We’re doing this recipe thing again, folks. I’m still not CONVINCED by it, as a personal strategy, but it’s keeping me amused. FOR NOW.
Also, writing down what I’m doing as I’m doing it makes it CONSIDERABLY easier to recreate things later. I tend to think of cooking as more of a FEELING than a science, so I frequently wing things like measurements and ingredients and cooking times and wine poured. (This is why I’m terrible at baking.) (And also sewing.) (And staying sober.)
It feels like writing to me, in that way: something gut-level GETS how the patterns fit together, and my job is mostly to push the pieces around until they click. Grammar, for me, is more a sense of rightness than a conscious application of rules. (Which can get problematic when colleagues ask me why something is the way it is. IT JUST IS.)
Baking, as far as I’m concerned, is mathematics — even when I know what I need to do, I have no feeling for WHY I’m doing it. Also, it feels like homework and I only do it for other people.
Zucchini and artichoke pasta with preserved lemon
This recipe is originally from an issue of Dish magazine — I swapped real lemon for preserved and shredded the zucchini with a vege peeler because I’m really fucking fancy and also frequently bored.
Stuff you need
- 150g dried vermicelli or spaghetti
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 zucchini, shredded with a vege peeler into long strips
- About half a jar of marinated artichokes
- 1 ½ tbsp cream
- ¼ preserved lemon, diced up (or the rind and juice of half a normal lemon, if you’re that way inclined)
- ¼ cup of grated parmesan
Stuff you do
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water (the best tip I ever received for cooking pasta is to aim at ‘seawater’ when you’re adding salt. It feels like too much, but it’s not). Drain, saving some of the salty, starchy water, and then toss the pasta in a little olive oil and stash it somewhere to keep warm.
Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic. Cover the pan if you can (if not, don’t worry) and cook the onion until it’s soft and translucent.
Add the zucchini and artichokes and cook for a few minutes until the zucchini is tender. A splash of the marinade liquid from the artichokes at this point will make your pasta 10 times less healthy, but about an equal amount more delicious.
Add the preserved lemon, cream and parmesan, and some of the reserved pasta water. I’m not big on actually measuring anything — see above, re: gut, feelings, etc — so… a splash? Less than a quarter cup, or whatever it takes to get things liquidy enough to simmer away for a few minutes.
Throw in the pasta and toss it all together. Add some more parmesan on top if you feel moved to do so.