Two of the best things about being home are seeing friends and family and having access to their kitchens. Recently my dearest friend Eileen and I made dinner at my parent's house in Woodstock.
I made focaccia with fresh rosemary and coarse sea salt using a recipe from Williams and Sonoma Essentials of Baking. My parents had recently given me this book as a gift and I was eager to prepare a recipe from it.
Focaccia is relatively easy to prepare. I would suggest that new bread bakers give it a go before other types of yeast leavened bread. The olive oil makes the dough quickly come together for kneading and the second rise in the baking pan helps to visually assure the baker of a structurally perfect rise (you can see my bread just before it was put into the oven in the above photo).
Be sure to diligently oil the baking pan before spreading out the dough in order to avoid burning the bottom of the bread. I think that next time I will also brush some oil over the top of the dough before putting it in the oven to bake. The top crust came out a bit on the dry side.
I had found some spinach and red peppar tagliarini in the grocery store and the small round nest that each bunch made inspired me to try an irregular method of preparation. I set each nest flat in a glass baking pan with sides that came up above the pasta. I then prepared a tomato and pesto sauce to completely cover the pasta. Lastly, I cracked a raw egg into the center of each nest, sprinkled the tops with fresh rosemary, covered with foil, and baked at 325F while watching it closely.
The experiment turned out pretty well. Next time I would make a thinner sauce and add an excess of it. The moisture baked off fairly quickly and left the very tops of some of the pastas a bit dry. I would also use a glass top for the baking pan in place of the foil. The eggs would have baked just fine that way and the top would have trapped more moisture.