hamming it up with Simon LeBon, and Claire Stansfield
They remind me of where I come from, how far I have traveled, and make me feel so loved through friendships that have endured many ups and downs through the years. Some have taught me to open my heart again, while others have inspired me to expand my horizons.
Ina, Laura, me, Joni, Sue, and Samantha at PCN gathering 2005
Some have even mentored me through my current career metamorphosis…including all my personal chef friends that have grounded me and taught me all I know about this industry.
Lorenza, Sam, Jean and the student of life
Then there are the newer friends that have been nothing short of life cheerleaders. Listening to my woes, encouraging me every step of the way, and making my world a better place to live in. Like I said…I am filthy rich with friends…which means I’d need a book, not a blog to mention you all. Thank you…you know who you are and how much I love you.
“…And back to that London dinner for a moment, it was pasta and red sauce, very delicious! When I called a day or two later to follow-up with a thank you, Nick answered the phone. Not sure if he ever relayed my message about just how much we enjoyed spending time with you, what a treat it was that you’d cooked for us, and how much we’d appreciated your generosity of spirit in having us over. At the time, I guess none of us knew you’d become a personal chef, but it made perfect sense even back then…I have this image of you in your kitchen chopping vegetables, stirring them over the stove, pulling the meal together effortlessly…your moves were adept and graceful (admittedly, cooking for me is more of a full-contact sport). You were definitely in your element….”
The pasta Andi described in her email:
Penne & Zucchini Arrabiata
- 8oz penne
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, more if you prefer spicier
- 4 small zucchini, chopped
- 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
- 2 tablespoon fresh basil, chiffonade or 2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- Parmesan for serving
1). Cook pasta according to package instructions, being sure to add enough salt to the water that it tastes like the sea, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
2). Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant but not browning. Add zucchini, and saute until starting to turn brown on the edges. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste; cook until sauce thickens, about 8 minutes. Add basil and oregano, and cook an additional 2 minutes.
3). Serve sauce over the pasta, and sprinkle with grated Parmesan if desired.
Serving suggestions:balsamic marinated vegetables, green salad, and/or garlic bread
Variations: I only had grilled zucchini in my fridge to use today, and the smokiness added an extra dimension of flavor. Another trick I love is to add some chopped fresh buffala mozzarella just as you toss the sauce with the hot pasta before serving.