Thank you to all of you who entered to win the Keurig coffee maker. I asked my contact there to pick a number between 1 and 239. She told me that her favorite number is 2, so she picked comment #222. Francesca wrote:
I moved from Italy to California where I am trying to colonize the locals. My husband has already been assimilated and happily consumes copious amounts of olive oil (the good stuff) and aceto balsamico tradizionale.
It seems fitting that an Italian won a great coffee maker, does it not? Francesca, I will be sending you an email!
It seems these days that social media is a common topic. People like to talk about the pros and cons of things like Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, etc. I have very specific uses for Facebook and Twitter. Keeping up with far-flung friends (Facebook), directing people to my blog, networking in the Seattle food community, and getting answers to cooking and dining questions (Twitter), and making sure I get as many birthday wishes as possible (both). If you have ever felt down on a birthday, then you probably aren’t on Facebook or Twitter. Yesterday was my 41st (bummer), on a Tuesday (bummer), and it was raining (double bummer). If that doesn’t sound depressing, then I don’t know what does. But through the magic of the internet, I got so much love and attention that my little Leo heart was full.
Now you might be wondering why I cooked on my birthday. Did I mention that it was my 41st, on a Tuesday, and it was raining? Plus, my brother is fond of saying that the best vegetarian restaurant in Seattle is actually my house. Would I be the most arrogant person in the world if I said that I agree? I’m not saying the best food in the city can be eaten here – far from it – but if you are going to take me out for veg food, I’d rather eat my cooking. Plus, I like to cook.
Sometimes I feel like I should only post grand recipes here. Like blow your socks off things that I have spent hours in the kitchen making. Never mind that I don’t make things like that all that often (unless we are talking dessert) and that the truth is, I am a huge fan of simple dishes. If something tastes great and doesn’t take a lot of effort, I will sing its praises. From the feedback I get about my recipes here and requests for upcoming classes, I would say that many of you are wanting more and more “weeknight” type recipes. So here you go.
I know much of America thinks that we vegetarians eat only pasta and salad. It is true that I eat a lot of salad but the last pasta recipe I posted was way back in February. I do crave it in the summer when fresh and light sounds just right and I want to keep cooking time to a minimum. Here, lots of fresh herbs were pureed with some olive oil and garlic – think pesto without the nuts or cheese. I tossed warm pasta with that mixture and then stirred in cherry tomato halves and Kalamata olive quarters. The whole dish got a healthy sprinkling of Pecorino cheese which is truly a favorite of mine. It took about 15 minutes start to finish and the dish can sit for hours before serving. Pretty perfect weeknight meal – even for a birthday.
Two Years Ago: Indian Spiced Chickpea Salad with Yogurt and Herbs
Three Years Ago: Creamy Eggplant with Peas
Penne with Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, and Pecorino
Adapted from Food & Wine
1 pound penne
½ cup olive oil
1 cup basil leaves
½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tsp. coarsely chopped thyme leaves
2 tsp. coarsely chopped marjoram leaves
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and quartered
1 cup coarsely grated Pecorino cheese (about 3 ounces)
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook according to package directions until the pasta is just al dente. Drain and allow to cool slightly.
Place the herbs, garlic, and olive oil in the bowl of a mini food processor or the jar of a blender and purée. Stir in a large pinch of salt and scrape the purée into a large pasta bowl. Pour in the pasta and toss well to coat, you may need to add a bit of olive oil if the pasta seems to dry. Stir in the tomatoes and olives and let stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes for the flavors to develop. Just before serving, add the Pecorino and season to taste with pepper. Toss well. (Can be made up to 2 hours ahead.)