Thursday, March 12, 2009

Checking In With A Giada Recipe

My blog, my blog, my precious precious blog ... oh, how I've MISSED thee! *blowing kisses at the computer screen* I'm a horrible mama to you, I know. I created you with so much love, went through the initial growing pains with you, nursed you, cherished you, watched you blossom ... and then I disappear for FOUR DAYS without so much as a leaving a note! The same goes for you, dear readers. You, who have stuck by me through post after post of my random babbling (but at least the recipes were good, right?!). Dear readers, you have done nothing to deserve such tardiness from me. It's not you, it's me. Will you give me a chance to redeem myself? Pretty please? Trust me, I have some fab-yu-lus-ness waiting for you as you scroll down. So much so that I can't help but submit a couple of the pics to Gayathri from Just Urs for MCC 2009.

But first, I owe you an explanation. I actually skipped town after my previous post. No, I'm not on the run from the law or anything, nor did DH kick me out (not after I've bought his love with all this food!). You see, it's my dear 'ol dad's b'day this week. And I wanted to surprise him by showing up at my parents' doorstep completely unannounced. Which I did, and it was a fabulous surprise for them, so mission accomplished there. But the thing is, my parents live in Canada. And I haven't been back to visit them in a while. So now that I'm here, I plan to stay for a week. I've used this time for some selfish needs like catching up with family and friends, BUT I didn't forget you, dear readers, or my darlin' blog. You're always lurking (hm, not the best choice of words, ummm, "creeping"? No. "Lingering"? Yes.) ... you're always lingering at the back of mind, and for you I braved the bitter Canadian winter winds in order to experience, taste and photograph real gems of deliciousness. When I get back home to Long Island, you'll be seeing lot of Toronto on my plate. I've already reported back to DH with some of my more drool-worthy finds. He so jealous. Hee hee.
This Rigatoni With Butternut Squash & Prawns is my first Giada de Laurentiis recipe. Much like Giada, it's just so darn PRETTY! I couldn't stop photographing it. So you'll see some really tantalizing shots as you read along. It's also my first post using some kind of seafood. Seafood has always been a little intimidating for me, but I wuv shellfish, so hopefully this is the first of many nummy seafood recipes coming your way from me.
Hello little shrimpies ... or should I call you Monsieur Prawn?!

Rigatoni With Butternut Squash & Prawns
(adapted from Giada's recipe on the Food Network)
Serves 6

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
1 butternut squash, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon
1 cup vegetable stock
1 pound rigatoni
1 pound prawns, peeled and deveined (I used the frozen ones, thawed)
3/4 to 1 cup whole milk (low fat worked fine for me)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 cup grated Parmesan

Method:
1. Warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Add the butternut squash, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Saute until the squash is golden and tender, 10 minutes or so.
3. Add the vegetable stock, bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the squash is very soft, another 10-15 minutes.

4. Transfer the squash mixture to a blender or food processor and puree.
5. Bring a large pot of salted water 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. Drain pasta.

6. Meanwhile, warm the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the prawns with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Add the prawns to the pan and cook until just pink, about 3 minutes.
7. In a large pot over low heat combine the cooked pasta, pureed squash mixture, half of the basil and 3/4 cup milk. Stir to combine. Add the remaining 1/4 cup milk if the sauce needs to be moistened (I needed more, because it was still pretty thick). Add the cooked prawns, remaining basil, and cheese. Stir until warm and serve.
Verdict: I would rate this a 6.5, almost 7, out of 10. I love butternut squash, so I did enjoy the sauce, and adding the sauteed prawns is a really great idea. This is a wonderful dish to entertain friends with, because of the subtle, pleasant flavors and the gorgeous presentation. It's also healthy! But next time I'm going to experiment with more spices and herbs. It needed more depth, more layers of flavor. This dish reminds me of Giada herself - great looks, but a bit shallow. Yes, I know I'm probably going to get a lot of hate-mail for saying that! But I don't really like Giada. I used to, but then I read somewhere what Giada said about Lidia Bastianich - something along the lines of calling her "boring" and that she, Giada, can do better. Basically dissing my Lidia. Nobody, I say, NOBODY messes with my Lidia. Especially not a young snippy little thing like Giada. Lidia can cook her under the table anyday, in her sleep. I'm very big on giving teachers, elders, mentors their due, and Lidia Bastianich is an institution. You don't have to like her, but you should respect her. Still, my score for this recipe is based purely on the dish. DH liked it, especially the prawns, and says he'll happily have it if I make it again. So Giada, looks like you and I will have to learn to work together!
I wonder if Ben over at What's Cooking? will still accept this entry for the weekly round-up of Presto Pasta Nights? Gosh I couldn't bear to get kicked out of that fabulous group! No hard feelings I hope, all you Giada fans out there. C'mon, I'm willing to try her dishes, and give them a fair shot. Still friends?!

