Chewy soft tangles of angel hair pasta boasting tangy, pepper-kicked tomato sauce riddled with the earthy smoothness of creamy blue cheese. Oh mama!
When you live in the forest, like we do, the coming and going of each season is a little more pronounced. There's no other distraction from the boldness of spring, summer, fall and winter, when you are surrounded by Mom Nature in all her glory.
Right now, autumn is upon us. Just outside my backdoor, the birch along the creek are touting eye-popping brilliant yellows. Chirpy squirrels and gravity defying chipmunks are indulgently scurrying, stocking up, preparing, for what comes next.
Whole families of birds of a different feather visit us almost every day, feasting, in the trees, in the garden, on the lawn. We barely get time to press our noses up to the windows to watch, when it seems a silent timer goes off, and in a beautiful, southbound flurry, they are gone.
Little patches, big patches and bigger patches of mushrooms and toadstools and funky fungi have popped up helter skelter, all over the forest floor. If only Forest Grump could find that dependable Field Guide to Okanagan Valley Mushrooms!
The last couple of weeks we have experienced a bit of a weird, uberly persistent trend. FOG.
♫♪♫♪ Fog in the morning, fog in the evening, fog at suppertime. Be my little fog and love me all the time! ♫♪♫♪
Okay, okay, my apologies to the McGuire Sisters! Fogtime vs Sugartime doesn't quite jive. But sometimes the words to those old songs so happily and effortlessly pop into my mind that I can't help myself. I'm so glad Mom's music left such a wonderfully indelible mark on me. And now that I have you humming Sugartime, here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aH9HlmVfdyg
Sorry, I digress. Autumn......gorgeous colours, feasting birdies, toadstools, FOG. Fog, with it's spooky, white, tendrils of mist playing hide and seek between the trees in my forest. Fog, hiding the warm, golden glow of the sun. How dare you be that intriguing and denying at the same time? For so long!
But, there's always an upside, right?
Lingering fog, I discovered, is brazenly comfort demanding. Bonus!
At my house that means only one thing. Comfort = pasta, baby, pasta!
I found it. I so found it!! Thanks to Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman and her yummy blog, for yet another delicious inspiration.
I changed Ree's recipe a bit, here and there, to suit my cravings, and ended up with a gutsy, tangy tomato sauce. Last night Forest Grump and I licked our saucey chops as we feasted on plush piles of Angel Hair with Tomato-Blue Cheese Sauce. Comfort, baby, comfort!
And you know what? Today the forest is flooded with gorgeous, warm, golden sunshine. Autumn deliciousness is everywhere.
ANGEL HAIR with TOMATO-BLUE CHEESE SAUCE ~ 4 servings
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 plump garlic cloves, minced
1 28-ounce can, plum tomatoes, drained, buzzed with immersion or regular blender
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Crushed red chili flakes, to taste (I used just about 1 teaspoon, but we like it spicey)
Sea or Kosher salt, to taste
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (I used 125gram pkg Castello Rosenborg Extra Creamy Danish Blue Cheese)
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 cups baby spinach
Reserved tomato 'juice', for thinning
1 pound angel hair or vermicelli
Extra blue cheese crumbles, for garnish
In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. When hot, add minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until just starting to get golden edges. Pour in drained tomatoes. Add brown sugar, pepper, crushed red chili flakes and salt to taste. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat to low. Stir in crumbled blue cheese. Add cream and stir, then a little splash of reserved tomato juice if sauce is too thick. Cook for 2 minutes, tasting and adding seasonings as needed.
Cook pasta until just al dente.
At the very, very, very last minute toss spinach into tomato sauce. Immediately toss in the cooked and drained pasta. Serve immediately with more blue cheese crumbles, if desired. Oh mama!