Had to have something really fast for dinner two nights ago. Inspired by a super new book I'm reading (buy it: LUNCH IN PARIS by Elizabeth Bard), I decided to make a pasta dish a la Elizabeth's husband's non-recipe with what was in the house. I quickly rifled through the small freezer and then through the veg bin. Leftover fresh pasta (enough for me) was in the freezer/big smile. There was, lo and behold, a small package of yummy, thick smoked bacon. The veg bin was a little more confusing. There were a few carrots (not even limp); there were even a few very straight and tall stalks of celery. Good so far. Onions? In the bag under the mudroom sink. Garlic? Shallots? In cappucino cups on the counter with the olive oil. Ok, that's a start, but we're missing something that's going to pull it all together. I then remembered some baby broccoli in a bag on a shelf and, praise, praise, there were three fresh tomatoes needing to be eaten SOON. The skins were already a little crepey. Great for the saucepot.
I got a small stockpot going with water for the pasta and turned on the Olympics. Now, I'm not a huge sports fan, but I like the Olympics as well as the next girl. Especially the winter olympics. I skated quite a bit as a kid (really) on the long-time frozen pond behind our house and the love of the glide and the wind (and the scars-not) is still with me. It just happened that as I made this, ok, it was lovely, pasta, Lindsey swooped down that slope with me holding my breath as I sauteed the onions and celery. I nearly burned the garlic as she hit that one curve, but it all came together in the end as she cried for joy over just having finished the darned run. I would have cried, too. Oh. Maybe I did. Phew. I was so glad for Lindsey, and for me... that it was over..and that dinner was ready. Of course, it was nice that she won that gold medal, too. Go, Lindsey!!! Go, Gwendal!!!
Here's what I did:
Almost Veg Pasta a la Lindsey Vonn and Elizabeth's Gwendal
First, set your small (6q) stockpot to boiling with about 4 qts of water and a little salt. Cook your pasta and, while it's cooking...
In a deep, large saute pan, cook until about half-way done
2-3 strips bacon or 1/4 cup smoked ham, thinly sliced in 1T olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 bunch baby broccoli, " "
(Meantime: check your pasta. If it's nearly done, drain it, saving a 1/2 c pasta water for sauce.)
Cook until softened and then add
3-4 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/4 c mixed chopped fresh parsley and basil (or 1 t each dry oregano and basil)
fresh ground pepper to taste
kosher salt to taste
Let the sauce cook down for 3-5 minutes. Dust with a little more ground pepper. If you haven't drained the pasta yet, do so now, and add the half-cup pasta water to the sauce. Fork up some pasta into your bowl, top with a big ladle of sauce and then add some
Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
I also like this topped with a few chopped fresh herbs. Parsley and basil are nice.
Gardening note: Neither one of those herbs is growing in my south window right now and I have to buy them. Currently doing quite well through the winter are thyme (three pots), sage (huge pot three years old), rosemary (two smaller pots with slow-growing plants) and almost frozen dead mint.
You won't win the Olympics with this dish, but you'll sure be happy, warm and full. You'll also have all of your veg for the day at one meal. The bacon didn't hurt a bit. (Thanks, Elizabeth!)
Wine: any red. I liked a Syrah.
Dessert: One square of dark chocolate (Lindt --about 50 calories per) for your health, of course
Sing a new song; win a new medal,
NEWS FROM THE TWO-DOG KITCHEN---------or , for now, A THREE DOG NIGHT.....
Gabby and Tuck had the big kid from next door sleep over--Meet Moss!
We know how to share a meal, well...maybe just a bone.
How long do I have to live in the kitchen?