Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Jan 22, 2006 at 4:32pm

Had lunch with my friend Chris today, at Kafe 421. What is it about me forgetting lunches at Kafe 421? I damn near did it again, but luckily Chris called ahead of time, so once more I dashed off for Dinkytown looking like a hungover college student. Not even that good, because a college student can pull off the no-makeup, unshowered look and I, uh, can’t. Oh well. It was great, as always, to see Chris, and we had yummy food, as is usual at Kafe 421. She was even nice enough to let me take her picture, with her lunch, with my new camera. Chris had a gyro, I had a burger with avocado (yep, it was killer), and we both had a side of butternut squash soup instead of fries. All good, all good.

So for tonight, hmmm, I’ve got lots of pork roast left from last night. I pulled it into bite-size pieces last night before putting it away. My idea for tonight is to crisp a few pieces with sliced garlic, chopped herbs or greens of some sort, and mushrooms, and toss it with papardelle. Keep it earthy, rustic. If it works, I’ll post the recipe. I’ll need a VERY small amount after my filling lunch. If I had my druthers, and had no one else to cook for tonight, I’d have crisp pork with a little polenta. But John and Nathan aren’t big polenta fans (!?!) so papardelle will have to do, ha.

OK, made the pasta, I thought it was quite good, John and Nathan thought it so-so. Darn! I’m quickly discovering how tough it is to photograph food and make it look appetizing…hmmm…but I’ll continue experimenting. Anyhow, I’ll post not a recipe, but the basic method that I used to make it, similar to the Papardelle with Tuna Sauce I posted earlier. It is handy for creating your own pastas, perhaps from leftovers, perhaps from what you have in the pantry.

Now what I need, on this Sunday night, is a quick walk around the neighborhood, followed by a nice, warm bath. Oh, that sounds DAMN good. A few Agraria lavender bubbles, light a couple of candles, ahhhh. No calories, pure heaven. I’m SO in…

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  1. By Stephanie on January 24, 2006 at 11:46AM

    Quick Pasta Sauces

    OK, as I said, this isn’t exactly a recipe, it’s just a process I’ve developed (from many cookbooks, over time) for making up pretty tasty pasta dishes, from leftover meats/veggies or pantry items. Basic measurements are approximately ½ lb. pasta for three of us, about ¼ c. oil, 1 small diced onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 c. of veggies, 1 c. of protein, ¼ c. pasta cooking water, ¼ c. chopped herbs, etc.

    The basic idea is to start with a generous amount of olive oil, and some chopped onion and/or garlic as the base for a sauce. Saute for a few minutes, then stir in perhaps some thinly sliced mushrooms, and/or chopped fresh tomato, then leftover chicken, steak, pork, fish, pulled into bite-size pieces. Maybe ½ tsp. of hot red pepper flakes. Some chopped vegetables – a bit of asparagus perhaps. Maybe a handful of peas. Then some chopped fresh herbs if you have them – parsley, arugula, or scallions. Just to heat through, really, no more. Set it aside, in the skillet, until the pasta is done cooking. BEFORE draining the pasta – this is key – reserve about ½ cup of the pasta cooking water. Toss the drained pasta into the pan with the sauce, add some of the pasta cooking water and toss some more, it finishes the sauce. Maybe toss in some butter too, also adds a nice texture to the sauce. Or perhaps a drizzle of cream. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if it seems to go. Season generously with coarse salt and freshly cracked pepper, enjoy. Some combinations I’ve made up over time:

    • Bacon (sauté to start, use the drippings as the oil to cook the onion and garlic, skip the extra olive oil or add a bit if there’s not much fat in the pan), quartered cherry tomatoes, chopped arugula, chicken breast (from a deli rotisserie chicken), I’ve even added a drizzle of cream to the sauce at the end.

    • The Pasta with Tuna Sauce (I adapted from a different recipe) posted in comments on January 12.

    • Caramelized onions, mushrooms, steak, finish with a sprinkle of blue cheese and lots of fresh black pepper

    • Garlic, red pepper flakes, shrimp, lots of chopped scallions (other fish would be good too). No cheese.

    • The classic thinly sliced garlic, almost (but not quite) browned in olive oil, with a pinch of red pepper flakes, is always quick and delicious.

    • Bacon, garlic, broccoli, red pepper flakes.

    • Onion, garlic, pork roast, arugula (per this post)

    • Garlic, chopped tomato, frozen spinach, pinch of nutmeg, lots of Parm