloud.

But...when the lightbulb went out a couple months ago...we changed it with one called Natural. I didn't like it until I realized last night that it's perfect for pictures!

Here are the recipes:

Pappardelle with Goat Cheese, modified version of Williams-Sonoma's Pappardelle with Mushrooms
Makes 4 servings
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 oz bacon (which is code for "3 slices"), chopped
10 oz button mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 oz Goat cheese
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt and Pepper
1 lb Pappardelle
Fresh rosemary, minced

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the bacon and saute until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they have softened and released most of their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add the goat cheese and stir to melt and combine. Stir in the wine and cook until most of the alcohol has evaporated, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, add 1-2 Tbsp salt and the pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until al dente, according to package directions. Drain, reserving about 1/4 cup cooking water. Add pasta to the sauce along with the rosemary. Toss. Warm briefly over low heat to blend the flavor. Add as much of the cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 422
Fat: 19.2 g
Sodium: ~200 mg
Carbohydrates: 43.9 g
Protein: 15 g

Mustard-Sage Sauce, modified version of Cook's Illustrated recipe
Makes 2 servings
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp Horseradish mustard
1 Tbsp cold unsalted butter
1 tsp fresh sage, minced
salt and pepper

After cooking pork chops, transfer to a platter and tent with foil. Pour juice in skillet into a small bowl. Add oil and garlic to the now-empty skillet. Cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken broth and increase heat to high. Simmer until reduced to about 2 Tbsp, about 3 minutes. Add reserved juice. Off heat, whisk in mustard and butter until melted. Stir in sage and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over chops and serve immediately.

On a side note, I always make my chicken broth with Better than Bouillon, thanks to my mother! Now I never run out. I also only use a little over 1/2 tsp per cup, instead of the 1 tsp as directed. It's like the low-sodium version.

I also made a salad. With toppings. I've gotten into a bad habit of putting the bag of lettuce on the table with no serving utensil or anything. I'm trying to put an end to that.

Well, when my husband leaves for work and won't be back for almost 10 hours...blogging seems to lift my spirits a little more than facing my homework. But I can't put it off forever. Ciao!


  1. Your recipe sounds better than the one I read about today in the WSJ--pappardelle with stewed pancetta. What a coincidence!