Lately, I’ve become weary of the food police, a term coined by Julia Child for those focused on the questionable health benefits of her beloved butter and cream. Today it seems like the “food police” are everywhere. Newspapers and magazines, online features (especially those that list the top 10 worst ingredients you can consume!), national radio and TV broadcasts–all routinely offer up some new food that is verboten. “Keep fat to a minimum, give up evil carbs, lower your salt, only eat meat occasionally.” I listen, and dutifully adjust my recipes to follow the guidelines. Every so often, though, I throw caution out (much to my husband’s delight) to prepare, guilt-free, an indulgence like Rigatoni with Parmesan Cream, Prosciutto, and Arugula.
Here is a dish that I first tasted in a small neighborhood bistro in Paris. From my first bite I was smitten, not only by the delicious combination of tastes and textures, but also by the creation’s sheer simplicity. Rigatoni, cooked al dente, were tossed in a smooth-as-silk sauce that had been prepared with equal amounts of milk, crème fraîche, and grated Parmesan along with a hint of fresh nutmeg. The pasta, garnished with a small mound of arugula dressed in lemon juice and a sprinkle of julienned Serrano ham, was served in shallow bowls. Continue reading
When you send a cookbook manuscript to your publisher, the work doesn’t stop there. Editors pore over the pages for several months, and return them marked with queries and changes. The author (moi!) then reviews these “first copy edits” in agonizingly minute detail. This summer I spent the better part of two weeks in Paris at my computer dealing with the edits for Sunday Casseroles. I was so relieved when they were finished that I rewarded myself with an afternoon of guiltless shopping in France’s capital!
Next, designers and photographers get involved and produce a rough layout of the book with photos and text. This version, known as the “galleys,” usually arrives in hard copy annotated with more queries. Last Friday Fed Ex delivered a huge package filled with 175 pages of Sunday Casseroles galleys. For the past week I have been reading the manuscript in sleuth-like fashion, searching line by line for typos, misspellings, and omissions. My eyes are red and my pencils worn to nubs, but the job is finally done! Now, I have to pack up those pages and send them to Amy, my talented editor at Chronicle Books.
Since I thought readers might like a sneak peak of a favorite recipe from this collection, I’ve included the directions for Rigatoni with Spicy Tomato Sauce, Kalamatas and Two Cheeses. Some will recognize this special dish because it appeared in various versions in my syndicated column and on the cover of Bon Appetit in the 1990s. I hope you’ll enjoy it, and please do let me know if you discover any typos! Continue reading
This recipe is a perennial favorite of students. Back in the 1990s it appeared on a winter cover of Bon Appétit and then later in my book, American Favorites. This dish has plenty going for it—you can make it ahead, it’s and all-in-one main course, and it’s inexpensive.