Tuesday, May 17, 2011
When in Rome
We've been having a great time in Italy, and have fully adapted to the Italian practice of eating late and consequently, rising late. Last night we went out to dinner with Clare and didn't even leave the house to begin the half hour drive to the restaurant until 8. And that seemed normal. Dinner usually takes at least 2 hours, so we rarely get home before 11:30 on the nights we go out. We are on vacation so we can sleep in, but how do the Italians do it? I can't imagine.
Even in vacation mode, it's sometimes nice to eat at home, on the early side. The agriturismo (rental on a farm) where we are staying doesn't have an oven or a grill so we are limited to the stove top. I turned some lovely looking pork chops into shoe leather before deciding there's a reason why pasta is so big here.
I've made a few pasta dishes, all of which seem remarkably similar. Variations on a theme - pasta, cheese (ricotta, mozzarella, parmigiano), fresh tomatoes, and something green (arugula, zucchini, basil, etc). Depending on the green I either saute it in olive oil with a little garlic or just toss it in with the hot pasta at the end.
Here's the general idea:
Cook the pasta, reserve some pasta cooking water.
Toss the hot pasta with the greens, tomatoes (diced) and cheese.
Add a bit of the pasta water and some olive oil, salt and pepper and stir until it's combined. Add mroe pasta water if necessary.
Leave the kitchen and let your dinner companion do the dishes.
Works every time.