The Botched Batch

January 26, 2010 / Food & Wine
Rome, Italy

botchedbatch1Good thing the girlfriends weren’t consulted about this one. They would have had your editor for lunch.

Here’s what went wrong:

1) The tomatoes were too small, meaning that the tomato skin/tomato ratio was way off. Mess up any ratio in a recipe and according to the GFs it’s for the birds. (Of course, you can always quickly boil the tomatoes and then remove the skin but that’s a true pain and supposedly the skin has whatzamaziggy in it that is good for you. Too much is too much though.)
2) The tomatoes weren’t cooked long enough before the shrimp were added. Should be closer to 10 minutes. (Girlfriends would have said that the sauce fa acido, literally “makes acid” in the stomach.)
3) The whiskers of the shrimp weren’t removed, meaning that upon consumption of the shrimp, oil and tomato sauce were flying everywhere, and tentacles lurked in the sauce.
4) The fresh egg pasta (the kind that’s ready in three minutes) should have cooked about two minutes in boiling water, then gone into the goodness for the last minute. Instead, it stayed in the water for only one minute, and kinda cooked/simmered in the schmutz for two. Girlfriends would have been so proud of the application of one of their secrets here (finish cooking the pasta in the sauce) had it been applied correctly. As it was…The Horror!!
5) The pasta was added too soon X 2, i.e. shrimp weren’t pink yet.

botchedbatch2Of course the things done correctly, such as sautéeing the garlic and peperoncino in the oil first, using ripe tomatoes, adding shrimp and parsley, then half a glass of white, covering the tomatoes and shrimp to retain the liquids, using a GF secret technique (albeit incorrectly, see above), etc. etc. etc. would in no way have been enough for redemption.

Fine, so tomato peels had to be removed, pasta could have been cooked perfectly, and whiskers did their thing while the shrimp were eaten… wasn’t that bad!

If you see them though, your editor will deny he ever said that.


by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

14 Responses to “The Botched Batch”

  1. Isabelle Hunter

    So did I miss something? Can you share the “correct” recipe? Sounds delicious!

  2. Your secret is safe with us … you didn’t served it on a Monday or in August, when the fisherman take holiday, though, did you ??

  3. Bernardine

    Funny, of course, but where have the girlfriends been lately? Miss hearing about them. I also re-read the broccoletti-v. funny.

  4. Paul Huckett

    I too have missed the Girl Friends !!! –they are the Grandparents my generation have already lost to old age —everyone ,even us oldies ,needs their Grandma !!—and in Australia ,prawns are at their best and oh so cheap at the moment –$13 kg fresh off the fishmonger . My tomatoes have been ripening beautifully on the vine –guess what’s for dinner!!!

  5. ellen cool

    I Love the Girlfriends…………I listen to them too!!!

    and please keep passing me phrases…………in translation…this is great………

    Thankyou for all your charming stories………Ellen Cool

  6. Rosalie Fisher

    I too, would like to know the correct recipe. It sounds delicious.


Leave a Reply