It isn't often I have an evening of uninterrupted solitude. Even tonight, I suppose, you could count the contented furry beast at my side as a companion or distraction. But let free from the restaurant, with a Sox fanatic at the game and a roommate fled to the city, I sped home in the twilight, seeped in freedom.
Equally unexpected was dinner. I'd expected a bowl of stolen staff food after closing, guzzled down with a glass of Peak's nut brown and still settling as I made my way to bed. It was a treat, this meal for one, but I was unprepared.
I tallied the troops:
1 pound dried, homemade pasta,
the entire beet harvest from my garden,
4 dirty, rumpled garden white onions,
several tablespoons bacon fat,
and 4 live, healthy basil plants.
Hardly Thanksgiving, but certainly enough to march on. I began with the fat and onions. As the cicadas whispered through the screens, their steady violins readying the night to fall, the smell of bacon wafted out into the air. I sliced basil and beets, and watched as a plan appeared beneath my hands.
Pasta water went on to boil, a pinch of salt sinking slowly as temperature rose. Then went the flat, crisp noodles themselves—the garlic pepper pasta of a post just passed. Bacon and onion formed a slow, translucent stew, while the sudden drop of beets added cubes and color. Next followed noodles and finally basil, and dinner was set. Alone on the deck, I settled in to enjoy.
BEET BASIL PASTA
Boil 3 medium red beets until tender, about 45 minutes. Slice into small cubes. Sauté 4 chopped medium sized white onions in 4 tablespoons bacon fat or olive oil until translucent. Meanwhile, boil 1/2 pound whole wheat pasta. When pasta is done, drain and add to onion pan. Add beet cubes, 1 cup fresh basil leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well and serve warm with hard, grated cheese.