Two years ago this week, I thought up the name 'And Baby Cakes Three' and decided to blog about food. A lot has changed since I wrote from my apartment in Rome- new mother to a six month old trying to document adventures and food of the Eternal City.
But that's just the thing. With each anniversary or birthday I remember that life doesn't exist without constant change. Sometimes I look back at myself five or even ten years ago and feel just a tiny tinge of nostalgia for that stylish, world traveling person. But how important to meet the passage of time head on and to relish the wonderful gifts that change has brought.
Today we visited our old neighborhood in Brooklyn where I started out as a home cook. My first apartment on my own, my first pots and pans, my first dinner party (that was May 7, 1999.) I was discovering many new ingredients back then, pouring over cookbooks I'd bring home from the library or The Strand. My husband and I were just dating at the time, but I knew he was someone I could marry when he did not balk at my love of anchovies. He dove right in to anything I served and ate with a sense of excitement.
You see, I've always loved bold food with an opinion and an attitude. Anchovies and arugula - you have to love them both to love this dish. Forgive me for not telling you earlier. Anchovies are among my favorite foods in the world. I hope that doesn't put you off. Seeing them splayed against the glass in their little jar is more appealing to me than a box of chocolates. That, I'm sure, is one thing that will never change.
Pasta with Anchovies and Arugula
From Mark Bittman
This comes together almost effortlessly and is great for an easy summer dinner with a glass of some white wine or some sparkling Italian soda.
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
8 anchovy filets (I recommend more to taste, with some of their oil)
1 lb linguine or other long pasta
2 cups arugula, washed, dried and chopped
1/2 teaspoon or more hot red pepper flakes
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Set a large pot of water to boil and salt it.
Put half of the olive oil in a deep skillet and turn the heat to medium. A minute later, add the garlic and the anchovies. When the garlic sizzles and the anchovies break up, turn the heat to its lowest setting.
Cook the pasta until it is tender but not mushy. Reserve one cup of the cooking liquid, and drain. Add pasta and arugula to the skillet, with enough of the reserved cooking liquid to make a sauce. Turn heat to medium and stir for a minute. Add salt and pepper to taste, plus a pinch or more of red pepper flakes.
Turn pasta and sauce into a bowl, toss with remaining olive oil and serve.