Saturday, July 16, 2011

Popeye Would Approve

My farewell dish from Giada at Home was Orecchiette with Greens, Garbanzo Beans, and Ricotta Salata (pg 81). This is an excellent way to get yourself to eat loads of leafy greens, but the recipe is a blank slate that needs some work. It's pretty bland, as written, but plenty could be done to improve it.
First you cook two crushed garlic cloves in oil until they're brown, then remove them. As I discarded them, I thought, "Wait! Why would I get rid of the garlic??" As someone who is perfectly happy eating garlic raw, this pasta needed more than garlic-flavored oil.

Cook a butt-load of swiss chard and baby spinach in the oil, then add cherry tomatoes and garbanzo beans. Mix lemon zest and some ricotta salata cheese into the pasta, stir in the veg, then add more cheese on top. I never had this cheese before. It's pretty salty, so it was the predominant flavor. As you can see, any number of things could be done to this pasta to improve it. Fresh herbs, more zest, lemon juice, some onions, garlic, etc. The only real appeal of this is that it gets you to eat lots of green things.

Conclusion: Just Okay. This is nothing special. A dull note for Giada to go out on, but I won't hold it against her.


  1. I think you really gave Giada a good go and the benefit of the doubt with a lot of her recipes , most of the recipes you tried sounded ok, but nothing over the top or very special. If you ever want a real Italian cookbook go for Marcella Hazan-( Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking) b/c she is the real thing- and Giada is more pop/tv star/ Italian /California cuisine lite, from what I can tell...

  2. Your summation of Giada is fair. I in no way think that this is authentic cuisine. It's good for weeknights, though.

  3. yes I can see that her simpler recipes seem to also be low-cost and time savers... I wonder if she is ever using soffritto as a base for her recipes? A lot of what you made sounded like she relied pretty heavily on sauteed or baked tomatoes , with minimal garlic, for the base.

  4. I think I prefer Giada's orrechiette mixed with salad greens, Parmesan and roasted red peppers. Kudos for trying the dish.