Saturday, August 17, 2013

Summer Pasta Puttanesca

Scot and I celebrated our 5 year anniv. yesterday.  I got nostalgic today and started looking through old photos and at all our wedding photos.  I thought I'd write a post in honor of Scot!  I don't think I have done that yet.  

Scot is pretty cool.  If you know him, you already have your mind made up on "who Scot is".  But, no one knows the Scot, who I know.  Obvious, maybe.  But some people grew up with Scot and they might think of him as this crazy, social, friends-with-everyone Scot.  Maybe you went to college with him, and you think of him as a funny, friendly, go-with-the-flow, soccer-playing Scot.  Maybe you are related to Scot and think of him as a Goofy-loving, car-liner-upper, Vikings fan Scot.  Maybe you went to grad school with Scot and think of him as a mountain-loving, sports-playing, fluid dynamicist Scot.  We all have so many versions of ourselves.  No one necessarily knows "the real" anyone...I am not saying I know "the real" Scot.  I just know my Scot.  

My Scot changes.  He is not the same Scot I met in the math tutoring center.  Or the same Scot I went to graduate school with.  Or the same Scot I married 5 years ago.  Or the same Scot I learned to golf, ice skate, hike, climb, bike, ski, cross country ski from.  Or even the same Scot who sat with me for over 3 days as our baby decided to slowly, but surely, make his way out of my body.  I mean, not that he had something else to do.  Still, a different Scot.  

But really, how do we define and write about a person like Scot.  He isn't just a guy who loves chocolate.  He isn't just a guy who seriously reads and looks at maps for fun.  He isn't just a guy who can solve any problem regardless of the subject.  

So who is my Scot?  He is the definition of passionate.  He has no medium.  He is on or off.  Black or white.  He can only live in the present.  Rarely interested in the past or future.  He has his own timescale.  One where everything important to him gets the time it deserves.  He is adaptable, but not instantly.  His emotions are strong and encompassing.  He has never not "given it his all".  This means he loves deeply, hurts deeply, and lives fully.  People love Scot.  All types of people.  Which may be most important of all.  

He is a great partner for me.  I think I can definitely do another 5 years.  So that's good.  

When we got married, we had a wedding.  Wedding planning isn't really Scot's thing.  It is more like the opposite of his thing.  If we were to get married NOW, wowzers, would we have a different wedding than the one we had.  But the one we had was the one we had.  Not the one we WOULD have.  So, it was perfect for that.  AND IT WAS SO MUCH FUN.  During our ceremony, we promised to do a flower exchange each year on our anniv.  It is really just another thing for Scot to have to remember.  He is supposed to give me a single flower and I am supposed to put it in a vase.  Not exactly fair, but it is ok.  Here is the first five years and two non-positive years of this tradition.  

Year -1:  Engagement.  One week after we got Copper.  (Engagements are weird.)

Year 0 - At Snow Mountain Ranch, Wedding day.  

Year 1 - In Boulder, eating the ice cream we had at our wedding.  Celebrated in Denver.

Year 2 - In Boston.  Celebrated in Little Italy.

Year 3 - In Fairfield, CT.  Celebrated in NYC.

Year 4 - In Boulder, CO.  Celebrated at Flagstaff House, where we ate for our engagement.

Year 5 - In Fairfield, CT.  Celebrated at home with Pasta Puttanesca and Peach Pie.  

Each year, we have done something totally different.  You'll notice we didn't even have the vase because we weren't home two of the annivs.  This year, we ate up the day with various forms of productivity, put baby to bed, and then made dinner and dessert.  Dinner was Summer Pasta Puttanesca.  It is a tomato sauce made with 1.5 lbs of cherry or grape tomatoes.  Since I hoard those, I had plenty.  The sauce is a chunky tomato sauce with olives and capers.  The recipe calls for a short cut pasta, but if I buy pasta, I really like the fresh pasta at Whole Foods.  It only comes in linguine, so that is what I used.  A delicious summer pasta.  

For dessert, I made peach pie.  I have been thinking about peach pie for about 3 weeks.  I am pretty sure that is normal.  Scot gets mad when I make large quantities of dessert because he doesn't like to waste food and also can't not eat leftover dessert.  But I couldn't take it anymore, I needed to make peach pie.  I often do not like pies.  I don't like pie filling that is thick and jelly like.  And I think for a long time, that is the only kind of pies I knew.  Therefore, I needed to make peach pie to see if I liked peach pie.  Everyone else does!

Turns out, I like peach pie.  My compromise was that I found and purchased a 6 inch pie pan.  And I made a mini pie.  The pic below has a mini pie, a paring knife (mini), and a pint of ice cream (mini).  Once a year, I do make a pie.  In the late summer, early fall, I usually make an apple pie.  Warm apple pie with ice cream is definitely in my top 3 favorite desserts.  But I have always made my crust with all butter.  I can't do shortening.  I can't.  Except I did here.  I was curious.  The universal opinion on pie crusts is that half butter/half shortening gives the best flakey texture with all the buttery flavor.  I had to try it.  It is true.  The shortening contributes a much better texture than an all butter crust.

To make a six inch pie, you will need to halve the recipe for a regular 8 or 9 inch pie crust.  For the filling, you will need 2/3 times a regular pie filling.  For my pie, I used Cook's Illustrated pie crust (half of a recipe similar to this, but the one they published in the most recent mag is a little different...).  And Smitten Kitchen's peach pie filling (2/3rds this recipe).  Cook's Illustrated filling was too high maintenance and Smitten's crust was all butter.  Also, a lattice crust seems to be the crust of choice for peach pies, but I assembled this in the 10 minutes I had after I finished dinner, while Scot served up and set the table.  

Summer Pasta Puttanesca
from Cook’s Illustrated

tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
garlic cloves, minced
tablespoon anchovy paste
teaspoon red pepper flakes
teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 
pounds grape or cherry tomatoes
pound campanelle
cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped coarse
tablespoons capers, rinsed and minced
cup minced fresh parsley

Combine oil, garlic, anchovy paste, pepper flakes, and oregano in bowl. Process tomatoes in blender until finely chopped but not pureed, 15 to 45 seconds. Transfer to fine-mesh strainer set in large bowl and let drain for 5 minutes, occasionally pressing gently on solids with rubber spatula to extract liquid (this should yield about 3/4 cup). Reserve tomato liquid in bowl and tomato pulp in strainer.

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add campanelle and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain campanelle and return it to pot.

While campanelle is cooking, cook garlic-anchovy mixture in 12-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant but not brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomato liquid and simmer until reduced to 1/3 cup, 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomato pulp, olives, and capers; cook until just heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in parsley.

Pour sauce over campanelle and toss to combine, adding reserved cooking water as needed to adjust consistency. Season with salt to taste. Serve immediately.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 20 min., Cook time: 30 min., Difficulty: Easy) 

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  8/10
Scot (taste):  8/10
Effort:  3/5
Dishwashing Effort:  4/5


  1. I love the way you did this...I must say that I read your blog whenever you post...I enjoy reading it...I don't often comment but I thought that I would today. I know you don't have time to comment on other blogs and I don't expect you to comment on's nice to not feel pressure to comment...but today...I just wanted to...Happy Anniversary!