Saturday, July 31, 2010

Beguine with Basil

You could say dinner preparation began at 4:00. Or you could say dinner began a dozen years ago in Solvang. A little red wagon filled with pairs of herbs were divided between myself and  friend, Glenda Bona. The miracle to be discovered was African Blue Basil-  a Jesus-with-fish- and- baskets kind of plant. One plant blesses multitudes with delicious abundance.

Left in the ground, the plant might or might not over-winter in this mild climate. But a bouquet of the exotic looking herb from the mamma plant sprouted roots. Since that summer- we close the season with bouquets made with the secret mission of procreating next year's crop.

For now, I carefully weave the clippers through the long wands of African Blue Basil. Careful not to anger the bees which hover about.

In the kitchen, some of the leaves are severed from the stems. The sharp edged pizza wheel will fill the air with the scent of the herb's essential oils.

Into the Baby Cuisinart goes 1/3 cup butter. Whir.
An equal part of sun dried tomato spread- Whir.
The handful of shredded basil leaves- Whir.

The spread's color is not unlike peanut butter- only the aroma.
There is nothing to suggest childhood treat. This is a dish best savored in adulthood.
Served as it is now- slathered generously across torn off chunks of a crusty multi-grained loaf of bread fresh from the oven- it would make a man afraid of commitment so weak in the knees he would get down on one to propose.

But I'm already married. So I made something I don't do often these days. Something that keeps my man remembering  why he keeps me when I can be so much trouble. Fresh pasta.

 Baby Portabella mushrooms are sliced and sizzled with black olives and pine nuts while the pasta comes to life in a quick boiling bath of water. A generous dollop of the roasted tomato butter is thinned with a touch of cream- and all tossed together. Allowing  freshly fallen grated flakes of Parmigiano-Reggiano melt onto the mound of pasta....

Elegant and rustic. Divine yet earthy. A dish of quiet elegance that speaks on every level of love.

Bon Appetite.


Oregon Sue said...

Oh boy. You have me drooling again on my keyboard. Never thought to sauté pine nuts with the mushrooms and black olives. I usually just add the olives later. Mmmmmm.... now I feel like experimenting again with more basil. Thanks!

OldLady Of The Hills said...

My Mouth Is WAtering!!! This all sounds yummmmmmyyyyy!