Pasta to Please

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Holed up at home
for a three-day weekend, I rummaged among my supplies for something special to whip up. I remembered I had a bag of tri-color pasta stashed away. Next to it on the shelf was a can of tuna. The fridge yielded fresh squid, plump red tomatoes, garlic, shitake mushrooms, and fragrant, bright green celery. Ah, this would be a savory dish, all right.

The pasta shapes were amusing; the colors were a dry kind of yellow, orange, and papery green. My son had great fun watching me cook, perched on his nanny’s arm, looking over my shoulder. He must think this is some strange kind of play. Bubble, bubble, splish, splash. Drop in the pasta and stir in some salt.

A few minutes later, he gets the first bite. Yummy, but wait ‘til I start on the sauce. Into the pot go butter and half of my finely chopped garlic, then a generous sprinkling or herbs. I like a combination of thyme and some sage, stirred together with a bottled Italian seasoning blend. Some oregano in there for sure, and maybe some dried basil. It begins to smell heavenly. Then in go the mushrooms, their brown caps and the white undersides making a nice contrast. I slice the squid into rings and slide them into the mix, where they sizzle furiously and then turn pinkish white. Hmmmmm. Quartered tomatoes are next, then the chopped celery and some diced red peppers. The sauce gets all gooey from the tomatoes, and the herbs are smelling their best. To makes things even richer, I add heavy cream, lowering the heat so as not to curdle it. Then in swims the tuna, the last main ingredient to go in, in deference to the delicate flakes. For an extra kick, I mix in the rest of the raw garlic, then turn off the heat. This gives a punch to the sauce, and takes away some of the cloying richness of the cream. With the sauce poured over the pasta, it turns into a creamy, tangy dish that makes lunch a filling meal. My son finished a bowl, easily!

Naturally, a nap followed this indulgence. We were a household of sleepers ‘til 4 o’clock. Ahhh.


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