You might have read that I have a culinary crush on Ina Garten. I have to admit that sometimes I sit and twirl my angel hair and think about Ina and me frolicking through Whole Foods together. But her most recent shows – Back to Basics – have been a little disappointing. The basis of the show is that Ina takes an old recipe and “turns up the volume” by adding a spice, or a different herb or she may go wild and add lemon zest! Really!? What, was she flavor deaf before? For instance, the recipe below had the volume turned up by adding (hold on to your culinary miracle ears) an extra tablespoon of parsley and extra cracked pepper. Don’t go to wild, Ina, we will be deaf soon! If this is her definition of extra volume, then my volume knob has been cranked to high for years; I always to tend to over season and over spice. So needless to say, sometimes love is blind…but in this case it is deaf and dumb. But take heart, I have some comfort food that will make you feel better. I added my take to her recent recipe; if you can make Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, you can make this.
Let me make a brief statement before we get to the recipe. This has A LOT of cracked pepper. I even questioned the amount that Ina put in this dish but I added it anyway. If you are not a fan of fresh, spicy, yummy black pepper – reduce the amount. In this recipe, the pepper is cracked by mortar and pestle – don’t have one? Put them in a plastic bag and use a glass or rolling pin to crack them.
Pasta with Parsley and Cracked Pepper
1lb orecchiette pasta – or something with a broad shape (tagliarini or fettuccine)
1 cup grated pecorino cheese + 1 tablespoon for finished dish
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons fresh parsley – chopped
2 tablespoons cracked pepper corns
½ cup cherry tomatoes – quartered
½ cup broccoli florets – cut small bit-size
Cook pasta according to package directions. The last 3 minutes of cooking add your broccoli to pasta. Reserve a cup of the pasta water before draining. In sauté pan, add the butter and melt on medium heat. Once melted add the pasta and broccoli. Stir to coat. Add the cream and pecorino cheese. Stir to combine. Add parsley, tomatoes and pepper. Stir 2 minutes or until melted and heated through. If the sauce is too thick – add 1 or 2 tablespoons of the reserved pasta water and stir. Serve with a sprinkle of extra pecorino cheese and extra pepper, if you dare.
Want to Turn Up the Volume?
Be crazy like Ina and add a handful of fresh spinach – takes no time to wilt into yummy goodness. Or add a little sliced grilled chicken. If you really want to crank up the volume and rip the knob off – add some bacon for a little smokey flavor or maybe a little crispy prosciutto.
A Note to Ina
Ina, I am not mad. I still look forward to our Saturday mornings together; you in your smock looking blouse and me in my PJs with a cup of coffee. I will pretend to watch your show with interst as you describe, yet again, that coffee brings out the richness in chocolate or that fresh oregano is much stronger than the dried version. Why would I sacrifice my Saturday? Because you love me and I love you. Like any budding couple, we will have our differences now and then. And that’s okay. So keep “turning up the volume”, Ina, and I will keep turning up my love for you.