spaghetti with burrata and other good things

June 26th, 2009 · 902 Comments

ok. this was good. as in very good. as in i won’t go all yoplait ad on you, but this was another definite do-over. and the sooner the better.

i take very little credit as this plate of pasta was nothing more than a blend of: the latest post from rachel eats‘ blog, along with the addition of some murray’s cheese mail-ordered burrata. i’ve since found out – and to my surprise, that trader joe’s carries "burrata", but my obvious thoughts on that were although it’d most likely do in a pinch, there’s no way it could be even close to the same quality as these delicate cream filled mozzarella balls made in italy on monday, and at my door on wednesday…

because you deserve a closer look…

it’s hot as hell in nashville. we’re on day 10 of 90+ degrees with the usual humidity issue, and well, cooking is only so appealing. the ovens are off limits but i will boil a pot of water and saute some onions – and happily.

but here’s what i won’t do. although i preach high quality ingredients and authentic preparation, here’s another ceF ruling to go along with the whole ”i don’t do pastry crusts" thing. so now you can just go on ahead and add to that – "i don’t slip the skins off tomatoes". because honestly, it just seems SILLY. yet despite this blatant admission, i still struggle with the fact (if only ever so slightly) that this conscious oversight would be sneered upon by better cooks than me. i mean the italian nonas do things for GOOD REASON. but then i quickly rationalize the whole thing – i honestly don’t think it changes the experience. and i’m at peace with tomato skins – though i have succumbed to certain other kitchen practices such as always trussing my chickens.

adding to the list of ‘do’s’, i also have claimed the red onion as my personal onion of choice for nearly all cooking purposes. i just like them better. and they look beautiful on my counter.

an important component of this dish is that you barely cook the tomatoes. for the record, mine were not home grown, as those are not quite yet available in nashville, but joyously coming soon. still, what i’d picked up at TJ’s were juicy and tomatoey. i used a fair amount of chopped basil from my herb pots, adding it the same time i added the chopped tomatoes to my pan of slowly sauteed onions, thinly sliced into half moons. you salt, you pepper and you’re done in 15 minutes. if that.

and then i strayed away from the recipe because I AM A REBEL and cut a creamy burrata ball in half and plopped it on top along with some more fresh basil. it’s a perfect dish. it just is. even with the aforementioned skins still thinly present…

but by far, the best part of dinner was the company. we had new friends over – emily and kevin. they brought extra tomatoes (in case), bread (i had none), wine (2 bottles of pino grigio) and a glazed lemon almond poppyseed cake that was quite good and tangy. and while we all sat there happily digging in to our respective slices, emily took her first bite and i watched as she sat there wrestling the flavors and consistency in her brain, thinking out loud about all of the things she perhaps could have done for it to have been better – and how she could improve upon it the next time.

and i thought to myself, i’m going to love this chick…

update  – with 3 reports now in on trader joe’s burrata, i am strongly recommending that you stay far away. my good friend heidi robb who i trust implicitly says, "Take a big hearty PASS. Their Mandara buffalo mozzarella is more burrata like than this insipid stuff."

Tags: baking · beans · cheese · dessert · fish · pasta · tomatoes · travel

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