Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pasta with Parmigiano-Regianno

Following up yesterday's simple pasta dish comes one that is even simpler and quite as good in its own humble way. I used to make it regularly but had forgotten it over time as happens if one cooks for a long enough time.

Then I read Michael Ruhlman's article, The Fallacy of the Quick-and-Easy Cookbook. He isn't talking about what we might usually think of as quick-and-easy but excoriating those who publish cookbooks under the conceit that one might duplicate high cuisine with little effort in the home kitchen. Go read, but here's a little taste to whet your appetite ...
What I’m criticizing here is the conceit of this cookbook, and all others that claim to make refined cuisine simple for the home. It makes me crazy not because it’s fundamentally a lie, though that’s never a good thing, but rather because publishers don’t seem to recognize that it’s a lie, and they want to keep on telling it to us.

Can you imagine a book called The French Laundry Cookbook Made Simple? Such food would cease to be French Laundry food.

At the end he gives a recipe for one of the simplest of dishes that is truly delicious, provided one has good ingredients. I include it here not only to jog my memory occasionally but to make it available to Hannah and Rose as it is the perfect college student meal and can feed several people heartily.

It is simple, fairly economical, and can be either enjoyed as a main dish with salad or as a side dish accompanying a straight forward meat dish such as grilled chicken.

Pasta with Parmigiano-Regianno

Kosher salt as needed
1 pound dried pasta
4 ounces/1 stick of butter cut into four pieces (I used 1/2 stick butter which was plenty)
1 cup coarsely and freshly grated, excellent Parmigiano-Regianno

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (salted, meaning that it tastes nicely seasoned). Place a large oven proof bowl in your oven and turn the oven to 200 degrees F. Drop the pasta in the water and cook it just until it’s tender, then drain it. Remove the bowl from the oven and toss the butter and pasta in the bowl until the butter is melted and the pasta is evenly coated with the butter. Taste the pasta. If it needs more salt, add it now (remember that the cheese you’re about to add is salty). Divide the pasta among four to six bowls and sprinkle each with the Regianno. Serve with a delicious red wine.

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