today i had the real pleasure of cooking an office picnic lunch for my bubba. bubba and i have known one another now for over fourteen years. she and i both played clarinet in the high school band, somehow always had the same classes, got drunk for the first time together and have shared many tear inducing laughing fits.
i had planned on taking “sack” lunches up to her, like i have done before, but then realized that i could make our lunch. it would be healthier and much cheaper than the $5 sandwiches. so, on today’s picnic menu was a penne pasta and a hearty spinach salad.
the recipe for the penne was adapted from my copy of Cook Yourself Thin:ingredients: (serves 4)
2 tsp olive oil 3cloves of garlic, minced 1/2cup chopped red onion couple of pinches of salt 1 14oz can whole tomatoes in juice, pureed in a food processor pinch of red pepper flakes 8oz penne 1/4cup, plus a splash creamer 1/3 cup shredded parmesan 1/4 cup of fresh, chopped basil in a large saucepan, heat 2 tsp of oil and cook the onion plus a pinch of salt until soft (about 3-4min). add the tomato puree, a pinch of salt and the red pepper flakes. bring to simmer, reduce heat and simmer gently 10min. stir in the minced garlic, add the creamer and let simmer an additional min. (if you don’t like a super strong garlic flavor, you can add the garlic when you add the tomato puree). meanwhile, add the penne to boiling water and cook until just shy of al dente. drain pasta, reserving 1/2cup of pasta water. add the drained penne to the saucepan and simmer until the penne is al dente, adding the paster water if the mix is too dry. stir in 1/4 cup of the parmesan and the basil. serve the pasta with a drizzle of olive oil and a quick sprinkle of parmesan.
the penne was, like the burgers last night, extremely easy and very tasty. only costing bubba and i a total of about 350 calories. and with the exception of a couple of phone call interruptions, our picnic meal at her desk was really, quite romantic.