For May I picked a much neglected book from my shelf called "200 Four-Ingredient Recipes". I have no idea when I acquired this book, or where from. It seems familiar, as though it has been in the family for a while and I think I brought it with me when we moved into this house, but it is not very well-used. All of the recipes include a maximum of four ingredients, with the exception of seasoning, although some include suggestions for additions too.
I was intrigued to see, particularly after some of the complex recipes from other months, whether ones with only four ingredients could really compare. The trickiest part was finding recipes that I felt would suffice as a meal, as many were for soups, smoothies and juices. Also, many of the main courses would have needed other side dishes to go with them. I could have made a main and two side dishes and still used less ingredients than some other recipes but I was keen to see if I could make a substantial meal from one recipe.
The first recipe was fettuccine alfredo, and was simply parmesan, cream and butter over fresh pasta. Whilst it didn't win any prizes for colour, or for vegetable content, it was a really lovely dish. I think it was a definite success as the recipe for four people disappeared, with The Husband having a rather large portion of seconds. While I do think it would have benefited from a salad on the side, the simple, classic flavours worked really well.
As I have started to do with the Cookery Calendar Challenge, the second dish was The Husband's choice, and we had a broad bean and pancetta risotto. The ingredients were risotto rice, herb stock, frozen broad beans and smoked pancetta. This included a suggestion to add parmesan shavings, and as I had some leftover from the pasta dish I decided to make it a five ingredient recipe! It was the first time I have used frozen broad beans, having enjoyed cooking with the ones from our vegetable patch last year. We decided to remove the tougher outer shells after cooking them, though I'm not sure that was necessary, and this was a really nice, filling dish. The leftovers made a very hearty lunch portion too, but I was glad to have added the parmesan as I think it made it a slightly richer dish.
Overall, the four-ingredient approach was a success, and I think I may well revisit the book in the future for some simple recipes that are a bit different to what we usually make. The book for June hasn't been chosen yet, so pop back next month to see what I went for. In the meantime do visit Penny's blog (click through the link below) to see how others are getting on with the challenge, and to find out how to join in too!