19 comments:

Ruth said...

And who would dream of leaving you out of Presto Pasta Nights. The dish certainly LOOKs awesome and as for dissing Lidia...maybe we have what she said out of context.

At least I'll give her the benefit of the doubt.

Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights...the dish and the story.

Muneeba said...

Oh Ruth, thks for keeping the peace! :) You're right, we should give Giada the benefit of the doubt - it's only fair. And I'm so glad PPN takes me as I am ... scandalous comments and all!

Donna-FFW said...

This looks wonderful.. I have to go through your archives and look for your 9/10 ratings and give them a whirl. I love your blog here.. thanks for visiting me also!

Teanna said...

This is my FAVORITE dish to make! I make it all of the time because it's delicious, creamy, and HEALTHY! Yours looks absolutely beautiful!

Ben said...

LOL, Of course we are still friends! I love the presentation of this dish and the ingredients, even though you think it needs more spices. *whisper* more spices is always a good thing ;)

Thanks for participating in PPN this week :)

5 Star Foodie said...

This pasta looks amazing! Sounds like you had a fun trip!

Btw, just wanted to let you know - your feed is not updating (i'm following your blog through blogger) - the last post it has is from two months ago.

Muneeba said...

5 Star Foodie, thks for alerting me to that .. but I don't know how to fix my feed! All my settings are at "full". Any tips on what I can do??

Muneeba said...

I pinged Feedburner ... did that make a difference??

Varsha Vipins said...

Back with a bang..!!
That sure is an extremely good looking dish..Prawns are always so sexy n pretty..:P
Combo with Pasta sounds so fantastic n yum..!!

5 Star Foodie said...

Sorry I was offline earlier, whatever you did with feedburner seems to have worked and I can see all your feeds posted now. I'll keep an eye for you for the next update and let you know.

ericriveracooks said...

That is brilliant.

Kevin said...

Butternut squash makes an excellent pasta! I like the shrimp on top!

Natashya said...

You are partying in Toronto? I am less than an hour away, I could have come to Dad's house unannounced! I would have brought the wine!
Hope you have a great time in our fair city, I lived there until house-buying pushed me beyond it's borders several years ago. (In other words, I am cheap!)
Love the pasta, come this time of year we Canadians have definitely had our share of squash!
I am plugging my ears and hoping that Giada didn't really say that about Lydia. I have heard that Christopher Kimball said bad things about her, and wonder how poor Lydia got so maligned.
Group hug Lydia, you are loved.

Muneeba said...

hehehehe .. I wuv my blogger friends! I'm sure Lidia also appreciates the group hug!
Natashya, I actually did think about you when I was coming up here to Toronto, but then thought to myself "she'll think I'm a stalker - first Tyler, now her"! (erm, I'm not, stalking anyone that is, in case you're still wondering). Not sure which town you're in, but my parents live in suburbia themselves (cheap suits us just fine!).

Hayley said...

That butternut squash sauce looks incredible. Thanks for sharing!

Elizabeth said...

I just made this and it was delicious! I made a few modifications:

-2 boxes frozen butternut squash instead of fresh
-left out veggie stock and used a little extra milk instead
-almond milk instead of whole
-some paprika and cayenne for extra flavor

Yum!

Muneeba said...

Great job Elizabeth! Am so glad you liked this recipe ... kicking it up with the spices you picked will definitely be the way I'd go when I make this again. Thks for sharing your tips!

Amanda Crowe said...

I was doing something else and I heard Giada talking about butternut squash and prawn rigatoni. I was intrigued enough to stop what I was doing and watch the show for a bit. I really loved this meal. Looks so delicious! I'm sure it'll be a big hit with the kids!

Nikki the Foodie of Lobster Gram said...

This recipe looks absolutely mouth-watering! I'll have to try this the next time I'm looking for a great shrimp recipe. I also <3 the picture of your cat Ozzy. I have a little guy that looks JUST like that named Bob and he is awesome.