Last night I looked into the fridge to see how I was going to create something for dinner. Often times the creativity in the kitchen allows for me to distress from the work week and truly enjoy an evening (especially on the weekends). Yesterday I looked into the fridge and noticed I had some white wine, a bit of cream a yellow squash and some left over pasta dough in the fridge from yesterday (I usually have pasta dough in the fridge). For this recipe I’ll put links to other sites, youtube pages that walk through the techniques. This is just as much about the process of cooking as it is the recipe, to me the process is just as fun, if not more than the end result.
Fresh pasta – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqPe_3iPdgg
Yellow Squash (pick your vegetable, its all you)
Butter (I like the half Olive oil sticks) 1/4cup
Half and half (or cream) ½ cup
White Wine (your choice, your flavor) 1 ½ cup
Fresh garlic cloves 2-3 cloves pressed
Basil (chopped) 1-2 tablespoons
Salt (season to liking – I use very little)
Items needed: Pasta Machine, Large pot for mixing and simmering items
First step is to work out the pasta and get it ready (I like to lay it out for a little bit to get it a bit dry with flower while hanging). This way when you cook it you don’t risk any of the pasta sticking together. Next I get my pot going (make sure its big enough for all your ingredients, pasta included) by melting the butter and begin sautéing the garlic. Once the garlic and butter start to warm up I add the squash, shortly after I’ll add the white whine (since the squash will cook quickly). While I bring these to a simmer I slowly
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir in garlic and basil and cook until tender and aromatic, add squash to pan and stir to cover butter and garlic on all pieces.
- Stir in 1 cup white wine, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Once it boils, add the remaining 1/2 cup wine. Boil for 10 minutes, then add fresh pasta (this will cook very fast). Once pasta is tender (usually around 1-2 minutes) reduce heat to medium/low.
- Once temperature is brought down, add cream and ricotta
- Stir over low heat to allow sauce to thicken and adhere to the pasta (3-5 minutes).
- Remove from heat, add salt to taste
- Put into bowl and allow to thicken.
Now comes the best part though, the fact that this post is not only about a great recipe that from beginning to end took less than 20 minutes but how the way I cook allows me to touch the memories I have with the amazing women in my life that have since past (My mother and grandmother). We put together this blog (Metro313Food) to bring to light recipes, the stories attached to them and the emotions and events in our lives tied to them. Food, more importantly cooking is about more than ingredients that go into it. For many of us (myself included) cooking is about a relationship that I have and continue to have at the kitchen table with my family, the moments we share and memories we create. Yes, it takes time to cook, to prep and to shop but when it becomes a part of your routine your life it takes no more time than running around, eating out and grabbing take out.
For example, when I’m on daddy duty watching the kids it would take way too much time to head out to dinner (not to mention expensive) and I would have to minimize their ability to interact with me and each other because we are out in public. At home I can show my son how to roll dough, play with flour and feed his little sister (son is 2.5 and daughter is 1). Having this freedom to move around my kitchen, interact with my family and share memories is where I save the time, create time and create memories. If we were eating out or getting delivery I don’t get to create those memories or the food, we eat. There is something emotional and binding about cooking for others, especially your friends and family.
Having the ability to create a meal from ingredients, a few pots and a bit of mess while my son does his best to test my patience as I once tested that of my grandmother and mother in the kitchen. That is how I feel close to those that have past, through the recipes and memories I create with others as they have done before me. That ability to create joy, conversation and memories is what drives me in the kitchen. It is this same drive and creativity that allows me to succeed in work, life and love for the ability to give to others is a great thing. This is not to say I’m saying its easy, but in fact rewarding and worthwhile. The payoff shows not only in the food, but that of the conversations we share, it’s the small things that go a long way and giving time and a piece of yourself to others is a great thing to share.
Next time you go to that top restaurant where a chef and his team are killing themselves in the kitchen for you think of what drives them. It’s about the food, the meal the conversation that is driven from that bite, from that experience. Often times you hear chefs speak about searching for that great taste, that great plate and the joy they had creating it to your life. It may seem a bit odd to some, but that joy of giving a part of yourself (your soul) is what pushes many of us in the kitchen and the industry to keep striving for great things. It’s about those memories we had growing up and trying to capture them in each bite, from grandma’s famous soup to moms amazing roast.
Let’s revisit that restaurant and break down the process to how the plate you ordered came to be. Somewhere there were tests in the kitchen, ideas shared and flavors that didn’t go so well until the perfect taste was found. Then the chef took time to find the best paring, the presentation for you and his customers. That’s a very intimate thing to cook for someone else, to create for someone else, that is why the best chefs succeed, they are putting a piece of themselves into the work, into the food and into their kitchens.
If you don’t have the time to cook, to create or to share take the time to figure it out; try it. Even if it is something as simple as a crockpot recipe that can cook on its own, you’ll be glad you did. The payoff is something great, to create and share with others.