Sunday, April 8, 2018


Tonight’s dinner affirmed what I have always suspected. The emotional involvement of the cook is the most important ingredient in the preparation of any meal.
Recently I have been approaching the dinner hour with little enthusiasm, going through the motions of doing what has to be done at the last minute without any forethought. Fortunately most of the time the results have been ok, and occasionally better than ok.

I began thinking about tonight’s dinner early in the day, deciding what I wanted to do, imagining the preparation and how the dish would look and taste. I knew exactly what I wanted, and how I would do it. And because I had everything worked out in my mind, I was free to act intuitively and make additions or subtractions during the preparation. But the real key was my emotional involvement. I was passionate about what I was doing.

1.     Angel hair pasta
2.     Chopped clams
3.     Asparagus
4.     Olive oil
5.     Shallots
6.     Celery
7.     Garlic
8.     Lemon juice
9.     Grape tomatoes – halved
10. White wine
11. Dried dill or fresh if available
12. Butter – 1-2 pads


Cook the shallots and celery in the olive oil until they begin to soften, add the garlic and a pinch of salt and cook uncovered over low-medium heat for several minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Next add the clams and its juice, the asparagus, and dill, and continue cooking. Several minutes later (sorry, but there is no rigid time schedule here.) add the tomatoes, lemon juice, and bless the pan with some white wine. Allow it to simmer to reduce the liquid while waiting for the pasta. Turn off the heat about 4-5 minutes before the pasta is ready and add the butter. Then add the pasta and a bit of the pasta water and dinner is ready.


This unpretentious pasta dish was everything I wanted it to be: light, delicious, and the perfect accompaniment to Patience’s freshly baked bread.