Some days are just a bit more than one is prepared to deal with. Thursday, for example. Nasty headcold, late to work, late AT work, stood up for happy hour and–when I finally got home–all the bread in the house was spotty with mold. *sigh* At this point, Mr. T. (who was out at a work party) and most normal people would pop off down the hill to find dinner, or at least just order a pizza. I have a phobia about placing take-out orders, though, and dining out for dinner when I’m already at home is an affront to my delicate sensibilities. Far better, for me at least, to rally to my knives and bang out a meal for myself at home than to admit defeat and end up at Busboys & Poets or something.
Rummaging around in the refrigerator, I found some smoked salmon–that would have been lovely on that bagel that had sadly turned green–some miraculously fresh parsley, and a few zucchini. Tossed with broad noodles; brightened with shallot, caper, and lemon; and glued together with pasta water and a bit of soft cheese and the resulting dish feels lush and rewarding after a day that was tiresome, tiresome, tiresome (as Nanny would say). I omitted the cheese since the last thing I want to do after a crappy day is spend the night bent over the porcelain throne yakking my face off. But, for those who aren’t dairy intolerant, a knob of goat cheese would really improve the dish. Even sans fromage, however, I found it quite the restorative little meal while watching Jacques and Julia duke it out over Beef Bourguignon PBS.
Pissed Off Pasta
Serves 1 irate soul with plenty of leftovers (or, 3 total)
1/2 lb egg noodles
3 medium zucchini
2 tsp olive oil
1/3 c chopped fresh parsley
2 tbs capers, rinsed & drained
6 oz smoked salmon
3 oz soft cheese–cream, goat, ricotta, whatever (optional)
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c reserved pasta cooking water
Put your pasta water on. While it’s coming to a boil, slice the zucchini into thin half moons. In a medium sauce pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the zucchini. Saute till tender and lightly browned, ~5-7 minutes. While the zucchini is cooking, slice the shallots into very thin rounds and break them into rings. Once the zucchini is tender, turn the heat to low and add the shallots and capers and cook for 4 minutes, tossing to combine. Chop the parsley and the salmon and add to the zucchini. Turn the heat off and set aside.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain and return to cooking pot off the heat. Mix in the cheese, zest, and lemon juice and loosen if need be with reserved pasta cooking water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.