Saturday, September 12, 2009

Just one of those nights

Occasionally, when Gian Luca comes home for dinner I'll look at him and say "you're either gonna love tonight's dinner or you're gonna hate it." There is no in between on nights like this, when I take a risk, mix ingredients that normally would not go together, or improvise on a recipe. Tonight was one of those nights, only instead of sitting in our kitchen, I'd packed up my experiment and took it to Gian Luca's lab.
He's been working non-stop on a huge deadline, but we'd planned to have dinner together. By the time I started thinking about cooking tonight it was already eight, and Gian Luca had called me in need of a break. I quickly threw some things together, crossed my fingers and prayed that it would work.
So when I met him tonight, and gave him my line, he smiled. Nine out of ten times he loves it, but, like I said, there is no in between so when a recipe fails, it tanks. Thankfully, tonight's dinner did not. It was a hit. We ate penne with peas and walnuts, out of plastic containers in the study lounge of the lab and it couldn't have been better.

Penne with Peas and Walnuts
4 cups of penne pasta
1/2 cup onions ( finely chopped)
2 cups of peas ( fresh or frozen)
1 cup walnuts ( finely chopped)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
3 tablespoons grana padano cheese ( finely grated)
salt and pepper to taste.

Cook pasta in salted, boiling water.
While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a medium saucepan and sautee onions until they become translucent. Add peas a small ladle ( about 1/2 cup) of the salted pasta water. Cook until peas are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss pasta in the saucepan and add the walnuts. With the heat still on, add the butter and allow it to melt. Sprinkle with cheese before serving.


  1. Sounds good with the walnuts...thanks

  2. Thanks! It was really good. Then I got the idea to blend everything together to make sort of a pesto with the peas and walnuts. Next time I am trying that!

  3. This sounds very good! My husband is so funny when he doesn't like something he always says "it's good, but not my favorite" aka I hate it! He learned to be kind. He used to not be able to hide it. I like to experiment and sometimes fail miserably. He has gotten very diplomatic with age! Overall he loves my cooking and knows that is how I show that I care. Best, Jen

  4. Anything tastes better with grana padana and walnuts too!

  5. Jen- Haha... sounds like we have similar husbands! But you're right, by cooking for them, we show them that we care!

    Linda- So true!

    Thanks for the comments!!