Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Exhausted Evening at Home

After a looong day at work yesterday, I schlepped over to the gym to complete my battery of physical-therapist-recommended exercises. Sweet friend LS called, wanting to know if I was in the mood for a walk in the park, an offer which I unhesitatingly accepted. The weather was gorgeous, and I headed straight to LS' house after the gym.

LS brought her three adorable daughters, and I pushed little C in her stroller. One lap around the park and a stop at the playground, plus the walk there and back, and I was knackered.

And can I just mention just one thing? I am amazed daily by the love, energy, humor, and patience of all the mothers in my life. (You too, Ma!)

I dragged my arse home to a hungry Hero, and flipped through my mental rolodex of super-easy recipes. Picking pasta was a no-brainer. Then I recalled a simple "base" recipe from Sally Schneider's The Improvisational Cook for pasta with anchovy, garlic, and red pepper. I tossed in some fresh parsley and toasty walnuts to make this an approximation of a meal. Of course, this pasta would serve just as well as a side dish, but we ate our simple dinner happily with some juicy wedges of watermelon.

A word about anchovies: have no fear! If you "don't like" anchovies because they look/smell funny or you had them on pizza once and didn't like them, please, give them another chance! I'd be willing to bet that most people wouldn't be able to identify the flavor in these noodles as fish-based at all! I buy the small jars of oil-packed anchovy fillets in the italian foods section. this way, I can reclose the jar and use the rest later.

Spaghetti with Anchovy and Garlic
1 lb. whole-wheat spaghetti
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
7-8 anchovy fillets packed in oil, patted dry
Coarse salt
Black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Crushed red pepper
Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Handful toasted walnuts

Set a pot to boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Grate garlic with a microplane or rasp grater onto cutting board. Sprinkle with coarse salt and mash into a paste with a knife. Add anchovy fillets and cut these into the garlic mixture with a knife. It should form a thick paste. Add anchovy-garlic mixture to a mortar (you could use a bowl and the back of a spoon) and mix in a generous grinding of black pepper. Add about 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil, a little bit at a time, working in with the pestle.

Drain pasta. In hot pan, add oil mixture and cook over medium about 30 seconds with crushed red pepper to taste (I was generous). Turn off the heat, and add pasta back to the pot. Toss until well-coated. Serve sprinkled with parsley and a scattering of walnuts.


Joanne Rendell said...

your blog is awesome! I want to eat my laptop just looking at it!!

thanks for coming over to my professor's wives blogspot. as you can tell it is still in progress and i'm busy working on interviews.

i'd love to hear your story. if you'd be happy to be interviewed, contact me at

Anonymous said...

Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!