Sabor de soledad roundup, Michael back in the UK edition.

Cacio e pepe

Michael was in the UK for most of this past week, and so for the first time in a while I had a few days to myself to make whatever I wanted. Obviously, the first thing I did was buy a boatload of cheeses.

The next thing I did after running some errands on Sunday was to sequester myself in the kitchen to do all kinds of things: make a nice fancy brunch was first on the list and then I did some much-needed meal prep for the week. My friend D at The Kitchen Witch recently posted an intriguing recipe for a warm tomato vinaigrette, and I had bookmarked it thinking it would go really well with chicken thighs. I slow-roasted the tomatoes and whipped up a batch fairly easily, tripling the recipe she provided to use up all of the tomato passata that you make, and boy howdy is it tasty. I even made enough for Michael to have some for lunch when he got home from the airport because I’m nice like that.

Ricotta gnudi, all ready to hang out in the fridge.

I also like to take advantage of Michael’s absence by indulging in something made with ricotta since he’s not the world’s biggest fan, and so April Bloomfield’s ricotta gnudi went from being on my list of things to someday make to sitting in my fridge on a sheet pan, dusted in semolina flour. It worked out pretty perfectly because they need three days in the fridge to dry out sot that they don’t completely fall apart while cooking, so all I needed to do was cook them and make the brown butter and fried sage on Wednesday night, along with a salad (of course). They came together surprisingly easy, though they aren’t the most perfectly-formed gnudi ever made.

Finally, after all that work I still had to make my Sunday dinner, so I kept it pretty simple: cacio e pepe along with salad and chicken livers sauteed in butter with shallots, garlic, and sage. (Chicken livers are another thing that tend to make an appearance when Michael’s away for a few days.) I was completely beat from all of that work (in addition to some solid workouts that weekend) but I knew it would be worth it after coming home from a long drive home.

Arugula, blood orange, mozzarella, and prosciutto salad

So Monday I had the chicken with the tomato vinaigrette (very tasty but not the most photogenic dish), while Tuesday I decided to lighten things up a bit by having a big arugula, blood orange, prosciutto and fresh mozzarella salad. I’m SO GLAD that this weekend marks the end of Standard Time as I’m definitely someone who is more than willing to give up an hour of sleep in order to get good lighting for dinnertime food shots again.

And of course Wednesday, I finally had the gnudi. To be honest, they were a little hit or miss–while they tasted good, they definitely fell apart from being in the water for longer than two minutes so I think the next time I make them I’m going to have to do them in batches so they don’t completely disintegrate. Additionally, I also need to re-read the instructions that tell you to turn them over once a day to get them evenly dried out on all sides. (Whoops.)

The brown butter and sage, however, came out really, really well–at first I thought I had let the butter go too long (as it’s been a while since I’ve made it) but then referencing the photo accompanying the recipe on Serious Eats proved otherwise, and the sage leaves became nice and crispy.

I had one bowl, and then I had a couple more, and then I threw the rest into a container that now resembles a ricotta-semolina mush but that’s not going to stop me eating the hell out of it because it’s that good.

Those setbacks aside, I’m still going to declare this session of sabor de soledad a success, because if nothing else I was usually eating dinner by 6:30 or so even when walking in the door a little before 6, and I managed to get the kitchen back into relatively tidy shape each night. If that can’t be deemed a success, then I don’t know what can.

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3 comments
  1. Cacio e Pepe is something I make all the time when I’m eating alone. Is anything better?

    • MAYBE pasta alla gricia when good guanciale can be had.

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