Tonight I cooked up what I’ve named Harvest Moon Pasta, a simple dish of linguine, zucchini, acorn squash, peeled tomatoes, and fresh basil.
Earlier today I read Mark Bittman’s lovely posts in the New York Times about a “week of cooking and eating solo” (you can read part one here and part two here). In it, he describes his eight-day trip to Cape Cop and his epicurean adventures of dining alone. His meals are simple but thoughtful and remind the home cook that every meal does not need to be a gourmet extravaganza. (Side note: Bittman is also an avid runner and recently started a blog on Runner’s World–check it out here–so I adore him for more than just his cooking tales.)
Prompted by Bittman’s narrative-cum-food-diary about his solo journey, my evening at home on my own, and a last-minute learning from my new moon-cycle widget that tonight is the Harvest Moon (moon phases are yet another fascination and love of mine), I decided to make a seasonally inspired, simple pasta for one–remembering Bittman’s (and so often my own) observation that cooking for one includes eating “a lot of leftovers and … eat[ing] the same thing twice, even three times.”
I prepared my pasta as follows. As the water boiled and I steamed the squash (cut into thirds and placed, in an inch of water in a covered glass bowl) in the microwave, I sliced the zucchini lengthwise. After cooking them in a bit of warmed oil in a pan, I set them aside. Then, I drained the tomatoes from their juices, placed them in a bowl, and broke them up with my hands (a strategy I learned making Joe Bastianich’s pomodoro sauce published in the October issue of Runner’s World). Next, I slowly browned three cloves of crushed garlic then added the tomatoes and let them simmer on medium for about 10, perhaps 15, minutes. Finally, I scooped the squash out of its peel in about one-inch-square chunks, drained the pasta, and mixed half the pasta, half the squash, the zucchini, the tomatoes and garlic, and the basil, which I picked fresh from my herb garden. (I put the second half of the pasta in the fridge to use later–I like a high vegetable-to-pasta ratio in my dishes.)
Topped with freshly grated Parmesan, salt, and pepper, the results is exactly what I was hoping for: a simple, flavorful, fall-minded meal. I have at least two servings of leftovers, but that was the hope as I have lunch, dinner, and a moonlight 5k to run tomorrow night. Best of all, I feel refreshed, which is what I suspect Bittman felt as well since he hopes to eat alone again this winter, though this time for a month.