Saturday night dinner

This is Saturday night dinner in a snap. No need to stress no need to mope no need to call everybody up and cancel or give them directions to anywhere but your house.

Asparagus Carbonara
Roast Pork Loin
Potato Gratin
Strawberries with Mascarpone

1. Buy your groceries:

2 bunches of pencil thin asparagus, 1 dozen organic eggs, 1 big chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano,
fresh thyme or basil, 1 stick of unsalted butter and a box of penne rigate. Buy 1, 3 pound pork loin off the bone, 8 to 10 yukon gold potatoes, a pint of cream, a beautiful olive oil, some fresh sage, fresh flat leaf parsley, a lemon, a little rosemary a loaf of crusty bread, a few bunches of garlic, some snappy looking fava, a small container of mascarpone, and 2 or 3 pints of strawberries. If you like salad, buy a little arugula. If you see some tiny cantucci, buy them too.

2. Return home.

3. Tie the loin, if not tied already. Season the pork loin well with sea salt. Sear in a hot and heavy pan on all sides. In the mortar and pestle, or with your food processor, smash 4 cloves of garlic, 8 to 10 sage leaves, a sprig of rosemary, a few sprigs of parsley, and a few chunks of bread with a good drizzle of olive oil. Taste for salt. Add a little fresh lemon zest (no pith). Taste. Make deep incisions into the loin with a small sharp knife, and shove the green paste into the slits. Set into an oiled pan in a 350 degree oven. Give it a good pour of delicious red wine. This is going to stay in the oven for about an hour, or until a metal skewer stuck into the end of the loin, towards the center, is warmish to hot to your lip. Remove and allow to rest.

4. Boil an inch of water with a little salt. Add the asparugus, once you have snapped them all where they bend. Cook for 4 minutes. Drain. New water in the pan, and plenty of it, with salt. Add 9 ounces of pasta. While that is cooking, heat up 3 minced cloves of garlic with olive oil and fresh basil, or mint or thyme. Add the asparagus once the garlic is looking a tiny bit golden, and give it a toss for a minute. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from heat. In a bowl, whisk 6 of the egg yolks together with a few handfuls of finely grated parmesan. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, and then whisk in a teaspoon of the hot pasta water. Whisk in another teaspoon of the water. Add 4 tablespoons of butter to the asparagus and when the pasta is al dente, drain, add the asparagus, toss, and then ready to stir with a wooden spoon immediately, add the egg yolk mixture. Taste for salt and if it needs to smooth out a little, add a tablespoon of cream. This is your first course.

5. Wash and slice the potatoes as thinly as you can. Layer them in a buttered dish, giving each layer a little crumbled sage and FRESH minced or thinly sliced garlic (you can saute the sage and garlic first, but you don’t have to), a little salt, and a drizzle of cream. Bake covered until the potatoes are completely soft. Set it under the broiler, watching like a hawk, until a little golden. Serve with the pork.

6. Prep your strawberries by washing them, drying them carefully on a paper towel, and cutting them in half. Add a few teaspoons of sugar to the mascarpone, and a little lemon zest. You can also stir in a few tablespoons of fresh ricotta if you have it. Serve with the berries.

7. Laugh. You did it!!

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