Weekly Menu Spotlight: And Now For Something Completely Different

by . on January 16, 2011

The Gourmet:

Do you ever feel like you cook the same things over and over? Do the same ingredients end up on your table night after night? I know I am guilty of both. I have this problem with books as well, the same six or so story lines keep finding their way to my bedside table. I suppose it is the comfort factor of more or less knowing the outcome ahead of time. When it comes to food and cooking, pasta dishes are a reoccurring theme in our kitchen.

This all began when we got married. The very first gift to cross our threshold was an Imperia Pasta Machine sent over by our equally food and cooking obsessed friends at Eat Drink NOLA. Its a sleek, compact little machine, that makes creating your own pasta easy and fun. It has also had an interesting side effect: While I try to cook every night, Gourmand feels no such compunction. He has however embraced the pasta maker:

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and happily lends a hand whenever I decide to make some sort of home made pasta (which is quite often).

I’m still searching for the perfect pasta recipe, but for now I have settled on equal measures egg, flour and olive oil, scaled up for the number of eaters. (Please let us know if you have a recipe you sweat buy) I throw an extra egg yolk in for good measure and color. Toss everything in the Cuisinart, pulse until sticky, roll into a ball and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Finally, quarter, roll out and run through the pasta maker.

Very easy. I would also recommend buying a pasta drying rack such as the style made by Norpro. That way you don’t end up hanging pasta from your living room chandelier like some people I know (ahem):

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Anyway, in an attempt to move away from the same sausage based pastas that usually grace our table, I delved into my copies of Food and Wine and came across Corey Lee’s Fresh Fettuccine with Chicken-Liver Sauce a recipe that I had intended to make ages ago and never got around to and which I feel was a pretty good departure from my usual. Obviously a taste for liver is important here, as the flavor is quite overwhelming. My local grocery was out of chicken livers so I substituted calf’s. The steps are recorded below, but follow the link above for the full recipe. In short:

1. Soak livers in milk one hour
2. Saute
3. Add garlic, thyme, sherry and shallots
4. Puree mixture in Cuisinart with butter until smooth
5. Reheat on stove, adding cherry tomatoes and chives
6. Enjoy 

Do to some seriously alarming texture and color issues, we were a bit worried that dinner would turn out to be hastily ordered Chinese food, but the final meal was rich and satisfying (while not nearly as attractive as I was hoping or as the F&W picture led me to believe). You can judge for yourself in the handy compare and contrast photo essay:

Next time you start to whip up the same old recipe, stop and take a moment to challenge your taste buds and expand your comfort zone. They can’t all be winners, but you might surprise yourself. 

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