As I’ve said before, I’m not eager to make traditional Italian meatballs for my husband. Traditional-ish, though. I can get eager about. Especially if the traditional-ish is an updated version of a weirdo food I loved as a child–canned SpaghettiOs (and yes, the O really is capitalized–I checked the official SpaghettiOs website). As soon as I saw the Bon Appétit recipe for Adult “SpaghettiOs” I wanted to make it. It looked homey and fun and tasty and I Ioved the description: “extra saucy and a little sweet.” Sign me up.
As Laura said a few weeks ago, there’s always room for more pumpkin. Especially when you’ve chosen to spend your life with a person who brings up pumpkin pie all year round, who finds a way to work pumpkin puree into cocktails, and for whom you have a secret Pinterest board called “for H” made up almost entirely of pumpkin recipes. I know that as a culture we’ve reached a mega pumpkin overload, what with our lattes and Cheerios and even potato chips that now come in pumpkin spice flavor. But let’s not let that overkill (seriously, chips. why???) distract us from what a fantastic ingredient real pumpkin really is, in both sweet and savory dishes. My most recent reminder? Pumpkin pasta sauce.
This post will be a quick one because Jessica is here! In Springfield! From Brooklyn! She’s only here for a couple of days, so I don’t want to waste a second of time that could be spent chatting, laughing, or eating custard (we accomplished all three in her first day in Illinois, but one can never have enough of any of those things). I had to share this recipe now, though, because we’re in the too-short sweet corn season and this is possibly my new favorite way to eat corn: as a pasta sauce.
Back in February of 2015, my sweet sister sent me the cookbook Date Night In, by the author of the blog Not Without Salt, with a note saying “Happy happy Valentine’s Day to my favorite newlyweds! I hope this book is as good as it looks and lives up to its perfect 5-start Amazon rating!” And did it ever–the photos are lovely, the recipes make me hungry, and the stories about the author’s life and relationship so compelling that it reads more like a memoir than a cookbook. I had an immediate case of the kind of life-envy easily inspired by particularly gorgeous lifestyle and cooking blogs (hello there, Mimi Thor). I loved the romantic idea of making a spiffy at home date night a regular thing, and immediately had piles of day dreams about following the example set in the book. But, funnily enough, the only recipe I’ve yet cooked from the book or blog I made just for myself: pasta with walnuts, lemon and herbs.
In my fantasy life, I always cook to music– probably something French and perfectly casual cool, and usually in a kitchen that closely resembles Ina Garten’s. In real and not quite as elegant life, the TV is almost always on in the background, scrolling through the saved up silliness on our DVR. But this dinner calls for something very different from a previously recorded episode of the Bachelorette, and somethinig very specific. This dinner needs Frank Sinatra. It’s such a lovely long simmering sauce, Italian in sensibility but actually created by a French(ish) family, and it makes me want to slow down, have a glass of wine, and sing along to The Lady is a Tramp while I slice garlic. This is a pasta simple enough for a weeknight, but with a definite relaxed weekend vibe. And oh is it good.
The original title for this recipe was “MMM Chicken,” which is shorthand for Mustard, Mascarpone, Marsala Chicken, but more accurately it should be “MMMM Chicken” because one of its best features is a pound of cremini mushrooms. If you make it on a Monday, as I most recently did, it’s gonna need another M…so “MMMMM Chicken.” Even after five M’s, I couldn’t take my finger off of the M key. This pasta is just that mmm-mmm good. It’s kind of like this:
Inspired by Laura’s awesome example, I made a resolution to post a picture to Instgram every day this year. It’s a small thing, maybe, but I’ve found it to be a really good exercise to take the time to look for something that I think is beautiful or that makes me smile each day. And on the days when nothing really pops up and presents itself (Laura warned me that there would be many a time when I’d contemplate just saying to heck with it and snapping a pic of a box of cereal), I of course turn to my food for inspiration. Which usually works, except. There are some meals that will just never be Insta-worthy. Food that might be delicious, but is visually blah…or even on that boarderline of gross looking. The awesome lentil bolognaise recipe I recently discovered is fantastic example of this–the original post even calls is “deficient in the looks department,” and to say it looks like a pile of mud would almost be a disservice to mud. But boy is it tasty.