A Favorite Recipe and Some List-Making
Months ago, when nothing in this world could excite me more than asparagus, a riff on what you see above was my favorite spring dinner. At least once a week, I would buy a bundle of fat asparagus spears not knowing what I would do with it back at home. Often enough, it was this recipe, which comes together in moments. And now, by thinking of it as a template dinner, it’s become my favorite summer dinner for rushed evenings. This meal is a sweet marriage of pantry staples and fresh vegetables, and it’s reason enough for me to start keeping ricotta in the fridge.
And what, like asparagus, is exciting me these days? Tomatoes and cherries. My new bike. Cracking the spine on Freedom, loaned to me from a friend’s shelf. And also the idea floated to me the other night. I was talking about my recent resistance to gratitude, how sometimes we can say the things we’re grateful for and hear the words coming out of our mouths and still not feel the true weight of it in our bones. Fake it till you make it, some might say. But this particular friend of mine has a knack for giving all feelings––the sweet, joyful ones and the equally icky ones––room to breathe. And because I’m usually so drawn to fixes, her reminder to simply give what’s there the space to be gives me a kind of relaxed breathing room, too.
I made two lists the other day. The first, Things I Care About. The second, Things I Don’t. I was enormously entertained by the latter, which felt like throwing an ex-lover’s clothes out the window (or so I imagine). It’s a fun exercise, and one that I got Sebastian to join in the other night after dinner when our plates sat eaten clean on the coffee table. It’s amazing how much of what we don’t care about can find its way into our daily lives, creeping like a wall-climbing vine over a window. (And this from a woman who claims not to care about celebrities yet has a tabloid sitting on her bedside table next to said copy of Freedom.) But once you’ve made those lists, you can get right down to the important part: how can I get more of this first list into my day to day?
Cooking for people I love and sitting down at the table with them is on that first list. This recipe will get us part of the way there.
Happy weekend, friends. Feel free to cast off your Things I Don’t Care About in the comments. Trust me, it’s fun.
The last time I cooked this, I substituted tomatoes and sugar snap peas for the asparagus. We also had some fresh pesto, which I stirred into the ricotta, and––oh, why not?––tore up some fresh basil on top. This is the perfect recipe to play with based on what you have on hand.
Pasta with Asparagus and Scrambled Eggs
from Everyday Food
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3/4 pound spaghetti
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces Parmesan, grated (1/2 cup), plus more for serving
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 1 minute less than package instructions. Add asparagus and cook 1 minute. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water, then drain.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in pot over medium-high and add 1/4 cup pasta water. Add pasta mixture and Parmesan and cook, stirring, 1 minute. If necessary, add remaining pasta water to create a light sauce that coats pasta.
In a small nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium. Add eggs and cook, stirring, until just set. Divide pasta and eggs among four plates, top with ricotta, and season with salt and pepper.