As I wrote yesterday, this week will be spent delving deep into a few new cookbooks because it raining too hard to go outside. Not a lot makes me happier than opening a new cookbook! What will I discover inside the pages?
I think the critics were ready to hate hate hate Gwyneth Paltrow's new cookbook, My Father's Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness. Ms. Paltrow is an actress, not a chef. But the book is amazing, received rave reviews and it is obviously a labor of love - love of food, love of her family and especially love of her recently-deceased father, the great film director, Bruce Paltrow. The recipes are not complicated and do not require strange ingredients. The actress has two small children and can't be bothered with overly-fancy preparations. The recipes are honest and the photography (by Ellen Silverman) is outstanding. There are many old family photos throughout the cookbook and many photos of the (seemingly make-up-free yet still completely gorgeous) author! In full disclosure, we are friends with Kevin Bacon a friend of the Paltrow family and I have it first-hand that Ms. Paltrow (aka Gwynnie) is just a darling girl.Tonight I prepared Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano (spaghetti with lemon and parmesan), on page 128. In the notes, Ms. Paltrow suggests the dish - and a salad - can be prepared in the time it takes to boil water and cook the pasta. She is right. (You can even talk on the phone with your Dad, because my Dad called while I was preparing dinner and everything came together just fine.)
The recipe consists of freshly grated parmesan cheese, the zest and juice of one lemon, pepper, fresh basil, olive oil and spaghetti pasta. I'm fairly certain you can find these ingredients at your neighborhood Winn-Dixie. I will admit to using a very good imported parmesan cheese, organic dried spaghetti from Italy and an organic lemon from Brother Steve & Gina's ranch. With such few ingredients, I thought it crucial products were of the best quality. More time was required to finely grate the cheese than to boil the water! The cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, pepper and dash of salt are mixed together into a paste. When the pasta has finished cooking, a few tablespoons of the pasta-cooking water are added to the cheese mixture. Then the cheesy-lemony paste - and fresh basil - are tossed with the pasta. It was delicious! So fresh-tasting. This recipe is a keeper and it is super RV-easy. The only thing a bit odd is the recipe calls for ¾-pound of dried spaghetti. I suggest the pronounced lemon and cheese flavor could easily handle the entire pound of pasta - with an extra splash or two of hot pasta-cooking water. Ms. Paltrow says the recipe serves four. I guess we are runners pigs, because at our house, we each routinely eat ¼-pound of pasta. OINK.
I also suggest a very chilled Italian Pinot Grigio... but I nearly always suggest a very chilled Italian Pinot Grigio. Tomorrow night? Steakhouse Steaks from the Barefoot Contessa... plus a test of a new skillet. Double the excitement!
Until my next update, I remain, your lemony correspondent.