Tuesday, August 20, 2013

pasta in {mia nuova cucina}

The boxes are unpacked (well, most of 'em, anyway). How should I commemorate the occasion? By hangin' out in the kitchen, of course. And since I was Italian in a previous life, the menu item had to be pasta.

Pasta Ponza. One of my fave Giada De Laurentiis (see Giada at Home: Family Recipes from Italy and California) go-to recipes. It's fast, has great flavor, and is easy peasy. If you're wanting a hearty meat
dish, this recipe isn't for you. If you're wanting a bowl of ziti with which to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine, you'll be satisfied.

Pasta Ponza 
Butter for greasing
1 cups red cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained [I drain but don't rinse mine; I like the small kick of vinegar]
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 cup Italian-style seasoned breadcrumbs
1 pound ziti or other short tube-shaped past [I prefer a rigate pasta, even though I didn't have any tonight]
1 1/4 cups Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8x8-inch glass baking dish [or in the case of ... ahem ... of someone who can't find her 8x8-inch glass baking dish, use another shallow dish!]. Set aside.

Place the tomatoes, capers, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in the prepared baking dish. Toss to coat.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the tomato mixture. Drizzle the top with olive oil, and bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden [DO NOT under-bake ... if anything, go a little on the brown side; otherwise, the mixture will be mushy. Not good]. Cool for 5 minutes

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.

Place the pasta in a large serving bowl. Spoon the tomato mixture onto the pasta. Add the cheese and toss well. Thin out the sauce with a little pasta water, if needed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve immediately [as is often the case, I think it tastes better the next day!].

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Friday, August 16, 2013

a new {mississippi} attitude

Ohhhh, Patti.
She is me (minus the 80s hair, 80s pumps, and serious-as-shit 80s dancing).
No words for how happy this vid makes me.

I've longed to blog about the story of how I arrived here, in this what the heck am I doing? place, Oxford, MS. But when "it" first started happening, I didn't have the stomach to put coherent thoughts to my terror. And then "it" was a done deal, and I didn't have the heart to acknowledge "it" (I must have cried myself to sleep every night for a month). And once I finally hit the road, I found myself computer-less (when the state of Texas owns your MacBook and you have to return it to its rightful owner, blogging on the iPhone and/or iPad just doesn't provide enough appeal to bang out the words you're feelin'). 

I'm thinking today is as good a place to start as any.

Over the past year, I began to process what love is. I have also learned what love is not. Some people are mean. And they let you down. But many, many others are special. Those are the blessings that make life a hoot--the people (and critters) who hug you, bring you cakes, drive you 'cross country to move into a house you've never laid eyes on, pray with (and for) you, press their pink noses & furry paws against your cheek, eat good Mexican food with you "one last time," send you sweet things in the mail (just because), allow you to love on their babies, sit in emergency clinics by your side, put a beer in the freezer for you so it'll be extra icy, take roadies to see you, send you heart-warming texts ... the angels who remind you that you're loved, and that "every little thing is going to be alright" (to borrow a phrase from a text I received today).

I wasn't sure what I was going to say in this blog entry. What I've ended up with certainly wasn't it. I thought about chronicling some of the highlights (e.g., the Jim Beam display at a gas station in Louisiana) of my trip over from Texas (ahh, my beloved). I thought about making a top 10 list of the things in my neighborhood that make me laugh. I even considered a discussion of my shower that turned on this morning (without me in it). 

But those can wait for another day. Today Patti gets the final word ....

Somehow the wires uncrossed, the tables were turned
Never knew I had such a lesson to learn
I'm feelin' good from my head to my shoes
Know where I'm goin' and I know what to do
I tidied up my point of view
I got a new attitude.