On the spectrum of Rachael Ray haters/fans I find myself feeling mostly vague admiration for her. Like a lot of people I'm a sucker for a good Horatio Alger-esque rags-to-riches story and there is no denying the woman's impressive drive and ambition.
I've made some of the recipes from her first book and liked them okay and so I was pleased when I received this book, her second, as a gift. But when I actually sat down and looked through it all I felt was ambivalence.
I made the Supreme Pizza Pasta Salad recipe and it turned out fine. It's a decent pasta salad that kids might enjoy since it does, true to it's name, taste vaguely like pizza. I myself prefer a little lighter-tasting pasta salad.
Supreme Pizza Pasta Salad from Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals 2
- 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
- 8 fresh white button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 stick pepperoni, casing removed and cut into small dice
- 1 pound frewsh mozzarella cheese
- 20 leaves fresh basil, torn or thinly sliced
- 1 pound wagon whell pasta, cooked all dente, cooled under cold water, then drained
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 gteaspoon dried oregano leaves of Italian dried seasoning
- 1 rounded tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar (eyeball it)
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (eyeball it)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, bell pepper, pepperoni, mozzarella, basil, and pasta in a big bowl. Whisk garlic salt, oregano or Italian seasoning, tomato paste and vinegar together. Stream in olive oil while continuing to whisk. When oil is incorporated, pour dressing over pasta salad, add a few grinds of black pepper, then toss to coat evenly. Adjust your seasonings and serve. Left overs make a great lunch or snack the next day!
2 (out of 5 stars). In general I find the book a touch too hokey and chipper. Meals are organized according to categories such as "Make Your Own Take-Out, Family-Style Suppers, Passport Meals, etc..." when I prefer books organized by protein or dish category. A lack of pictures (except for 8 color pages in the middle of the book) and any nutritional information were big minuses for me. It wouldn't be such an issue except that the book's list price is $16.95 which seems too high to me. It feels like her publisher wanted to take advantage of Ray's new-found popularity and jacked the price up without adding a lot of value of content.
Labels: cookbooks on trial, food, recipes