Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Easy Button

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in a meeting that I felt could have been avoided. The meeting took just five minutes and was going over plans that I already knew, yet I had to take the subway 45 hours to get there and then back home before going to work that night. When it was over, the woman said "Well that was easy--just like I pushed the 'Easy Button.'" And I thought 'if only.'

I have been trying to find the easy way out of certain daily routines lately. I used to enjoy long, sprawling afternoons to make complicated, time consuming recipes. It was fun for me--I talked at length about the Eric Ripert salad that took me 2 1/2 hours to make (and that would be all I ever ate if I had the time). I'm not quite sure what happened, but I haven't had that kind of time in months. And so, in between trying to find my way back to free time and continuing live my over-scheduled life, I have also been looking for some simple time savers. Trying to find the 'Easy Button' in my own life, if you will.

This dish, pasta with roasted tomatoes, accomplished exactly that. It came together in about 40 minutes (and I am one where, if the recipe says 30 minutes it usually takes me three times that), roasting the tomatoes deepens their flavor, and the fresh herbs brighten the dish. It's perfect for right now.

Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
from Cooking Light

12 ounces uncooked whole wheat spaghetti
2 pints cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

Preheat oven to 450* F.

Cook pasta in dutch oven according to package directions, omitting oil. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to dutch oven.

Toss cherry tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and crushed red pepper. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes, until softened (you'll hear them popping open in the oven--when most of them are open and there is some char in places, they are finished).

Add cherry tomatoes to pasta. Pour 1/4 cup reserved pasta liquid into tomato pan, scraping to loosen all the juices/browned bits, add to pasta. Add remaining oil to pasta, cook over medium heat, adding pasta water slowly, until whole mixture is glistening. Add herbs, top with goat cheese.

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