Thursday, March 11, 2010

March 11th - Baked Rigatoni with Ham, Tomatoes, & Feta Cheese

Food Nerd On The Loose...
Heading to the Family Farmed Expo tomorrow (and Saturday) to research local and sustainable food.  I know, it sounds really nerdy, but it really is quite interesting.  I'm all about supporting local farmers and being wary of the industrialization of food.  This is the future of food in our country; so, I suppose now is a good time than any to learn more about it.   Always the constant (overacheiving) student...

Kind of tired from being at school all day yesterday, so I'm going to go right into the recipe.

THE RECIPE:
Ingredients:
Rigatoni: $1.19
Tomatoes: $1.79
Feta Cheese: $1.08
Mozzarella: $1.50
Thyme: Had
Whipping Cream: $1.89

Total: $7.45

Wow.  This totally made a lot.  Brian and I are going to be eating pasta for days with this one.  Again, if the deli section of grocery store sells Feta cheese, I'd buy it there rather than the prepackaged stuff.  One, it's a little cheaper.  Two, it won't be packed with preservatives.  Also, for anyone lactose intolerant like myself, I'd skip the whipping cream and add some chicken (or vegetable) broth instead.  There's enough dairy with the two cheeses without adding a cup of cream.  Thank god for Lact-Aid!

THE RESULTS:

Fast:  Upon first inspection of the recipe, you'd think maybe...could be kind of quick.  But, I didn't take into consideration the cooking of the pasta (including the time it takes for the water to boil).  So, you're looking at about 1 hour 15 minutes to get this whole thing done from start to table. 

Easy:  Although the recipe is pretty long (compared to the others thus far), it is really quite simple.  Cooking the pasta is the hardest part.  Once that's done, it's chop up some stuff, toss together, and bake.

Fresh:  It could be much fresher with some fresh herbs.  The dried thyme was okay, I would have liked some fresh basil, especially with the tomatoes and cheese.  Fresh parsley would help boost this recipe up a bit too.  A small squeeze of lemon will cut through all the dairy and perk up the pasta.

Overall:  This is a good throw together recipe.  I like it because you can use it as a basic plan to help develop some creativity in the kitchen.   I'd substitute chicken or go all veggie the next time.  The ham is okay (very classic ham and cheese taste).  I would give this recipe a veggie boost by adding zucchini, eggplant, or maybe even some kale or collard greens.   Fresh basil is a must next time and I'd also scale back the tomatoes to 2 or 3.

Well folks, tomorrow is an old favorite.... hummus.  I think I made that stuff like six times throughout my culinary school training.  This recipe has a little different spin to it, sounds interesting.  See ya tomorrow!

1 comment:

Angie said...

This is a dressed up macaroni and tomatoes! Comfort food. We grew up having his with pan-fried cornbread. To the noodles and tomatoes was added whatever leftover meat was on hand plus cheese. Being poor, it was never feta, but I definitely will give this a try. I like trying sophisticated versions of childhood faves. Delicious.