Do you love playing in the kitchen the way I do? Let me clarify that question. I'm not talking about goofing off on a busy weekday evening when time is of the essence and the kids are demanding sustenance. I'm talking about a lazy Sunday afternoon when you feel the inclination to put a little Miles Davis on the stereo and pour yourself a glass of Pinot Noir. I'm talking about playing with your food for creativity's sake. Just because you can. That's exactly what I'm doing this afternoon. Come along for the ride...
12:40 p.m: Okay, so I found a box of cavatappi pasta in the pantry. Cavatappi is a corkscrew shaped macaroni-type pasta with ridges that are great for catching and holding a sauce or marinade. I threw the whole pound of cavatappi into a pot of boiling and salted water.
12:50: Spent 10 minutes trying to sinc my phone with my stereo's bluetooth. After no more than two profane words, I got it working. Harry Connick Jr. is now singing Kiss Me throughout my kitchen. This is nice.
1:00: I headed to the garden and clipped some fresh chives and basil. Ah, the fragrance. Heavenly. (Disclaimer: Notice I said "headed to the garden" like that was a natural thing and I know what I'm doing. Let me be honest. I have no idea how to grow plants. My husband planted the garden. My only job is to not kill it. All I can say is the plants aren't dead yet, although there's plenty of time left for me to accidentally kill them and the plants know this which is why they shudder when I approach. I didn't get the southern-woman-gardening gene and I admit it. Nonetheless I revere fresh vegetables and herbs and remain optimistic that I will one day do more good than damage in the garden. Pray for me.)
1:15 pm: I'm back in the kitchen and I found a chunk of leftover Parmesan in the refrigerator which I promptly grated. Harry Connick Jr. is wonderful. I chopped up the chives and basil...mmm they smell like summer! What now? I drained the pasta. Now I'm at a cross road and a decision is required. I could go hot - or cold. Either way, it's a safe bet that olive oil will be involved. I'm looking out the window, watching the warm June wind blow the trees around. Summer is practically here. There's my answer. Cold pasta salad it is. I quickly plunge the hot cavatappi into a bowl of ice water.
1:25 pm: Hans Zimmer is now playing the theme song from the movie, It's Complicated. Love this song. Have you seen the movie? It stars Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. It's the kind of movie I get lost in. ('Lost' as in completely carried away with enjoyment.) Maybe I'll watch it tonight for the 15th time. Don't judge. I'm staring out the window again. (Btw, I use this song occasionally on my radio show. It sets just the right mood.)
1:35 pm: Okay now...Dressing is king. Without it, you're eating bland pasta and plants. I grab a bowl and a whisk. Come to me, extra virgin olive oil. Do not concern yourself that I am providing no measurements. It's Sunday afternoon and this is play time and I don't want to write anything down on paper - it isn't necessary, anyway. If I had to guess, I'm using about 1/2 cup of olive oil. Now...this is where you can have a little fun. Let the Dressing spirit move you. Here's where it's leading me today: white balsamic vinegar...lemon juice...minced garlic...a spoonful of mayo to add a touch of creaminess...a little sugar...kosher salt (you need more than you might think - keep tasting as you add it)...cracked black pepper. I whisk it good then pour this heavenly concoction over my cold, thoroughly drained pasta. In goes the grated Parmesan (as much as you want), followed by the chopped chives and basil. Mmmm, the fragrance.
1:55 pm: In a perfect culinary world, a good cook would defer her enjoyment and allow the pasta salad to marinate for a couple of hours so that the flavors meld. Yeah, right. The world is not perfect and none of us are always good. Plus, it's a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I've had half a glass of Pinot Noir and Bruno Mars is now singing Uptown Funk on my stereo. I quickly shovel a heaping spoonful into my mouth. Oh. My. Word. It's the kind of YUM you feel from your head to your toes. It's like summertime on a spoon. I'm now rationalizing that I can eat 2 or 3 more spoonfuls and there will still be enough left for dinner.
Now, what's next? I've got plenty of wine left, as well as an extensive iTunes playlist. Oh! I've got some jalepeno-cheddar venison sausage in the freezer. Gotta run. Love y'all!
Oops I almost forgot...we have to give this dish a name! Do you like Summertime Cavatappi with Lemon and Basil? I do believe that sounds better than Pasta Salad Inspired by the Dressing Spirit. Don'tcha think?