As an addendum to an earlier post, I picked up a cookbook, Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food, by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay from our local library. Like Ramsay himself, it is bold and basic in nature. His recipes, from dishes featured on his television seriesThe F Word, range far over various cuisines, but all seem pretty possible to accomplish, as long as one has the right ingredients. Each recipe can be completed in less than an hour, too.
The recipes are all designed to be easy peasy (once your cupboard is stocked with the best ingredients), and span the globe, with dishes from from Morocco to Italy to Indian flavors. There are also adaptations of Thai, Mexican, Spanish, and of course British cuisine.
The photos of food are gorgeous, too.
The book opens up with his lists of some basic items to keep on hand, both in the cupboard and as tools, and his urging folks that good food will always come when one buys the freshest ingredients. Some of my favorite, “have got to try this at home” take-aways from the book include:
Pea & Mint Soup with Prosciutto
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
4 slices of prosciutto, chopped (or use the bacon from the frittata)
Sea salt and black pepper
Large handful of mint (about 6 sprigs), leaves only
1 pound, 2 ounces peas, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup crème fraiche (or use sour cream)
Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Sprinkle the prosciutto with black pepper and cook over high heat until golden brown and crisp, turning once. Drain in a colander, then on paper towels to remove all excess oil.
Add the mint leaves to a medium pan of boiling, salted water. Bring to a boil, then add the peas and blanch for 2 to 3 minutes until they are just tender and still bright green. Drain, reserving the liquor.
Tip the peas and mint into a blender. Add just enough of the hot liquid (about 2 cups) to cover and whiz to a smooth purée. Add a generous drizzle of olive oil and all but 4 tablespoons of the crème fraiche. Season with salt and pepper to taste and pulse for a few seconds to combine.
Pour soup into warm bowls and dollop reserved crème fraiche on top. Scatter over the crispy prosciutto and serve.
Penne, Green Beans, & Goat Cheese
10 oz. dried penne
seat salt and black pepper
6 tbs. butter
1 red chile, trimmed, seeded, and minced
few rosemary sprigs (leaves only), chopped
9 oz. green beans, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal
extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
5 oz. soft goat cheese (spicy six pepper if available)
1/3 c. toasted pine nuts
Add the pasta to a large pan of boiling water and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pan, add the chile and rosemary and warm over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes to let the flavors infuse. Turn up the heat, add the beans, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are tender.
Drain the pasta and toss with a little olive oil, then mix with the beans. Off the heat, crumble in the cheese and toss to mix, adding a splash of boiling water if the sauce is too thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste, scatter over the pine nuts, and serve.
Ramsay not only offers tips on how to stock your cupboard, but includes instructions in the back of the book for creating some basic stocks and sauces to use in his and other recipes. Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food is a great cookbook to give one ideas. It’s one not just to enjoy flipping through, but I am sure to actually use. And I won’t forget to season my food!
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