I am looking forward to more alfresco meals. To show you pictures of meals taken next to the lilac bushes in bloom, with votives in canning jars, and flowers gracing the table but until then, we are still indoors! It is cozy indoors and the cold is certainly keeping us in. Nothing warms the soul quite like laughter, wine, and friends around the table.
The china shown was Doug’s Great-grandma’s. Probably over a hundred years old. I ought to be seeing what it is worth instead of setting the table with it but isn’t that the point of nice things, to use them? If they break, then they are but a memory but a better testament to their use than placed in the attic. Great Grandma would be pleased that we are using her china and it would be interesting to see what she had to say if she were at the table today.
Before guests arrive I always light every candle in the house and every oil lamp. No overhead lighting. Sure, it’s dim, but luxuriously calming and beautiful. A bit of jazz or classical music will be put on and guests will arrive to an open bottle of wine and instant serenity. I will have out and ready a plate of cheese and crackers and an assortment of olives. I particularly like the ones stuffed with garlic! I don’t wait too long to serve dinner, maybe only twenty minutes but a snack and a drink calm the senses and make one feel welcome.
I raided the root cellar for ingredients for this meal. It takes awhile but it is very easy to prepare. You could just stop at the pasta and add homemade sauce instead of the squash/apple one that I made up. But if you have produce or veggies in the freezer or root cellar that need using up, this is a great recipe, both savory and sweet in each bite.
First make the pasta so that it can sit in the fridge for an hour or so.
1 cup of wheat flour and 1 cup of white flour
1 T of olive oil
1/2 t salt
Combine all ingredients making a nice dough. Wrap and place in fridge.
When you are ready for it, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch and use a pizza cutter to slice into 1/4 inch x 5 inch pieces
Boil for about 6 minutes.
Sweet and Savory Squash and Apple Pasta Sauce
2 1/2 cups of peeled, diced butternut squash
2 small apples, diced
4 T of pesto (I had walnut and basil pesto in the freezer but you could whip some up in the food processor. Just throw in a cup of basil, 1/4 cup of walnuts, and enough olive oil drizzled in to make a chunky paste)
1 1/2 cups of diced mushrooms (mine were frozen)
3 T of mushroom and sage infused olive oil or regular olive oil (there are stores that only sell olive oils. I get mine at the Olive Tap)
Saute squash and mushrooms in olive oil covered for 8 minutes
Add apples, pesto, plus 1 T maple syrup, 2 t of sage or 4 leaves chopped, 1 T porcini oil and simmer on low for 15 minutes.
Add 3/4 t salt, 1/2 t each pepper and garlic powder, 1 t onion powder, and a pinch of cayenne
Blend well and drizzle with maple syrup and salt to taste. Pour over pasta
Spread 2 cups of walnuts on cookie sheet
Drizzle with olive oil, ancho or cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, and salt and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
Also serve with shredded cheese. I used Drunken Goat wine infused cheese.
A California grown Cabernet Sauvignon will stand up to this meal. It’s richness and earthy complexity will shine with the sweet and savory sauce and thick, hearty noodles.
Enjoy your dinner party! A good board game is always a fun way to end the evening. See you around the Scrabble board!