Sunshine, Cobwebs, and Baked Orrechiette

I thought I’d let you know that I’m determined to get past my writer’s block and general food malaise. Last weekend’s gorgeous weather actually inspired me to get off the couch and think about writing again. Focus, clarity, and blogging seemed to be within my grasp, and I looked for a new recipe to help bring everything together.

I can never resist a baked pasta dish; there’s something about the mix of melted cheese, tomato sauce, and chewy pasta that hits the spot and lifts my spirits every time. So as soon as I received this month’s Food & Wine and saw this recipe for Baked Orrechiette with Pork Sugo, I folded down the page and vowed to make it as soon as possible. In my mind it promised to be a more elegant version of my beloved Baked Ziti with Spicy Sausage recipe, and we all know I could use a little more class in my life.

As the sun shined through my kitchen window on Sunday afternoon, I chopped celery, carrots, and garlic. Next I browned the pork in my Dutch oven and added the vegetables, tomatoes, red wine, and chicken stock before allowing it all to simmer slowly for a couple of hours. After cooking a batch of orrechiette and grating some Parmesan cheese, I threw everything into a baking dish and then into the oven.

As I proudly pulled the pan from the oven thirty-five minutes later, it hit me: I completely forgot to add onion to the sauce. I guess sunshine isn’t enough to clear the cobwebs from my brain. I swear I read through the recipe several times before I started cooking, but somehow the word “onion” never registered with me.

Sigh. Obviously I’m not over this nasty bout of block yet. And since I forgot an essential ingredient in this dish I’m reluctant to pass judgment on it. The salty cheese, rustic shredded pork, and vegetables mixed with one of my favorite pasta varieties indeed provided me with the comfort I was seeking. But clarity and focus? I think I still have a ways to go.

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4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    maggie said,

    I snipped this recipe from Food and Wine, too…Bet it was tasty even without the onions. Sometimes you have to just give yourself permission to be a little foggy…maybe the comfort food will help with that.

  2. 2

    Christina said,

    Hi Maggie! Yes, the orrechiette were tasty, even without those darn onions. It’s a great recipe, especially for the fall. Thanks for your support, and for your comment.

  3. 3

    Libby said,

    Funny you mention orrechiette….on my Williams-Sonoma/Whole Foods run (which I did before I read your suggestion) just now I got the ingredients to make one of my favorite dishes: Orecchiette with Lentils, Onions, and Spinach (we are really on the same page!). Definitely don’t forget the onions in this one. I slice them into thin rounds and make sure they’re nice and caramelized. Tomorrow I’m going to do a combo of baby spinach and wild arugula. Yum.

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/ORECCHIETTE-WITH-LENTILS-ONIONS-AND-SPINACH-108885

  4. 4

    Christina said,

    Sounds great! I love lentils and pasta; for a while I was making a version with lentils and broccoli rabe! Arugula is always a winner in our house, so I’ll have to try that recipe too.


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