Feed your family… Italian style

You’re not my friend any more Curtis Stone.

I’ve been following your “Under $10” recipes since the very beginning and, while they’ve never cost less than $15, I’ve enjoyed them immensely. I felt you were teaching me to be both frugal and flavoursome, taking me on a journey through the marvels of budgeted home culinary. I felt, perhaps, you understood me.

So I hope you understand why I say this: Baked Rigatoni with Tomato and Sopressa Salami.

I wrote the ingredients out carefully and trotted to my local Coles with green bag in hand. First stop the deli for the pre-sliced ingredients, and the first sign of a chink in our friendship. My Coles had none – NONE – of the listed ingredients: not the 150g Sopressa salami, not the 100g Delre mozzarella, and not the 1/4 cup Coles Parmigiano Reggiano parmesan cheese. “Fine, I’ll buy it from fridge section,” I said, but the salami comes in packs of 100g, so I had to buy two, and the mozzarella and parmesan in lots of 250g.

So your “$9.97” meal, including the herbs, ended up costing $32.95!

Having spent three times what you reckon this meal was going to, I started preparing. It was here our friendship completely fell apart. It was a small issue, as most friendship-enders are, but I’m sure the reason why a lot of people have stopped being chummy with chefs. It appears time and time again and does nothing but frustrate the amateur cook.

It’s the half a small brown onion.

Why must you include such a ridiculous ingredient? What’s wrong with a full brown onion? You know everyone’s going to include the whole onion – who keeps half a brown onion? – so why specify such a measurement? Really Curtis, do you seriously think any of us, no matter how many episodes of MasterChef we’ve suffered, can tell the difference between the taste of half and a full brown onion? And what am I supposed to do with the onion’s other half? The baked rigatoni serves 4; single me will be eating this the better part of the week!

And don’t get me started on the 350g of Coles rigatoni pasta. Why – WHY – stipulate 350g when pasta comes in bags of 500g? What am I supposed to do with the other 150g? I had to buy a grater for the 1 small carrot; must I purchase a set of kitchen scales as well?

So I’m sorry Curtis but I can’t be friends with you anymore, it just makes me too upset when I attempt your recipes. I hope you’ll understand and perhaps one day we can laugh about this.

However, I must say that the final result was pretty tasty, even if I did forget to include the basil.

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