Taking on the world and dinner

I don’t know about you, but when someone comes over to my house around dinner hour, just a nice drop-by, and I haven’t given one thought past the possibility of having noodles with butter, I tend to freeze up like one like a sub zero puddle. During otherwise normal conversation, what I hear on the headset of my head is:
“FAYE, DO….YOU….KNOW….WHAT….TIME….IT….IS? And then after massive efforts to ignore myself, OFFER…..FOOD!!!” Last night at about 6:30 I heard myself say to my guest, “you hungry? how about pizza? I love pizza, don’t you love pizza?” My guest looked at her cell phone, which I took as a bad sign. “Or I could cook” I said. She perked up and sat back in her chair. I think people hope for home cooked food. I think that people are getting tired of pizza, and I just don’t have the personality I used to, to hold people with conversation alone. I still couldn’t think past the butter and noodles. “Do you eat pasta,” I said? “yea sure,” she said. Before I could get “with butter” past the last little editor I have left I said, “OK”. Which is a good thing. Don’t feel that you have to explain yourself before you start. Those tiny minutes just after you offer to cook on the fly and before you actually start cooking can be crucial in making it look like you can stand up and do what you say you can. Rule number 2, put on a pot of water to boil, just like when there is a baby about to be born. You may change your mind about the pasta, but then you are ready if you want to blanch vegetables or poach shrimp or make a quick stock. I got the water going and stuck with the pasta. I checked supplies and noticed a tub of cherry tomatoes, a basket of baby arugula, a little parmigiano reggiano, and some new garlic. I knew had fresh ricotta in the freezer which was a gamble since I was short on time, but I decided to shave the edges of it like you would cut a block of chocolate, and it worked. I pan roasted the tomatoes with flat leaf parsley and garlic. Those came out of the pan, and in went more garlic and fresh croutons for toasting. When those were done, I grated the parm and washed the greens and waited for the pasta to be al dente. I cleaned the frying pan one more time, added a shot of my best olive oil, 3 cloves of minced garlic and a spring of fresh rosemary until the garlic was just going golden. As soon as the pasta was al dente, I drained it, saved a little of the cooking water, added first the tomatoes, (1 tub for 9 ounces of pasta) the ricotta (about 8 ounces), the parm (about 1/2 cup), the garlic and rosemary twig, and lastly the arugula (salted and drizzled with just a sprinkle of the olive oil) and the croutons. It reminded me of the casseroles I used to read about when I was a kid that were an attempt to get the whole dinner into one dish; but in a noodle suit and no time in the oven. And it worked. Nobody had to go home from Faye’s saying, “I know what she says, but I have never actually seen her cook”. Next to who is going to be voted in for president, and is the homeless man at the end of my street going to make it through the night, this is the kind of thing I worry about.
To drink, we had our newest addition of a San Giovese bag in a box. Perfect; and think of all the bottles you save from being sent across the ocean.

2 thoughts on “Taking on the world and dinner

  1. Such a burden – having guests that always expect you to “put on the goose” ….. you crack me up ….”how bout pizza?”. I spread the word far and wide about your new classes – at least 100 ladies have all just received an email about it. It pays to know people… so are you advertising those videos yet??????

  2. I am slow I guess but after Jackie’s comment I cannot stand it until I know what is going on. Classes? videos? What, when, where??? Please help an old lady out.

    Love ya, Pat

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