La What Now?

Since the 1960s, baseball teams and players have been publishing cookbooks. I collect them and try out some of the recipes that major leaguers have shared with their fans over the years. Photos, recipes and comments included.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Mediterranean Christmas Eve Pasta by Jim Thome - from "Recipes From the Roster: Favorite Recipes From the Phillies" (2004)


1 cup sliced black olives
1 cup sliced green olives
3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
2 anchovies
6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 qt. bottle extra virgin olive oil
1 fresh orange slice
a generous amount of coarse ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb. angel hair pasta

Garnish: freshly shaven Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley, if available.

In a large saucepan, brown garlic in small amount of olive oil. Once garlic is browned, add the remaining olive oil, olives, anchovies and black pepper. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes over medium/low heat. 

After 45 minutes, add sliced mushrooms and orange slice. Cover and continue for 10 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft. Remove remainder of orange slice.

Presentation: pour over cooked and drained "al dente" angel hair pasta and serve with freshly shaven Parmesan cheese. Garnish with sprig of fresh parsley.

One more post for 2016, courtesy of former White Sox slugger and Renaissance man Jim Thome.  

I don't know if this "Christmas Eve Pasta" is a Thome family tradition or something he passed along that already had this name on it, but I love the images conjured by this dish. Picture big Jim and his family gathered in their ugly Christmas sweaters, chowing down on pasta and olives while awaiting Saint Nick.

I stumbled across the recipe while preparing to make the Holiday Country Soup recipe out of the Philadelphia Phillies' 2004 cookbook. 

One's eye could not help but be drawn to this amazing image while flipping through the pages.

A couple of tweaks: instead of buying green and black olives separately, I bought a mixed olive salad (green, green with pimientos, black and kalamata) with hot peppers in oil.  In keeping with the Mediterranean theme, I also threw in some chopped capers. Oh how I love the capers.

Apart from that, the recipe was very straightforward and I finally found a use for the angel hair pasta that had been kicking around the cupboard for too long than one should admit on a food blog.

But the dish turned out great.

A tip of the cap to Jim Thome for seeing off this strange and bizarre year of 2016 with a bang.

La Russa Gastronomique will be back with more culinary curiosities in the new year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Holiday Country Soup by Eric Milton - from "Recipes From the Roster: Favorite Recipes From the Phillies" (2004)


1 tbsp. salad oil
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage - remove casing and crumble
1 cup chopped onions
3 medium cloves of garlic, minced
1 27.5 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce, any variety
5 cups beef broth
1 cup burgundy or other dry red wine
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup long grain rice

In a 5-quart Dutch pot on medium heat, heat oil until hot. Add sausage, onions and garlic until sausage is brown and onions are tender. Stir frequently. Spoon off fat.

Add remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover. Simmer 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender and rice is cooked. 

Makes 3 quarts -- 12 servings. 

For the final entry of the 2016 project, I made a soup representative of the season (sort of).

Eric Milton pitched eleven seasons in the majors, starting for the Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He pitched just one seaon in Philly, leading the team in wins and strikeouts in 2004.  He also hung around long enough to provide a recipe for the club's cookbook that season.

There isn't really anything holiday-specific to this "Holiday Country Soup."  It's something you could enjoy year-round.

In an effort to make the soup just a little more Chrissmassy, I substituted the rice with some multicoloured pasta.  It was all for nought as the colours cooked right out of the pasta as it simmered.  Oh well.

The resulting soup is dark and savoury -- practically a stew.  Definitely something to fill the stomach in the cold winter months.

And that wraps up my year of soups from different baseball cookbooks.  I'll be back in 2017 with a new project... once I figure out what it will be...