Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Signature Dish

I experiment a lot in the kitchen. I'm often lured to try my hand at something I've never attempted to cook before based on a unique combination of ingredients or because Ina or Giada swore it might be the best they've ever had. But for as much as my collection of bookmarked recipes and cookbooks has grown, I have never really had a signature dish to pull from my back pocket- a recipe who's measurements and ingredients I know inside and out without reference, a tried and true dish I feel so confident about making for a table of family and friends that I wouldn't even think twice about it.

So it's been that I've been on a mission to find "the one". I suspect as my cooking acumen grows, I may eventually have one or two, but for the moment, I am focused on putting aside all my experimentation and perfecting a single recipe. Saturday night, I made one that I think may be it. I borrowed Bobby Flay's recipe for Pappardelle with Short Rib Ragu and while it's probably perfection made as is, I made a few tweaks to it based on our household's tastes (taking it more tomato based). In the end, I think it came fairly close to something I could make over and over again.  I threw on some music, poured myself a drink and patiently took my time with each and every step - something I rarely do and I found it truly made a difference, both in the eventual outcome and in my cooking experience. There is really an art to understanding how to achieve depth in seasoning a dish and as I sat at the table that night with my plate in front of me, I made some notes on where I thought I could do better on my next attempt. A little more heat perhaps to compliment the tomato I added, a little less cooking time so the sauce is not as concentrated, finish with fresh parsley... 

It got rave reviews around the table, but I know I can do better. By nature, expertise in anything comes with time. I'll try again soon, without occasion on a day when I can again take all the time I need to get it just right.


1 comment

Albertina M. Cisneros said...

this looks delish!! My husband would adore this. I will bookmark it for future reference.

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