Plain Pasta Drama

August 19, 2011

Sometimes Friday doesn’t go as planned.  I forgot to eat today.  Squeezing five days worth of work into 12 hours is not my strong suit.  I exiled my whining boys to the park or the zoo or wherever wasn’t home.  They need to go back to school.  It’s been nothing but fights and crying the past few days.  The happy creativity of summer has worn thin.

By the time it dawned on me that nothing had passed my lips today except for a half cup of coffee and a piece of peanut butter toast, I decided I could, surely, wait to eat until after basketball practice.  Husband requested a call ahead to our nearest gourmet pizza delivery.  Timing it right would yield hot pizza upon return from their weekly team workout.

I missed my mark due to a computer keyboard face plant of furious typing and time oblivion.

I heard the car door slam.

I was in trouble.  There stood three hungry post-practice boys and no pizza en route.

Husband was the first to react with a simple “babe?”, as he scanned the counter for his favorite cardboard square box.  Deflated, hungry and stressed, I reached for the keyboard to make the fastest online order possible to no avail.

The little ones started to argue about pizza toppings as husband began to remove leftovers from the fridge.

There were a few embarrassed (but choice) words exchanged.  Grumpy mommy made a brief appearance.  Frustrated daddy sent little boys to their room for sassy talk back.  It was a family affair minus the food.

I entertained the idea of running away with the pizza delivery boy and hiding out in his pickup truck with a can of coke in one hand and a slice of pepperoni in the other.  Real coke in the bottle.  It was a short lived, imaginary amusement.

At this point, food was necessary to maintain peace.  Husband was already two forks into a bowl of unidentified leftovers.

I knew I was on my own and my dream of melted mozzarella and wheat crust was fleeting.

I couldn’t muster the troops to get a real family dinner on the table.  I quietly boiled the water and removed the skin from a garlic clove.   I placed the grated Parmesan-Reggiano on the counter and closed my eyes to convince myself that this would be just fine.

I said nothing.  I opened a bottle of reserve cabernet and scooped my plain pasta into a shallow bowl.  I tiptoed my way into the living room and claimed my solo space.  No one followed.

It wasn’t the best pasta ever made.  It was simple, hot and drama free.  I enjoyed every bite.

Drama free plain pasta

½ pound whole wheat penne
2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed (or minced)
½ cup grated Parmesan Reggiano
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup reserved pasta water
Boil 6 quarts water in a medium stockpot. Add olive oil and salt. 
Add pasta and cook until slightly al dente.  Drain off all but 1 cup water.
Return to flame and stir in garlic.  Add oregano and black pepper. 
Remove from heat then stir in Parmesan.
Serve yourself immediately and leave the rest on the stove for anyone else
who wishes to partake in a drama free moment.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Louise August 20, 2011 at 9:35 PM

OH do I know those kinda days… my friend is pasta, parm, throw in a handful of frozen peas- tossed together with lots of black pepper, BIG BOWL- fork for 1, extra cheese.
love the reality and honesty,


Melissa August 21, 2011 at 7:50 AM

Loving the big bowl, fork for one! we deserve these moments.


Mindy August 24, 2011 at 6:59 AM

I make something similar to your pasta for our spaghetti. Here is my version of it.
- Fresh chopped tomato and or any other veggies you want (I added cooked zucchini and carrots to ours last night.)
- Non powdered parmesan cheese
- Olive oil (any kind will work, mine just happens to be homemade garlic olive oil)
- Any seasonings you prefer (I am newly allergic to Italian seasonings, so I am exploring new herbs)
My family LOVES it and will now not eat sauce from a jar of any kind.


Melissa August 24, 2011 at 11:02 AM

Sounds delicious, simply and comforting. Pasta is one of those things that doesn’t need to be over thought. Thank you for your recipe.


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