When I started this site almost a decade ago (some of you may remember!), it wasn’t to write about clothes or makeup. Or motherhood. Or my career, or politics, or my thoughts, or about life in general. I started this blog with a very specific purpose: to keep track of the recipes I made as I was learning to cook.
After about two years of posting nothing but recipes on this website, I took a detour. I read an article about how bloggers were revolutionizing the fashion industry by posting real-life outfits that they were actually wearing, instead of magazine spreads with professional models and stylists and photographers. And I decided to add fashion to this blog, and the rest is history. (Sort of. Eight years later, I’m not sure that’s exactly what happened with fashion blogging, but that’s a topic for another day.)
But you know what I’ve heard, time and again, from readers of this site? They loved the recipes.
So, hey, guess what? I decided to listen!
With a two-year-old and a full time job, I don’t have a lot of time to cook these days. You probably won’t see me rendering duck fat any time soon. (For years, that post about duck fat was the most popular post on this blog, FYI. Duck fat. Ponder that for a moment.)
But I still love cooking. Sure, there’s something wonderful about a lazy night eating takeout on the couch, but give me a quiet weekend, and you’ll still find me scoping out the farmers market, making a giant mess in our kitchen, and emerging with something delicious. So when a few of you guys wrote to me in January and mentioned recipes, I thought, hey, while I take a few months to figure out where this blogging thing is headed… maybe getting back to basics for a while would be a good start.
But here’s a wrinkle in writing about recipes.
I don’t always use them.
In fact, unless I’m baking, most of the time, I don’t use recipes.
I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen for long enough that following a set of ingredients or directions sounds kind of… boring? I guess that’s it. The problem is, when you don’t use a recipe while you’re making a dish, it’s really hard to post a step-by-step recipe online after the dish is done.
(This is not to say, “oh, I’m such a great cook that I don’t use recipes.” In fact, it’s more often the opposite. Not using recipes is often a total disaster. I once made an entire stock pot of butternut squash soup, and at the last minute decided to pour a beer into it. It was completely disgusting, and I had to throw out the entire thing. That’s not a lone example; I could tell a dozen stories with the same ending. But if I’m telling the truth about how I cook, the fact is, I mostly prefer to do things my way, disasters included, than to follow directions.)
For now, I’m going to experiment with a new way to write these up. I’m going to tell you, as best I can, what I did to create a dish. But I’m going to do it as a narrative, not as a set of ingredients and a list of directions.
So here we go.
This recipe starts with some pasta. Right about now, you might be wondering, “What type of pasta is that?” The answer is: I have no idea. No clue whatsoever. It’s a type that I saw at the grocery store and I bought it. A quick Google Image search suggests that it might be called gomiti, but truthfully, I’ve never heard of that type of pasta before and that might just be a word that someone made up. Can you use other types of pasta in this recipe? Again, not a clue. Probably. I don’t see how it would make much of a difference. Live wild and free, people.
Where were we? Oh right, pasta. Boil the water for your pasta. Add some salt, because that’s a thing that the Food Network told me to do at one point, supposedly it makes the pasta more flavorful. In a separate pan, simmer the garlic in the olive oil. Add tomatoes (break them up with your fingers or chop them), dried basil, dried oregano, dried parsley, burrata (again, chopped), parmesan, and spinach.
Oh, what’s that? You have some more questions?
How much basil should I use? I wish I could tell you. I just shook some into the bowl until I decided there was enough. Great method! Super easy to replicate! Not. Maybe a teaspoon? I’m just making that up. It could be more or less. The other spices are easier: a large pinch.
Why did you use burrata instead of mozzarella? Because burrata is pretty much my favorite food on earth and I use it in everything and if you haven’t tried it yet, your life is literally incomplete. Please do so right now.
What’s burrata? Shoot. You got me. I don’t know. In starting to type this, I was pretty sure that it was a type of mozzarella, but Google tells me that I’m wrong. It’s a separate type of cheese made from mozzarella. Basically, it looks like a ball of mozzarella, but when you slice into it, it’s this creamy, liquid-y goop that just might be the best thing you’ve ever tasted.
Back to the recipe(-ish). Simmer all the ingredients for about twenty minutes. Cook the pasta for the number of minutes it says on the box. Drain the pasta, mix everything together, sprinkle some additional parmesan on the top, and serve!
That’s pretty much it! It’s really yummy. Basically, just throw the ingredients into a bowl and it’ll probably turn out fine. I’m not sure there’s much you could do to screw it up. (Don’t dump a beer in it. Take it from me, that’s always a mistake.) Rough instructions below. Go give it a try!