Yesterday’s news

My upstairs tenants have been obsessed with vacuuming.  It’s an honorable obsession, though a futile one.  I am tempted to write notes about the dangers of running up the up escalator and of dustbusting after midnight.  Dust in New York City grows like weeds in a prairie.  You can’t clean it all out.
There are more productive obsessions, like cleaning the refrigerator.  If you catch a refrigerator in time, you can eat the crumbs.  My last lonely ingredients: nicoise olives, cherry tomatoes and a hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano.  I paired it up with pantry cleaning:  old bread and a smashed clove of garlic, olive oil, and a few leaves of arugula are perfect together.  Cube and toast the baguette in the oven before you start, and finish with red wine vinegar.  Or make pasta.  Pasta is the god of new life.  Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add half a pound of orchiette.  In the time it takes the pasta to cook, smash 3 cloves of garlic and mince.  Jarred garlic is unacceptable. If you find it in your fridge or in your pantry or in your friend’s pantry, throw it away.  I don’t care how old it is.  Add the garlic to the olive oil along with a sprig of rosemary and a few leaves of roughly chopped flat leaf parsley.  Halve and seed the cherry tomatoes.  Get them in the pan over a medium high heat, with a pepperoncino (or not) and a pinch of salt.  Meanwhile, peel and finely chop a yukon gold potato.  Push the tomatoes to the side in the pan and add the potato.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until golden brown and tender.  Combine with the tomatoes and a handful of pitted nicoise olives.  Save a spoonful of the pasta water, drain the pasta well when it is still toothsome and dump it into the pot. Stir everything to the side, add a knob of unsalted butter, a small pile of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano and the spoonful of cooking water.  Give it another toss, taste and serve.  It would be even better with last night’s escarole and garlic.

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