Pasta is a Must-a

DSC06792I don’t know why I feel compelled to rhyme but oh my goodness the sun is shining bright today! The gray, the snow and the rain has cleared and my appetite is back. Food in the dark is not so appetizing unless it’s by candlelight, of course.

Anyway, it’s lunch time. Eating for one is not so exciting. I thought about an avocado egg but found out that Karina had dove into two of my avocados this week. So that will be for another day.

Yesterday, one of the teachers was talking about her aunt from Italy who she adores. She talked about pasta carbonara and how her Italian friend took one look at her cookbook and crossed that recipe out! He penciled in his own recipe. Hilarious! Another friend chimed in and said that the trick is to use half Pecorino and half Parmesan – and it isn’t considered carbonara if it has green in it. I think she meant parsley. I believe her because she’s from Rome.DSC04559So my craving for pasta begins. We discovered tagliatelle in Dresden, of all places, as we drove to Prague last summer. Can you believe we chose the hottest day of the summer to order pasta at a restaurant in the city square? We did perspire while eating but it was totally worth it! I realize it isn’t too difficult to replicate so we have been eating tagliatelle since. I like it because you can portion just the right amount and like spaghetti or linguine, any sauce from pesto to bolognese works. I don’t usually use cream since I am considering going dairy-free. So instead of cream, I use lemon juice. I would like to think I can go without carbs too, but then life wouldn’t be worth living, would it? I joke. I joke, but carbs are hard to live without.

Today I looked around and used what I had. The base is always the same – olive oil, garlic, parsley. I’ll be darned. I forgot to add parsley! I’m quite sure, my cousin, Shirley, also said shallots. Darn, I forgot them too. Poor shallots – they are sitting quietly, feeling neglected, in my pantry.DSC06800

DSC06804Then add whatever vegetables you like. I happened to have cherry tomatoes and I found spinach in my freezer. I freeze them for smoothies.DSC06805 (1).jpgI chopped up some leftover roasted veggies (from our salmon dinner) but with taking pictures and worrying about the garlic burning, I forgot to add them too. This isn’t going well. Blergh.DSC06790Since I was cooking for me, I used 3 bundles but if you have a bigger appetite, just add more bundles. I usually do 3 – 5 bundles per person. I don’t know if that is the norm but that’s what I do. Easy and versatile. Enjoy!TagliatelleTagliatelle with Cherry Tomatoes & Spinach

Serves 2

tagliatelle, 6 – 8 bundles or more, depending on your appetite

2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, sliced (optional)

4 cloves garlic, minced

about 12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

4 cups fresh spinach

1/4 cup parsley, stalks removed and minced

juice of half lemon

salt, pepper to taste

Parmesan Cheese and/or Pecorino Cheese, grated to taste

chili flakes (optional)

In a large pot, boil water for pasta. Add salt (yes, add enough salt so it tastes like sea water). Cook pasta according to directions.

On another burner, heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat.DSC06810Add olive oil. Sauté shallots, if using, for 2 minutes or softened. If the pan is too hot, move away from the burner and lower temperature slightly. Add garlic and sauté for about a minute, being very careful not to burn. DSC06811Sauté tomatoes for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper.DSC06812.jpgWhen the pasta is ready, use tongs and toss into the garlic-tomato mixture. It’s okay if some pasta water comes along for the ride. If you need to, add a little more pasta water to the pan.DSC06813.jpgAdd spinach.DSC06814 (1).jpgSqueeze lemon and toss to coat. Make it pretty by using a serving fork to swirl and serve on individual plates. This would be a good time to add parsley too.DSC06827Arrange tomatoes and sprinkle with cheese.DSC06836If you like a little zing, add chili flakes.

For a heartier meal, use other veggies like asparagus and mushrooms, walnuts, salmon, shrimp or chicken if you like. The sky is the limit. Bon Appétit!

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