Last night’s dinner was thrown together around 6:30 when everyone was beginning to get fidgety, taking turns opening the refrigerator door and cabinets. Since I hadn’t had anything planned, I did the most sensible thing I know and set a pot of water on the stove to boil while I opened a box of spaghetti–the one ingredient the whole family can agree on (some will have it with butter, some with salt, another with olive oil and salt). Then I began to look around for what would satisfy me.
I saw a couple of ripe tomatoes from our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share sitting on a dish on the kitchen table. Next to them, a few stems of fresh basil I picked from our garden the other morning and arranged in a recycled jam jar, which got me thinking that I still had some of last summer’s pesto in the freezer.
Since I had frozen the pesto without the cheese and butter, a tip I learned from Marcella Hazen in her book Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking I got to grating a wedge of local SarVecchio Parmesan cheese from The Sartori Family of Wisconsin and began softening a couple tablespoons of butter. The frozen cubes of pesto, parmesan and butter, I placed near the simmering pot of water, using the heat to warm it all nicely together.
In the meantime, I roughly chopped a couple of tomatoes and placed them in a large bowl. Before I drained the pasta I added some of the pasta water to the pesto mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time, mixing it together until I had a nice not too thick, not too thin consistency.
I placed the hot spaghetti on top of the fresh tomatoes, spooned the pesto, cheese and butter mixture on top and gave it all a gentle toss.
Within an hour, dinner was served. The kids ate their bowls of pasta plain or buttered or oiled however they liked along with some string cheese on the side. They munched on sweet carrots from our CSA while chatting to each other about this and that.
The husband had had a big lunch that afternoon so picked on a few carrots and called it a night.
Everyone seemed content and I got to eat something I enjoyed, so I called it a good night.