It is common knowledge among my nearest and dearest that I am probably the worst (or laziest) cook in the world.  And that's the whole WIDE world I'm talking about.  In fact, I am still trying to live down the Grape Cookie Incident of 1989.  (Raisins.  Grapes. I think you get the idea.)

My issues with cooking are, I believe anyway, 1) an inability to read directions.  It's the same with sewing patterns, kids.  I just have a rough time following.  I don't know what the deal is.  It's not like I don't love to read.  I love to read.  I read books all the time.  2)  I have no idea what spices/herbs/combinations of ingredients taste and/or look like.  Seriously, would you be able to recognize fennel if you saw it?  Would it be good in a taco?  3)  I can be a little too creative.  Creativity is not a bad thing - but if you don't have butter or flour and are still determined to make sugar cookies . . . well that spells problem.

Fortunately for me, I found myself a fella who knows his way around a frying pan.  And while I am most definitely NOT complaining that I have nothing to do at the end of the workday but clean a few dishes, part of me feels like I should do some kitchen learning.  So here we are.  I have successfully negotiated my way into two nights of dinner a week.  (I wanted three.)

It's Monday and I am starting off easy.  I found this recipe in Sunset Magazine and have (all indicators point to hoarding here) been "saving it to try" since July 2010. 
My first meal is Tomato Orecchiette with Brie and Basil and I kicked it off with problems because I couldn't find anything called orecchiette at the store and I started getting panicky because I hate crowded grocery stores.  I have since learned that orechiette gets its name from the Italian word, orecchio, which means ear.  It's made from little cubes of dough which are (or were, I don't really know if this is still the practice) pressed into a dome shape with one's thumb.  

Too little, too late.  I bought gnocchi (nocca which means knuckle, for those of you wondering).  Not like those round potato blobs, though.  This gnocchi is whole wheat and hollow. I guess I do know something about what type of pasta not to buy.  (Motto:  No potato blobs!)  It'll be fine.  I got "a true artisan pasta" if the packaging is to be believed.

So basically you make pasta.  Chop up tomatoes, basil, and brie.  Toss it all together.  Add olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.  And you're done.  Hurray!

It's pretty tasty, if a little lacking in the flavor department.  Part of this could be because it seems we have no pepper in the house.  Oops!  

Even though I have no idea what I am talking about, I have a few suggestions.  First, cook the garlic a little before tossing it in the pot with the rest of the ingredients.  Bites of raw garlic are pungent and sometimes bite you back.  Also, make sure you have pepper in your house.  Last, throw on some Parmesan.  I know, this whole dish is already about cheese, but brie is a little bland and the sharpness just might bump things up a notch on the Flav-O-Meter.

All in all.  Very easy and kinda good.  

Liz - 1.  Kitchen Gods - 0.
If you want to try it for yourself:

Tomato Orecchiette with Brie and Basil
12 oz. orecchiette pasta
2 lg. tomotoes, chopped
4 oz. brie
1tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and return to pot.  Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Servings:  4
Time:  30 minutes
 


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