don’t let this fading summer pass you by

Fact: Joanna is just as kind and wonderful as she seems based on her last post.

Fact: That chocolate torte was just as delicious as the pictures made it look. What a sweet birthday I had.

Fact: Summer is almost over. We’re all gonna have to just take a deep breath and accept it. As much as I love to celebrate my birthday, it has always served a dreaded role as the harbinger of summer’s end and autumn’s impending arrival. As I biked to school in a crisp, almost chilly breeze the other day, I found myself humming these Neko Case lyrics, “let this be a warning/ said the magpie to the morning/ don’t let this fading summer pass you by”

I don’t mean to suggest that summer has passed me by this year in the least. Summer has been packed to the brim with research work, trips, visitors, music, and food. If the summer has lacked for anything, it is lazy, sweltering dog day afternoons that bleed into evenings spent drinking strawberry-basil margaritas on the back porch. So yesterday, I cleaned the junk off said back porch, mixed up a pitcher of said drinks, and cooked a summer comfort food dinner: Ina Garten’s Lemon Pasta with Arugala

I tend to avoid cream sauce because I find it bland and heavy in most incarnations, but the punch of lemon and garlic in this pasta, in combination with the peppery arugula, is anything but boring. It’s creamy and decadent enough to be comforting and satisfying but bright and veggie-filled enough not to weigh you down.

Lemon Pasta with Arugula (adapted from The Barefoot Contessa)

1 T olive oil

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 lemons, zested then juiced

2 c heavy cream

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 lb pasta (fusilli or farfalle work well)

1/2 lb baby arugala

1 small bunch broccoli

1/2 c freshly grated parmesan

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes (don’t let it brown). Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, cream, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce begins to thicken.

Meanwhile, trim the broccoli into florets and  cook in a pot of salted, boiling water for about 3 minutes. It should be softened by maintain part of its crunch. Drain and set aside.

Cook the pasta in a large pot until al dente (according to package directions), drain, and return to the pot. Immediately add the sauce and cook for about 3 minutes over medium heat until the pasta absorbs much of the sauce. Pour the pasta and sauce into a large bowl and add the arugula, tomatoes, broccoli, and parmesan. Serve with pepper and garnish with lemon slices.

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