Of robes and pastas

I remember one Christmas Ian and I asked my mom what she wanted from us, what was on her wish list. She told us she would love a new robe. A new robe? As a kid I could hardly comprehend wanting that kind of a gift. It sounded so freaking sensible! I always thought of Christmas, Chanukah, and birthday gifts as things you wanted not needed, and a robe sounded suspiciously like something you’d need. You wanted things like a new Barbie, a dress for your American Girl doll, a Breyer horse, a barn for your herd of already 30 Breyer horses to live in, a new dress, or the newest books in the Thoroughbred series. Not a robe.

Tonight I stood in the bathroom putting freshly washed towels into the linen closet (wow, I already sound way older, don’t I? Putting laundry away in the linen closet on a Sunday night?) and, as I hung up my faded, pink terry cloth robe, I thought, Wow, I would love nothing more than a new robe. But we all know I’m not about to splurge on buying myself one! And that’s when I realized that the things I used to see as necessities have moved over to the “want” column. I’m getting dangerously close to halfway to 27-years-old guys.

The horse and the barn are still in the want column, by the way. They’re just a little bigger now.

I have a recipe for you, too! OK, I actually have three. Two of them involve baking as the only way I think of to cheer someone up, so I hold those til tomorrow maybe.

This one is a bright spring pasta dish, pasta with tomatoes, shrimp, and favas. I made it tonight for my parents, who came over for dinner for Father’s Day It’s not the kind of pasta that you can throw together in 15 minutes. (Those are my favorite kind. Saute some veggies with some spices, boil some pasta, toss ’em together, BAM, a meal.) This one does take a bit more time, but it’s not overwhelming by any means. And it’s so good! I think you could easily switch out the fava beans for peas. Fava beans are a little time consuming to shell and whatnot, but I like them because they’re different. The recipe as it is on Smitten Kitchen where I found it uses sausage instead of shrimp, but I find the sausage makes the whole dish too greasy. I always end up with a stomach ache after. If you want to go vegetarian, maybe substitute some mushrooms for the shrimp. Also, the original recipe says to cook the meat in the sauce. I opted for grilling the shrimp and setting them on top of the pasta. I’ll note where you add them to the sauce though.

Pasta with Tomatoes, Fava Beans, and Shrimp
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Serves about 4

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
2 large garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1/8 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut into fourths
1 cup shelled fava beans, blanched 3 minutes, then peeled
3/4 pound pasta (a wide, flat noodle works best, but really any larger-shaped pasta is good)
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes and saute about 6 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.

2. Toss your pasta into boiling water and cook it.

(Here’s where you’d add your meat. Cook until cooked through)

3. Add wine and simmer 1 minute.

4. Add the tomatoes and fava beans to the saucepan. Saute until the tomatoes are soft and almost breaking apart, about 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

5. This is about where I put my shrimp on the grill, seasoned with Cape Cod seasoning.

6.  Drain your pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of water.

7. Add the sauce to the pasta. Toss over medium heat until the sauce coats the pasta. Add water if needed to make saucier.

8. Top with cheese and shrimp.

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