Saturday, June 26, 2010

Friday puttering

Purchase update: paperwork signed and sealed, down payment delivered. We are now officially homeowners (or, rather, mortgage-holders).

Appliance update: when I wrote the first draft of this post earlier today, I was making positive noises here about progress. Then I went downstairs and found a huge puddle in the basement. So now I’m going to make positive noises about my home warranty instead. And move swiftly along to….

Unpacking update: I estimate that we’re about 80% of the way there; now looking for homes for some of the more esoteric items (example: things I used to have stuck on the fridge that I don’t want there anymore, but don’t want to throw away. Where to put them?).

Settling-in update: Friday is currently my favorite day of the week. Now that we’ve moved, we’ve had to juggle our whole car schedule (what with only having one car), and that means I’m doing a lot of driving at the moment. So much that, to cut down on it, I’ve been working mornings at the public library near Miss B’s school. This means that we all rush out of the house around 7:45; Miss B and I get back around 1:30; and then zip out again around 4:00 to pick up DP, usually with an errand tacked on. Luckily this is only temporary, but for the moment it’s a bit exhausting and I really look forward to Fridays. On Fridays DP usually takes Miss B to school and picks her up, then takes her off to do something in the afternoon to give me a full day to work and get stuff done around the house. This means that I don’t have to drive anywhere, or even leave the house if I don’t feel like it. I can sort through outgrown clothes and toys to give away without clamors of protest; I can concentrate on tricky work tasks with the luxury of uninterrupted time in front of me; I can read a book while I eat lunch. I can even update my blog!

And, thanks to recent developments, I can do all of that while waiting on a repairman.

Pasta with greens
Adapted from the Vegetarian Express Lane Cookbook
I’ve been making variations of this dish for years; it’s just the thing for when you’ve got limited time to get dinner on the table but want something substantial. You can use any kind of greens you want; this week’s version uses Swiss chard, bought at the Farmers’ Market (one of those regular errands I mentioned above). The prosciutto is completely optional if you’d prefer a vegetarian version.* And amounts are also dependent on what you’ve got, and what you want.

1 bunch Swiss chard or other greens of your choice
3 Tbsp olive oil
6 slices prosciutto
large pinch red pepper flakes
1 box fettucine or other long pasta
1 clove garlic
~1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese, plus more for serving
salt & pepper

Chop greens into manageable pieces (if required) and put to soak in cold water.**

Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Heat oil gently in a large skillet or similar.***

Chop or shred the prosciutto as finely as you can and add to the oil. Let cook for a few minutes, then add the red pepper, followed by the greens. Turn the greens to coat thoroughly with oil, and leave to wilt. When they are wilting noticeably, chop garlic finely and add to pan.

Generously salt boiling pasta water, and add noodles. Stir to make sure they don’t clump and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes.

Reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain pasta. Add pasta to pan with greens, and toss to combine thoroughly, adding lots of cheese as you go and a few splashes of pasta water to bring it all together.

Season to taste and serve immediately, with more cheese for topping.

Serves 4 as a main course, with a salad and bread alongside.

* Which, given the source, this was originally, until I cheekily adulterated it with meat!
** Especially important for FM greens! I soak them in my salad spinner, and then give it a good spin to get some of the excess water off. It’s not necessary to get it all off, though, as it helps create a bit of broth.
*** I either don’t have a skillet big enough (or more likely the necessary coordination) to pull off adding the pasta at the end and mixing it neatly, so I usually use a big, shallow pot (such as this Le Creuset casserole--although mine is blue and I paid a *lot* less than that for it) for this.


Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said... Best Blogger Tips

Congratulations! Official homeowners, that's great news after such a long wait! Good for you all.. :)

countryfriedmama said... Best Blogger Tips

Congrats on your new place! I imagine there are all new joys in cooking when the kitchen is YOURS (despite appliance issues).

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks, both! Yes, it's pretty great, and dare I even whisper that I've had 3 consecutive days of problem-free appliance usage?

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