I feel like I’ve been failing in my duties as a blogger. This time last year, I was scouring the depths of the internet, cookbooks, food magazines and old standbys for the best summer recipes. Recently, I’ve only flipped through the food magazines that I get just so I can rip out a few recipes and ditch the rest of the magazine, stopping the pile from forming before it starts.
Cooking is still happening in my kitchen, there just aren’t many recipes being used, and when I do test out recipes that I think sound good, they aren’t good enough for me to want to share with you.
See, something I’ve come to realize is that a lot of food bloggers, the “full time” ones, make a lot of food, and they’ll make the same dish several times in a week until they think it is perfect. I have no idea what they do with all of the food they deem not perfect. I really, really want to know what they do with it. I hope that they don’t throw it away, but it seems like the only logical thing they do is sample a little of it and then toss it out. I can’t do that. I eat everything I make, even if it isn’t good. Once Ben had to eat a huge amount of these mashed root vegetables for a week because I thought they were nasty and couldn’t even force myself to eat small servings. So I generally pawn the really bad stuff on him, but nothing ends up in the garbage.
This is also a perplexing aspect of culinary school– there is an enormous amount of food waste. The number of pounds of butter that I’ve seen thrown in the trash would quite probably cause Paula Deen to drop dead from the tragedy. I’m even guilty of throwing out completely edible foods, too. I’m not allowed to bring food home for some reason, and I don’t particularly want to consume a whole recipe of beurre blanc (aka a pound of butter with a thimble-full of vinegar and shallots) in the few hours of class that I have. So I pour that pound of butter in the trash because no one else wants it either, and I can’t take it home to use at a reasonable pace. In my kitchen, though, that never happens. I always find a use for everything, unless it has gone bad.
This dish is so simple that I hesitate to share it, but since nothing else in my kitchen is pleasing me enough to share, it seems like the best time to whip it out. It’s also a great accompaniment to any leftover vegetables that might be hiding in the corners of your refrigerator. The sauce is rich, the sort of thing I would scrape into a trashcan while cleaning up after cooking class because I won’t eat the whole recipe in one sitting, but since we’re at home and can celebrate the existence of leftovers and/or feeding more than one person, it’s ideal. Cream, shallots, a little bit of butter and a healthy sprinkle of Parmesan come together and make something that you’ll want to eat any time of the year– when it’s hot, when it’s cold, even when you’re thinking about swimsuit shopping. It’s great on it’s own with pasta, but I like to toss roasted or blanched broccoli or asparagus with it, or whatever else I have on hand. I like to think that the vegetables make it healthier, which they do, but I also always eat them first, picking them out of the pasta and swooping them through the cream on the end of the fork. Any recipe made with ingredients I always have on hand is a great one in my book, and one with limitless adaptations and that tastes delicious is even better. Have some tomatoes sitting on your counter? Chop them up, toss them in, and you’ll end up with a delicious creamy tomato sauce. Simple, tasty, and adaptable– you won’t even think about throwing any of it away.
Note: Toss any vegetables into the cooked pasta right before serving, and then toss the servings with a healthy spoonful or two of sauce. If adding tomatoes, though, saute them right after the shallots for about a minute, and then add the cream.
1 pound pasta, such as bowties or shells
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium shallot, halved and thinly sliced
1 ½ cups heavy cream
¼ cup (20g) Parmesan, shredded
1. Cook the pasta according to the package.
2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots to the butter, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream, and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, stir in the parmesan. Let the sauce simmer for about a minute, stirring, until the cheese is melted and the sauce has slightly reduced. Serve over cooked pasta with freshly ground pepper and extra shredded cheese.