So many of you might know that Shelley came up to visit last weekend. It’s nice to be “offline” sometimes with good friends – Michelle joined us for an aperitivo as well.
I think I’m a bit shy about cooking for others now. Since I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting (that becomes rather public after on this blog), often I get nervous about involving friends in my experimentation. Cooking is something I like to do but it can be very personal in certain stages, a bit of challenge with myself more than anything.
Back in the States, there are several meals I cooked for large crowds and I really enjoyed it – Thanksgiving being one and something that I also did in Rome (but yet have to do it in Milan). I can cook a big turkey with no problems, even if it fills up the entire oven here! I decided to make pasta for Shelley since the past few times I made it, it went pretty well.
I also didn’t carry my camera around this weekend with Shelley which is why you will see mainly pics from her about the weekend. And when I brought out the camera while I was cooking on Sunday, it was obvious why. S is used to my photo-taking, but I’ve learned that I should start preparing much earlier than I want to, and to serve others first so that my picture-taking can leave some semblance of a normal (and hot) meal.
Luckily, S and Shelley cracked open a bottle of white wine she had brought (at a whoppingly delicious 15% alcohol content) and snacked on Pugliese taralli while I went shutter-happy. I of course had the occasional sip from my glass and by the time we finished the meal, I was glad I had taken pictures first so mine wouldn’t be out of focus!
I wanted to incorporate burrata in this pasta dish, a special cheese from Puglia (and more specifically, Andria) and sooo delicious. The wikipedia entry on burrata is quite interesting. Burrata is made by taking mozzarella “threads” or pasta and then stuffing it with cream and closing it up like a little ball. The mozzarella doesn’t form a rind, but the outer layer is harder/denser than the creamy inside.
I would have loved to be there when someone came up with the idea for the burrata: “You know, Giuseppe, this mozzarella is good, but what if it was filled with cream? That would be ottimo!!” Long live the gluttons (myself included), the ones that said “this could be better.”
Here’s my recipe for basic pasta (minus the lemons) – in this version, I added several tablespoons of peperoncino (hot pepper) to the mix and made the smaller spaghetti.
I kept the “sauce” simple and light and just cut up these tiny pomodorini, a few leaves of basil and of course our wonderful Pugliese olive oil. I didn’t mix the burrata in with the pasta, but rather put a few slices/dollops on the side of the dish and left the rest out for people to add to their own dish as they wanted. There wasn’t any burrata left at the end of the meal.
Qualche volta mi vergogno di cucinare per altre persone. Lo trovo una cosa molto personale il processo di sperimentare (e sbagliare) in cucina.
Negli US, ho spesso cucinato pasti grandi per amici (sopratutto a universita’) – sono abbastanza al mio agio con il pasto del Giorno di Ringraziamento, per esempio – l’ho pure cucinato a Roma pero’ non ancora qua a Milano. Un tacchino che riempe tutto il forno? Non vedo l’ora! Ho deciso di fare la pasta fatto in casa perche’ l’ho fatto altre volte e cosi’ sono abbastanza sicura di non sbagliare.
Non ho portato la mia macchina fotografica in giro questo weekend con Shelley, perche’ quando lo tiro fuori, si capisce perche’. Ormai ho imparato di cominciare di cucinare (e poi fotografare) il piu’ presto possibile per poter poi mangiare con normalita’. Fortunatamente, Shelley ha portato una bottiglia di vino bianco (fortissimo a 15%) e c’erano i taralli pugliesi per stuzzicare l’apetito. Ho assagiato il vino pero’ volevo finire le foto prima di ubriacarmi (ed era facile con quel vino).
Volevo incorporare la burrata con questa pasta, che la trovo spettacolare! Mi sarebbe piaciuto di esserci quando l’hanno inventato la burrata – magari il discorso era cosi’: “Sai, Giuseppe, questa mozzarella e’ buona pero’ non sarebbe meglio con un po’ di panna dentro?”
W i golosi!!! Certo che mi considero un di loro, quelli che hanno detto, “Non sarebbe meglio cosi’….?”
Con questa ricetta ho incluso il peperoncino nella pasta, per dare un tocco piccante al pasto. Non ho fatto una salsa con la burrata, invece ho messo alcuni pezzi con la pasta (condita con olio pugliese, basilico e questi pomodorino piccolini). Non e’ rimasto neanche un granello della burrata.
Your pasta looks delicious. i would love to give it a shot too. just curious… if burrata is not available, what can i replace it with? is it possible to make burrata ourselves? thx.
