SHAKEN and STIRRED . . . Earth Moving Garden Pasta
Wednesday, August 2, 2006, 8:08 PM. The temblor registered 4.4 on the Richter scale. The focal point was measured 3 miles west of Glen Ellen; 6 miles east of Rohnert Park; and 9 miles southeast of Santa Rosa. It appears the rockin’ and rollin’ was around Sonoma Mountain and Bennett Valley area. There was no news of any major damage.
Not too far from the epicenter, we were just finishing our meal when the earthquake occurred. We were sitting under the lone oak tree in the backyard toasting to a perfect summer evening. We had just picked the first tomato of the season. We were savoring the satisfying flavors of a simple and savory “Garden Pasta”. It included sweet basil, arugula and cherry tomatoes that we handpicked shortly before being seated. Dessert was an unfussy selection of stone fruit; peaches, white nectarines, plums, etc. We paired the “Garden Pasta” with a bottle of 2004 Pepperwood Grove Viognier. Typically, I'd pair this pasta dish with a tame red, such as, 2004 Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel or a cheery 2004 Porter Creek Carignane. Since the pasta was light and I wanted the flavors of the herbs and Dry Jack to be in the forefront, I decided on the chilled Viognier. Ander did not like the plastic cork of this selection. He prefers the ease of "real cork", which of course, we all know by now, is too expensive, hard to come by and risks the TCA (trichloroanisole) fungus-produced compound that grows in cork fiber and causes “cork taint". There is still a growing debate of "Cork vs. Synthetic vs. Twist Cap". It's all marketing and bottom-line. Quality has long been compromised, in my opinion.
"First tomato of the season . . ."
"Viognier (Vee-ohn-yay) and Vella Dry Jack . . ."
What a way to top off the evening, with an earth moving moment, to say the least.
"Garden Pasta . . ."
1 Lb. dried pasta (Your choice. Our pantry is always stocked with a variety of Barilla Pasta brand.)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 1/2 cup sweet basil, chiffonade
1 1/2 cup arugula, chiffonade
1 clove garlic, finely minced
8 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive oil (First Press)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Hard cheese, such as, Vella Dry Jack, Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta until al dente. Drain. While pasta is cooking, place remaining ingredients in a large bowl mix together. Pour hot pasta over ingredients and toss together well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grate cheese over hot pasta just before serving.
Yield: 4-6 Servings
Life is a banquet, my friends.