I love food. As a result, I adore the Food Network, T*p Chef, and H*ll's Kitch*n. The chefs and their wonderful creations can and do mesmerize me for hours. Also, so does drama! Sometimes, I stumble upon a recipe that I think I can master, such as:
"Orzo with Sausage, Peppers and Tomatoes Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis, 2008
See this recipe on air Saturday Jun. 14 at 7:30 AM ET/PT.
1 red bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 pound orzo pasta
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
7 ounces (2 links) mild Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 clove garlic, minced
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup ricotta salata cheese, crumbled
Using tongs, place the bell peppers over a gas flame. Cook, turning occasionally, until the skins are charred on all sides, about 5 to 6 minutes. (Alternatively, place the peppers on a baking sheet and broil for 5 to 8 minutes, until charred.) Place the charred peppers in a medium bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the peppers to steam for 20 minutes. Under running water, peel away the charred skin from the peppers. Pat the peppers dry with paper towels. Remove the stem and seeds from the peppers and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock, water, and kosher salt to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.
While the pasta is cooking: In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the turkey sausage and saute until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the bell peppers, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes, if using, and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the sausage mixture, 1 tablespoon of the parsley, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss well to combine all ingredients, adding reserved cooking liquid, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Top with the ricotta salata and sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Serve.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Copyright © 2006 Television Food Network, G.P., All Rights Reserved"
So, it seemed simple enough, and something that my finicky husband would enjoy. As a result, an attempt and here is how it turned out.
Please note I made the following substitutions: instead of 1 orange bell pepper - 1 yellow bell pepper, 3 cups of chicken broth - 2 cups, 3 cups of water - 4 cups, plum tomatoes - vine strawberry tomatoes, double the sausage and spicy variety, double the garlic, ricotta salata cheese - three cheese grated (parmesan, romano & asiago).
I doubled the sausage because it was our main meal and it was initially presented as part of a picnic, while the other substitutions were out of convenience/necessity.
Also, the recipe and show both didn't explain this, but it you are new to roasting peppers - first you can buy them pre-roasted (who knew) and secondly - you need to deskin all of it. The texture is just not pleasant. Thank G-d I for once didn't follow the recipe exactly and deskinned before we got that far.
T gave it a thumbs up, so you know it was easy and that any one can do it. :) Baking is my thing - more on that for another day.
We both agreed that I would definitely use the ricotta salata next time or more of a crumbly and substantial cheese with a sprinkle of the grated to top things off. Also, T suggested using a raw pepper instead - but that is his preference he doesn't enjoy his peppers cooked.
Overall it was YUMMY and bound to be repeated soon in our home!