Basil, beets & cicadas

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.


Serves 2-3

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.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm, this looks scrumptious, Elspeth. Your creative twists on simple ingredients are a wonderful and continuing source of inspiration. Thank you!

When I come to Wellfleet next week, I'll bring you a jar of the grape jelly I made this morning with the Concord grapes a friend brought me yesterday. Papa has pronounced it "deeeeee-lish."

xo, Mama


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