pasta alla siciliana – when it’s too hot to cook part I

17 Jul

Hey there. It’s been a few weeks, or maybe even more. Back from my 18-day hiatus of real-life, I’ve returned to the kitchen and grocery store. For 18 days, I was visiting my mom – along with my little nuggets – where I was numb to the concept of “preparing dinner” or “grocery shopping.” If we weren’t out to dinner, then my mom was BBQ-ing pizza on her grill, grilling veggies, or whipping up a fabulous meal of spaghetti with meatballs. Ahhh, to not have the daily chore of feeding the family at night.

It’s an unspoken rule that my mom’s kitchen is off-limits to me, for various reasons. A rule I’ve imposed upon myself. Anytime I attempt to make something –  say, a simple fried egg – I feel a little breath of judgment over my shoulder – judging, judging, constantly judging. When I was there in April, my mom took over my pan and “demonstrated” how to properly fry an egg with her pans. Jesus. It’s amazing I’ve eaten at all in the last 12 years. Secondly, I have no idea where anything is, or where anything goes. My mom has a system. To me, it’s organized chaos. Every time I open the pantry sliding doors, a box of Bisquick falls on my toes, or a bag of chocolate-covered pomegranates lands on my head. I can load the dishwasher, but when it comes time to unload the dishwasher, I find myself in a fit of cold sweats and frustration because there are different drawers and receptacles for 15 different whisks and spatulas. Let’s not even talk about the “outdoor” versus “indoor” silverware.

It’s best to let things be. I know where the Premium Creamies are when I need them.

And now, the harsh reality of day-to-day routines is kicking my ass.

To boot, I’m a ridiculous cliche of a pregnant chick right now. All I want to do is drink water (well, really I want an ice-cold Epic beer with a gigantic prosciutto sandwich from Caputo’s, but those are both off-limits), stuff my face with watermelon, consume bowls of ice cream, and have a constant Slurpee machine churning in our kitchen – cherry preferably (that new lemon flavor blows). If there were some way I could feel in good conscious about putting only ice cream and watermelon in my body for the next 6 weeks, I’d totally do it. Something tells me this isn’t doctor-recommended.

For the past few nights I’ve told Sean I’m just not hungry. MY hunger-level should equate to the rest of the family’s, right? “Ugh. Fine, I’ll make dinner. But I’m NOT turning on the oven for the next 6 weeks. If you want a protein of some sort, then you have have to turn on the BBQ and man that business.”

And when I fall asleep at 8:37 on the couch with a belly fully of marshmallows and fudgsicles, I dream about Sean dreaming of  me heading on back to my mom’s for the next 6 weeks…

This will be a long summer for Sean.

penne alla siciliana (page 43, Savor the Memories)

This is one of my favorite pasta salads from my childhood. Most of the ingredients can be plucked from your garden, especially in late-summer.

1 pound imported penne pasta (I used tricolore farfalle to make it more fun!)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
2 pounds Roma tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta al dente, then rinse under cold water to stop cooking process. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.

In a food processor, place the garlic, herbs, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Pulse on and off 5 times. You want the mixture to look like salsa, not pureed. The tomatoes should have some texture and the herbs should be chopped. Add the oil and pulse on and off once. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss well. Taste for seasoning. Toss in the shredded cheese.

Serves 8.



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