The truth is, I took Ferdinand and his friend Carmen to Sweet Life on Hester street and I told them that they could get whatever they wanted and that’s what they had for dinner. Let me tell you something, there is some good candy in my house at the moment. I helped myself to some chocolate covered dried cherries, a marshmallow dipped in chocolate, sprinkled with mini m&m’s, chocolate crayons, and individually wrapped jelly bellys. How classy is an individually wrapped jelly bean? Ferdindand got Pez as well and was walking up to people on the street saying “how crazy is this? Spongebob has candy coming out of his neck; you want one?”
Let me tell you something else, if you live in or visit New York City, run as fast as your happy legs will carry you to Jimmy’s Gelato at Chelsea Market. It’s right by where they sell the kitchen stuff. It’s amazing. My friend Ann was laughing at me because I almost started crying when I was eating it. The guy makes it fresh every single day. Can you believe that? You have to go.
When I was done with my gelato, and I couldn’t eat one more candy necklace I made a few noodles with my favorite San Marzano tomatoes, nicoise olives, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil. If you can convince yourself to buy dinner ingredients before your people get to the house, it’s easy.
Simmer about four cloves of garlic, each cut in half in your best and most gorgeous extra virgin olive oil, which if it is from last year’s harvest in central Italy, is just beginning to mellow out. Now listen to me: ADD THE FRESH BASIL LEAVES NOW. This is critical. The basil dropped into the oil will become crisp and nearly translucent, and give you a lot of bang for your buck this way. If you like it hot, add a few red pepper flakes now as well, or wait until after the tomatoes have been added for a milder version. Add a can of tomatoes squished up in your hand, and cook for at least half an hour with a pinch of salt to taste. Add a good handful of olives, and when your pasta is al dente, drain it well, reserving a bit of the cooking water in a Pyrex cup. Add enough sauce to coat the pasta well. If the pasta seems a bit dry, add a drizzle of your cooking water. Add a cup of%2