Saturday, January 29, 2011

a big pot of pasta

Last week, I made a menu that was completely suited to Mister's tastes.  It was kind of my way to make up for all the weird meals I've been making since deciding to make the leap to vegan this summer and since I've started testing for Dynise's forthcoming cookbook.  I absolutely adore the way she writes, the stories she tells as she introduces her recipes, and most of all, the way she convinces me to combined ingredients I wouldn't ordinarily combine or eat something I wouldn't ordinarily eat.  Mister could do without all the adventure sometimes.  That being said, the only recipe he really didn't care for was the Basil-Balsamic Glazed Tofu; everything else he has embraced.

I think I made a new favorite tonight, though: Pasta with Red Peppers and Basil from the upcoming UV2.

Rather artful, the way I scattered those toasted Spanish pine nuts on there, wouldn't you say?  By the way, I don't know what's so special about Spanish pine nuts (not to mention that since they were in the bulk bin at Whole Foods I don't actually have any way to verify that they are really from Spain), but those little suckers are $23/lb!  Fortunately, I only needed 1/2 cup for the recipe.

It's a good thing I also have some recipes from Vegan on the Cheap in the menu, because in the off-season, this particular recipe could be very expensive: $23/lb pine nuts, $4/lb red peppers (and I needed 2lbs), and fresh basil, among other things.  This will be a much more affordable meal around July/August, so keep that in mind if you are a seasonal-ingredients cook who knows you have to buy this book when it comes out.  

After sauteing my 2lbs of red peppers long enough for them to get all soft and roasted-red-peppery, I stirred in the chopped basil and long, lovely strands of Meyer lemon zest.  It's very possible Dynise wanted the kind of grated zest you get from a microplane grater, but I thought the swirly strips of bright yellow zest were so pretty I didn't even chop them smaller.

This photo strongly resembles what Mister imagines heaven to look like.  To quote him directly, "a big pot of pasta is a happy thing."  Sounds kind of like a fortune cookie, doesn't he?  In any case, he was sufficiently delighted with our dinner - enough to have three hearty servings and help me provide a better idea to Dynise as to exactly how many servings this recipe makes.  I can see it traveling well and tasting good chilled with a light garlicky vinaigrette sprinkled over it for a potluck/picnic.

Of course, it's beautiful enough to be an appropriate first course for a dinner on our china with our real silver and crystal, in a room lit by ambient light and music playing softly in the background...

Yes, I am already planning my first dinner party now that we're two weeks away from moving into a home that will allow me to entertain.

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