Cookbook: Everyday Pasta
Author: Giada De LaurentiisPublisher: Clarkson Potter
Recipe: Linguini with Turkey Meatballs
Giada De Laurentiis just released her third cookbook, Everyday Pasta. Every time I get a new cookbook, I try at least one recipe within the first day or two, just to gauge the book. I usually try something simple. Why? Because if the simple stuff doesn't work, then the rest of the book is likely to disappoint. So what did I choose? Something easy: Linguini with Turkey Meatballs. It is featured as quick and tasty, and is supposed to leave my guests hungry for more (her words, not mine).
Ahem. Now let's get down to business.
Giada had a brilliant idea to add chopped sun dried tomatoes to the meatballs along with diced pancetta. Brilliant! Those little nuggets were a welcome surprise in the otherwise non brilliant meatballs (see below).
Putting the recipe together was fairly easy, but the ingredients DID need to be tweaked (specifically more bread-crumbs to hold the meatballs together). Also, adding two eggs to the mixture left you with pretty wet meatballs (even after the addition of more bread-crumbs - but you can only add so much to offset the overabundance of eggs).
But the biggest disappointment was that the flavors of this dish just weren't there. The meatballs were bland (even with pancetta AND sun dried tomatoes) and the sauce lacked spark or depth (or heft for that matter, even after simmering a bit longer). My testing companion commented that even when the sauce is there 'it's just not there - it's just water and tomatoes'.
While it wasn't terrible, I wouldn't make it again. Which isn't to say I've given up on the book. But for spaghetti and meatballs, save your time and use another recipe from another book. How about this one? And I hate to say it, but even this one is better than Giada's. And you really can't go wrong with Mario. Doesn't he have sugo coursing through his bloodstream?
I think this recipe speaks volumes for the way that TV personalities tend to crank out cookbooks one after the other. Much like new rock bands who spend years crafting that first hit record, the second and third installments just fall flat.
Bottom line: this is just one of those recipes that looks great on paper, but just doesn't come through in execution. But I will be stealing the diced pancetta for my next meatball experiment.
Labels: cooking, food, home, life, pasta