I have been a big fan of Mark Bittman for a number of years. I particularly like his ability to convey to the cook many ways to make the same recipe. This attitude was great for me tonight when I thought I was baking the above recipe, only to find that I could not get most of the ingredients.
I have not seen gluten-free rigatoni so I subbed in penne. Although, I am sure, kosher blue cheese is available, I have not seen it locally. We are not fans of figs so I subbed apples which were great. Finally and unbelievably, the local stores were out of brussels sprouts. I called my daughter and asked her to look around and she also could not locate any.
I guess, I proved that you can change the ingredients and come out with a facsimile of the original.
I feel particularly bad because this is the first time, I cooked with the foodies of The Food Matters Project. This group is cooking their way through Mark Bittman’s, The Food Matters. If you are interested, get the book and join us.
Marcia from Twenty by Sixty chose the Baked Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Figs, and Blue Cheese (page 221), in The Food Matters. You will find the recipe on her blog.
Marcia shares her hesitation selecting this recipe which about describes my initial reaction. Figs? Blue Cheese? Pasta? and Brussels Sprouts? They just shouldn’t go together but I gather they did and did so beautifully.
My combination of broccoli, Monterey Jack, Apples and Penne also worked although I didn’t believe it. The almonds seemed to disappear into the dish and it was not until the end that I found one. This is unique but trusting Mark Bittman helps. I had to believe the recipe was good.
Check out the other cooks at The Food Matters Project.