It's been a long time since I've let so many days go by without blogging, even if it's just a little something, like one of my obsessive Twilight-related posts or a peek at a new movie trailer I've loved. This time, however, I can not blame it on poor time management or a busy social calendar. Instead, I'm in the throes of coping with a family crisis that has been nothing short of a mind-numbing shock, the kind of thing that knocks you off your feet, sucks the air from your chest, and wrenches your heart.
While the crisis is far from over, part of me cannot help but seek comfort, however selfishly, in the routine and normalcy of daily life. In truth, it's probably a good thing-tales of the mundane or daily minutiae can be a welcome relief from medicinal issues and treatment concerns.
Thus, my first offering after this long hiatus is a light, refreshing Rachael Ray recipe. I made it almost a month ago, and found it to be a perfect summery bowl of pasta, an homage to the end of summer. Or, at least the end of summer in more seasonal places, not here in California where the sun literally always shines. I ate the leftovers for several days, and even sent a tiny bag of salt-sprinkled leftover cherry tomatoes with my husband's lunch. Delicious, and even virtuous!
Salt and pepper
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup tarragon leaves
1 large clove garlic
One 14-ounce can artichoke hearts in water, or artichoke bottoms, chopped or thinly sliced
1 pound penne rigate pasta
2/3 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano or pecorino-romano cheese
1/4 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup EVOO
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup ricotta cheese
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a ladle of pasta cooking water.
2. While the pasta is working, using a food processor, puree the parsley, parmigiano-reggiano, vegetable stock, almonds, tarragon, mint, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. With the machine on, drizzle in the EVOO.
3. In a serving bowl, combine the artichoke hearts and pesto. Add the reserved pasta cooking water, then stir in the pasta and season with salt and pepper. In a bowl, season the tomatoes with salt.
4. Serve the pasta with the tomatoes and ricotta for mixing in.