When a chef says you don’t need a recipe to make a great dinner, it’s hard not to roll your eyes and think, “Easy for you to say!” But Chef Nunzio Scordo of Driftwood Southern Kitchen and Italian eatery Farina (both located in Lafayette Village) stands by his words and challenges every at-home cook to try it before heading to the supermarket with a long list of recipe ingredients.
“People make cooking so stressful, but it doesn’t need to be,” he says. “Cooking should be fun.”
Part of the fun is experimenting and thinking creatively. You’d be surprised how much you can do with rice.
“You can make a cold rice salad, stir fry, soup, pair it with black beans, risotto,” he rattles off. Peanut butter can be turned into a savory satay sauce, perfect with chicken. Leftovers can be repurposed into pasta dishes; bread and eggs can turn into a savory bread pudding. It might seem intimidating, but Chef Scordo swears anyone can learn how to cook this way. You just have to know a few basics.
Scordo also advises to get away from traditional ideas of dinner, the kind of meat-and-potatoes style cooking your mom or grandma probably put on the table. Don’t think about it as a protein and side, instead imagine one cohesive dish that can stand on its own.
We decided to put him to the test and asked him to visit two separate kitchens and come up with several options based on what he found. The results were inspiring!
It’s as easy as 1-2-3
- Check your fridge for proteins and fresh veggies.
- Visit the pantry and pull out staples: beans, rice or pasta.
- Find any dressings, sauces or salsas to add extra flavor.