Must pasta insist we default to basil and oregano when seasoning the accompanying sauce? Does Indian cuisine demand we pay homage to proteins with basmati rice, potatoes or Naan?
Break free the chains! Particularly now since Al Dente’s latest line of Piccola Pastas have hit market shelves to switch things up.
My last post, Pastazanella, was inspired by local tomatoes and Al Dente’s new Bonneti Pasta. The duo created a tantalizing riff on a classic Panzanella substituting pasta for bread.
Lentils are substituted for grinds in this not-so-typical Ragu.
Today’s blog substitutes their new Turmeric Pinchetti Pasta for the starches used in traditional Indian food. I substituted, as well, lentils for the expected meaty grinds typically used in classic Italian ragus.
The switch-a-roos make for a lovely October plate–– especially nice when we want to warm up to the heat and spice of sub-continent food and use cauliflower in the peak of her crowning glory.
The recipe accommodates six healthy appetites––leftovers always a bonus.
I can’t sign off without alerting those interested that my publisher slashed the price of THE PROMISE KITCHEN to only $6.99 through October.
It may be a good way to share your love ~not to mention cross an early gift off the list~ with great food fiction accompanied by a slew of well-tested recipes.
You’ve heard of panzanella, right? That oh so delicious salad celebrating tomatoes when they’re bursting on the vines–even more handy to have in your recipe repertoire when you’ve a loaf of slightly stale Artisan bread that’s begging to be utilized? But what about Pastazanella?
I just made a big batch, and I’m pretty sure you’ve never heard of that. Pastazanella is a recipe that has–up until this moment–never been recorded, a dish even unknown to the ubiquitous Google-bots. It’s like discovering a new star in the solar system!
These three new small pasta shapes are ideal for entertaining.
Wish I could lay fame to the pasta, as well, but credit goes to Al Dente Pasta, which has a new line of 3 Piccolo Pastas. The Bonnetti (little bonnets) is what I substituted for the bread in my Pastazanella that yields absolutely delicious results.
Cut tomatoes and cucumbers into pieces roughly the size of the “bonnets”.
Traditional panzanella is delish hot off the press. But after it sits around, the bread–even with a prior toasting– gets a bit mushy for my palate. It reminds me of the milk toast forced down me when I had a tummy ache as a tot. Not so Bonnetti, the perfect choice for Pastazanella after cooking the pasta five minutes to perfection.
Today requests a salad for a family reunion that will serve as a side for smoked chickens, and thrive under an August sun. The Bonnetti will soak up those yummy tomato juices and the acidity (and lack of mayo) keeps it “safe” insuring even the weeist of toddlers won’t suffer.
This new line of Piccola Pasta makes for attractive, toothsome salads that are easy for guests to scoop from the bowl. (So annoying when those dangling slivers of fettuccines and spaghettis find their way to the floor, instead of the plate.)
Disclosure:Monique and hubby Denny (the owners of Al Dente) have been friends of mine for decades. We got into the pasta business at the same time. In fact, the EXACT same time–1981. She was rolling out sheets of dough uptown at the same time I was extruding them downtown from a pasta machine the size of a Fiat I purchased from Florence. (That’s Florence, Italy, not Alabama). I can vouch that Al Dente Pasta is a delicate yet toothsome pasta like no other on the market–I use it all the time.
I sold my pasta machine along with my business in 2001 (I needed to sit down) and started writing about food–making up characters who were having even crazier times in the food business than myself. Besides. I was not nearly as successful as the Al Dente folks, whose pastas can be found in groceries and markets across the planet. An additional disclosure– I don’t get paid for writing food endorsements I don’t even allow ads and those annoying pop-ups to come near these pages. I just like writing about good food and the good people who enjoy eating it.
Note: After reading this blog my son said a better name for this recipe would be Paztenella. Alas. I just checked and Google laid stakes into Pastazenella, claiming it as her own.
Last night we had friends over for a Fourth of July warm-up dinner party. The hyper-local menu–Grilled Sumac Lamb Chops, Cherry Couscous Salad and Asparagus–was created with the bulk of ingredients sourced in a one-mile radius; easy to pull off at this time of the year in the orchards and farmlands of Northern Michigan.
Concentrated cherry juice processed from cherries up the road lends the acidity and sweet to this versatile vinaigrette.
The day before yesterday, I marinated lamb chops 24 hours (refrigerated) in a mixture of whole milk, plain yogurt, garlic, ground sumac and cinnamon. (I’ll post the recipe after re-proof.)
Then, I made a couscous salad and am particularly excited about the impromptu vinaigrette, which was simply delicious. My secret weapon was cherry juice concentrate. With the acidity and sweet of fresh ripe cherries, it was a flavor bomb in this salad. (Recipe below.)
This vinaigrette would be marvelous in any grain or leafy green salad or a lovely marinade for fowl, pork or lamb. Oh my. This little vinaigrette is an absolute gem.
Fresh Cherry and Goat Cheese Crostini
You don’t have to live in the middle of a cherry orchard–grocery stores across the world carry cherry juice concentrates. Here’s a link to King Orchards, if interested, to purchase the exact concentrate I use. (And no. Uncle Jim and Aunt Sue aren’t the owners and, as always, I receive no compensations for my posts and recommendations on this site, which remains blissfully “ad-free”.)
The Fourth of July Grill
In the spirit of the season, here are some more cherry-inspired blogs from seasons past to whet your whistle, many of which are perfect for the celebratory Fourth:
Taste buds prickle; wanderlust triggered. An Argentine barbecue (asado)
enticed me to Patagonia. A friend gave me a vial of ground sumac berries--4 months later I was
waking at dawn to the "Call To Prayer" in Turkey. Porcini to Tuscany, and so on. Read more about my chronicles of
trips and favorite associated recipes. Browse my travel recipes...
Here are ideas gleaned from others that speak to me;
where I highlight projects that bring friends, neighborhoods, and communities together. For me,
complimentary food makes the project and event more fun. Browse my projects and related recipes...