Food on TV: Sara's Weeknight Meals

We were excited to see Sara Moulton's new PBS show, Sara's Weeknight Meals, debut last night. Her show and cooking philosophy seems particularly to fit in with The Kitchn's mission and philosophy: cooking that's not dumbed-down, but is still approachable. Real food for practical people.

Did any of you also watch last night?

We might have been predisposed to like the show, given that we watched it right after The Food Network's Chefography of Julia Child. Sara Moulton was a protege of Julia's, and we see Julia's influence in the way she cooks and relates to viewers.

The debut episode focused on pasta, giving the viewer three recipes of varying difficulty and time, but all manageable after a long day at work. The first recipe was almost a non-recipe, the kind of thing one might dream up after a cupboard challenge, but it certainly seems manageable and tasty: Cartwheel Pasta with Breakfast Sausage and Creamy Tomato Sauce.

Stepping up the difficulty level, she showed us that homemade gnocchi was possible on a weeknight, with Ricotta Gnocchi with Sautéed Cherry Tomato Sauce. No need to pipe them precisely; take a lesson from gnudi and drop spoonfuls in the water.

We were skeptical of her third dish, particularly with its hour plus long cooking time. (Admittedly, only 20 minutes of that are hands on.) She used wonton skins to make a Quick Asparagus Lasagna - why not just use no-boil pasta, or even just find a way to use non-no boil lasagna without cooking it first? She tried to sell us on the wonton skins, saying they'd make great individual servings, but we weren't buying it.

Overall, she's cooking real food, with interesting ingredients, but giving you the tips and tricks to make it manageable. There's no need to be a perfectionist, but you also don't have to overly rely on processed foods.

Our biggest quibble with the show is the writing - her intros and summaries are almost painfully stiff, as they were when she was on The Food Network. But as long as the cooking is good, we'll continue to tune in.

Who are the food celebrities you love? Which ones fit in most with your philosophy of cooking?

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