When I was a kid I loved pasta night because it meant that I could take a raw piece of pasta and act like it was a cigarette.
I liked doing this with other things like straws, Fun Dip and Pocky. Even to this day, that is one of the first things I think of when I remove raw pasta from its container…me fake-smoking.
Anyway, pasta for Valentine’s Day is a gigantic no-brainer because it’s the easiest thing to throw together. While bolognese takes about an hour to simmer, this sauce takes minutes. This sauce, if anything, almost goes too fast so you’ll need to prep all of your ingredients before you get started.
So, usually in, oh I dunno mid-January, is when everything on Pinterest begins to be heart-shaped and red. Pancakes, jell-o, cookies, meringues, you name it. And every single time, my internal knee-jerk reaction is to whisper:
“DIE DIE DIE DIE”
I can’t help it. I’m just not a huge fan of Valentine’s day, but over the years I’ve realized it doesn’t have to be a lame holiday. There are tons of ways to have a perfectly enjoyable Valentine’s Day without it being dumb and annoying.
First step: Don’t buy champagne (grocery stores usually mark it up during V-Day anyway). Drink a pét-nat instead. Or beer. I love beer.
Third step: If you’re going to buy the cheesy candy from the drug store, buy it the day after when it’s 50% off. Duh.
I spent the long holiday doing all sorts of exciting things like making sweet corn custard and binge-watching Cesar Milan, which has made me realize that perhaps I’m not what he calls “pack leader.” It’s a devastating realization, actually. I’m guessing it feels similarly when your kid tells you to “shut up, mom” in front of other people. I’m not sure what to do with my beast of a child but this week I’ve vowed to be “calm and assertive”—not my best attributes.
In other news, there’s this perfect summer lunch or dinner. And a giveaway! First, let’s talk about the recipe.
Chicken Milanese might be one of my favorite quick meals EVER! The chicken is pounded to be super thin and then dipped in light, panko bread crumbs. The chicken is pan-fried in a pretty small amount of oil, resulting in delicious, crispness. The salad that usually accompanies chicken milanese is pretty normal; usually some sort of lettuce. Instead of going the ol’ normal route, which I’ll admit is also delicious, I wanted to do something a little bit different.
Watermelon radishes are maybe the most beautiful radish in existence. If the season’s change, or if you can’t find watermelon radishes, feel free to swap them out with another type of radish. Watermelon radishes are mild in flavor–just a little bit spicy, so they’re perfect to eat all on their own. I mixed in a bit of flat-leaf parsley and fresh tarragon for added flavor (I love tarragon and chicken together!). The whole salad is tossed in a easy combo of lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Super simple.
It’s no secret that I adore Le Creuset products so it was no surprise that I loved this 3 quart sauté pan. The pan is light yet sturdy and conducts and spreads heat evenly resulting in chicken that’s perfectly cooked.
No matter who you are, you’ll like this recipe. You’ll LOVE this recipe if:
A. You grew up in the 90s and used to go to TGIFridays with your friends where you’d eat appetizers only. B. You and your parents would go out to dinner at Olive Garden and you’d order fried calamari and the tentacles would terrify you, but you’d still play with them and give them voices. C. If you went to Macaroni Grill and loved drawing (borderline offensive) things on the paper tablecloths in crayon.
I know I just described my 12 year old self here but I also did all of these things in college, too. Very little spiritual growth happened for me during that time.
I’m not sure if I’ve told you this but I’ve been on this six-week transformation thingy and it’s almost over. It has required that I workout nearly six days a week, which I actually enjoy, and eat a diet full of healthy, non-fun things, which I clearly do not enjoy.
Of course I’ve cheated here and there because food is what I do and it’s hard, man. I’ve learned on this six-week journey that food for me is so social and emotional and in a way, not to sound cheesy, so heavily tied into my everyday life. So, it’s been hard, but I feel healthy and strong, which was my goal from the very beginning.
Last week I made this pasta and ate an entire bowl; as I sat there eating gluten, I thought about how happy pasta makes me. Ahh! I was cheating but I didn’t care. Arugula pesto with walnuts and goat cheese and Spring-y fava beans with salty prosciutto is seriously what makes me happy.
What’s good about this pasta is that it’s relatively light pasta. It’s Spring-y, snappy and doesn’t give you that heavy feeling that’s often associated with meat-based sauces.