This story was originally published on March 21, 2016.
When I think of Kendall Jenner, cooking is definitely not the first thing that comes to mind. The reality TV star turned mega model slash major fashion it-girl makes celebrity headlines for simply leaving her home. We know her sister Kylie likes to cook and that Kendall likes to eat out, but based on her go-to grocery shopping list, we wouldn't have guessed that she also likes to throw down in the kitchen. That's why it took me, and the rest of team food, by surprise when Jenner recently came out swinging with her go-to, all-time favorite, pasta recipe. And not only that, but she also asserted that no one can make the dish quite like she can (and also that she could eat it for every meal). Now, I consider myself a pasta girl; I grew up on the stuff — as Bane from The Dark Knight Rises would say, "I was born in it, molded by it." And so I took KJ's words very, very seriously. I also took her assertion of eating this dish for every meal to be a direct challenge, because I myself could eat pasta for every meal (and may or may not have done so at one point in time). But enough about me, and more about bringing this recipe to life in my own kitchen.
It began as all good pastas begin, with noodles and other ingredients: fettuccine, frozen peas, onions, garlic, Parmesan, lemon juice, and a little salt and pepper. Simple. Or so I thought, until I made the rookie mistake of picking up linguine instead of fettuccine (like the deficient recipe-following chump that I am). Note: linguine is just a thinner fettuccine — so really, no harm no foul. Differing noodle widths put aside, I forged on. I boiled water and sautéd chopped onions, garlic, and peas. Then I grated cheese and finally juiced some lemon. When the noods were just al dente, I drained them and reserved a bit of the cooking water as directed by KJ — I then added both of those ingredients to my sauté pan and tossed in the cheese and lemon juice. Up until this moment, it had been a painless and relatively quick pasta-process. And then I attempted, in vain, to evenly toss/coat the noodles with the pea-parm-onion-garlic mixture. Linguine (as I imagine fettuccine to also be) are slippery little suckers (I would have opted for shells or a more textured noodle option) — and because this pasta lacked the glue of a thicker, creamier sauce to hold the peas in place, they went fucking everywhere.
Once I was able to get all of the ingredients as incorporated as possible, I took to adding in a few cracks of pepper and some pinches of salt as KJ recommended. And then finally plated myself a bowl for tasting. Now, we've established that I like pasta. I also like peas, Parmesan, and most definitely garlic and onions — but for some reason, all of those ingredients together weren't greater than the sum of their parts. And on first bite, they fell short of my "eat for every meal" expectations. Something was seriously missing; a savory sauciness (a little stock), a creamy element (some butter or half and half), maybe even some spice (dash of red pepper flakes). It was too simple — dare I say, basic.
Maybe it was the great fettuccine-linguine mixup of 2017. Or perhaps Kendall was right, no one can make this dish quite like she can. But regardless of what went wrong here, I've come to learn that not all personal "go-to" recipes translate across the publics' kitchens. And also that I'll continue to make my pastas with plenty of cream and seasoning, because YOLO.