Posts Tagged ‘Cooking’

Pasta primavera

In honor of today’s glorious early-spring weather (sunny, temps in the 60s), I’m making a version of pasta primavera for dinner. And, because I’m not working this week, I’ll make the pasta myself — something I love to do, but not after working all day!

For the pasta: I’m using the basic egg pasta recipe from Lidia Bastianich, in “Lidia’s Italian Table.” Just eggs, unbleached flour, a pinch of salt, few drips of olive oil, and a little warm water if needed. Ten to fifteen minutes later — after some steady kneading, you’ll have a silky-smooth ball of dough. (For the kneading process, I find it helps to pour a glass of wine, put on some tunes — Black Eyed Peas‘ “I Gotta Feelin'” has just the right beat — and enjoy the workout.)

Today’s wine: Argiolas Costamolino 2008, from Sardinia. ($12.99)

For the primavera sauce: Using what I found on a quick trip to Greg’s Produce in Hockessin, DE. Gorgeous red peppers (they are huge!), some leeks and asparagus.

One large red pepper, sliced into bite-sized strips
1 T. olive oil
Two medium leeks, halved lengthwise, rinsed well, sliced crosswise
One bunch asparagus, cut into bite-sized strips to match peppers
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt, pepper as needed

Add olive oil to hot saute pan. Add vegetables and saute until just crisp-tender. Grate garlic into veg, add a bit of salt and pepper, and then broth. Boil to reduce, 2-3 minutes.

Add cooked pasta to sauce (fettuccine, farfalle, whatever you love).

Spoon ricotta into warm serving bowl. Pour pasta and sauce over, stir to mix. Add Parmigiano Reggiano, and salt/pepper if needed.


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Dear Spring,

I’m so glad you’ve come to visit! We’re going to have a great time. I’ve opened the windows for you — don’t worry about my allergies. I’ve stocked up on Claritin — small price to pay for the pleasure of your company.

Speaking of the pleasure of your company, I was browsing some Spring-themed poems and found this one, which I just love.

Rite of Spring by Seamus Heaney
So winter closed its fist
And got it stuck in the pump.
The plunger froze up a lump

In its throat, ice founding itself
Upon iron. The handle
Paralysed at an angle.

Then the twisting of wheat straw
into ropes, lapping them tight
Round stem and snout, then a light

That sent the pump up in a flame
It cooled, we lifted her latch,
Her entrance was wet, and she came.

Love it, Spring! You know, of course, that there’s always a certain thrill in the air whenever you’re around! Spring fling, spring fever … spring break. (Something I’m trying not to think too much about, since my daughter is experiencing her first Florida spring break this week!)

Looks like you’re full of energy and raring to go today — sun shining, birds singing (they DO get started a little early in the morning!), warm breeze blowing. So maybe just a little spring cleaning and then we’ll spend some time outside. I’m thinking we’d have fun taking a walk up at the park. Then we can pop into Greg’s Produce to see what you’ve brought them.

And, of course, we’ll have pasta primavera in your honor tonight! I’m thinking asparagus, baby peas, maybe some halved grape tomatoes for color. Maybe homemade fettucine. Definitely lots of grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Later this week, when you’re in more of a rainy mood, we’ll get some more cleaning done — maybe get to the kitchen cabinets — and then curl up to listen to your showers beat a soft rhythm on the skylights, we’ll sip some sauvignon blanc, nibble on goat cheese and watch a movie.

If there’s anything you need, please let me know. We’d be delighted if you could stay a while.



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Dear Cupid,

Happy belated Valentine’s Day — I know it was a busy day for you. Hope all of your arrows found their mark, and that you had some time to enjoy a little “Cupid time” yourself!

We enjoyed a very loving weekend — did you proud! We skipped the whole “hearts & flowers” routine (no offense!) and shared the love at the movies, at Target, and in the kitchen. You know those are some of our favorite things.

We saw “Crazy Heart,” a terrific movie about the transformative power of love — even when that love doesn’t lead where you thought it would. Then we popped over to Target (you remember that’s a romantic spot for us, right?) to buy a rice cooker.

I know, I know, small appliances are NOT traditionally good Valentine’s Day gifts. But this one is. Al had recently mentioned that he liked the idea of a rice cooker — kinda came out of the blue, since he’s not really about cooking. But apparently he IS about rice. (See, no matter how long you’ve been together, there’s always something new to learn!)

I wasn’t initially too interested — I’m quite capable of cooking rice in a pan. But then I thought it might be fun to surprise him with a rice cooker. He comes home late so often that it would be nice to be able to keep his dinner warm.

So on Valentine’s Day morning, when we were making our movie plans, I said, “And let’s stop by Target and pick up a rice cooker.” And we did!

Yesterday, I texted him, “I’m making dinner in our ‘love machine’ tonight.” So you see, your arrow is still working its magic here!

Thanks for that!



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