Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Joy Behar Pasta Challenge

At lunch yesterday I had a Ham of God sandwich, thus satisfying any craving I might have had for about six months.

At dinner time I was at loose ends. I called up my friend and neighbor J and suggested we go out to this cool Tapas place on 137th and Broadway. "Aren't you going to cook?' she shrieked. This is not a woman who often shrieks.

"Why not eat out for a change?"

"Because of your blog, you need a new recipe for the blog. Let's do another celebrity pasta, I'll bring a few things." and with that she hung up.

I surveyed the pantry, pasta was no problem I had about 20 pounds on hand of various shapes and sizes. I wasn't sure what to do for a main course but I figured she was showing up with food and I would take it from there.

J showed up with Parsley, Basil, Salad Greens, Green Beans and one Tomato. I pulled 8 frozen shrimp out of the freezer and put them in some lemon and garlic to marinate while I ruminated on the ingredients.

J kept naming names of people, many of whom were unrecognizable to me. I really need to brush up on my pop culture. We finally settled on Joy Behar because we saw her show recently at the Zipper Factory and as always, she was hysterical.

My strongest connection to Joy was her radio show several years back when she used to say to me.."I have not had enough coffee to deal with you this morning." You had to ease into things in the early a.m. or risk pissing off the Joyous one.

I took Orecchlette which is an ear shaped pasta and even on television she has to listen in order to respond.

For the sauce, pesto with equal parts basil and parsley and a lot of garlic. I made enough pesto for 8 servings and froze the rest.

Joy used to be a schoolteacher so this dish had to be good for you so I chopped a bunch of green beans into 1 inch pieces. It needed to look good and be substantial so I chopped the tomato for the garnish and pancetta into little bits for the base. (Even as I type I am worried about Joy correcting either my spelling or grammer. There is still something quite schoolteacherish about her.)

Pasta Joy Behar
The Sauce
4 cups basil leaves, well packed
4 cups parsley leaves, well packed (This is essentially two big bunches of both so be relaxed about it)
15 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup pine nuts
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano or Pecorino cheese (or a combination of the two)
2 cups olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Juice of one lime
1 tsp Cayenne pepper
salt to taste

1 slice of pancetta per serving (I made 4 servings, 8 ounces of pasta)
1 cup green beans per serving

Cut the pancetta in tiny strips (Yes you can use bacon if you have no pancetta)
Saute til brown and crisp
Toss in the green beans and give a stir, turn off the heat.

Cook your pasta al dente, just before you drain it put the pan with the pancetta and beans on HIGH, and stir a couple of times. Drain pasta and toss over beans and pancetta and toss once or twice, turn off heat and begin to pour the pesto on, tossing or stirring. When well coated and smelling absolutely wonderful pour into the warm bowls. Top with the chopped tomato and a sprinkle of reserved parsley and basil.

I left half in the skillet. I made 4 servings and there were two of us, both of whom are watching our weight.

For the second course I grilled the lemon shrimp and put them over the salad greens with a touch of balsamic and mustard.

We shared an orange for dessert. Hey...my S.O. will be back on Friday. I am not getting fat in the meantime.


Lia said...

So what kind of wine did you have with this meal?

Never forget to tell us about the wine.

Chef said...


Thank you. I will write about the wine in today's post. I did NOT cook last night so I will give you all a few of my favorite wines to go with food.