Spring Synchronicity

roasted tomato cream sauce2 Sometimes ~ not always, but sometimes ~ things fall together nicely.

Last week, the respected food and cooking website Serious Eats named The Glorious Vegetables of Italy one of five essential Italian cookbooks. It was a completely unexpected and entirely welcome accolade for one of my favorite “babies” (as I tend to think of my books), this one so beautifully photographed by Sang An.

EyeCandy_MAY2_gloriousvegetablesofitaly

Coincidentally, right around the same time, the book was chosen by my publisher, Chronicle Books, as part of its May Eye Candy e-book promotion. This means that until the end of the month, the electronic version of The Glorious Vegetables of Italy is on sale for $1.99. A total steal. Six platforms are available: Kindle, Nook, Apple iBookstore, Google Play, Kobo, and Bookshout.

cherry tomatoes IG

Seemingly unrelated, the other day I found myself craving tomatoes. I guess the thought that tomato season is around the corner prompted it. We are still a couple of months away from good ripe summer tomatoes here in Virginia, so I caved and bought some cherry tomatoes at the supermarket. They were local to Maryland and organic, but still a bit of a splurge and a cheat. To improve their flavor, I roasted them.

cherry tomatoes roasted square

I decided to use them to make one of my favorite weeknight recipes from The Glorious Vegetables of Italy, Capricci with Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Cream. There’s a synchronicity* to this recipe that I like, the way that both the caramelized tomatoes and the cream contribute a bit of luxury to a simple weeknight pasta dish. It’s celebratory, in an accidental sort of way.

roasted tomato cream sauce2 The other titles in the Serious Eats roundup are: Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking; Cooking by Hand, by Paul Bertolli; and two collections: La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy, curated by the Italian Academy of Cuisine; and The Silver Spoon, published in the U.S. by Rizzoli. I had all of them except the Bertolli book, a situation I quickly remedied.

casarecce square

Anyhow, the short list got me to thinking about my personal favorite Italian cookbooks. There are quite a few I admire and love paging through, but the ones I reach for when I’m researching or when I’m looking for inspiration, the ones I rely on, are my mother’s copy of Ada Boni’s Il Talismano della Felicita’ (in Italian); Kyle M. Phillips’s translation of Pellegrino Artusi’s La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene; Naples at Table, by Arthur Schwartz; The Heart of Sicily, by Anna Tasca Lanza; My Calabria, by Rosetta Costantino; and Unplugged Kitchen, by Viana La Place.

Which Italian cookbooks are your favorites?

* * * * * * * *

* synchronicity: /ˌsɪnkrəˈnɪsɪtɪ/
noun
1.
an apparently meaningful coincidence in time of two or more similar or identical events that are causally unrelated

Word Origin
C20: coined by Carl Jung from synchronic + -ity

* * * * * * * *

Makes 4 main-dish servings

Capricci With Cherry Tomatoes and Cream

Who says you can't have luxury on a weeknight? Caramelized cherry tomatoes enriched with cream turn this simple pasta dish into something celebratory. Use a short, sturdy noodle such as capricci, casarecce, or penne, and serve with a mixed green salad. Recipe slightly adapted from The Glorious Vegetables of Italy.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 or 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 pound dried capricci, casarecce, or other short, sturdy pasta
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Instructions

Heat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Arrange the cherry tomatoes, cut-side-up on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the oil over them and sprinkle with a large pinch of salt and a grinding of pepper. Roast the tomatoes for about 1 hour, until they are somewhat shriveled but still juicy.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and salt generously.

Heat the butter in a large, deep sauté pan set over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted and just beginning to foam, stir in the shallot. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 7 minutes. Scrape in the tomatoes and any juices that have collected on the baking sheet. Add the thyme sprigs and pour in the cream. Heat gently to a simmer over low to medium-low heat. Turn off the heat, stir in the basil, and cover to keep warm.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions until al dente. Drain in a colander, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot and spoon 2/3 of the sauce over it. Add half the Parmigiano and toss gently to combine. Add a splash or two of pasta water if necessary to loosen the sauce. Spoon into pasta bowls and top with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle a little more Parmigiano on top and serve.

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19 Responses to Spring Synchronicity

  1. Kathleen Shepard May 21, 2015 at 10:18 am #

    Congratulations! Well-deserved praise!

  2. Coco May 21, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

    I LOVE this recipe!
    Also love the flip flops in the picture :))))))

  3. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way May 21, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

    I can’t wait to get the e-books and I do collect AND use cookbooks. They become friends. They are used and stained. Now, I have a dilemma, I am one of those people who love the feel of pages. I enjoy staring at the photographs and imagine how I will make it. This must be the week of the roasted tomatoes — I love them and I made a recipe with them this week. I am looking forward to trying your recipe. I am ordering your book now. I can’t pass up a bargain. Grazie!!

  4. Marilena Leavitt May 21, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

    This is wonderful! Congratulations Domenica, you deserve this so much!
    Marilena

  5. Rosa Jeanne Mayland May 21, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

    That pasta dish looks amazing! I’ll have to try it as soon as I get my hands on cherry tomatoes.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  6. ciaochowlinda May 21, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

    Congratulations on a well-deserved distinction. I’ve eyed that pasta dish of yours for a while and it’s finally time to make it. I love all those cookbooks you mentioned – Marcella’s is my go-to resource – but any of Lidia’s would be a welcome addition too.

    • Domenica Marchetti June 27, 2015 at 4:48 pm #

      A belated reply to your comment, Linda. Yes, I have one or two of Lidia’s books. I haven’t cooked from them but I keep meaning to. I enjoy her show and can see she’s the real deal.

  7. Paula Francese May 21, 2015 at 4:51 pm #

    Congratulations on the accolade (richly deserved) and thanks for the terrific recipe.

  8. bettyannqquirino May 22, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

    I love how simple this recipe is. Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition from Serious Eats, Domenica! So happy for you 🙂

  9. Chiara May 23, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

    congratulazioni Domenica !Grazie per aver condiviso questa ricetta così particolare.Passa un felice weekend !

  10. Frank Fariello May 25, 2015 at 9:19 am #

    Unexpected perhaps, but entirely deserved! Congrats!

  11. paninigirl May 25, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

    What a honor-comgratulations! I just pulled out both your pasta and the vegetable books this morning for a little inspiration-thanks Domenica for all that you do.

    • Domenica Marchetti June 27, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

      Janie, thanks for your kind words, and apologies for such a late reply!

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