This blog has the best readers; I have the best friends.
When I posted the other day about my Johnnycake, I received not one but two family recipes for cornbread that, I was assured, would not even vaguely resemble the flatbread that my vintage recipe produced. Now, I would argue that first, the Johnnycake wasn’t bad at all, but it’s also not really cornbread per se – and certainly it was not what I was expecting. But I’m quite happy to be the recipient of family recipes, especially as I don’t have many of my own.
The grill situation prompted another email, this one from a friend in Seattle, who tried to save my plans to grill a flank steak for a dinner guest with the offer to loan a spare charcoal grill. I had already decided on an alternate menu, but it still felt good to know I had that kind of support.
I needed the support, because the one thing that didn’t get resolved was my dishwasher situation. Sure, I had bought a new dishwasher, and it was scheduled for delivery last Thursday. Sure, the delivery guys showed up right on time, and one disconnected the old dishwasher while the other set about unboxing and unloading the new one from the truck. And all was well, or at least seemed to be headed that way, until the guy from the truck came inside the house without a dishwasher, and instructed the other guy to reconnect the old dishwasher.
I don’t want that one, I told him. I want the new one.
No you don’t, he told me. That one appears to have been dropped at the warehouse.
I inquired how someone could drop an entire dishwasher and then not, you know, notice this small fact before loading it onto a truck for delivery.
Happens quite a bit, he replied. The good news is that sometimes the store will upgrade you to a better dishwasher if they don’t have another one of yours in stock.
That sounded great to me, although I would consider a dishwasher that fills with water all by itself to be an upgrade from my current situation. Apparently the store also considered it such, because they offered me the exact same dishwasher and a delivery date a mere two weeks off.
I didn’t have time to dwell on this; I had a dinner to make and a house to clean and well, dishes to do. I amused myself through the more drudge-like tasks by trying to visualize what sort of a person drops a dishwasher without noticing, and when bored with that, what sort of coworkers could be in the same space as this and not notice the presumably loud noise that accompanied this event. Try it; it’s fun.
All things considered, it seemed best to make a meal that I’d made many times before, successfully. I clipped this pasta recipe from Bon Appetit magazine many years ago. It’s from Diva Restaurant in the SoHo section of New York City. It was originally made with orecchiette, but I find farfalle works well. I also have reduced slightly the amount of chicken from the original recipe, because it seemed like a lot to begin with. I haven’t changed anything else except to make some slight modifications to the cooking instructions for simplicity sake.
I tried once to make this recipe without chicken, to see if The Child would eat it; I found it bland and pointless without the seasoned chicken which my dinner guest pronounced, very robust and almost meaty. It occurs to me that portobello mushrooms might be a good substitute in terms of texture, and could absorb much of the same flavor from the marinade; I’m going to tinker with it and see if it works. If it does, this recipe may resume its place in the regular meal rotation in my house – it’s flavorful and really not complex. The biggest “trick” to it is simply to remember to marinate the chicken ahead of time.
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ¼ tsp dried crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp plus 1½ tbsp minced garlic
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 cup thinly sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 lb farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
- 1 cup low-salt chicken broth
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- Combine 1 tbsp oil, Worcestershire, vinegar, red pepper, rosemary, and 1 tsp garlic in a large zipper bag. Add chicken, coating thoroughly. Let marinate for at least one hour and up to 5 hours.
- Heat a pot of salted water; cook farfalle until al dente. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
- Remove chicken from marinade and cut into bite-size pieces.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute chicken until cooked through; remove chicken from pan and set aside.
- Heat remaining oil in the same skillet. Add shallot and remaining garlic; saute until golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes and saute until shallots are tender, about 2 minutes. Add spinach and stir until wilted.
- Return pasta to large pot. Add spinach mixture and chicken, toss to coat. Add stock. Stir over medium heat until stock is slightly absorbed, about 5 minutes. stir in ¼ cup parmesan. Transfer to serving bowl, season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with remaining parmesan, and serve.