It’s nearly always a balance, almost a dance – an equilibrium, a playing, contrast and synchrony, surprise and familiarity. Cooking that is, organizing a plate, adjusting for salt and sweet, umami and creamy, crunch and mushy and heat and bite and…
Technique counts, of course, as do quality ingredients, knowledge and other things but balance, well-integrated flavors and aspects of the same, is usually what makes or breaks a dish, pasta dishes even more.
Maybe that’s one of the reasons why most famous pasta dishes are relatively simple and inexpensive. A few ‘popular’ ingredients combined the right way can give as much or more flavor than the most ‘noble’ of foods (the way they used to distinguish between expensive and cheap products in Italy, ‘noble’ vs ‘popular’ though of late ‘important’ is euphemistically used more. Sigh. What most… important, buffalo crap we often diminish language for…) Anyway.
This is one of a bizillion versions of a pasta dish I make often. It’s very un-important or waay too popular to find – at least in rustic interpretations – in any eatery or Food Network show. You can categorize this one pasta dish into really as many as you choose and make it in any way to suit you or guests tastes: sweeter, saltier, more subtle, more complex, ecc. All that’s imporant is you get the balance right of creamy cheese with the flavorings, be they… i dunno, ricotta with a bit of ginger and bacon and scallion, or Philadelphia with… smoked salmon and orange rind, etc. They’re perfect fridge-emptying dishes, of course, and actually rather healthy if you stay away or use less of the fattier ingredients (though of late we’ve seen that it’s more simple sugars that tend to damage us than most fats, both in and out of context.) Make a dish tonight for you and someone else. I’ll bet you you’ll both love it….
Next: June meal poll, prosciutto and mellon. And follow along on Facebook if you care to, even though it sort of sucks…www.facebook.com/Cooking-With-Tonno-103632335268289
Pasta with Fresh Goat Cheese
- 200 grams spaghettoni or other long noodle rummo brand or other
- 100 grams fresh goat cheese caprino
- 1 grated lemon rind untreated skin
- 40-/+ grams Parmigiano Reggiano grated …or any aged cheese you like. Mix and match
- some prosciutto fat or guanciale rendered in a cold pan, then low heat
- some (2-3tbls) fresh scallion leg chopped fine to taste
- salt and pepper to taste pepper is important here, fresh ground. Could get fancy-ish and seperate the husks from the seed by hand-smashing in a motar and filtering. Nah. Careful on the salt.
- 3 tabls. breadcrumbs, good quality. toasted in a warm-to-hot pan, a drop of oil or two.
- 5-8 leaves not too old basil
- 1 pat unsalted butter. optional like most ingredients in such am asembled dish