Kirstin: Of course, for the ultimate carbonara recipe, you have to use the one from the Zuni cookbook, which has two kinds of cheese.
Tom: And broad beans.
Kirstin: We used to have it in San Francisco when it was broad bean season and we could buy them from Preston!
Kirstin: Indeed. I’ve never had a bad carbonara. Have you?
Tom: Oh yes you can. It can be swimming in watery cheesey goo. This is a proper sauce. You would stick it to the wall if you threw it.
Ella: Anything you threw at a wall would stick if you threw it hard enough.
Kirstin: And what do you think of this Ella?
Ella: Edible. Kind of nice actually. You know when you eat food and it makes you feel like wow, I ate food and it made me feel full.
Tom: It is quite substantial. And probably very good food for you in the middle of the exams, no?
Ella: Also it’s CARB-onara.
Tom: I like that you add the pasta water a little bit at a time.
Kirstin: Yes, I’ve had thirds. I should make this again. But not too often…
Well, this was a disaster. I was bitterly disappointed.
Do you see those pools of foodstuffs in the photo above? They were supposed to look like firm balls of dough– like meatballs of cheese, as it were. As you can see, they didn’t turn out that way.
To be honest, I was cutting it a little close in the chilling time. Jamie calls for 8 hours, but I only had 7 1/2. But would 30 minutes really be the difference between success and disaster? I don’t know.
Having just explored the Internet to find another recipe for gnudi, perhaps where this one went wrong was the amount of semolina that it called for to be used. Jamie says “a dusting” but another recipe said you should use equal parts cheese and semolina. That makes more sense to me. I’ve also learned that gnudi are temperamental little creatures (Tell me about it!) so I should have been more careful in the preparation and also perhaps made each gnudi a bit smaller than it was. Then perhaps I wouldn’t have had such a disaster on my hands.
Needless to say, I won’t be recommending this recipe. Avoid at all costs.
Nicholas (9): What’s this called?
Maureen: Well, I call it lemon spaghetti, but it’s got an Italian name. (Finds cookbook to see what the official name is.) It is Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano. Just like I said. Lemon spaghetti.
Andrew (13): It’s pretty good.
Maureen: I agree. I like this. Though I”m not really sure it merits its own recipe in a cookbook. I could do it in four sentences: Cook spaghetti. Make sauce by grating lemon and adding a massive amount of cheese, some olive oil and a splash of pasta water. Mix spaghetti into sauce and put basil leaves on top. Enjoy.
Nicholas: I would eat this again.
Maureen: I’m not surprised you would. But like I said it’s not like the wheel has been reinvented or anything. Saying that, it’s not nearly as boring as I thought it would be. It’s very nice.
Cook’s Note’s: Gwyneth advises that 350 grams of spaghetti would feed four. I’m here to tell you that 350 grams of spaghetti would not feed the four people in our house, particularly when one of them is a teenage boy and the other is his younger brother who loves spaghetti. Just make the whole packet of spaghetti (500 grams) and augment the sauce of cheese, olive oil and lemon accordingly.
Anna: I’m sorry we’re eating a bit later than I planned. The crackling took a lot longer than I thought it would.
Judy: But it was delicious and we could nibble on it while we waited for the main course. I have been very careful not to crack my teeth.
Anna: I also have another confession, which is that I’ve screwed up the spinach. In my head I thought we needed marscapone, which I had already. So I’ve had to use it rather than ricotta, which I don’t have. I think it’s going to be very runny.
Judy: I like undercooked eggs.
John: It looks set to me.
Anna: I guess it has set, it just isn’t quite what it should be.
Judy: Well it’s delicious and goes with the pork perfectly. No carbs required!
Anna: This pork is very good isn’t it?
Judy: It’s delicious! The flavours are so fresh. I can tasted the garlic and the oregano. Wonderful! John, you will have to get me this cookbook for my birthday.
Want to try the Meatzza yourself? The recipe can be found on the Nigella Lawson website by clicking through on this link.
Maureen: So I think this is like a meatloaf, but in the shape of a pizza. What do you think?
Nicholas (9): Is this from the new cookbook?
Maureen: Yes. Nigella’s latest tome, which is all Italian cooking. I think we will enjoy this month.
Andrew (Now 13! Happy Birthday!): It’s OK. These are two things that don’t need to go together. They work fine together, but I don’t see the point. Either have pizza or have meatloaf. Why make it one thing?
Nicholas: I think it’s AMAZING. It’s like a meatloaf, but with the added tomato sauce and cheese on top. Delicious.
Maureen: I’m with Nicholas on this one. I think it’s good, and I suspect that I will make it again.
Andrew: Don’t get me wrong. It’s good, but it’s not my favourite.
Maureen: I don’t know, with time it might become your favourite.
Tim: I’m with Andrew on this one. I don’t see the point of this.
Maureen: What do you mean? It’s not meatloaf, it’s not pizza: It’s meatzza!
Tim: Nope. Not buying it.
Maureen: A house divided on the Meatzza. Controversial.
Tom: This is great! I’m having seconds. This is the best macaroni cheese recipe so far. Yum!
Miles: It’s delicious!
Kirstin: Should I make it again, Miles?
Miles: Um, no thanks.
Tom: Why not, Miles? Do you just like other things?
Miles: When I tasted it with loads of sauce on it, then I didn’t like it. I wanted to taste the sauce. With a little bit, then I liked it. With a lot, then I didn’t like it. May I please be excused?
Kirstin: It was very easy to cook.
Miles: And very delicious!
Ella (eating it from the pan): I like the crunchy bits. They are all chewy!
Tom: Leave some for me!
Ella: Uh-uh. These are the only bits I will eat.
Kirstin: I will keep cooking macaroni cheese recipes until these two decide that they like it.
Ella: You will be cooking for hundreds of years. And into the afterlife.
Kirstin: Well, there’s a challenge! And I really struggle to make macaroni cheese look good in a picture, I so do. I feel another challenge coming on….