Sunday, May 20, 2007
Dinner for One
When I'm on my own for dinner, I always have a silent debate with myself: cook and deal with the dishes and cleanup or take the easy road and order takeout. Tonight, my inner cook won out and I went straight to my go-to dinner for one — pasta. I don't know that I've ever met a pasta dish I didn't like. Simple or fancied up, it's one of the easiest and most satisfying things you can make.
I went to Publix and wandered the produce aisle for inspiration and my eyes landed on some bright green asparagus. I wanted shallots, but there were none, so a Vidalia onion went in the basket. Goat cheese with fine herbs and some "fresh" (soft, refrigerated) fettucine completed my shopping spree.
At home, I thought some herbes de Provence (a dried blend of rosemary, marjoram, basil, bay, thyme, and sometimes lavender), pine nuts and lemon zest might round out the dish. I was right. It was creamy, fresh and satisfying...a perfect meal for one. (Though it would easily double.)
Fettucine with Asparagus and Goat Cheese
1/4 pound fettucine
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Half a small onion or 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
10 asparagus spears
10 grinds fresh black pepper
1/2 tablespoon pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 to 2 ounces soft goat cheese
Cook fettucine per package instructions. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion or shallot, a pinch of salt and herbes de Provence and cook, stirring, until onions are opaque and tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add in asparagus and pepper, and cook until asparagus are bright green and tender and the onions are golden in places. If skillet seems dry, sprinkle with a bit of water.
Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium heat and toast pine nuts until golden and fragrant. Set aside.
When pasta is done, drain and add to skillet and add a few spoonfuls of the pasta cooking water. Sprinkle with the lemon zest, add goat cheese to taste and toss. Top with toasted pine nuts and serve.