Monday, February 25, 2008

Dad Pasta

So we made Dad Pasta on Sunday. Actually, the Birthday Child made it really, having grasped the family philosophy that the best part of dinner is the Wielding of the Really Sharp Knives. We haven't had Dad Pasta in five years or so, not since California, not since before everything happened.

The Child did beautifully, chopping the garlic to a fine mince, producing bite-sized chunks of sun-dried tomato without spending inordinate amounts of time ensuring that each chunk is precisely the size of the previous one. I gave a few rudimentary instructions and was allowed to put the pasta in the boiling water.

At the end of it all the Children each dished up an enormous bowl and there was an extended silence. I admit to being nervous. This was Dad Pasta, after all - what if we got it wrong? What if our collective memory had somehow let us down?

You see, we have memories of Kirk that go beyond the stories. There are the CDs he burned, some of them simply labeled "KVA," or "Mellow Mix," one saying "Mountain Bike Mix." It's not the songs that matter, it's the particular selection and order that's like an imprint of his personality. His fishing gear is carefully saved because that brown case evokes hundreds of small moments: of Kirk's first salmon, of the prize King he caught, of the way we laughed on the Virginia lake when Child 1 tried to set the hook when It got a bite and ended up flinging the small sunfish twenty yards away and into a tree... aural memories, visual memories, and, now visceral memories of taste. If we got it right.

I was the only one concerned. It was fantastic.

Dad Pasta - Now with measurements!

4 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced (or, you know, if you have a garlic press you could do the wimpy version)
1 small jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1 C kalamata olives, quartered
2 C fresh spinach, stems removed, roughly chopped
1 16 oz package fettuccine
5 oz feta cheese

While the fettuccine is cooking: in a heavy pan lightly brown the garlic in the olive oil. Add tomatoes and stir until fragrant. Add olives and remove from heat.

Place spinach in serving bowl. Place hot, drained pasta over the spinach and allow to wilt. Stir in garlic, tomatoes and olives, toss to coat pasta with oil. Add feta cheese and serve.

We didn't add any salt or pepper because the olives and cheese are already so salty. The flavors are intense enough not to need any additional seasoning.


mujja said...

OMG that sounds delicious. Isn't it amazing how evocative taste,smell and sound are? Much more so than sight I think. I am glad it was spot on.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

I'm making that tonight, minus the olives because surely my husband will fall over dead should an olive ever dare to touch anything on his plate or even dare to be seen in our fridge. Perhaps I'll substitute artichoke hearts. He hasn't deemed them deadly (yet).

For Kirk said...

I think artichoke hearts would be an excellent substitution! Mmmmm.... artichoke hearts....

Momma Em said...

This dish is actually very similar to my favorite pasta dish. It included articoke along with the olives and sundried tomatoes. Yummy. and Happy Birthday to all Birthdayers!

Duck said...

Haven't been by in a while so have had the luxury of catching up.

Brilliant and evocative as always.

The recipe ticks all the right boxes for me, but I don't know what the amounts are for olives and spinach. What's a C please?

For Kirk said...

C = cup. American measurements, sorry about that! I'm terrible about careful measurement; I tend to use what looks like the right amount. So... what I do is keep tossing in olives and spinach until, when I mix it all up, there is a generous amount and I'm pretty sure every bite will have a bit. I use kalamata olives which are pretty strong flavored which is why I quarter them... I'm nattering on and not being much help at all!

Child 1 said...

I actually appreciated it more because my tastes have grown up.

Duck said...

Thanks. I'll get cooking.

Now, is that a cup as in giant bowl of coffee in the morning, or tiny expresso standing up in a french cafe?

I'm guessing somewhere in the middle. I'm with you on kalamata olives. Yummy.