AruguLAME Pasta

If you guys are thinking about buying this cookbook for someone this Christmas: Don’t. It’s not exciting. Maybe it’ll elicit a laugh upon the initial unwrapping, but beyond that, there’s nothing much of value to be gained from it. Case in point is Tomato & Arugula Pasta. Let’s delve into this and explore why no self-respecting cookbook (that you expect people to PAY ACTUAL MONEY for) should include this recipe.

We start by sauteeing garlic in olive oil. A pretty standard beginning to making pasta sauce; nothing to complain about here. This also happens to be one of the best smells on the planet. After a few minutes of gentle sauteeing, I pour in a huge can of whole, peeled tomatoes, sprinkle in some salt and pepper, and bring the whole mixture to a boil. I then turn the temperature down to medium-low, and let simmer for an hour.


The final steps are to cook spaghetti noodles, adding arugula to the boiling water about a minute before the pasta has finished cooking. Then you mix it all together, grate some Parmesan cheese over, and this is what you have:

Are you kidding me with this? I paid 30 dollars for this cookbook, and this recipe takes up a whole page? Is the addition of arugula to the pasta supposed to be groundbreaking? Is that really supposed to make up for what is literally the most basic version of pasta sauce you could ever conceive? This is, honestly, insane. We’re however-many months into this project, and finally – finally! – I am reaching my breaking point with the cookbook in general. I suppose that’s what happens when you purposely try to make all the tasty-looking recipes first, as you’re then left with all of the shitty ones last (although we still have some duck ahead, which I’m actually looking forward to, because it’s finally winter, and who doesn’t love duck in the winter?). But, still. Come on. Did anyone even TRY with this cookbook? Is there some sort of law that says every cookbook must have 150 recipes in it? If so, fine, I get it, she’s padding her numbers, and that’s acceptable. But if there isn’t a mandatory-recipe law (and, I don’t know about you, but that seems like something I just made up two seconds ago), this recipe has no business being in a cookbook in 2011. An award-winning cookbook, no less! Shameful, shameful business, this.

Happy Hanukkah, Gwyneth, you terrible con artist.



Filed under Pasta

13 responses to “AruguLAME Pasta

  1. I had exactly the same experience with the lemon and parmesan spaghetti, not sure if you have tried it yet or not – the clue is in the title – I cooked it for my “outside all day, very hungry and knackered boyfriend” whose response verbatim was “seriously, are you kidding with this?” all said with a smile and followed by “where’s the rest of it!!!!!”

  2. Not Your Sister Nikki

    It was only 15 bucks on amazon, so maybe you are just a sucker. Honestly, most people make spaghetti by throwing a jar of sauce into some pasta, so this has a recipe to it. Furthermore, I believe part of the point of this book is provide her repertoire of home cooked dishes. The British title is “notes from my kitchen table,” not “most innovative recipes in the world.”

    • I think this is the final proof that “Not Your Sister Nikki” is, in fact, Gwyneth Paltrow.

      • Oldest and Wisest Sister

        As Your Sister Nikki (my formal title), I am flattered to know Gwyneth is hiding behind my name.

        But seriously, you must have done something wrong. Canned tomatoes? Store-bought pasta? That’s much too actual-working-mother for Gwyneth… oops, I mean, Not Me!

      • Not Your Sister Nikki

        Ha I wish I could afford a pizza oven, and a place to put it. Alas, I am just cooking through the book like you. It’s definitely not perfect – your crab boil post saved me from the mess of live cooking the crabs my boyfriend caught last week (see youtube for a better option, if you have the guts 😉 But, if you can dish it, you can take it. As a whole, I enjoy the book.
        PS Love you!

  3. Not Your Sister Nikki

    Also, since when does disagree = hate? That’s what’s wrong with this country. I am moving to England!

  4. lbs30

    Did you see the segment on Today this morning – where Bill Clinton and some chick had their Top 5 Holiday Book Lists. President Clinton had all these biographies, award-winning novels, well respected literary works… This girl had Gwyneth’s Cookbook on the list.

    She’s got to be hating life tonight.

  5. tishamay

    That is not the way to make sauce. Gwynie screwed up that one.

  6. Avonasea

    I went to my local Chapters on Monday. You walk in and you see this large table where they put the best sellers and all the “If you don’t buy this for someone for Christmas, you suck!” selections. In the very centre of the pyramid, perched atop a column, sit no less than 30-odd copies of Gwyneth’s Cookbook. The only thing missing from the display, I suppose, was a beam of soft bluish light shining down upon this veritable Creation.

    Seeing all this ridiculousness made me sad. I don’t own this book and never will, unless some fool gifts it to me. So, I hear you, Danny. We live in a perverse world.

  7. Chloe0129

    I think you may have left out the fennel seed? Not exactly a groundbreaking addition, but it does elevate the dish to something slightly more sophisticated.

  8. JoAnn

    Have you given up on doing this blog? If so, too bad! I really enjoyed it.


  9. Hodgepodge

    Where, oh where have you gone, dear Danny? We miss you and your cooking shenanigans.

    • Fear not, loyal readers. I’m the worst, I admit, but I’m currently working on a catch-up post for the recipes I’ve cooked during this blogging break. Maybe this project will be finished by 2015? It’s anyone’s guess!

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