Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Anchovies, and Fried Croutons

I didn’t cook Friday this week because Debbie had some colleagues over for a work thing and I’m not ready.  Not so much not ready for cooking for others, but not ready for cooking for a big bunch.

Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Anchovies, and Fried Croutons(Tami, an old video partner of mine, had a gig for a while as head cook at a hospital.  She said you shouldn’t put a gallon of chili powder into a big batch of chili; it doesn’t scale up like the other ingredients.)

So I’m cooking tonight for Debbie and my cousin Val, who is visiting from out of town.

I couldn’t sleep this morning, picked up the new Bon Appetit that came in the mail and found this recipe for pasta with veggies.  It looked do-able, it looked not too heavy for nicer weather, it looked fail-safe.  I went for it.

Debbie sneered at it.  “Well, it looks kind of non-standard.”  She meant the croutons, which I explained to her – quoting from the article copy – was part of the rustic Puglian charm reflected in the dish.  She said, “well, I suppose you can make whatever you want.”

My writing buddy and dedicated foodie Josh came over later that morning.  I showed him the ingredients on the counter, and he said, “Oh, pretty good,” but then he picked up the one non-ingredient from this dish – a sack of red Bhutanese rice – and said, “this stuff is great.”  When I said it wasn’t part of what I was making, he sneered, too, although for different reasons than Debbie.  “It’s just throwing together some pasta,” he said.  “Why don’t you cook something that takes most of the day, that teaches you something?”

Why not, indeed.  I’ll work my way up to it.  The first element of success is showing up regularly; the rest follows in time.

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