The simplicity of pasta
A couple of years ago I saw a fun video by Bob Blumer called "Man vs Can." Blumer is a Canadian TV host perhaps best know for his former show "The Surreal Gourmet."
The premise of Man vs Can? Blumer bets he can make a fresh pasta dish on the stove faster than his young guest can open a can of Spaghettios and heat them.
The outcome is predictable. You can see it here:
What struck me about the preparation was how simple it was. You don't have to be all that handy with a knife or know much about cooking. I've been making big, rich pots of spaghetti sauce all my life, always using canned tomatoes and paste. But you can take a fresh tomato or two, a bit of garlic and Parmesan, a sprinkle of this or that and – presto! The tastiest pasta you'll ever eat, in no time at all.
When my wife and I visited Tuscany last year, I was expecting pasta to be a mainstay. Big plates of deep red sauce and delicious, steaming pasta. What we got instead was pure simplicity; fresh ingredients, light on garlic, just the right seasoning. It's changed my perspective.
This Sunday I was scouting for something for lunch and remembered Blumer's little stunt. I had some fresh pasta in the fridge, some old cherry tomatoes, and an aging zucchini. I used one clove of garlic, some fresh herbs from the deck, a little olive oil and butter and some freshly grated Parmesan. Oh, and a squirt of lemon juice.
Delicious! My wife thought so too.