Ms. Adventures in Italy says
Ciao piccola – I think you could try to make burrata if you could make mozzarella (it’s possible) – but if you don’t have it available, you could probably use a very good mozzarella di bufala (buffalo milk) instead.
Ha ha. That’s so funny that you cook on your blog but not for real people. Well not that you and S aren’t real people. :) I would imagine you every weekend cooking for long tables of people. I cook more for real people (well not here lately…) than I do on my blog but I’m always prepared for people not to like it because typically what I make is vegan or ethnic food, and if they hate it I chalk it up to a problem with them not being adventurous. How’s that for self-preservation? Not that I’m that confident in my cooking but I cook merely as a hobby and so if an experiment goes wrong, pazienza!
Ms. Adventures in Italy says
I know, you guys have to come over for lunch or dinner soon (now we have new chairs) – I’m still a bit intimidated from your brunch and homemade bagels!!
I feel the same about cooking for visitors! There’s a certain comfort in knowing that P will eat pretty much anything, and I’ll eat literally anything ;) I always feel even more nervous if there’s a “real” Italian involved. Anyway, complimenti! Your pasta looks delicious :)
Well, it’s hard to mess up brunch food. :) And bagels really are just flour, salt and water if you think about it. I realize that when Italians come, I tend to not serve them “classic” Italian comfort foods that they could compare to mamma’s. I did make a totally vegan lasagne once (not saying it was vegan until after they ate it) and that was risky but it went over OK. Nine times out of ten though I make Indian, Asian, Middle Eastern, Mexican or something else (obviously suited to northern Italian tastes – in other words, fewer onions, garlic or hot pepper than I’d normally put). One time I had my own chili cook-off – Texas vs. Cincinnati served with cornbread. Anyone who knows me enough to come to my house for dinner knows by now they are going to get something “weird”
In southern itlay cheese was often used to preserve products that would go bad too fsat otherwise. In some areas butter is preserved this way, so is a type of salame. Probably burrata was created following the same logical process.
nyc/caribbean ragazza says
That pasta looks great.
I love to cook for other people but dislike my apartment so I don’t entertain at all.
Judith in Umbria says
Leftover buratta is an oxymoron. Besides, it must be as fresh as practically just out of the bufala.
Great job and that photo of the burrata is a stunner.
I’m here by way of Tastespotting. I saw the word buratta and came running. I first tried burrata in January, and the one and only grocery store I was able to find it at within 30 miles, stopped carrying it about a week later. Once I tried it, I was hooked. There is just something so much more delicious about it than regular mozzarella.
That photo of it, mmMMM.. Thank you for that. It looks beautiful.
Ms. Adventures in Italy says
Everyone, I promise to stop being bashful about cooking…maybe it’s time for a Italy-wide GTG at mine :)
Ciao Muffin – that’s great that you can find burrata where you are! :)
That looks so truly yummy. Thanks for such a colorful creation!
Shelley - At Home in Rome says
Oh man, I even ATE this meal and I feel hungry again just looking at the photos… and your photos are as always, incredible, and certainly worth all the work and effort that goes into them!! Grazie ancora! I’m showing this one to Ale. Adding the peperoncino to the pasta dough is genius.
When (IF) I ever leave Brindisi then I certainly will NOT read this blog anymore for fear of going into fits of crying over food. I don’t know how I discovered buratta but I’m sure it was just one of those things they said “Prova!” and I did. When I think about moving back to the States, I dream of having a real Italian food store in Cincinnati or Indianapolis. They make fresh mozzarella in the cheese section of Auchan now. Surely I could make buratta in the US.
All the photos are vibrant on this post, but the burrata photo with the opalescent sheen is amazing. I’d eat any of your experiments anytime!
Oh wow, that burrata looks sinful! I haven’t made pasta in a while, these photos are really making me wonder why!
That is some serious food porn! :)
ooh, these are the best photos i’ve seen so far! love the vibrant backgrounds.
-reader in cali
I made this pasta for a going away party I threw for a friend who is moving to Italy. Everyone LOVED it and we are all hooked on this amazing cheese! Good news for anyone in the states: Trader Joe’s now carries Burrata!
Katie Parla says
One of my favorite places in Rome makes ravioli condiment with burrata but I personally never get so far. Its usually done before I start cooking. Im so addicted to the stuff.
So simple, healthy, and delicious. I am going to give this a try and hopefully my family enjoys it, which I know they will.
Have you tried Sardinian style lamb lasagne.
Instead of pasta,use the Sardinian crackerbread.Wet it in hot water then roll the filling like a pancake.Much lighter than pasta.
I would love the recipe for this dish – where can I find it?