21 May 2011

Weekend Cooking: Cooking from Man with a Pan by John Donohue

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.


Yesterday's Imprint Friday introduced you to the literary side of John Donohue's Man with a Pan. Today it's all about the recipes. For more detailed information about the book, see yesterday's post.

Each of the men featured in Man with a Pan contributed at least one tried-and-true recipe from his own files. The mix of dishes included in the book runs from musician Michael Ruhlman's Roast Chicken for Two to lawyer/author Adam Bonin's Duck Breasts with Five-Spice Glaze. The bulk of the recipes, however, are family friendly and look fairly easy to put together. A few of the recipes use ingredients that may be difficult to find in a small town.

The recipes are printed in the style of the contributor. In other words, some are written out just as you might get a recipe from a friend, whereas others are more formally presented. Each recipe title is included in the table of contents, and there is no index. But as I implied yesterday, Man with a Pan is much more than cookbook; in fact the essays and stories are the true heart of the book.

The dishes that appeal to me most are the easy pastas, soups, and chili. As you might imagine, several of the men rely on their grills, and Mr. BFR will be trying some of those dishes over the summer.

My only complaint is that some of the recipes could have used a recipe editor. I understand that Donohue wanted to preserve the voice and personality of the featured men and that this is not a primarily a cookbook, but I found a few inconsistencies. The solution is to be sure to read the directions carefully before you begin to cook.

I tried two recipes that I served together: author Sean Wilsey's Fagioli all'Uccelletto and professor Henry Schenck's Broccoli Rabe. (I cheated for the bean dish and used my pressure cooker.) Both dishes were excellent and I will be making them again.

Fagioli all'Uccelletto
  • 1 pound dry white beans, large or small
  • 1 28-ounce can of peeled plum tomatoes
  • 1 28-ounce can of crushed plum tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh sage leaves
Rinse and soak the beans for at least 10 hours. Drain and rinse. [I used a quick-soak method that took 1 hour.]

Put the beans into a stockpot. Add both cans of tomatoes, breaking up the whole tomatoes with a spoon. Bring to a boil and then turn the flame down really low, cover the pot and leave it simmering.

In a frying pan, saute the garlic in the olive oil for 1 minutes. Add half the sage leaves [I chopped them] to the pan and saute for another minute. Add the garlic and sage to the simmering stockpot with the beans and the tomatoes.

Simmer for about 2 hours, or until the beans are soft as desired, which, depending on the size of the beans, could be twice as long. There is really no formula here--just keep checking. When they're done, they're done. [I used a pressure cooker, so my beans were done in under a half hour.]

When the beans are cooked, remove the cover, increase the heat, and reduce.

Fry the remaining sage [I left the leaves whole] in a frying pan (careful--don't burn it!) and toss this in. Serve in bowls with the freshly fried sage on top.

Broccoli Rabe

  • Olive oil
  • 2 large heads of broccoli rabe, washed and diced [I used a rough chop instead]
  • 1 head of garlic, chopped
  • Lemon juice and salt to taste [I also used pepper]
Saute the garlic in a little oil in a large pan. Add the rabe and cook until the stems are tender (usually about 5 to 10 minutes--pull one out and take a bite to see how they are doing).

Add salt and lemon juice to taste.


Col (Col Reads) 5/21/11, 7:39 AM  

Both of these look fabulous -- although I would probably substitute broccolini for the broccoli rabe. This is definitely going to be one of my husband's Father's Day presents.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 5/21/11, 7:46 AM  

Yum! I was interested when you highlighted the book yesterday, now - with pictures - you've really got me hooked.

These two recipes (from two sources) seem a great combination --- served with a loaf of crusty bread?

Julie P. 5/21/11, 8:13 AM  

Wish I had time today to read this book!

bermudaonion 5/21/11, 8:19 AM  

Those both look excellent to me!

JoAnn 5/21/11, 9:04 AM  

These both look delicious... think I'll try the bean dish!

Louise 5/21/11, 9:07 AM  

The book sounds really interesting. I've been loving weekend cooking so much that I've done two posts on different blogs this week!

Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook 5/21/11, 10:23 AM  

Both look delicious! The book sounds like one I'd enjoy.

Nan 5/21/11, 10:45 AM  

I love cannellini beans and make a few different stews and a salad with them.
Rhubarb season has begun around here, and I've posted a delicious recipe!

Peaceful Reader 5/21/11, 11:11 AM  

The bean recipe looks extremely easy and delicious. Thanks for sharing this interesting book.

Margot 5/21/11, 11:34 AM  

These two recipes will not only taste good but they would make a nice colorful meal.

Nari @ The Novel World 5/21/11, 12:25 PM  

I just posted my first Weekend Cooking post! I'm very excited.

Your recipes look yummy! I think I'll have to give them a try this week.

Joy Weese Moll 5/21/11, 1:57 PM  

Fun book! I love how pretty the broccoli rabe turned out with the bright green and flecks of white garlic.

Diann 5/21/11, 1:59 PM  

both of those dishes look different and tasty. thanks for hosting and have a wonderful weekend.

Heather 5/21/11, 2:01 PM  

For such a simple list of ingredients, the bean dish sounds real tasty.

Sandy Nawrot 5/21/11, 2:07 PM  

I absolutely love that title Man with a Pan. I have an aversion to green things, but in general I'm digging the idea of this book!

Anonymous,  5/21/11, 2:16 PM  

Both sound good!

Uniflame 5/22/11, 6:08 AM  

These recipes sound great!

Ikkin-bot 5/22/11, 12:15 PM  

so, the beans look delicious . . . I'm not so much for broccoli . . . even if it is tough sounding broccoli rabe . . .

Julie Goucher 5/23/11, 2:08 AM  

A rather late offering this week! Now off to read the entries submitted!

Yoshi 5/23/11, 11:13 AM  

Soba is a simple dishe! Plain old one!

Rob Rosenblatt 5/27/11, 8:53 AM  

A friend just pointed me to your blog, and while I'm pretty limited in what I read, I'm NOT limited in what I cook. I'm always looking for new and tasty dishes. I post a weekly recipe and review on Mondays on my blog, and hopefully I'll be cooking something I've found on here!

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