Recipe Quick Takes, Forgotten Edition

Hey look! A draft from this spring that I forgot about.

Roasted Tomato & Caramelized Onion Farro – Delicious! This made a pretty good lunch, though it could have used some protein. Not sure what, though. Chickpeas don’t seem like they’d be quite right. Salmon perhaps? Not sure how much that will lend itself to lunch, though. I try not to be that person who stinks up the shared kitchen with seafood smells.

Skillet Baked Ziti – This is from a great Cook’s Illustrated cookbook called the Best 30-Minute Recipe. I’m trying to cook from it more as I’ve had good success with everything I’ve made. This was quick and easy to put together, and endlessly versatile – you could easily add some chicken, sausage or meatballs, or changed up the sauce into whatever flavor profile you like. I made it pretty much as written – I didn’t have any cream, so I thinned some sour cream – and it was easy and delicious. I particularly liked that it’s a one-pot meal, and that the pasta cooks in the sauce. It held up well, too. Since it’s not in the oven for long, you can pretty much just cook this on the stovetop until the pasta is ready, then slide it in the oven to finish. I used my dutch oven for this, as I don’t have a skillet that is both nonstick and oven safe, and this worked well. I think a skillet would have been very, very full and I liked that there was plenty of room to work with in the dutch oven, as you do need to stir this several times – pasta will start to stick to the bottom of the pan otherwise. I’ll definitely be making this again.

I’ll also share the spectacular failure I had with a crock pot recipe. This one was a rice-based dish, with onions, peppers and sausage. It turned into complete and utter mush after its allotted time in the crock pot. And the rice, naturally, released lots of starch, which turned this into a very stiff mush. Appetizing, right? The flavors were fine, nothing special. In retrospect, I should have checked on this at the halfway point. The recipe calls for pre-cooked sausage, so the only thing you really need to cook is the rice and then get the onion and pepper a little softened. I had assumed that it needed that long cook time for the brown rice to be fully cooked, but apparently not. I can’t help but wonder if this is a recipe that was tweaked away from its optimal cook time in order to address a common complaint of “what good is a crock pot recipe that takes less than my entire work day? I can’t get home to turn it off.” Anyway, that photocopy went immediately into the recycling (which is why I can’t tell you what it was or where it was from, because I seem to have neglected to include that information when I wrote this post originally).