I used to love to cook on the weekends. I would go through online recipes or my cookbooks, and write a grocery list according to the ingredients. That was pre-summer, when going to Stop & Shop in Edgartown wasn’t such a chore. These days I’m just happy to have accomplished making the trip there and back unscathed. By the time I’m home, I want to sit on the deck with a summer shandy and order takeout. But last weekend, I resolved to cook at home and skip the grocery store trip on Saturday afternoon.
Remembering an old favorite, I found a jar of sundried tomatoes, a well-used hunk of Parmesan cheese, a package of almost-ready-to-throw-out basil, and a bag of chopped walnuts. I used to warm this in a saucepan and boil a bag of frozen ravioli to mix it with, and everyone was happy.
This, of course, is right in line with my newfound love of Jacques Pépin, who manages to turn rubbery carrots, brown celery, tomatoes with holes in them, and cheese with a little green growing on it into a culinary masterpiece.
So I got my ingredients together and went to work, which is really no work at all. Put about two tablespoons of good olive oil into a smaller heavy skillet, warm it up and add chopped garlic, chopped sundried tomatoes, a good handful of chopped walnuts, and use some of the oil the tomatoes are in too — maybe a tablespoon. When it’s warm, add some chopped basil. While this is cooking, put the salted pasta water on to boil. When it is rolling, add your pasta of choice — I used Barilla’s gluten-free spaghetti. When the pasta is done, drain it and then add it to the tomato and basil mixture, and toss to coat the pasta. Top it with the freshly shredded Parmesan, and you’re golden.