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Entries in pasta (2)


Pear and Pecorino Ravioli

Karen’s parents both fell two weeks ago.

One resulted in a likely cracked rib. 

The other resulted in a coma. 

Karen’s parents aren’t old. They shouldn’t be falling.

Long divorced, to learn on the same day that they had fallen, was eerie. And heartbreaking. 

Standing alongside your wife, as she tries to keep tabs on her mother, who assures us she’ll be OK even though we know there’s more pain than she’s really letting on...while she’s dealing with nurses and doctors and relatives and lawyers and accountants and’s a maddening feeling, my not being able to fix this. 

But there may be little left of her dad to fix.

He should be, the doctors and nurses say, he should be coming off the ventilator. His body doesn’t agree. There is bleeding in his brain. And there is swelling. And there is pneumonia. And heart failure came along like a dirty little bastard because his body simply didn’t have enough to deal with.

He went into the hospital talking. About falling down the stairs. About the neighbor who found him. About his two daughters.

And that was it.

That was all he said.

And then he was in a coma.

Best case, the doctors say, is that he will have extremely limited verbal and physical ability. 

Best case.

“He won’t be the same person he was if he wakes up.”


We were ready to rally. We know how to quickly mobilize and solve shit. That is what we do.

But her dad’s body is simply unable to rally, to gain traction on something, to pull him out of his state of somewhere else. 

And so we all wait. 


And since there is no way to solve this one, no way to fix this...we cook.

We need busy hands. Kids and a job fill most of that need. But at night while we’re talking about what comes next, I cook. Anything she wants.

Ravioli. Pecorino and pear. With fresh pasta, made in our kitchen for the first time. Perfect the technique. Make it great. Make it better than what we had in Florence. Remind ourselves of easier times, when we came home pregnant with our son.

Click to read more ...


summer garden pasta (via Ina Garten)

A tree fell on our house this week. 

Our neighbors' tree in their backyard gave up the ghost and landed on our house. Twelve inches to the left, and it would have smashed through the window of the room where our twin daughters sleep. 

But that didn't happen. They cried for thirty seconds after what sounded like a bomb exploded on our roof, tree limbs stabbing through the shingles. Good girls.

Havoc in the upstairs bathroom with new skylights where there had been none, plaster all around. But our son slept soundly. Good boy.

We were all fine.

That's what we're left with after the tree. We're all fine. No one was hurt. The neighborhood came running at 11:00 p.m., ready to help in whatever way the could. Nothing to do but stare in wonder at what could have happened, how bad it was but just how much worse it could have been.

We are fine. 

We keep telling ourselves that. 

We are fine. 

So. The week goes on, and I traveled for work. Back home, the last thing I wanted to do was cook. A bottle of wine and some ice cream watching Top Chef sounded like the perfect evening with Karen, sitting on the couch and just being still under our tarp-wrapped roof. 

But she made dinner. Really, she's the best. 

Grape tomatoes sliced open, shreds of basil, a lot of garlic, and a kick of pepper flakes over a steaming bowl of pasta. A lot of Parm and olive oil. The tomatoes mellow in a bowl with the garlic for four hours, so you make most of this in the early afternoon for dinner that night.

Comfort and calm on a hot summer night. Exactly what we needed.

Make this when it's hot. When you're tired. When you only have energy for ice cream and wine. And you know, if a tree falls on your house. And remind yourself that you're fine.

recipe | summer garden pasta (via Ina Garten)

  • 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves) 
  • 18 large (or however many you feel like) basil leaves, julienned, plus extra for serving
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (we add more)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound dried pasta (linguine fini works well here)
  • 1 ½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
Combine the cherry tomatoes, ½ cup olive oil, garlic, basil leaves, red pepper flakes, 1.5 teaspoons salt, and the pepper in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature for about 4 hours.

Make the pasta. Add the drained pasta to the tomato mixture. Douse with the Parm. Top with some extra basil. Eat.