Happy Anniversary to the Jamestown Gazette! I can not believe it has been one whole year since I began penning this column. It seems like only yesterday my dear friend Stacey, our beloved publisher, decided to jump in the deep end of the pool with her idea for a weekly paper. We had, over lunch (and the occasional beer), discussed her ideas for a publication for ages. We would talk about going into business for herself…something I was up close and personal with, of course, and the pros and cons of being a small business owner in today‘s economy. I was thrilled when she asked me to be a contributing writer (writing has always been a secret passion of mine…someday I’d like to write a cookbook!). I have had a great time inviting you into my kitchen for the last 52 weeks, and am looking forward to doing so for many more to come!
As I sit here writing this week’s column, I am looking out the window at the bright sunshine in a clear blue sky, and thinking about what to cook for dinner, of course. While I usually preach to you to plan ahead to simplify your mealtime, I frequently forget to practice what I preach! I even had today off, but instead of planning a great meal, I cleaned the house and ignored the kitchen for a while. Now that my house is clean and the laundry is done (that is until the kids get home to create their usual whirlwind of chaos), I can get down to the planning of supper. The problem is, I haven’t been to the supermarket in a few days, and the kids are on spring break, so chances of finding much to fix aren’t very good!
Looking through my fridge, I have found a package of fresh tortellini, a carton of shredded parmesan, some left over Italian sausage and a bunch of basil. Sounds like pesto pasta to me! The nice thing about always having pasta on hand is the endless possibilities you can create. I love fresh pasta simply because it is FRESH, but dry pasta and a jar or two of my favorite sauce are two staples I try never to run out of. With what I have turned up today, I can throw together a filling meal that will satisfy everyone. Pesto is a great alternative to traditional sauce; you can whip it up quickly and if you have extra, simply freeze it in an extra ice cube tray! Once frozen, the cubes can be stored in a zip top bag. I love to add a cube or two to sauces and soups for an extra flavor boost, or to top leftover cold pasta to make a salad.
As I mentioned earlier, we are in the midst of spring break. We are not one of the lucky families that go away for spring break, as my boys like to remind me, but we are able to enjoy the unseasonably nice weather and spend time with our families for the holiday. To me, holidays mean family time, so I’m not too disappointed to be at home rather than a crowed resort down south! The boys are enjoying sleeping late and just relaxing, but they are also eating me out of house and home. My leftovers seem to disappear before I can get them into the Tupperware! Having those cubes of pesto and a little reserve of pasta will come in handy tonight…and maybe a few more nights over the next week, until the boys go back to school and life goes back to normal!
1 lb pasta- fresh or dry
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese
½ cup pine nuts (optional)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup pasta cooking water
2 cups chopped, cooked meat (sausage, chicken, ground beef, etc.)