Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mario Batali's Spaghettinni with Pesto, Green Beans and Potatoes 9.27.11

Day two of the new daytime experiment.  I read over a lot of the reviews, can not argue with any.  I do love the concept, but I think there are just too many cooks in the pot.  It's early in the show and I am sure adjustments will be made soon.  Rome wasn't built in a day and a high concept show like this will need time to shake out.

My one suggestion would be to highlight a cook each day.  Give them 20 minutes to actually COOK.  If all we are going to get is 5 minute recipes and so little time for commentary from the cook (again, 5 people commenting means the master of the dish does not get enough time to explain).

And, while I am making suggestions...  Did the person printing out the recipe for the official The Chew Website even watch the episode???  You can click HERE to see the "official Recipe".  If you compare the recipe to what was shown on the show (click HERE to see the video clip as it aired (you need to scroll down and pick this recipe from the different clip options))), you will notice a BIG change.  And a little change that was in the video of the show, but not printed in the recipe.

OK, this is a Mario Batali recipe (from his book Molto Mario).

First, the pesto.  Mario got it right!  unless you make your own, you are very likely to get a big oily wet pasta instead of the desired chunky moist spoon-able but not pour-able pesto.  He did mention a change I almost always do.  That is, walnuts in place of pine nuts.  I can get 5 times as much walnuts (by weight) as the same amount of pine nuts for the same cost.  For me, no brainer.  Pine nuts make home made pesto cost INeffective.  Also, be sure to use fresh Basil leaves and resist the temptation to by the much less flavorful dried herbs.  I have a big batch that grows outside during the summer and early fall, as well as three pots that grow in my kitchen.  Again, only way to make this cost effective.

OK, the big change... Mario showed us a one dish meal (excluding the pesto).  The printed version has a separate pan for the Potatoes, separate pan for the pasta, separate pan for the Beans.  I was attracted to the simplicity of the dish.  The pesto can be whipped up in a matter of minutes.  The same pot can start the potatoes, half way through the process, add the pasta, halfway through that (OK, 3/4 of the way), add the beans and you have a one dish meal.

And the change in the show that did not get printed in the recipe, add a bit of potato water to thin out the pesto.  You can see Mario doing this and he does mention it towards the end.  BUT, no mention in the printed recipe.

I did serve this as a side dish with a Chicken Rollatini, stuffed with Cheesy Zucchini.  It made a wonderful side dish.  I can certainly see using this as a main course for a weeknight meal.  It was absolutely delicious.  The creaminess of the Parmesan pesto, the extra nutty flavor of the walnuts coating each ingredient makes this a winner!

Like I said, excellent recipe, MUCH easier than the printed version as mine (and Mario's) is a one dish meal. Best of all, it makes a wonderful change to standard side dishes.

Will be making again!

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