There are a handful of recipes I consider my “default” recipes. When I don’t have time to cook or, on the rare occasion I don’t feel like cooking, I turn to a few super easy standby recipes…things like tacos and spaghetti and grilled chicken. Last week I reached for the spaghetti ingredients on just such an evening and thought, “I don’t really feel like eating spaghetti.” So I turned it into pie…just like my mom used to make when I was little.
The cooked pasta gets mixed with butter and grated parmesan cheese and molded into a pie plate
Then you spread a layer of ricotta cheese and top it with your sauce. This sauce is one of those quick envelope kind mixed with tomato paste and then I add sauted mushrooms and ground turkey. (I have a wonderful Bolognese sauce that is triple-reduced which would be delicious here, but that would totally defeat the handy-I-don’t-feel-like-cooking-recipe idea, wouldn’t it? I’ll save it for another time!)
Then the whole things gets topped with mozzarella and baked until the top is golden and bubbly.
While it was resting I threw together a green salad with easy homemade dressing (I love that thing!) and let some garlic bread warm in the oven. The resting part is important…just like lasagna…if you don’t let it cool a little, the slices fall apart when you serve them.
Easy as pie.
Speaking of pie…since we had it for dinner, we had to have it for dessert, too.
This just might be my very favorite pie. Really. Like the number one pie. It’s an old-timey recipe called Buttermilk Pie and I serve it with a triple-berry sauce that is so versatile. It would be delicious on ice cream or in yogurt…in fact, in the days following the pie I had the sauce on pancakes and in oatmeal. It also would have been delicious on those little French puffs I did a few weeks ago.
If you are afraid of pies, like some people are, this is a great one to have in your repertoire. You can cheat on the crust and no one will ever notice and you can garnish it with just about any kind of fruit or chocolate you happen to have around. Make this pie. You won’t be sorry.
All around it was a night I would have rather picked up take-out to eat while in front of the TV…but, thanks to on-hand ingredients for a jazzed-up standby and some leftover pie, we had dinner at the table and my three-year-old laughed at pie for dinner and pie for dessert with a salad in between.
Buttermilk Pie with Triple Berry Sauce
from Martha Stewart’s Annual Recipes
Graham-Cracker Coated Crust
(You can totally skip this part and use a prepared graham cracker crust instead – I won’t tell, I promise.)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup ice water
4 graham crackers, finely ground (1/2 cup)
3 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
8 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated
For crust: Use a 10-inch pie plate.
Pulse flour and salt in food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With machine running, add ice water a little at a time until dough just holds together.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and flatten into a disk.
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Spread graham crumbs on clean work surface. Roll out dough on top of crumbs, coating both sides, into a 14 inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Fit into pie plate, crimp edges and refrigerate shell at least 30 minutes.
For Pie: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prick bottom of shell with a fork, line shell with foil, fill with dried beans and bake until edges are lightly browned- about 25 minutes.
Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes to lightly brown bottom of crust.
IF YOU USE A PREPARED PIE CRUST, START HERE.
Reduce oven to 350.
In a bowl, whisk together buttermilk, butter, egg yolks and vanilla.
In another bowl combine sugar, flour and salt.
Whisk liquid ingredients into dry ingredients.
Pass through a fine strainer into a clean bowl.
Stir in lemon zest.
Pour mixture into pie shell and bake until center is just set, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Cool and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
Serve with berry sauce.
Triple Berry Sauce
adapted from Martha Stewart
1/2 cup sugar
1 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 pints fresh blueberries, picked over and rinsed
6 oz (1 container) fresh blackberries
6 oz (1 container) fresh raspberries
1 teaspoon cornstarch
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together sugar, lemon juice, and half of each kind of berry. Bring just barely to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the berries burst and release their juice, about 3 minutes.
In a small bowl dissolve the cornstarch in about 1 teaspoon of cold water and then stir into sauce. Simmer, stirring, until it thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in remaining berries. Refrigerate until chilled. Stir again before serving.