Friday, June 20, 2008

pasta and potatoes and peas, oh my.

i mentioned yesterday that i had an upset stomach after a, um, melange of interesting food choices on wednesday. in the interest of full disclosure, i should probably let you know what exactly i ate so you'll fully appreciate the recipe this post contains. it started with some vegetarian sushi from whole foods, followed by an entire bag of (organic! does that make them better?) potato chips (consumed in two sittings), followed by a coffee yogurt, followed by pasta with a creamy tomato sauce and a chocolate ice cream bar. then yesterday, after waking up late, i consumed a cup of disgusting work coffee (seriously, it was like mud and required a lot of creamer and two sweet 'n lows to even become drinkable), another coffee yogurt, the grossest, squishiest banana ever (i didn't realize it when i started eating it!), and half a cinnamon roll. needless to say, it's no wonder i felt yucky for the rest of the day. i think the banana is what really put me over the edge; the texture made me queasy and unnerved my already-full stomach. i drank a ton of water to try to wash everything down, but when i stood up i swear i literally heard my stomach go "glug." not fun.

so i skipped lunch, trying to calm my stomach, ate a handful of pretzels and an all-natural strawberry-banana smoothie for a snack and realized, when it came time to make dinner at about 8 p.m., that i needed something substantial but healthy -- i.e., nothing creamy, buttery or overly salty. and that's when i remembered a feature in real simple's may issue about farm-fresh dinners. the sweet pea and potato pasta had looked especially good to me, and i had most of the ingredients in my pantry, so i immediately got to work prepping the meal.

now, i realize some of you might be reading this and saying, "pasta with potatoes isn't exactly a light meal." you're right. it's not. but i like i said, i had all the ingredients on hand -- except the scallions called for -- and i'd been itching to try the recipe. plus, when i started cooking, i told myself that i would eat a normal amount of the pasta, not the amount a 17-year-old boy might consume.
so i cooked two yukon gold potatoes in simmering water for 10 minutes, added a bunch of frozen organic peas to the equation for the last two minutes, cooked up enough pasta (i had whole-wheat shells; you can use whatever you want -- real simple suggests fettucine) that would guarantee me at least two days' worth of leftovers, drained the pasta and potato mixture, combined them in the still-hot potato pot, drizzled the whole thing with good olive oil, sprinkled salt and pepper over it all and then grated some fresh parmesan cheese on top. it was delicious -- simple and filling, and i stuck to my promise and ate a normal-size portion. i'm actually glad i didn't have the scallions on hand; though i love them, my unsure stomach and i thought the dish was fine without them. and like i said, i have leftovers. real simple suggests adding salad dressing to the cold pasta and eating it for lunch; i'll probably forego the dressing and just eat it plain.

i'm telling you all of this backstory because i'm trying to change the way i think about food. i'd really like to cut way, way back on the sugar and processed stuff and start cooking -- and by cooking, i don't mean microwaving -- as much of what i eat as possible. i think i owe it to myself. and after yesterday, my stomach does, too! i'm also telling you this because the real simple article emphasized farm-fresh food and many of you have access to local farmers' markets on saturday mornings -- so if you want to make this ultra-comforting pasta, you can head to your market and pick up fresh peas, potatoes -- even pasta.

here's the link to the official real simple recipe; the photo above is (the leftovers from) my version if the dish. bon appetit and happy weekend, everyone! see you monday. xx.

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