Monday, October 29, 2007

Too Many Cookbooks, Never Enough Time

Or, why the hell do I have all these? (Well, somewhat in my own defense, some of them were gifts.) (And don't get all excite by the picture...those really aren't mine...they're too well organized...but, I bet I have at least 1.5 of those shelves worth of cookbooks.)

I got all kinds of cookbooks--good ones, mediocre ones, probably some bad ones, some old ones (for the historical value!!), ones I had to have for a particular recipe that I saw when I flipped through the book in the bookstore and can't remember exactly which page it know, all those cookbooks!

I've got books from which I've never cooked any recipes, so I'm going to try and rectify this. I'm going to try and cook a recipe each night this week from one of the cookbooks that I've never used before...starting tomorrow night, because I already blew it for tonight.

But, I did use a cookbook that I owned and not something I got online, Food Network, etc. I picked up this little cookbook in the bargain bin probably at Books-a-Million/Titles-a-Thousand, and I think I've only made this one recipe out of it, but I've made it a blue million's a good cold weather that's finally gotten a little cooler around here. (But, as I flipped through it, I did see another one or two that I thought "hmm...I really should try that one...and that one, too.)

Pasta Fagioli

(from 50 Ways with Pasta by Katharine Blakemore with some modifications by me)

Serves 4-6

1 onion, diced
3 sticks celery, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 slices smoked streaky bacon, rinded and chopped
1 Tbs olive oil
5 cups beef stock
2 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 can white beans (navy or cannelloni), rinsed
1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed
3-5 ounces ditalini pasta or other small pasta (I use more pasta, because I like more pasta)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. In a large sauce pot, sauté onions, celery, bacon in oil for approximately 5 minutes, until onions and celery are soft.
2. Add stock, dried oregano, bay leaves, and beans to pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Uncover and bring heat up to medium. Add pasta and cook for another 10 minutes until pasta is tender.
4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with the ubiquitous crusty bread.

The Man loves him some pasta fagioli, especially pasta fagioli that has bacon in it. I always put in the maximum amount of bacon I can, because more bacon = better in my book. The first time I made this recipe, I thought it was a little bland, so I kicked it up a bit and added the oregano, the bay leaf, and the garlic. I think it improved the recipe, if I do say so myself.

I promise tomorrow will be higher on the experimentation scale...I'm doing beef short ribs, which I have never cooked befores, so this should be interesting...very interesting.


Belinda said...


I have a lot of cookbooks (for a layperson, anyway), too, but there are like three or four that I actually USE regularly. Marvin Woods, Bernard Clayton (bread), Fannie Farmer, and Barbara Kafka.

Lin said...

I love cookbooks, but I only have a small shelf in my kitchen (where Joseph built a bookcase into what used to be a window looking into a carport) so I have to restrain myself. My largest collection of cookbooks are about cookies -- I'm always looking for new treats for my Christmas party. I also love Ann Hodgman's "Beat This" cookbooks (there are two). And of course I have a couple of Star Wars cookbooks (think Wookie Cookies).

J said...

Moving to the UK I have been freed of my cookbook addiction. I actually only kept one, which is called Absolutely Ala Carte written by a gourmet shop in the Mississippi Delta.