Yesterday demanded an easy meal. Monday is frequently a bumpy adjustment, but yesterday was harder than normal. We had flown back from a long weekend in Minnesota. The weekend was fun, emotional, and contained a little less sleep than I'm used to, thanks to Saturday night's hotel shenanigans (others, not ours!). Our seats on Sunday morning's plane flight were Row 38 of 38--right on top of the engine. And of course when you get back from vacation, laundry and grocery shopping pretty much take up the rest of one's day.
So going into Monday, we were bleary eyed but fairly positive. Unfortunately, in the early afternoon, we learned that the apartment we had already applied for and paid our security deposit on had been taken away from us: the owners suddenly wanted to "keep it furnished and rent it out to travelers". Talk about putting a damper on the rest of my Monday!
Okay, back to the meal. I wanted something simple, quick, fresh, and at home. On my way out of work, I stopped at the Union Square Greenmarket and picked up several kinds of pole beans and cherry tomatoes from Maxwell's Farm, as well as some basil from Lani's. Justin came home from work and created a delicious summer pasta that cheered both of us up. Try it for yourself the next time you need a pick me up (though that's not a prerequisite!).
Late Summer Pasta
Recipe by Justin Reidy
1/2 lb pole beans, ends removed, sliced into thirds
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 lb pasta (whatever you've got!)
1 handful basil, minced
3/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
2 tbs quality extra virgin olive oil
fleur de sel
black pepper (and ideally some white as well)
4 oz Pecorino Romano, grated
3 oz Pecorino Romano, sheets (e.g. use a vegetable peeler)
1) Get a pot of salted water boiling for the pasta, and a smaller pot for the green beans. When the pasta pot is ready, cook the pasta following package instructions.
2) Toast the bread crumbs on a baking sheet under the broiler on low. This shouldn't take more than a couple minutes.
3) Blanch the beans. It's really important to maintain the snappiness of the beans - really just 3 minutes or so! Drain in a colander, then rinse in sold water to lower the temperature back down.
4) Drain the pasta. Toss with tomatoes, green beans, and toasted bread crumbs. Slowly pour the 2 tbs olive oil into the mixture and continue tossing. Season with white pepper, or black pepper if white pepper is unavailable. (Amount really depends on your taste, but be careful not to over-spice). Add the minced basil and grated Pecorino Romano.
5) Salt the mixture carefully with the fleur de sel. Just add a bit, mix, taste, and repeat.
6) Plate with the extra sheets of Pecorino Romano, and a touch of black pepper.