so it’s been awhile.
how’ve you been?
when i wrote my last post, i truly had no idea that it would be almost six months before i posted another one. and wouldn’t you know it – my last recipe was for veggie pasta, and this one is for fresh pasta with fruit.
a lot has happened in the last six months. i took a trip to wine country with my husband, and had more wine and cheese in a week than ever before – and that’s really saying something.
i photographed some really beautiful restaurants for eater…
…and also got the chance to take some chef portraits.
i spent thanksgiving up in maine, and enjoyed a leisurely christmas at home for the first time.
the cookbook that i styled is finally getting shipped.
and i landed a very exciting new position with oyster.com, taking photographs and writing reviews of hotels all around new england. i should start traveling for them in a few weeks.
and in the in-betweens, i really have been cooking. and taking photographs. and writing. i participated in national novel writing month for the first time in november,and successfully wrote 50,000 words of a new, original novel in 30 days. and maybe eventually, i’ll even finish it and try to get the thing published.
but i’ve also been a bit low. trying to find paid, full-time work in a creative field is exhausting, and discouraging, and draining. you put so much into your work, and it’s so easy to get taken advantage of. people want you to work for free, to give your photographs or writing or editing away like it’s not worth anything. they can’t do it themselves, but they don’t think it’s valuable enough to pay you to do it.
i’m not crazy. i know that most people aren’t 100% happy with their jobs, that most aren’t following their dreams or doing something they love every day. but i’ve worked the random jobs, the unappreciated jobs, the minimum wage jobs. i’ve bussed tables and made coffee and worked at malls on black friday and christmas eve. i’ve been an intern. i’ve worked for nothing – sometimes i’ve even ended up losing money after my jobs. i went to college and when that didn’t get me what i wanted, i went to graduate school. and when that didn’t get me what i wanted, i started taking photography classes. and it was tough. and it seemed like the job i wanted might not really exist. but somehow i have continued to dream that i could do something wonderful, something that sparked my passion, something that let me express myself and make beautiful things and inspire people.
i don’t know if i’m ever truly going to do that. i’m not even sure that i know what that looks like, for me. but in a few weeks i’ll be getting paid to not only take photographs of beautiful restaurants and talented chefs, but also photograph new hotels and landscapes. and for the first time, i’ll get paid to write. and i think that that’s pretty wonderful.
but food is also wonderful. and this blog has always reminded me, even when i don’t write as regularly as i’d like, that a well-crafted, addictive, can’t-wait-to-cook-that recipe can soothe and calm and lift spirits. and while the posts might not go up every day (or even every month), i don’t want to stop blogging. i don’t want to stop cooking. i don’t want to stop loving food for the delicious pleasure that it can bring.
and in my opinion, this recipe does that.
i received a pasta machine for my birthday, and after i swallowed my pride and gave it a shot, i realized that it really isn’t at all hard to make homemade, hand-crafted pasta. i haven’t made it into the big leagues and tried making tortellini or anything too fancy yet, but there’s something about making fresh pasta at home that’s really inspiring. there’s so much you can do with it, and it gives you such a sense of pride, of accomplishment. it’s pretty cool to serve handmade pasta, with handmade sauce, and know that your effort went into everything on the plate.
if you want to take the plunge, you don’t need a machine to do it – but it definitely makes the process less intimidating (especially if, like me, you don’t have an experienced italian grandmother to teach you how to do it). i love the book making artisan pasta for recipes and techniques, and this recipe for basic egg pasta is a no-brainer.
but if you don’t feel like making fresh pasta (it does make a bit of a mess, and don’t wear black like i did or you will walk around with flour on your tummy until someone points it out to you), just use whatever you like. i won’t tell.
this recipe was inspired by the pears that kept showing up in my winter fruit share, week after week, from the fantastic crew at SomethingGud. i like the flavor of pears but rarely enjoy eating them raw, and i wanted a savory dish that would bring out their sweety, spicy flavor.
pear & pecorino pasta
2 ripe pears ( i used bosc, use what you love)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
a pinch each of salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper, to taste
1 ounce pecorino romano cheese, in a single piece, plus shavings for garnish
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 cup arugula, roughly chopped
enough pasta for two people (i refuse to tell you how much pasta to eat. that’s your journey and i won’t interfere…but i made about two cups of fresh pasta for two people.)
preheat your oven to 425 degrees. quarter and core your pears, and place on a baking sheet or ovensafe dish. in an small bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and rosemary. brush over the pears, and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes or until soft and golden brown. allow to cool.
in a saucepan, combine wine, butter, salt and pepper. bring to a simmer and allow to reduce, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes. add cheese, rosemary, and red pepper flakes, continuing to stir until cheese is melting and sauce is beginning to thicken. if the cheese has melted completely you can leave it in – otherwise, remove it and discard.
once the pears are cool enough to touch, carefully remove the peels. dice the pears and add them to your sauce. (if you’d prefer a smooth sauce, you can puree the pears before adding them.) turn heat to low, cooking for five more minutes. at this point, taste and adjust accordingly with salt and pepper. you can add more wine (or your favorite stock) if you find the sauce too thick, or more butter if you’d like it to be thicker.
cook your pasta according to recipe or package instructions. fresh pasta only takes a few minutes to cook – i cook mine for about 2 minutes – so don’t start the pasta until you’re ready to eat. strain the pasta and toss with the sauce, adding the arugula. separate into serving dishes or individual bowls and garnish with shaved pecorino.