So last night I decided to log in to Blogger and tweak something on my blog's toolbar. I was surprised to see that someone had left me a comment! Since I only just started this blog, and haven't "advertised" it at all, I thought it was going to be a long time before anyone left a comment here. I was curious (and suspected a family member) but when I clicked the comment and saw who it was from I almost fell out of the chair. It was from Beck. BECK! My #1 favorite blogger of all time! The one person I obsessively read every day! I won't go on and on, because I already did that in an email to her and she'll think I'm a total wacko, but let me just say that it was quite a little thrill and if I never get another comment I don't care.
Thanks again, Beck!
OK, gushing over.
I have some nice photos of my kids' little venture into the winter yard yesterday, but I can't find the #!$*&! cord that connects the camera to the computer. I swear, it takes me just forever to recover from a move. So, those will have to wait until I find (or buy) the cord.
But, let me do at least one useful thing in this post.
For Christmas my husband asked for a cookbook by Giada de Laurentiis (the gorgeous Italian girl who also has a cooking show.) I bought it for him (and wrote a note inside telling him to keep his eyes on the recipes, not on the cleavage.) But while I was at the bookstore, I also saw another cookbook by a TV-famous Italian woman, Lidia Matticchio Bastianich. Now, Lidia is older and not as gorgeous, but her cookbook looked much better. So, I bought it too. Good decision!
Yesterday I was looking for a dinner recipe that was easy, fast, fairly inexpensive, and appealing to our palates. Yes, a tall order, I know. But I remembered Lidia's cookbook, and decided to try one of her easy recipes for pasta sauce. (She has loads of different suggestions for dressing pastas in this book.)
I went with the Sauce of Marinated Artichoke Hearts and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and it was terrific! Here's the recipe:
SAUCE OF MARINATED ARTICHOKE HEARTS AND SUN-DRIED TOMATOES
from Lidia's Family Table
6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
5 plump garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 tsp. dried hot red pepper flakes
2 six-ounce jars (1 and 3/4 cups) marinated artichoke hearts, drained, sliced thin
2/3 cups sun-dried tomatoes, packed in olive oil, drained and sliced into 1/2 inch thin strips
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1. Start cooking the pasta in a large pot of boiling water (salted) 5 minutes before you start the sauce if you are using dry pasta, or just after if using fresh pasta.
2. Pour 4 Tbsp. of olive oil into a big skillet, scatter the garlic slices in, and set the pan over medium high heat. (Important- do not wait until the oil is hot to add the garlic- let garlic heat with the oil.)
3. Toast the roasted red peppers in a skillet "hot spot" for 1/2 minute- stir in with the garlic and oil.
4. Add the sliced artichokes and tomatoes, salt, and lemon zest. Stir well. Cook for about 4 minutes, shaking the pan and tossing the vegetables occasionally, as everything sizzles and juices in the pan thicken. (Doing your best "fancy chef" impression.)
5. Ladle 2 cups of boiling pasta water into the skillet, stir up the sauce, and cook at a perking boil for about 5 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by half.
6. Stir the remaining 2 Tbsp. of olive oil into the sauce. Keep it at a low simmer until the pasta is ready.
7. When the pasta is done almost al dente, scoop it up and into the skillet to finish cooking, adding a bit more pasta water or reducing as necessary. Add the parsley during the initial tossing; off the heat, toss in the cheese just before serving.
Try it, ya'll. It's yummy, and healthy if you use whole-grain pasta (which I have learned to love.)
BTW- I didn't add the red peppers because I was out, and it still tasted great.