Two savory recipes in a row! No, I'm not sick and yes, I have more sweetness coming your way, but first I have a cookbook to share with you- Whatever Happened To Sunday Dinner? by Lisa Caponigri. This is such a clever book. The concept behind this book is bringing back Sunday dinner. "Fifty-two menus are presented in the Italian tradition: an antipasto (usually a crostini to pass at the table), a primo (first course: almost always a pasta), a secondo (call it the main course) served with a single contorno (side dish) and finally, dessert. Every menu is different; not a single repeated."
Sunday dinner according to Lisa is not just about eating. It's about getting the family together in the kitchen and dividing up the tasks so that everyone is involved and contributing to the family meal, whether it's by chopping, baking, stirring or setting the table. "Sunday dinner doesn't have to be elaborate, just delicious." There are 260 recipe in this book to choose from. Obviously you don't have to follow each menu as written; you can mix and match recipes from different menus to create your perfect meal. The idea is to get comfortable in the kitchen, eat, linger at the table, relax and share the highlights of your week. "Sunday dinner is irreplaceable, the meeting place of memories that will last a lifetime."
You can feel Lisa's passion for Sunday dinner through her family photos, words and menus. As I read about her love of food and family, I started planning my own Sunday dinners. We often have Sunday dinner at my mom's house, but that usually means my mom does most of the cooking and I provide dessert. We all sit down together, share stories and laughter and enjoy a great meal. But I realized after reading Lisa's stories that we could all help out a little more and make it more of a family activity.
I flipped through page after page of this book. The recipes are enticing and the photos are gorgeous. This really is a handsome book, and hefty at that. And because there is so much variety, you could cook through it all throughout the week, not just on Sundays. I chose to make Pasta alla Carbonara and Pesto Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes, only to simplify things I used store bought pesto because it's what I had on hand. I made the pasta recipe as written but I added my thoughts and notes below. Both were delicious and easy enough to make on a busy weekday. To win a copy of "Whatever Happened To Sunday Dinner?" scroll down.
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Recipe serves 8, but can easily be halved-
- 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter* (see note)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound thick-sliced bacon or pancetta, cut into 1-inch pieces
- head of garlic, separated into cloves and chopped
- 2 pounds of spaghetti
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups grated pecorino romano
- freshly ground pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the olive oil. Add the bacon and garlic and cook until the bacon is very crisp, taking care not to burn the garlic* (see note). Remove the bacon and garlic from the skillet, using a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large serving bowl, beat together the eggs, cheese, and pepper to taste. Stir in the bacon and garlic.
Drain the pasta and add to the bowl. Toss until the pasta is well coated with the eggs and cheese mixture and serve immediately.
NOTE: I didn't find that cooking the bacon and garlic in butter and olive oil was necessary. It just resulted in a lot of grease in a pan that had to be thrown away. The bacon yields a lot of fat on it it's own- next time, I'd crisp up the bacon then just before it's done, add the garlic. I found cooking the garlic along with the bacon just overcooked it.
Pomodorini Ripieni Di Pesto- Cherry Tomatoes Stuffed with Pesto
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- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 5 Tbsp. pine nuts
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes
Place the basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, salt, olive oil, and Pecorino in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. If the pesto is too thick for your taste, add a little more olive oil.
Cut the tops off the tomatoes. With a small spoon scoop out the seeds and pulp, taking care not to puncture the skin. Fill the tomatoes with the pesto and serve at room temperature.
NOTE: Don't use grape tomatoes to make this- they won't stand upright and the filling will spill out.
To win a copy of "Whatever Happened To Sunday Dinner?" by Lisa Caponigri all you need to do is leave me a comment below telling me about your family meals. It doesn't have to be Italian, it can be anything. Do you have a tradition of getting the family together on a regular basis, cooking and eating? Tell me about it!
Be sure to leave your contact info so if you win I know how to get a hold of you. I'll announce a winner next week and ship the book out. One comment per person, please. Giveaway open to US residents only. Good luck!
|My little helper!|