Before the latest copy of Food & Wine magazine even hit my mailbox, all of the recipes were already on their website. Why am I paying for this? As soon as my subscription runs out, that’s it — I’m not paying for another.
There was, however, one shining star in the publication that I didn’t find on the website. Chef Curtis Stone, the host of TLC’s hit show “Take Home Chef” is releasing a book, called Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone.
Other than a short bio in the magazine that talks about his experience working in Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe, and his show, where he basically goes around preying on women in grocery stores and badgering them until they take him home (despite how it sounds, the show is G-rated), I don’t know much about him. Well, as they say, the best way to get to know a chef is by getting to know their food.
And so, I got down to business with Chef Stone in a fully clothed and family-friendly way, with a featured recipe that’s also making an appearance in his upcoming book. The dish is simple and light: Rigatoni with Soppressata, Cherry Tomatoes, Olives and Capers. Inspired by antipasti and combined with pasta, this looked delicious and different enough from my normal cooking fare to warrant a test drive.
So here we go.
Rigatoni with Spicy Italian Salami, Cherry Tomatoes, Olives and Capers
Adapted from Food & Wine
20 cherry or grape tomatoes
5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound spicy soppressata, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1/4 cup drained capers
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 pound rigatoni
Note: My photos all reflect a halved version of this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a small baking dish, toss the tomatoes with two teaspoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for about 10 – 15 minutes, until their skins begin to split.
Note: Grape tomatoes are being used in the above photo
In a large skillet, heat the remaining 3 teaspoons of oil. Add the soppressata and cook over moderately high heat for about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the soppressata to paper towels to drain.
I cooked my soppressata for about 5 minutes, and they ended up being slightly crispy and tasting a bit like bacon. There was no complaint around the table about the bacon taste.
Turn the burner down to medium heat and remove the pan from the burner. Let cool for 30 – 60 seconds. Add the garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Place the pan back on the burner and add roasted tomatoes. Lightly smash roasted tomatoes with the back of a spoon so they burst. Add the wine to the skillet and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the soppressata, olives, capers and parsley. Meanwhile, cook the rigatoni in the boiling water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Add the rigatoni and cooking water to the sauce and toss over moderate heat until the pasta is thoroughly coated, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve in shallow bowls.
For anyone who is looking for something slightly different, this is a nice one to put on the table. It’s quick and light, though my household was not ready for the overwhelming power of calamata olives. If you are a person who does enjoy calamata olives and capers, you’ll love this. If not, the salt and brine will probably be off putting.
I enjoyed this. It was quick and light, and the brightness of the parsley was a wonderful offset. Quick and easy to clean up, and goes well with a side salad and a small loaf of garlic bread. If the rest of Curtis Stone’s book is anything like this dish, it would be well worth picking up. In fact, I think I will.
Weeknight Dinner: A
Overall Meal: A-