Sunday, August 9, 2009

Pesto Linguini and Sausage

We love pasta, and we try to eat it at least once a week. We had picked up some of the most beautiful peppers and tomatoes at our Farmers Market and wanted to take advantage of their freshness and the beautiful colors by making a nice summery dish.

Linguini and Pesto

The Food

I chose a couple chicken sausage links flavored with Romano cheese and tomatoes, browned in a little EVOO with red pepper flakes and Italian seasonings, and I added red and green peppers, mushrooms, red onion, garlic, sliced zucchini and a vine ripened tomato (all cut into about 1 inch chunks) which I briefly sauteed.

Veggies for the Pesto Linguini
I mixed the linguine with the pan juices (from the veggie saute), a little pasta water and about a 1/4 cup of basil pesto. I added some some fresh basil and parsley ribbons to finish off the pasta. Once plated, I piled the veggies and sausage over the linguine and added shaved Parmesan, toasted pine nuts and cracked black pepper to top it off.

The veggies were just cooked enough to give a nice crunch to the dish and the pepper and shaved Parmesan added good taste contrasts. I think next time I my add just a sprinkle of lemon zest to the finished the dish - just to ratchet up that summery flavor a bit more.

The Photography

I haven't been totally satisfied with my setups for a lot of my images, and I really wanted to fill the frame with this meal. So I made sure I had a lot of food and props:
  • The pasta
  • A small salad
  • Toasted garlic bread
  • Glass of wine
  • Bowl of black olives
  • Salt and pepper shakers
  • Napkin and forks
I spent a fair amount of time while Jhan was cooking playing with the set up, so I had a pretty good idea of the angles that I could shoot with a single set up (I wanted to eat my food warm, after all). As a result, I ended up with several photos that I was particularly happy with.

Linguini and Pesto

What I like about this image is the arc that the food makes centered on the salt and pepper shakers, and also the fact that everything cuts the edge of the frame - making it appear that the meal extends out in all directions.

Linguini and Pesto

This is a similar, but tighter composition.

The lighting was soft and simple: front light through an umbrella & back light through an umbrella.

Linguini and Pesto Lighting

Lessons Learned

  1. Taking the time beforehand to test setups and compositions pays off when you are in a hurry to eat.
  2. Props can help make an image look homey and complete.
  3. Cutting the edge of the frame with the food can give the impression that the meal goes on and on outside the frame.

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