Because I made these dishes on a random Wednesday night, I probably shouldn’t call it Sunday Supper. I fully intended for it to be last week’s Sunday Supper, but the temptation of fajitas, ‘ritas, a pool, and S’mores got the best of me. As it turned out, this was one of the easiest weeknight meals ever. So, I’m glad I saved it.
This week’s inspiration: My favorite chef, Giada DeLaurentiis, and her new cookbook, Giada at Home.
I cannot overstate how much I adore this woman. Her show is one of the few that I actually DVR and watch. We planned our 2008 vacation to New York around the Food & Wine Festival so that we could go to her food demo and book-signing. (For anyone feeling sorry for Brad right now. Trust me, he wasn’t complaining. 🙂 ) She is even more warm and delightful in person than on TV, as are her husband, Todd, and daughter, Jade.
Given this obsession admiration, you can imagine how crushed I was when I had to miss her local book-signing a few months ago. I had just started the new job and was stuck in training. Fortunately, a good friend came to the rescue and hooked me up with an autographed cookbook for my collection! (You know who you are, and I still owe you!)
Her latest cookbook is the perfect combination of her Italian roots and her California lifestyle. Local, seasonal ingredients prepared in fresh, light, Italian-inspired ways.
If you eat with your eyes first, then this must be one of the best dishes I’ve ever had…
I’m not sure what I loved best about this dish — the colors, the herbs, the crispy pancetta, the cool melon, the chewy pine nuts. The list goes on and on.
The original recipe called for a lot of olive oil, prosciutto, and no herbs. Knowing that we like our salads more vinegary than oily, I cut way back on the oil. Because I had pancetta leftover from the chimichurri, I substituted it for prosciutto. And, because everything is better with basil, I added a TON of it! The result was a delicious and reasonably healthy side dish that is sure to become a weeknight staple in our house. You can find the final recipe and nutritional info here.
Next, the chimichurri sauce. This recipe was calling my name for two reasons. First, it played perfectly into my recent obsession with Tex-Mex food. Second, the photograph of this dish cracked me up. Unlike all the other beautifully photographed recipes, this one is accompanied by a picture of an empty, devoured plate. Too cute!
As always, I made a few modifications to lighten things up. The original recipe called for 1 cup of olive oil. I stopped at 3/4 cup, but even this was too much, so I re-wrote the recipe for only 1/2 cup of olive oil. You can always add more, but you can’t take it out! You can find the recipe and nutritional information on my recipe page.
The result was fantastic and, while I was tempted to replicate the photo idea from the cookbook, I thought it was worth sharing the final product…
I highly encourage you to buy extra chicken, extra ingredients for the melon part of the asparagus salad, and some leafy greens. The chimichurri recipe yields a LOT of sauce, which makes for a great leftover salad the next day. 🙂