- Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Fun Monday - Lotsa Pasta
Fun Monday for May 24th is a piece of cake--or, in my case, a bowl of pasta. Our host is Debs over at 1 Crazy Stitcher and she's asking us to share our favorite foods and, if we have them, foods we really dislike. Well, getting the dislike out of the way, for me it's soft cooked eggs, especially the yolks. Just can't do it. Aside from that, I haven't met a food that I didn't like. Unfortunately?
Penne-fusilli-farfalle-orecchiette-lasagna-vermicelli-cavatelli-angel hair-linguine. That's what flashed before my eyes when I read Debs assignment. Love, love, love pasta in all its forms and preparations. When I eat out, I go to the pasta entrees first. At home my shelves are stocked with several varieties of pasta at all times. I especially like the Barilla brand. And now they have my favorite pasta shapes in "piccolini" or mini versions. Cute little penne tubes, farfalle bowties, fusilli corkscrews. Now I wish I could say that I also enjoy whole wheat pasta, but I'm not there yet. It just doesn't have the al dente bite that the other pasta has.
Preparation is simple. It could be elbow macaroni cooked in tomato juice of my childhood or mac 'n cheese. Sometimes I'll make what Rachael Ray calls "stoup", a cross between stew and soup that contains a bit of chicken or ground beef, lots of vegetables and pasta cooked with tomato. Or, it could be vegetarian--farfalle with broccoli, olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic and Parmesan cheese. Version two would be penne with frozen spinach, artichokes, and Parmesan cheese. Sometimes its traditional spaghetti and meat sauce. It won't be Alfredo though--that sauce seems like overkill to me.
I also make cold pasta salads like Pasta Primavera with tons of fresh vegetables, vermicelli, and an Italian dressing. Debs asked us to share a recipe for our favorite food and last week I just happened to make a new pasta salad that was a real winner. So, just in time for summer cookouts I give you:
Marzetti's Summer Pasta Salad
3/4 C Marzetti Classic Ranch Dressing (look for it in the produce section)
8 oz. fusilli (I used the Barilla "piccolini" version)
1 C broccoli florets
1 C artichoke hearts, quartered (canned, packed in water not marinated)
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 red onion, about 1/2 cup VERY thinly sliced
1/2 C frozen peas, thawed
1 C cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 C shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 C pitted and halved kalamata olives (next time I may just use black olives)
Cook pasta according to package directions. One minute before done, throw in broccoli florets (be careful to just blanch the broccoli). Drain pasta and broccoli together. Run cool water over to stop cooking and drain well. Combine the pasta-broccoli with the Marzetti Ranch Dressing and remaining ingredients and toss gently. Serve or store in the refrigerator until serving time. Gilding the lily: this would make a wonderful seafood salad with the addition of a bit of lump crab meat.
So, there you have it. My celebration of pasta. Can't wait to see what other Fun Monday participants love to eat--and maybe get some new recipes. Check Deb's place for the list of players.
(Image credit for pasta poster: Pasta Italiana I, Riccardo Marcialis, www.art.com)