Pasta and Herbs

April 2, 2013

Gift from a dear friend:

Herbs for Cooking

(Garlic and Jalapeño are dried – everything is dried. Even the Rosemary is dried and must be pulverized somewhat because it's not sticks like I would have thought.) My friend went to the trouble to gather these herbs individually at a store that sells them in bulk. She put them together in a small, flat tin and hand-wrote on the top of it the spices that she included.

Choice of pasta: Fettuccini. I felt that the flat surface of the pasta would hold the sauce and herbs better than a tiny spaghetti.

Boil the fettuccini according to directions on the package. While it's cooking, put some butter and a turn 'round the pan of extra virgin olive oil. Put about a couple of teaspoons of the herbs into the oil mixture and stir. You don't want the oil so hot that the herbs sizzle, just enough to melt the butter and keep everything warm and kind of working.

When the pasta has finished cooking strain it, keeping some of the pasta water. (Don't worry about straining it too completely, the extra starchy water will help.) Pour the pasta into the pan with the butter and a couple of spoonfuls of the pasta water (or more, if the spirit moves you. I've heard that the starchy water that the pasta cooked in will help thicken everything, like flour or cornstarch.) Grate some parmesan or romano cheese on top. (I happen to have romano and not parmesan on hand.) At this point I also added a dash of salt – because I like salt – and some fresh ground pepper. Fresh ground in this case if you have it. The oils won't be cooked away and you'll be able to tell the difference. Toss it around to cover all of the fettuccini and get everything mixed and thickened. Not too long, we don't want fried fettuccini. Pour into a pasta bowl and enjoy with a lovely white wine

If I had a better camera I would have taken a picture for you. As it is you'll have to imagine the light sauce and dark little specks of herbs on the fettuccini, all piled haphazardly in a hand-thrown greenish ceramic pasta bowl (courtesy of Michael Obranovich).

Thank you, dear friend, for the wonderful gift. I'm enjoying it tremendously.