Book reviews by Mobilism's Book Review team
May 31st, 2020, 1:05 pm
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TITLE: Back Pocket Pasta: Inspired Dinners to Cook on the Fly
AUTHOR: Colu Henry
GENRE: Non-Fiction > Cookbooks
PUBLISHED: February 2017
RATING: ★★★★☆

PURCHASE: Amazon Apple iBookStore
MOBILISM: Read

Review: Back Pocket Pasta is Colu Henry's first book, Colu, a food and lifestyle influencer and former director of public relations and director of special projects at Bon Appetit magazine, started her food journey from working front of house at restaurants.

And even though this publication is not a new release, it has never been more relevant than now so I decided to share the cookbook via my review.
“Pasta provides a great blank canvas for layering whatever savory flavors you’re craving,”

she says in the cookbook; I totally agree with the sentiment. Back Pocket Pasta is full of no-frills recipes that require just a handful of simple pantry ingredients or regular veggies you might already have in your fridge but no complicated steps or pretentious ingredients. Back Pocket Pasta has 200 pages of beautifully photographed recipes and tips.

Less is More is the cookbook's mantra, most of the recipes consist of between five to ten ingredients, as the book’s subtitle says, “inspired dinners to cook on the fly.”

The recipes are divided into four sections - Mama's, Powers Street, Brooklyn, Hudson & The Valley, and Travels Near & Far. Pasta is one of the most global versatile pantry ingredients in the world. Recipes all use dried pasta easily available everywhere and extremely shelf-stable and adaptable to various styles so that you're always prepared.

Most of the recipes include meat, poultry, or fish but there are lots of plant-based recipes too. Most of the recipes can be easily made vegan-style simply by substituting the cheese or dairy to vegan alternatives and regular pasta can be switched with gluten-free pasta.

There are a lot of recipes I love in the book, such as Cacio é Pepé, Pesto alla Trapanese, Fusilli Alfredo, Linguine with Quick Chili Oil, and the Pasta with Spinach and Goat Cheese to name a few. I share one of my favourites below...

Fusilli Alfredo
Serves 4
Ingredients:
    Kosher salt
    3/4 pound fusilli pasta
    8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into a few pieces
    3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
    Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:
    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and return to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente according to package directions. Reserving 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking liquid, drain the pasta and let sit in a colander while you prepare the sauce.
    2. Return the pasta pot to medium heat and add the pasta cooking liquid. When it comes to a simmer, gradually whisk the butter into the pasta water, one piece at a time, waiting until once piece melts before adding another. Once you’ve added all of the butter, the sauce should look creamy and glossy, not greasy and broken. (It will seem pretty thin, and you might worry that it is too loose, but fear not.)
    3. Gradually whisk in the Parmesan, adding it by the handful and making sure it has melted before adding more. Return the pasta to the pot and toss until all the noodles are coated and the sauce has thickened somewhat.
    4. Plate in bowls topped with a few grinds of black pepper and more Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Cook’s Note: When grating the Parmesan cheese, use the smallest holes on a box grater rather than a Microplane; Microplanes can make the cheese too fluffy, which becomes gloppy when it melts, instead of “coat-y.” Alternatively, you can blitz it in a food processor until the cheese forms very small beads.

If you love pasta in all its forms and presentations as much as I do, then Back Pocket Pasta is a must-have addition to your collection of cookbooks.
May 31st, 2020, 1:05 pm