My bookshelf is filled with cookbooks I’ll never use. Although they’re beautiful and visually engaging, I simply have too many that will never be utilized in the manner in which they were intended. And I’m usually ok with that, as I may not necessarily purchase a cookbook to cook from, especially if it’s been designed or photographed by someone I love.
I recently received a copy of 50 Great Pasta Sauces by Pamela Sheldon Johns (Andrews McMeel Publishing) and can proudly say it won’t become one of the books that will sit on my shelf unused. In fact, I’ve already made two recipes from it this weekend alone and will probably end up working my way through the book. Let me tell you why.
Pamela Sheldon Johns is a well-known cooking instructor and holds culinary workshops in Italy. Her writing is accessible, friendly, with just the right amount of romance and recipe and ingredient history that I appreciate in a book. The book was designed by Jennifer Barry who has done numerous cookbooks and packages, and the styling was done by one of my food styling idols Pouké. Ok, so it looks good, but what about the recipes?
The book’s premise is that sauces are counterparts to pastas and can range from quick vegetable sautés to long-simmered meat sauces like Bolognese or Wild Boar sauce. It’s broken down into 4 categories for quick reading –vegetable, meat, seafood and dairy– with recipes that won’t take too much time to prepare. It’s simple, hearty, flavorful cooking that’s perfect for the weekday meal.
Scamorza and Greens Sauce from 50 Great Pasta Sauces
Matt says: Pancetta with bitter greens in anything is one of my favorite combinations on earth, and this pasta dish is so utterly simple and satisfying and makes a great supper. If you can’t find smoked Scamorza cheese then substitute smoked Mozzarella as they are so very similar.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces pancetta, diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 peperoncino (small dried red pepper), optional
1 pound turnip greens, kale, and/or Swiss chard, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 pound dried pasta
3 ounces smoked Scamorza cheese, cubed
In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and onion and sauté until lightly browned, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and peperoncino and cook until the garlic is just soft but not brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the greens and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until wilted. Add the chicken stock and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to slightly reduce the liquid.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and transfer to a warmed serving bowl. Add the sauce and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the cheese and serve at once. Serves 6.
FYI: This book was submitted to me for a review.