Monday, January 3, 2011

A New Year, A New Life

Last week (which seems like last year--yes it's a joke and no  it isn't for those of you familiar with the situation)  I had a birthday lunch with my dear friend Audrey, who is 25. Well, she may be slightly older than that but she is one of the coolest people I know. Anyway, for her Birthday we went to Grace 17-20 which is a nice restaurant very close to my house. We exchanged a few gifts seeing as we missed our Christmas lunch and got to the business of ordering. Since Audrey was on vacation we started with a nice glass of Chenin Blanc . We had such a wonderful time! We laughed and talked and laughed and laughed. We discussed the deepest mysteries of the universe (hair treatments) and wondered why brothers give M&Ms for Christmas. It was one of the best days I've had in months. Thank you Audrey!

She ordered a spicy grilled shrimp on salad greens and I ordered a roasted vegetable Strozzapreti (pasta) dish. I looked up Strozzapreti and wiki tells me it literally translates to Priest Choker. I have nothing against Priests. In fact I have been quite fond of a few of them throughout my life. But I'd never had this pasta so it sounded interesting to me. Dear Friends,  It was freaking amazing! roasted olives, peppers, zucchini, spinach leaves and maybe some other things were served in a big bowl with this amazing pasta and a white wine butter sauce. It was soo good I only ate half and then as we got up to leave, I left the "to go" bundle on the table   :'(

So I had to try to make it. Roasted Veggies, no problem, do that all the time... err well, I used to. Getting it back together now. White Wine butter sauce was nixed due to NY resolutions so I opted for adding mushrooms to the mix and roasting with olive oil and salt and pepper to bring out the juices. Chopped up a jar of roasted peppers, smashed some pitted nicoise olives, cut up 2 zucchini and broke into manageable bits some wild mushrooms, tossed it all in Olive oil and a generous sprinkling of Salt and Pepper and roasted on a baking sheet at 400 for about 15-18 min. I don't have pictures, sorry. But WSH said at least 8 times what a fantastic meal it was, and the pasta was exceptional... it really was the star of the show, I felt I had to write.

And with no further ado here is the star:
As you can see, my friends, my camera skills have not improved. But this pasta is truly extraordinary. I have eaten at some of the best Italian restaurants in this country, and I've never had a dish where the pasta shown through like this.  This is Montebello Organic Strozzapreti. Established 1388!!! I bought it at Whole Foods and I think the 1 lb bag set me back about $3.50.  It was so totally worth it.  And the whole Priest Choker thing? What's really funny/interesting/weird is that the place where this pasta is made was once a monastery.
A secret war between priests and Monks? Someone should write a videogame around that.

See you soon, getting better each day.

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