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Fregola with Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes & Basil...& Grilled Porterhouse

Posted Oct 01 2010 8:42pm

It's been a hectic Friday, one that began at 2 am when Nick screamed "MOMMY!!!"

It was indeed an emergency: Ducky (the lovey of his life) was lost. Or more precisely, on the floor. A few more hours of fitful sleep (me, not Nick), then it was off to teach step class at 6am, and a full morning and early afternoon of filming cooking videos for GalTime . Nick and I whopped it up at the park for the rest of the afternoon, and by 6:30 pm, I was utterly pooped. I could think of few things more comforting than a glass of wine and big bowl of pasta.

"Let's have steak," Kevin announced.

Curses!

But it all worked out.

I appreciate Kevin for so many things, including broadening my eating habits. When we met in graduate school, my mealtimes were more sporadic, and I did not eat anywhere near enough protein (except excessive amounts of peanut butter). This was mostly due to the expense of meat (and my meager funds), but also because I am, apparently, part rabbit. Vegetables, fruits, salads, yogurt, and pasta are my default comfort foods (ok, sweets, too), whereas Kevin is a meat-first man. He firmly believes that steak, for instance, is brain food, and that anyone denied an occasional Friday-night steak is surely suffering from some gross form of neglect.

And now, after a few years of mealtime tug-of-war, that's ok with me. I've come to appreciate the occasional grilled steak, and Kevin is not so much conceding to vegetables and pasta as he is savoring them. So it was both grilled porterhouse and fregola with tomatoes and basil for dinner. And it was exactly what we both wanted and needed. Here's to happy marriages of all kinds.

Fregola with Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes & Basil

Fregola sarda is a small, bead-like pasta made from semolina; sometimes it’s called Italian or Sardinian couscous. If you live in a more urban area than mine, you may be able to find it in your supermarket. Central Market in Texas carries it, as does Whole Foods. I’ve also ordered it from my second favorite grocer, Amazon. If you cannot find it, you can substitute any small pasta or Israeli couscous, which is quite similar.

1 cup fregola sarda (or Israeli Couscous, Orzo, or other small pasta)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the fregola until al dente, 10 minutes. Drain.

2. While pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes and garlic. Cook and stir 5-6 minutes until tomatoes burst and begin to break down. Add the drained fregola, basil, lemon juice, and cheese., tossing to combine. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
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