Taxes with a Side of “Thank You” Pasta
3.18.10 § 10 Comments
Tonight, two of my loveliest friends, Sally and Sophia, came over for dinner. I lured them in with the promise of food and suggested that while they were here, we should conquer my taxes. When they accepted the invitation, I was amazed.
To understand why, you have to know something: for most of my life, I have been terrified of anything relating to personal finance (as Sally describes quite well here). For as long as I can remember, my mother has been in a state of panic during tax season and evidently, that rubbed off on me. (When I called her tonight to get her feedback for this post, she said the panic was mostly caused by waiting too long to get started on our taxes. I definitely believe this. Something else I learned from her is procrastination. (Love you mom.)) Seriously, I’ve been emailing Sophia for the past month asking questions about all the forms I’ll need and whether or not she thinks that waiting until March 18 to do taxes is too late (keep in mind the deadline is April 15 or something). Thankfully, she is a good friend who has laughed good-naturedly at my folly and continued to love me in spite of it. All you really need to know is that with a little moral support from Sally and Sophia, my taxes are officially filed (woot, woot).
For dinner, I cooked my “Thank You”/ “I want to impress you” pasta. Ok, I’ve never really actually thought of it like that until now, but I have come to realize that it is one of my go-to recipes.
The last time I made this, my roommate and I were preparing dinner for two charming young men we met on the streets of Williamsburg (it’s strange how that happens here). I was sure it was the right choice for our little dinner party because it would come across as adequately effortless but delicious nonetheless. Sadly, in the excitement of the evening, my roomie failed to listen to my instructions when draining the pasta and my master plan went out the window. So here is the crucial point: If you are going to make this pasta, do NOT forget to reserve some of the pasta water. While I was probably the only one upset by the dry noodles, we did all resort to pouring olive oil into our bowls in an attempt to rectify the situation. I repeat: Do not forget to reserve some pasta water. This is paramount.
Butternut Squash and Radicchio Pappardelle
from Gourmet, January 2009
½ stick unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 ½ cups)
3/4 lb radicchio, cored and thinly sliced
1 (8- to 9-oz) package pappardelle (preferably egg pasta), broken into large pieces
1/2 cup coarsely grated ricotta salata (you can substitute Parmigiano-Reggiano)
Begin by melting the butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, then continue to cook until it turns golden-brown, about 2 minutes. Add the oil and nuts, cook until nuts are golden, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the nuts to plate with a slotted spoon.
Add squash to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the radicchio and ½ tsp each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until wilted and just tender, about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pappardelle in boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain pasta. Add pasta to radicchio mixture with ½ cup cooking water. Toss together over low heat until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Add more cooking water to moisten as necessary.
Serve topped with nuts and (generous amounts of) cheese.