Today I am going to post some "real food" as Mr. Humble likes to call it.
Real food and well... a bit of a rant concerning staging food.
Now like most food bloggers, I stage the food that goes onto the blog. Meaning I pay a little more attention to how I arrange my plates than I would were just serving it up for the Humble household table. I think that is an acceptable level of manipulation, as it is entirely possible to recreate.
What I do not employ are tricks like rubbing barely cooked steak with shoe polish to give it that nicely browned look, using shortening mixed with powdered sugar for indestructible ice cream, or hair spray to make my cake slices look moist. You get the idea, taking food and rendering it inedible for the sake of looks.
Anyway, I don't like fooling people and I certainly don't like being fooled myself.
Like I was this weekend when I spotted a gorgeous Moroccan stew. It was lovely with chunks of lamb mingling with garbanzo beans, lentils, herbs and vermicelli.
So I made this stew for dinner Saturday night, following the instructions to the letter, only to have it come out looking like something my dog barfed up. Well, that is if I had a dog and it happened to survive solely on a diet of corrugated cardboard.
The stew was miserable looking. After simmering for two hours the fresh herbs and lamb were now roughly the same unattractive color. The lentils, garbanzo beans and vermicelli mingled in the insipid gray broth. It tasted alright but it looked awful.
So I took a second, critical look at the photo included with the recipe. The herbs shown are bright and vibrant! Clearly they had not been been simmering in a stock pot for two hours. The lamb chunks appeared to have been seared and then placed artfully arranged on top. The Garbanzo beans, neatly piled in the center of the bowl had the glossy, fresh from the can look... this soup was a LIE.
I was pretty annoyed. Okay I was really annoyed. I was going to post the photos of the soup as advertised and the real soup on my blog but it is so utterly depressing that I can't bring myself to photograph it nor inflict that kind of visual trauma on my readers.
Rest assured that I will never pull that kind of nonsense on this blog.
Anyway, lets get to today's lunch.
I'm still making an effort to deal with the surplus mascarpone I have on hand. So I decided to toss linguine with it, mixed with basil pesto.
To contrast the creamy sauce, I added salty slivers of pecorino romano and thick pieces of prosciutto. To give the dish a little color and texture I added some freshly toasted pine nuts and a scattering of fresh basil leaves.
A quick lunch for the little Humble and I, one that required less than 15 minutes of hands-on time.
Tasty and pretty, no shoe polish or hairspray needed.
Not So Humble Linguine with Mascarpone & Prosciutto
1 lb linguine
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2-3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup basil pesto
1 cup thickly sliced prosciutto, cut into bite sized pieces
salt and ground pepper
Boil the pasta according to the package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes until they are fragrant.
Drain the pasta and then toss with the mascarpone and pesto to coat. Plate the pasta and sprinkle with the pine nuts, prosciutto, shaved pecorino romano, basil and season with salt and fresh ground pepper.