Presto Pesto Pasta for the Freezing to Death
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It looks like we may not eat tonight.
Ok, on second thought, maybe we will, but only because my darling husband has been killing himself all day, working on “the farm” (this is really a joke because all we have is a veggie garden, 7 chickens and 7+ acres). But the “farm” it is.
Bill is back in the laundry room, installing a new fuse into our old dryer that gave up the ghost. The swearing I heard was from his hitting his head on a shelf, and cutting his poor old (hair challenged) head. So, he certainly deserves to eat.
I’m not hungry in the slightest. I’m too cold to be hungry. I’m not too cold, however, to drink cold wine. No. Never that.
All day long, I’ve been sitting at our little kitchen table, trying to learn to become popular. Not in the “friends” sense. In the “blogosphere” sense.
On my feet are a honkin’ huge pair of knock-off Uggs I found at Goodwill a couple of years ago (while I was freezing). They go all the way up my leg to mid-calf and I look like some dorky kid in them. A dorky kid with a lot of wrinkles.
I’m still wearing my gray Buffalo plaid flannel jammie pants, also scored (new) from Goodwill for $5. I found a hat I had knitted for my youngest daughter, still in her former room (of course – why would she pack that, to go live in snow country??). So I stuck it on. But my hands were numb. Boy, I am going to regret this next move. I had a pair of knit black gloves that I’ve always loved. I think they’re lambswool. My brain was frozen this morning and I hadn’t really had enough caffeine, so I didn’t care. Snip! Off the fingers went. Now I could type and only the tips of my fingers were cold.
Over it all, I donned my long fleece robe. Now, I take my freezing to death pretty seriously, so I actually bought this robe NEW from a reputable outfitter online. Some things, you just can’t skimp on. Keeping from freezing to death is one of ‘em. I plan on having this baby til the day I die. Which, all things considered, may not be in the too distant future. Now I just look like a well-outfitted bag lady. “Outfitted” being a subjective term, of course. I have an old, dear friend who has a personal shopper. And I’m pretty sure that her shopper would never utter my “outfit” and “well-fitted” in the same sentence.
I’ve had severe back pains for several years, now, but they have increased exponentially to correspond with the number of hours I am on the laptop, working on my blog. Or, rather, learning HOW to blog.
The writing isn’t all that hard. It’s just like talking, which I am quite good at. I believe I have been accused in the past of having “diarrhea of the mouth.” Or maybe that was me, telling that to my kids. Whatever.
The computer part of learning to blog is sheer hell. People in their 60’s should not be doing this. I honestly think it’s bad for their hearts.
Bill just came in and, miraculously, the fuse on the broken dryer worked. Miracles never cease.
But Leo, the cat, is on his chair, so I’m not sure where Bill will sit tonight.
Tonight’s dinner is my Go-To for every evening I am sick and tired of cooking and everything else. Try it, you’ll like it. Or, at the very least, it’ll fill up the hungry ones on your list.
Presto Pesto Pasta for the Freezing to Death
Any type of pasta you feel like making (remember to salt the water heavily and use plenty of water for the starch to escape to)
Pesto (we’re doing a quickie spinach tonight)
Tomatoes or whatever you feel like adding
Salt and Pepper
I prefer to use my basil pesto for this, but this year’s pickin’s were pretty slim. I need to ration myself. So I’m going to make some spinach garlic pesto in two seconds. As long as you have a food processor, that is.
You NEED a food processor. Here’s a link. I’m going to keep bugging you about this. Make your life easier! You deserve it.
If you make a bunch of this, with an entire bag of baby spinach, you can always freeze whatever you have leftover (label with contents and DATE!) and have it at your fingertips some night when you’re even more exhausted than I am, tonight! Just use an actual mason jar with the metal lid and band. Leave at least a 1/2 inch of air space so it doesn’t explode in your freezer! To be honest here, I don’t know if it would actually “explode.” But the pesto does expand in the freezer, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. It won’t be a lot of fun, if you have to clean up your freezer.
Throw a bunch of fresh (has to be fresh) spinach into your food processor. Toss in plenty of chopped garlic (jarred will do), salt and pepper and a good amount of extra virgin olive oil. I use an entire Tablespoon of garlic per one large bag of spinach. But I’m really into garlic. Start with less; you can always add more.
Pulse until it’s well mixed and you like the consistency. Mario Batali says you shouldn’t overmix it. I love Mario but, frankly, I like it well pureed. He also says you shouldn’t heat it, except to add at the last minute and, for that, I will bow to Mario’s infinite wisdom. Now taste and adjust garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil.
Cook your pasta (I like Penne and Mostaccioli best) according to directions. I’m sure you know about this trick, but maybe you’re new to this. If you put a wooden spoon over your pasta pot, it will keep it from spilling over. To an extent, that is. You still need the water level a couple of inches below the top of the stock pot.
Before you drain, reserve a 1/4 cup or so of the pasta water, to add to the pasta when you’ve added the pesto and would like a looser, creamier sauce. And don’t rinse your pasta, for cryin’ out loud. Return the drained pasta to the stock pot and add your pesto. And pasta water, if you like.
While your pasta is cooking, cut up and saute´ your boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tendons in olive oil. I always remove the tendons because they’re GROSS. I just cover and nuke the tendons and give them to the chickens. No, I’m not kidding. It’s their favorite thing on the menu!
I don’t have an overhead vent on my stovetop. This is just one of the many joys of the “homemade” house we acquired. Come to think of it, one time I was cooking on a friend’s very beautiful, 6 burner gas stove. And even though she had a great overhead fan, I could’ve used one of these splatter screens. This will help in your clean-up, trust me!
When done, toss the chicken into the cooked pesto pasta. Take advantage of the brown bits in your saute´ pan. Turn on high, add a bit of water or white wine, and deglaze the pan. Add this to your pasta. Cut up a couple of tomatoes and toss everything together. Warm for a few minutes, to soften the tomatoes. Spoon into bowls, grate the parmesan and enjoy in front of the fire.
And, for goodness sakes, stay warm!
Cheers – Vicky