The latest season of “Stranger Things” makes me feel nostalgic for ’80s classics.
Metallica. Musical youth. The Silver Cookbook.
Originally published in 1979, “Silver Palate” set the standard for a specific type of upscale home cooking that defined the 1980s—and its influence reverberates to this day. There was pesto. There was a quiche. There were few bites and artfully prepared foods.
The book was a reflection of its authors, Sheila Lukins and Julie Russo, who paved the way for Martha Stewart and Ina Garten by launching their empire from the restaurant world. To this day, recipes retain an air of relaxed entertainment, the kind of food they serve on subtly mismatched tableware. And like the classic Kate Bush track, they’re still absolutely addicting.
At a recent dinner, a friend served the book’s famous signature dish: Marbella chicken filled with olives and peaches. I was Floors in how Thrilling she was.
“The Silver Palate” was the first cookbook I ever bought because I had a friend who worked at Williams-Sonoma and he got me a discount. While other cookbooks sounded like they were written by and for wives and mothers, the Silver Palette sounded as though they were waving, “Let’s celebrate!”
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I still rely on the recipes—and lessons about choosing cheese and making coffee—that I learned through my now-damaged copy of this book. In the summer, I can’t get enough of the slow-cooking pasta dish that Lukins and Rosso claimed discovered while dining “in a beautiful Sardinian house”.
With plentiful and delicious tomatoes right now, you can’t Not Make this garlic-rich dish. the secret? Toss the sauce together a few hours ahead of time for the flavors to blend beautifully.
How can something so simple be so wonderful? I think some things never go out of style.
Recipe: Garlic and Tomato Pasta with Brie
Inspired by the Silver Cookbook by Sheila Lukins and Julie Russo
- 2 large ripe tomatoes
- 1/2 pound wild, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh basil or mint leaves, grated
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 can ziti, or your favorite pasta
- Cut the tomatoes into small pieces. Put them in a large bowl.
- Add cheese, basil, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Give it all a bang.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it hang on the counter for two hours or more.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package.
- Drain the pasta before adding it to the bowl with the tomatoes and cheese. Turn everything together. Add more pepper on top if you like.
- Serve immediately with lemon salad.
If you have it on hand, reach for heirloom tomatoes.
Did you forget to prepare the sauce ahead of time? If you prepare it while the pasta is boiling, the sauce will not have a complex flavor, but it will certainly still be the hero of a nighttime dinner.
You can modify this recipe to your heart’s content. While “The Silver Palate” suggests linguine, I think this dish is better with short pasta. Meanwhile, mint is a fresh alternative to basil. I also don’t cut the rind of the beri. It’s expensive – and you should get your money’s worth.
One of our favorite easy pasta dishes
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