Monday, March 21, 2011

Kitchen Fail: Fusilli with Crispy Kale & Ricotta

It didn't take long into my blogging experience to have a cooking fail. :( This recipe wasn't a total fail, it came out nicely and looked very appetizing; it was just flavorless.  This is mostly my fault (I know Rachael Ray never writes a bad recipe!) for leaving out the meat, just wanting a veggie meal.  It wasn't terrible, it was very much edible, just bland. 

When I first discovered this recipe, it grabbed my attention because it used kale-something I hadn't cooked with before. That part of the dish was a major success, I ate quite a bit of it by itself after roasting.  I will certainly try this again, but I won't leave out the italian sausage (the recipe said was optional)

Another issue I had with this recipe and many others written by Rachael Ray and many other food network stars that I adore is finding ingredients that they say you can find at your "average grocery store".  I don't know about you, but I live in Central Kentucky and although I live 10 minutes from the second largest city in my wonderful state, my grocery stores (even the specialty ones) do not have italian chili peppers and 5 different types of kale and many international spices and ingredients.
Heck, half the time I can't even buy arugula for crying out loud! And I LOVE arugula.  Do you have this problem?

Fusilli with Crispy Kale & Ricotta
Printable Recipe 
Source: Everyday with Rachael Ray March 2011 

1 lb black kale - stemmed, washed and dried
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
1 lb fusilli pasta
1 lb hot or sweet italian bulk sausage (I left this out)
3 to 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small italian red cherry chili pepper (my grocery didn't have these so I just used a few red & yellow mini peppers)
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
A couple small sprigs rosemary, finely chopped (I omitted these due to my loathing of rosemary)*
1 1/2 cups fresh sheep's or cow's milk ricotta (my grocery doesn't carry fresh ricotta so I used regular whole milk)
freshly grader nutmeg
shaved pecorino-romano cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Sprinkle a few tbsp of extra virgin olive oil over the kale (place 1/2 of kale on a baking sheet and the other half on another baking sheet) and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, rotate baking sheets half way through baking time.  

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook until al dente.  Drain pasta and return to pot, reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

If using sausage, drizzle 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet and heat over medium-high.  Add the sausage by crumbling the meat into skillet and cook until browned.  Using a slotted spoon, remove sausage to a plate and set aside.  Add remaining 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to skillet and reduce heat to medium and add garlic and chili pepper and stir a couple minutes.  Stir in the thyme and rosemary.
peppers, garlic, & thyme

Whisk reserved pasta water into the garlic oil, pour over pasta and add half the crispy kale, the sausage, ricotta, and some nutmeg.  Toss to coat, season with salt and pepper and extra nutmeg if needed. Serve with pecorino-romano cheese and piles of crispy kale on the side. 
*I cannot stand the sight or smell of rosemary due to a bad accident my step-dad had with rosemary and chicken. Instead of using a few tsp of dried rosemary, he used about 1/2 a cup in a chicken dish. Ever since I cannot bring myself to make anything with rosemary. Perhaps, some day in the future I will be brave and try it again. :)

If at first you don't succeed, try and try again! :) Happy Cooking everyone. 

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