I’m in a bit of a mood today, dear Readers. This is a very short blog post. It’s CooktheBookFriday, time to join my virtual cooking group as we work our way through “Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook.” This week’s deliciousness is Pasta with Cabbage, Butternut Squash and Toasted Walnuts. If a pasta dish can be healthy, this one is. Try it.
Although this blog is anchored by food and recipes, it’s been more about my rebuilding a lifestyle after Michael died and having the audacious idea that others might like to read about that. It’s my safe space and a joy to write. Besides recipes worth trying, I do know it’s been encouraging to some, helpful to others and just fun to read. Today I can’t do fun.
Wednesday afternoon Emma, my 19-year-old granddaughter texted me,
“Grandma, are you watching this?”
I don’t watch television. When I turned it on and saw what was developing in D.C., well, there are no words. I spent the rest of the day on the phone and texting with Emma, a first-time voter, and her 17-year-old sister.
They talked. I listened. And if you’re listening, you know young people see the world quite differently. Emma was born a few months before 9/11 and voted for the first time just before this failed coup. What bookends to her young life.
Our elected officials were traumatized and understandably so by the capitol’s lockdown. Kids can relate. Emma’s been locked down four times. In 2018 at least 4.1 million American kids experienced that and in 2019 there were more than 6,200 school lockdowns. Yet Congress can’t get a gun bill passed. Maybe now?
As the scene unfolded you’d have to be blind not to notice the security response to a basically white mob was noticeably different than responses when people of color are involved. And in case we forget, the world was watching.
Last year I volunteered at an Aspen Institute conference. About 60% of the participants were people of color. The Institute’s president/CEO Dan Porterfield gave the welcoming address. “People like me” he said, “who are white in America, have to decide what kind of white people we’re going to be…we have to make the active effort to level the playing field and promote justice.”
God Bless America. Stay Safe this month.
COOK THE BOOK FRIDAYS
PASTA with CABBAGE, BUTTERNUT SQUASH and TOASTED WALNUTS
by Dorie Greenspan, Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook
1/2 pound winter squash, such as Delicata, Kabocha, acorn or butternut, scrubbed and peeled, if necessary
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pinch fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/2 pound Fettuccine, Linguine or other long pasta
1/4 cup dried cranberries, cherries or dried fruit of your choice
1/2 pound (about 2 lightly packed cups) green cabbage, trimmed, cored and shredded
1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces
1/4-1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, for sprinkling
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut the squash in half and remove the seeds and strings
- Thinly slice or cut into cubes. You’ll have about 2 lightly packed cups.
- Warm 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large high-sided skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium-high heat. Toss in the squash, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until it is almost tender, about 8 minutes.
- Stir in 1 tablespoon of the vinegar and cook until it is absorbed by the squash — this is quick. Add the honey and stir to coat before scraping the squash into a bowl. Set aside.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. About a minute before the pasta is ready, toss the dried fruit into the pot. When the pasta is cooked, scoop out 1/4 cup of the cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta, leaving a little water clinging to the strands.
- Return the skillet to medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil, toss in the cabbage and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for a minute or two. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed. Pour in the reserved pasta water and cook for a minute, then add the pasta and cranberries and stir it all around. Mix in the squash and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Taste for salt and pepper. You may want to add a bit more oil.
- Transfer to a warm bowl or leave the pasta in the skillet to serve, topped with the walnuts and Parmesan.
- STORING: The dish is really best served as soon as it’s made.