Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tomato, tomAHto

Okay, you culinary fans, this one is for you. Tonight, while Matthew worked his little bum off to keep a roof over our heads, I decided I shouldn't just skip to the nearest Qdoba for dinner, deciding to make something lovely at home instead. This recipe was part inspiration, part desperation. Part inspiration because I've made something similar from Rachael Ray's books dozens of times before. The desperation portion comes from the fact that I a) didn't have ricotta cheese that wasn't molding in my fridge, b) hadn't remembered to pick up parsley, and c) had some leftover red wine in my fridge (before any of you wine novices start your dry heaving, I only cook with red, I don't drink it). The result, with some added toasted whole wheat bread on the side, was this dish you see before you. An amazingly fragrant, creamy, fresh pasta dinner. Here's my layman's version of the recipe:

1. Boil the pasta in 1 part red wine, two parts water. Salt the water (or not... I'm not particular). Drain. This part should be easy.
2. Cut up a couple tablespoons of butter (if you lend yourself to be more Paula Deen than Rachael Ray, you'll add two sticks instead of the two tablespoons), throw into a large mixing bowl. Add a package of goat cheese (creamy, not crumbly), and a couple handfuls of parmigiano reggiano. If I catch you using the stuff in the green tube, we will have to have a chat. Reserve this bowl somewhere until the pasta is done.
3.Add drained pasta to this and toss. This makes the butter all melty and lovely. Try not to eat it yet.
4. While all this is happening, start a skillet on medium heat and add one chopped onion of your choice. I myself like your basic sweet onion, but if you have a preference, it's all good. Dice it up, throw it in the skillet with some olive oil and cover that mess quick! It'll splatter all over your nice new [insert product placement here] Anthropologie apron. Cook for about 5 minutes.
5. Add half a "normal" bag of frozen snow peas to the onions, along with a huge handful of torn up fresh spinach. Cook for another five minutes, until the spinach is almost wilty and weird looking.
6. Take your skillet mixture (did you turn off the stove??) and dump it into the cheesy pasta mixture. Mix, and throw freshly diced basil and cherry tomatoes on top. Mix again and salt and pepper to taste.

Easy, right? And you can add chicken in there, shrimp, tofu, tempeh even. It's fabulous. And the best part is, a good riesling goes well with it if consumed out in the setting sun on a porch. If you don't have a porch, try turning your television to the Discovery Channel and having lounging lions as your background.

Eat, drink, and keep reading,

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