Sep 6, 2011

Back to Basics - the final edition

Since summer is officially over, this is the last installment of this series. I'm doubling up again, but even with that, can you believe it's already finished? (It seems like just yesterday I posted about scone cake!)

Each week I'm going to share a recipe I've found, and my experience in making it. Twelve weeks of summer, a dozen recipes to explore. I've tried new recipes before, but I really want to enjoy the time in the kitchen that it takes for me to create these. Whether they turn out well or not, I want to find joy in baking or cooking. 

Giada de Laurentiis' Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina - I found this through Sarah's blog and I wanted to try it because it seemed to be more like a casserole which is something I'm trying more of lately.

Like the Shepherd's Pie recipe, this one seemed to be a two-person job, so the mister and I tag teamed it. I've never worked with pastina before - it's really tiny and it reminds me of quinoa.

Just as I was getting ready to drain the pastina, I realized we had a problem. Pastina is so small it would have gone right through the holes in our colander, and while we have a small strainer, it would have taken forever to use as the main source of draining the water.

Enter my husband. He put coffee filers in our colander - the water would still go through them, but also keep the pastina intact. I then scooped the pastina out with the strainer into a large bowl. (Ben claims coffee filters can fix anything, and after this I'm inclined to agree!)

After that we simply mixed everything together...

...added the topping, and popped it in the oven.

We didn't have the onion or parsley the recipe called for so I think it would help the flavor, but we still loved it! (Ben's already requested that we make it again in the next week!)

The second recipe is Roasted Cauliflower - more of a side dish, and it took almost no time at all to make.

You simply cut up the cauliflower, add garlic and lemon juice...

...a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper...

...and enjoy! 

I liked this recipe a lot - but I would definitely use less garlic next time. It was overpowering and kind of shocked me when I first tasted it!

Have you ever worked with pastina before? Are you a fan of garlic or do you find it to be sometimes overwhelming?

Thanks for sticking with me - my goal was to enjoy time in the kitchen preparing these dishes, and I definitely accomplished that. This might even be an annual summer series!

Happy Tuesday!


Sarah said...

I should have told you I use rotini rather than pastina! But, it seems like you guys got it to work out :) We sometimes use panko instead of bread crumbs for the top of the dish because we find it gives it better crunch. Oh, and I use garlic flavored canned tomatoes for more flavor.

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

I think I need to give roasted cauliflower a try again... growing up I loved raw cauliflower but hated cooked cauliflower.
I've never heard of pastina before! Looks good though!!

Nora said...

Pastina was one of my favorite things when I was little, especially if I was sick. Looks like a yummy recipe, so I may have to give it a try. I made a mexican chicken alfredo on Sunday night. So delicious. If you want the recipe, let me know :)

Amber said...

Your pictures looks SO great in this post!!

I love roasted cauliflower!

Amy said...

I'm sorry if you get this twice---my internet at work is wonky! I want to try roasting cauliflower! Sounds delicious!

tessica said...

mmm roasted cauliflower, that sounds delicious!

Lauren Drugan said...

I *LOVE* pastina! I'm Italian and my grandmother and mother always cook with it. It's so, so good in soups.

I am adding these recipes to my queue! :)

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Yum. Tha tlooks delicious. Ben is so industrious! Love that you two cook together, that is so sweet. I want that kind of marriage. ;)

I have never heard of pastina!

I love garlic. So much so that I usually put more in than the recipe calls for!! Mmm... Watch our vampires. ;) (is that what is warded off by garlic?? *scratched head*)

Mandy said...

These sound delicious. You know what would make them even better? Baking them in Fiesta dishes. Oh wait. You'll be able to do that this weekend!=)

Seriously though, casseroles and fiesta dishes just go together.

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