November 9, 2011-
Last month, in honor of my husband and I’s 3rd Anniversary, I did what any romantic, Housewives-centric girl would do. I celebrated by busting out my new copy of Teresa Giudice’s Fabulicious and cooking a romantic Italian meal, for a husband that may have initially been somewhat irritated that even our special day involved the Real Housewives.
After posting about my little Housewives themed cooking adventure on The Big Blonde Hair Blog’s Facebook page, I was asked by readers for my honest review on the Ms. Giudice’s recipes. So today, I’m going to share my thoughts on recipe’s from the cookbook that ignited 1000 wars in Jersey, because there are actually more meatballs than drama inside it’s pages.
I consider myself more Adrienne Maloof than Teresa Giudice in the kitchen, however, my Italian husband is a great cook and we eat an Italian meal 3 to 4 times a week. And I’ve been to some excellent Italian restaurants, which all makes me feel somewhat knowledgeable on what is good and what isn’t Italian-wise, for a blonde Swedish chick from Detroit anyhow. After pouring an XL glass of Red (Hey, we were celebrating) throwing on some stilettos, making my hair big and putting on some animal print to get in the spirit, I flipped through Fabulicious for recipes I had chosen earlier that day that looked somewhat healthy and simple: Devil Shrimp with Angel Hair Pasta with Snappy Red Sauce and Love Me Tender Eggplant Caponata for a side.
Having zero idea how to time dishes so they end up done at the same time, I decided to start with the Eggplant Caponata because…That’s what I decided. After slicing eggplant (and almost my index finger), adding spices, simmering and stirring, the dish was done after about 15 – 20 minutes tops. Thankfully I got to the end of the recipe and saw that the dish can be served at room temperature, so I set it aside, silently thanking Teresa. The dish looked edible and smelled that way too. So far so good.
On to the Snappy Red Sauce. I’ve learned to make a pretty decent red sauce, thanks to my hubby, so I was interested to see what Teresa’s was all about and if I had anything on the Ms. Fabulicious. Her sauce recipe is very simple, with only 7 ingredients, most of which we already had in our home, which means they are very common because I spend more time shopping at Bloomingdales then our local grocer. I threw the ingredients in a saucepan, added my own touch of some Italian Seasoning, Basil and extra Garlic, and was done. 7 minutes, tops.
Moving on to the main component of the meal, Devil Shrimp with Angel Hair Pasta, which Italian lovers know as Shrimp Fra Diavolo. This recipe requires only 7 ingredients, many of which you already used in the Snappy Red Sauce (Score!). This time, I planned ahead, and began boiling the pasta BEFORE I started on the shrimp – See, you can teach and old dog new tricks. After that, I started simmering shrimp, adding ingredients and before I knew it I splashed boiling hot pasta water on my arm. Red alert! After feigning severe pain to gain sympathy from my laptop engrossed husband, I was back at it again, and after adding a little more spice, I was done.
Could this be? I was done! Finito! And it was all relatively painless. I’d say it all took me about an hour, hour and a half total, but any normal person who hadn’t gone through 2 glasses of red wine on an empty stomach while cooking the meal could have an impressive Italian meal in front of them in far less time.
Now the true test had arrived. I sat my pretty plates of hot shrimp and pasta, and room temperature eggplant down on our table. “Looks good” my hubby said. First, we tried the Eggplant Caponata. We took our first bites and chewed slowly. My husband smiled. Success! “Pretty good” he said. And it was totally good, even at room temperature. I loved it as a great alternate to the boring sides or salad that eat on a daily basis. The mixtures of spices and the consistency of the eggplant was fab, and all the ingredients were very healthy.
Then we moved on to the Devil Shrimp, a dish I had only tried once before. It was phenomenal. I added just the right amount of red pepper for a kick and it was to die for. My hubby almost flipped a table. I’ve actually cooked the dish another time in the month since then, and ordered carry out of the same dish that didn’t hold a candle to my own creation.
Overall, this endeavor was a total success. I honestly was somewhat skeptical to buy a celeb cookbook, but the recipes were very good and easy. I know I am not one to talk negatively about the Housewives in this blog, but if the dishes had left a bad taste in my mouth I just wouldn’t have done a review. It’s definitely worth the purchase.
- Use whole wheat pasta. As I mentioned, we eat a TON of Italian at my house, and I’m confident that I still fit in my tight leather pants pants because we always use the whole wheat variety
- Watch the spice. If you over do the red pepper on the Devil Shrimp, you won’t be able to stomach it. There is already red pepper in the Snappy Sauce, so be mindful of that.
- Get XL shrimp. It makes the dish prettier and makes more of a statement.
- Add a few extra Italian spices into the Snappy Sauce if you like a little extra flavor
- Learn how to make your own red sauce. There is more than one recipe in Fabulicious and it’s SO much better than sauce out of a jar.
- Have fun (not something I ever though I’d do cooking)! Get into the Italian spirit and grab a glass of red and have a friend or your sig other sit in the kitchen with you while you cook. Chat it up and enjoy cooking.