Flattery

by Mara @ What's For Dinner? on May 2, 2010

in Italian

People say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. In my classroom, during test taking, of course that would be considered cheating, but in food and cooking, I think imitation just means a truly successful dish has been made, and needs to be recreated ASAP.

As you may have noticed, my Sundays have been full of challenging dishes in the last few weeks:

Tonight’s dish is a complete and total imitation of the amazing dish that Amy made for our Sisterhood of the Traveling Pans dinner a couple weeks ago. Ever since I had my first bite of it, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. The soft orechiette (little ears) pasta, the slightly bitter broccoli rabe, the sharp saltiness of the anchovy, all glistening with a warm, garlic-spiked olive oil… sigh… It was a vision in a bowl that night:

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While out shopping (and maybe purchasing small and adorable bright-colored dishes to be featured later in the week) I knew that I had to make it, and make it TONIGHT.

I started out by following the lesson we’d gotten at my mom’s, along with Amy’s wonderful tutorial, found on her blog, WorldPlates. The recipe for the orechiette pasta is super simple:

Per person, mix together:

1/2 c. flour

1 Tbsp. semolina (fine ground hard wheat flour)

Then, for every cup of flour, add in:

1 egg

1/3 c. warm water

Mix the flour, semolina, and egg together until crumbly, then slowly add in the water until the dough comes together. Knead either by hand or with a dough hook on a mixer until very firm and smooth. I can’t even begin to explain how to form the pasta shapes, so I’ll let Amy’s pictures do the talking.

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I ended up with two cookie sheets and a cutting board full of these little suckers:

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Sorry for the blurry phone pic, I didn’t want to get flour on my fancy camera.

I let the pasta dry about 3 hours (though it should’ve been longer!) and then further followed Amy’s instructions. I heated 1 Tbsp. of good olive oil for every serving, as well as minced one clove of garlic per person, and a small shake of red pepper flakes. I heated them all together, but didn’t really cook the garlic. Then, I drained, rinsed, and dredged in flour a can of flat anchovy fillets. Then I sauteed them in a pan with a little oil (less than a tsp.)

Next, a large pot of salted water was brought to a boil, 2 bunches of broccoli rabe were added, then cooked for about a minute. Then I added the pasta and cooked another two minutes in the same pot. Then, I drained the whole pot and tossed the pasta and broccoli rabe mixture with the warm garlic and olive oil and the sauteed anchovies.

And my day was complete.

orichiette

orichiette

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Was it perfect-looking? Absolutely not. As a matter of fact, Adam and I joked that many of the pasta pieces were quite “female” looking. My pasta was also more yellow than Amy’s was due to the farm-fresh eggs I used with the super-yellow yolks. But, did it taste great? Absolutely! It was just as good as I remembered it being, and I had the added satisfaction of making it myself.

Adam’s note: If you like your pasta softer and less al dente, make sure to cook the pasta al dente first, then cover the completed pot for a little while for softer pasta without having it be mushy.

I’m all set for another long and crazy week at work… but at least I have wonderful leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Have a great Monday!

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is May 2, 2010 at 7:48 PM

I am so impressed! Orrechetti is one of my favorite pastas. This looks delicious, girl!
.-= Jessica @ How Sweet It Is´s last blog ..Peanut Butter Frosted Chocolate Chip Blondies. =-.

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Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) May 2, 2010 at 8:03 PM

I seriously cracked up at the “female looking” comment. hahahah! I think your pasta looks fantastic though. It’s so pretty and fancy looking.
.-= Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat)´s last blog ..May Goals =-.

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Lauren May 2, 2010 at 8:41 PM

I just can’t get over anchovies. I mean, I really think I would like them (because I love salty fishy things) but just the look of them freak me out!!! I bet this was so wonderful though.
.-= Lauren´s last blog ..Happy Birthday Babaishka! =-.

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Andrea of Care to Eat May 2, 2010 at 9:11 PM

Great tip, Adam! My husband always complains that my pasta isn’t cooked enough, but I swear up and down it’s al dente and he just like’s his cooked more. Now we can just do this and both be happy!
.-= Andrea of Care to Eat´s last blog ..Erin: Baby’s first Okra =-.

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Gabriela (froyolover) May 2, 2010 at 9:32 PM

YUUUM!
That recipe looks DIVINE!
I wish I had your cooking skills, Maya..
:D
Have a great week, love!
Brazilian XOXO´s,
Gabriela
.-= Gabriela (froyolover)´s last blog ..Go With The Flow =-.

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Mary @ What's Cookin' with Mary May 2, 2010 at 9:54 PM

I love dishes that aren’t ‘perfect’ looking. This looks so good and easy to do… or at least you make it look easy! I’ve never made my own pasta and I’m thinking I could do this ;)
.-= Mary @ What’s Cookin’ with Mary´s last blog ..Mary’s Lemony Tuna Salad =-.

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Jenn (j3nn.net) May 2, 2010 at 10:53 PM

I think it looks perfect! :D I have yet to make pasta from scratch, but I’m sure tempted to now. That looks delicious x100!

Jenn

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Christina May 2, 2010 at 10:53 PM

OMg I think you did a FANTASTIC job!!! Especially for your first time! Way to go Mara! That is seriously so cool and you’re kicking my butt with trying new things in the kitchen each week! I’ve gotta step it up! ;)
.-= Christina´s last blog ..How to Hard Boil Easy-to-Peel Eggs =-.

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MizFit May 3, 2010 at 5:33 AM

female looking :)
I love that we are both so…childlike.
all three of us.
.-= MizFit´s last blog ..Blog Botox… =-.

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? May 3, 2010 at 11:11 AM

I joke fairly often that I teach middle school because that’s where my brain is stuck!

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Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg May 3, 2010 at 6:42 AM

I love, love, love orrechiette, but I’ve only bought them!! I’m MEGA impressed at your homemade pasta skills!!!
.-= Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg´s last blog ..Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner =-.

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Biz May 3, 2010 at 10:40 AM

That’s one pasta I have yet to make – while I don’t like mushrooms or anchovies, your dish looks delicious!!

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? May 3, 2010 at 11:10 AM

I think the original recipe called for salted sardines, but I used anchovies. You could try it with that! No mushrooms in it either :)

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Katie May 3, 2010 at 12:52 PM

You guys never cease to amaze me! I can’t belive you made your own orecchiete… and it looks gorgeous!

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amanda May 3, 2010 at 3:30 PM

LoL Funny thing was I sorta thought that when I was looking at the pasta after pics about it looking like a female part. :) Still the meal looks delicious!

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Diana @ frontyardfoodie May 4, 2010 at 10:12 AM

haha, awesome! Those are so adorable. I just saw on Lidia’s Italy how to make them and have been intrigued ever since. Kudos!

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Quix May 4, 2010 at 4:40 PM

Tee hee, female looking. Love it. Looks terribly delicious though! Um…does that make me not straight? Should I tell Zliten? :)
.-= Quix´s last blog ..Bang, Bang, (we are the) Warrior(s)! =-.

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Diana @ Dianabydesign May 5, 2010 at 8:52 PM

First off…kudos to you for eating anchovies!! ;) I don’t think I’ll ever be that brave lol! And second, your dish looks absolutely amazing. If it weren’t almost 10 pm I would get my butt to the kitchen and make some of it right now. I’m salivating! :)
.-= Diana @ Dianabydesign´s last blog ..Brownie success! Parsnip Fail :( =-.

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