Even though we’re all grown-ups and we deep-down know that we’re all equal and all that crap, do you ever go somewhere and just feel so much like you don’t belong that it is downright insane? This happened to me the other day at a very beautiful fantasyland store that is peopled with the clothes and accessories that imaginary me wears in her perfect life where nothing ever gets dirty and you never have to wear sensible shoes and shares a name with a class we all either took or flirted with taking in college. I’ll let you ponder that crazy run-on sentence for a minute….got it?
Okay good, onward with the story – so I’m walking around just taking in the vibe and daydreaming about the aforementioned perfect fantasy life and I decide that yes, I can have a candle. An overpriced but very delicious-smelling candle is definitely on the menu today. A little treat and then I will go. I get in line with my $22 candle and even though I already told myself that this is an acceptable splurge purchase I was kind of agonizing over it a little when I hear the total of the woman in front of me – $463. Then I glance behind me and see that the woman back there is easily holding like $600 worth of lovely clothes and that’s when it hits me – I really do not belong here. I am sandwiched in between two people who are dropping a combined grand like it’s nothing and here I am hemming and hawing over my $22 candle. Sheesh. Talk about a reality check. So then I drove to the grocery store (a place where I can generally afford things) and bought the ingredients for this pasta which did not cure my Anthro-Rage but definitely did help a lot. Carbs and cheese tend to do that don’t you think?
Double Pea Pasta with Ricotta & Lemon
(adapted from Everyday Food)
1 lb gemelli or other fun tube-shaped pasta
2 T unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1-2 cups snap peas, fresh or frozen (I just used the whole little package but sizes may vary)
1 cup whole-milk ricotta
1/2 cup (eyeball it) chopped fresh italian parsley
3 scallions, white & light green parts, thinly sliced
4-6 strips of bacon, thinly sliced
1/2 cup reserved pasta water
zest of 1 lemon
salt & pepper to taste
Put a large pot of water on the stovetop to boil and heat a medium skillet to crisp the bacon. When the pan is good and hot, throw the bacon bits in there and keep an eye on them so they don’t burn, stirring as needed. Get a plate lined with paper towels ready and when the bacon is crispy, scoop it out with a slotted spoon and lay it on the paper towels to drain.
When the water boils, add a generous palmful of salt to the water (I use kosher) and add the pasta. After about 4 minutes, add both the frozen peas and the snap peas to the water with the pasta. The pasta should be al dente after around 3 more minutes which is the perfect amount of time to cook the peas – cool, huh? Make sure you don’t overcook the pasta. Mushy pasta is like the #2 biggest cooking offense behind overcooked meat in my book. Anyway, take a glass measuring cup and scoop out about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water before you drain the pasta & peas and set it aside – we may need it for the sauce.
After draining, add the pasta and peas back to the pot and throw in the butter, ricotta, scallions, and parsley and mix well. If you need to, add a bit of the pasta water to thin the sauce and help it coat the pasta. Salt and pepper generously throughout the mixing process, then add in the bacon bits and most of the zest (I saved a little zest to garnish the plate).
Serve this dish with some crusty bread, a crisp white wine and maybe some lightly dressed greens and it will solve all your problems. Okay, that’s a lie. But I promise it will taste really yummy so that’s something at least.