After Eating ‘Stranger Things,’ I’m Craving This Nostalgic Pasta Dish

The final season of “Stranger Things” makes me nostalgic for 80s classics.

Metallica. Musical youth. “The Silver Palace Cookbook.”

Originally published in 1979, “Silver Palate” set the bar for a certain kind of high-end home cooking that defined the ’80s — and its influence still reverberates today. There was pesto. There was quiche. There were small bites and clever brunches.

The book was a reflection of its authors, Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso, who paved the way for Martha Stewart and Ina Garten launching their empire from the restaurant world. Recipes to this day retain a casual entertaining vibe, the kind of food you’d serve on artfully mismatched dinnerware. And, like a classic Kate Bush track, it’s still absolute firecrackers.

At a recent dinner party, a friend served the book’s famous signature dish: Chicken Marbella infused with olives and prunes. I was on the ground How? ‘Or’ What sensational it was.

“The Silver Palate” was the first cookbook I bought because I had a friend who worked at a Williams-Sonoma who got me a discount. While other cookbooks seemed to be written by and for wives and mothers, “Silver Palate” seemed to beckon with a voice that said, “Let’s party!”


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I still rely on the recipes—and the lessons on choosing cheese and making coffee—that I learned while flipping through my now-damaged copy of this book. In the summer, I can’t get enough of a lazy pasta dish that Lukins and Rosso claimed to have discovered while having dinner “in a beautiful house in Sardinia”.

With plentiful and delicious tomatoes right now, you can’t not prepare this rich, garlicky dish. The secret? Mix the sauce a few hours in advance so that the flavors combine perfectly.

How can something so simple be so good? Some things, I suppose, never go out of style.

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Recipe: Summer Garlic and Tomato Pasta with Brie
Inspired by the Silver Palate cookbook by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso

Ingredients

  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound brie, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil or mint leaves, shredded
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can of ziti, or your favorite pasta

directions

  1. Cut the tomatoes into small pieces. Put them in a large bowl.
  2. Add cheese, basil, garlic, EVOO, salt and pepper. Stir it all up.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it hang on the counter for 2 hours or more.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.
  5. Drain the pasta before adding it to the bowl with the tomatoes and cheese. Mix everything. Add more pepper on top, if desired.
  6. Serve immediately with a very lemony salad.

Cook’s Notes

If you have some on hand, opt for heirloom tomatoes.

Forgot to prepare the sauce in advance? If you make it while the pasta is boiling, the sauce won’t have such a complex flavor, but it’s sure to be a weeknight dinner hero.

You can modify this recipe to your liking. While “The Silver Palate” suggests linguini, I think this dish is best with short pasta. Mint, on the other hand, is a fresh alternative to basil. I also don’t cut the crust off the brie; it’s expensive — and you should get what you pay for.

Enjoy more

of our favorite easy pasta dishes

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