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.
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.