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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Cooking with Gwynnie

Somehow I got the June Bon Appetit with Gwynneth Paltrow on the cover. I thought my subscription had expired.
In addition to being a gorgeous singing Oscar winner married to a rock star, she is now a cookbook author. Seriously, Gwynneth? Leave a little something for the rest of us!

Anyway, the cover recipe is Roasted Tomato and Anchovy Oreganata Pasta. I felt inspired to cook some pasta on Friday evening after a sunset jog around the Central Park reservoir. (This involved riding the subway 70+ blocks to 86th Street, so it was a good activity for a free night.)

I may make the real thing some other time, but it entails slow-roasting tomatoes and cooking the anchovies in breadcrumbs. So, I just used the recipe as inspiration and made a lemon-anchovy-parmesan sauce for some whole wheat spaghetti. (This was based on the Lemon Spaghetti recipe in the River Cafe Cookbook, but I left that in Charlotte, so I just improvised.)

Basically, you just zest one lemon and squeeze the juice into a dish, then grate in some fresh parmesan so it sort of melts into the sauce. Into this I also added several anchovies; I macerated them with a fork until they blended into the rest. Then I slowly added olive oil and poured it all over the hot pasta, topping it with fresh cherry tomatoes.
It was quite yummy! I think the photo needs a little more color, so you may have to trust me. As Gwynneth tells us, anchovies go especially well with tomato-based dishes because "they add that whole umami thing."

(While searching for anchovies at my neighborhood market, I found a tube of umami paste...fodder for a future experiment?)

Gwynneth also notes Maldon sea salt, olive oil and lemon can make anything great. I'd never thought of it like that, but amen! I turned her holy trinity into a light dinner tonight: chickpea salad with lemon juice, fresh basil, olive oil and more of the tomatoes. With a little sauteed red swiss chard and some fresh papaya, it was a perfect summer supper.

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