Presents for Foodies: Food Network Star Book

This time of year I am always scrambling for holiday gift ideas. It’s not that I’m not a generous person… it’s just that sometimes, come on, people are hard as hell to buy for. Being a food-minded individual, I often solve this dilemma by throwing a cookbook their way and calling it good. In this case, here is something to please the masses: Food Network Star: The Official Insider’s Guide to America’s Hottest Food Show. It’s chock full of recipes and television gossip. We all know people who love Food Network, so there! One gift to cross off the list.

How good is this cookbook? Well, it’s definitely a crowd pleaser. FNS:TOIGTAHFS, as I like to call it to save time, offers a wide array of recipes, from the laughably simple (Carissa Seward’s Shrimp Puffs), to the reasonable (Eggs en Cocotte from Amy Finley), to the elegantly involved (Alex Hernandez’s Beignets with Rosemary Caramel). It’s fun because recipes from basically every cheftestant from every season of the show are featured, so it’s easy to pick a selection from one’s favorite. I, for example, eagerly sought out recipes from the Hearty Boys. Then, upon seeing that their featured item was lobster pot pie and reminding myself I was supposed to be saving money for other presents, decided to go with something a bit more pedestrian.

I would hardly call Guy Fieri my favorite “chef” but hey, he is probably the ultimate Next Food Network Star winner. This dude is everywhere! How’s his food? There’s only one way to find out, and that is to make one of the recipes that catapulted him to stardom.

Chipotle Pasta

2 tbsp olive oil
4 hot links, sliced on the bias into 6 pieces (my friends and I used Guy Fieri hotlinks to really get into the mood, ha. We found it at the local chain grocer… I didn’t even know such a thing existed before this project.)
20 shrimp, deveined, shelled, and butterflied
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup chipotle sauce
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
1 pound penne, cooked
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup diced fresh tomato, for garnish
1/4 cup chopped scallion, white and some green, for garnish

Chipotle Sauce:
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons chipotle paste
1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Make the sauce:
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender, puree, cover and refrigerate.

Make the pasta:
1. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add hot links and sear until browned, about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until pink. Lower the heat to medium. Stir in the cream, chipotle sauce, salt, and pepper. Add the cooked pasta and cheese and turn off the heat. Toss to combine.

2. Serve in a pasta bowl, and garnish with the diced tomato, scallion, and more of the grated Parmesan.

Here’s what the book says it will look like:

How did mine turn out? Well… I don’t know. For one thing it looked like this:

Not as pretty, but at least I served it “in a pasta bowl” as recommended by Guy. It was tasty, but maybe not what I would choose to serve if I were trying to win a televised cooking contest. Regardless, it was still a fun dish, especially for anyone who loves carbs, meat, and spice. (So, almost any human.) Maybe if I wanted to seriously wow everyone, I should have sprung for the lobster pot pie after all.

(Top image:

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