Monthly Cookbook Excursion – August 2010: Pastarama!

It has been a pretty long time since my last update here at The Spoon. I wish I could say that August was a pretty busy month. It felt busy, but I can’t seem to remember anything in particular that seemed especially time-consuming. But that is beside the point. The point is that I’m back again with another installment of my Monthly Cookbook Excursion! Bring on the fanfare!

Let’s have a look at this month’s book shall we?

It has such a succinct title! But don’t let that fool you! There are numerous helpful instructions in this book for cooking a perfect pot of pasta.  For instance, I had no idea that certain types of pasta need to be drained less thoroughly than others and that one should never put cold water or oil on pasta after draining (it apparently prevents the sauce from properly adhering to the pasta). Also, large salt crystals or flakes are better for adding to the boiling water than granulated iodized salt (it dissolves quicker and provides better flavor). The book even has a picture glossary of each type of pasta commonly available!

The recipes are relatively simple and provide many different ways of serving any type of pasta. They also indicate which pasta toppings require no cooking, quick cooking, or slow cooking. It has really inspired me to want to try more than one recipe from this book.

The recipe I chose was based on several things I had in my fridge that needed to be used before they went bad. I had an open carton of heavy cream, a couple Italian sausages leftover from making sausage and peppers, and several plum tomatoes. Lucky for me, there was a recipe for Spicy Sausage Ragú that required all three of these things, plus a few more ingredients I already had (onion, garlic, fennel seeds, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes). The only thing I did not have was tomato paste. I searched the pantry, but all I could find was cans of whole tomatoes and tomato sauce, so I used ketchup instead (probably not the best substitute, but it did the job). I cooked up enough spaghetti for two and served up the spicy sauce with a little grated parmesan and two basil leaves for garnish.  Doesn’t this look yummy?

I could not stop eating this! We polished off all the spaghetti and most of the sauce. I set a little sauce aside to have with lunch the next day. This was an easy and delicious meal that I can definitely say I will make again. I will be choosing a few more recipes from this book before I return it to the library. This one is well worth extending the return date for! If I find another noteworthy recipe, I’ll be sure to post it!

See you next dish!

The Head Spoon

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