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Brad S

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So not a single vote for the greatest of all pasta condiments?

Pesto, that is.

Maybe I stand alone on this but I just can't do pesto at all. (I may have overdosed some years ago)

Love basil, pine nuts, parmesan, garlic and evoo all individually but not pesto.

I do like salsa algreste however with basil, Italian parsley, walnuts, garlic, almonds, verjuice and evoo.

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I overdosed on pesto once. When I was a kid I had a friend who lived in the ASCAP building and they opened this shop in there called Pasta & Cheese. It was a great store and it introduced a lot of New Yorkers to the concept of pesto. The problem was this was in the early days of New York's gourmet awakening and there wasn't much competition in terms of places selling high-quality stuff like that. So this friend's parents, who were supposedly sophisticated Europeans, would eat pretty much exclusively from the Pasta & Cheese inventory. I once stayed with them for a few days and we must have had pesto every day and sometimes even twice. They never tired of it, but it took me years to be able to enjoy pesto again.

Same with rosemary. I once went to some people's house for a Christmas dinner and they served turkey with dressing. This was back in the day when people who cooked in a pseudo-European manner were referred to as "Oh, they're gourmet cooks." Anyway, these people put so much rosemary in the turkey it was like having the actual sprigs shoved up your nose and down your throat. There was rosemary in the dressing, rosemary under the skin of the bird, and rosemary in the gravy. I never wanted to see another piece of rosemary again after enduring that meal. Even today whenever the rosemary concentration in a dish rises above a certain level I get panicky.

But pesto is good and so is rosemary.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I haven't made pesto in a couple of seasons but I was just eyeing my basil plant the other day and then I saw some ice cube trays at the dollar store..............presto, pesto! In a pinch I'll pick up some jarred pesto, if I can find the Pastene brand.

One of our favorite appetizers on vacation (the only time we're relaxed enough and have enough time to make food before dinner) is pesto bruschetta. Toast slices of baguette lightly, then top with a smear of pesto, a slice of tomato or spoonful of chopped tomato, and a thin slice of cheese. Provolone sliced thin from the deli works well here. Zap under the broiler and enjoy with a glass of white wine.

Tastes best when followed by mussels marinara over linguine.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Growing up with an Italian mother, I have a lot of favorite pastas. Mostly slow simmered ragus for the winter months and summer dishes consisting of veggies picked just minutes before b lanching and sauteeing with EVOO, lots of salt and pepper and topped with romano cheese.

My favorite pasta now, that I make a couple times a month is from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. I never would have made this if a good friend ahdn't told how incredible it was.

Melt 4TB of butter over med. heat, when the foam subsides add 4 to 5 good sized tomatoes ,chopped. Simmer for about 10 to 12 minutes, season with salt and pepper and add some basil if you want. Stir into freshly cooked pasta adding another TB of butter, serve with lots of freshly grated parmesean, I prefer Romano though. Excellent! :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"


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I love pesto on pasta, but often find it needs something more -- some acidity! So I often add some diced sundried tomatoes or quickly sauteed cherry tomatoes to my pesto linguini. Ahhhhh....now *that's* better!!! :cool:

Luscious smell like love

Essential black milk worship

It whispers to me...


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We had a tough long weekend and by yesterday I was craving some real comfort food, so I tired to recreate a pasta dish I love from a nearby restaurant: rigatoni a la Nonna. I made a meaty, rich bolognese sauce, and amalgam of recipes from How to Cook Everything (Bitman) and Joy of Pasta.

First I sweated some minced onion, carrot and celery (soffrito) in olive oil until the vegetables were tender, then I added a pound + of ground beef and pork. Cooked until the meat was no longer pink, breaking up the clumps. Added 3/4 cup dry white wine and let that evaporate. Then I added a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes and let the sauce simmer gently for almost two hours. Every once in a while I used a potato masher to break up the vegetables and keep the meat from clumping. When it was nice and thick I added salt, pepper and some heavy cream -- just enough to enrich the sauce and make it a rose color. Before serving I grated some fresh nutmeg over it and added some defrosted frozen peas. Served the sauce over mini rigatoni and it was wonderful.

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One of my favorites is shown on the front cover of Teubner's Pasta Bible: mezze maniche rigate with scallions. Lots of scallions sauteed in butter, stirred up with chopped parsley, two egg yolks, Parmigiano, and stirred into the hot pasta, with a grinding of black pepper.

It's especially great because you can get the ingredients at any grocery store, any time of year, and it tastes fresh and fabulous.

Mezze Maniche Rigate with Scallions

Hungry Monkey May 2009
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My childhood comfort food was extra wide egg noodles with cottage cheese. I still love it but, now I doctor it up a bit with butter and pepper. Here in Seattle, I get imported Eastern European noodles at PFI. They maintain a wonderful slick-firm texture even when reheated in leftovers.

Judy Amster

Cookbook Specialist and Consultant


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My favorite pasta now, that I make a couple times a month is from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. I never would have made this if a good friend ahdn't told how incredible it was.

Melt 4TB of butter over med. heat, when the foam subsides add 4 to 5 good sized tomatoes ,chopped. Simmer for about 10 to 12 minutes, season with salt and pepper and add some basil if you want. Stir into freshly cooked pasta adding another TB of butter, serve with lots of freshly grated parmesean, I prefer Romano though.  Excellent! :biggrin:

In winter, when you can't get good tomatoes, have you ever tried this with canned?

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Broccoli orecchiette. Into a pot of boiling water, drop a heap of broccoli florets. Cook until tree-frog green and al dente. Scoop out and drain. In the same water as broccoli was cooked in, cook orecchiette. Meanwhile, puree stale sourdough bread in processor to make crumbs. Toast breadcrumbs in pan with olive oil. Set breadcrumbs aside. Saute chopped garlic in olive oil, add chopped anchovies, then chopped oil-cured black olives. Add cooked broccoli florets, toss, and remove from heat when broccoli florets are hot. Mix the broccoli mixture with cooked orecchiette. Top with freshly grated Parmesan.

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I have never tried it with canned tomatoes, and Bittman recommends only making it with really good fresh tomatoes or not to bother.

I did find recipe by Marcella Hazan that is basically the same thing with canned tomatoes and includes a chopped up onion as well, she simmers it for 40 minutes, so it isn't as quick as the other one. Once tomato season is over I will give it a try.

My favorite quick canned tomato sauce consists of EVOO, garlic, canned tomatoes, roseamary, S and P, and balsamic vinegar stirred in at the end. Very, very good. I also use this same sauce to make a sort of squid "stew", I just toss in some squid, cut into rings, until just cooked through add some crushed chillies for spice if you like and mop up with some crusty bread. :rolleyes:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"


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