Fast Food Friday

We came in around 5 from an hour or so of fun in the back yard so I could make supper. The kids were hungry. I was hungry. I'm sure if Jason hadn't been catching a quick nap, he would have been hungry, too. I had the idea of making tomato soup, so I pulled out a can of tomatoes and some tomato sauce. Just then, the phone rang. The news on the other end was rather important and brain-consuming--not something I could prepare supper while discussing. Then the doorbell rang--the guy from the garage had brought our van back and needed someone to take him back to work. I went and woke Jason up to drive him, then continued the conversation. About five minutes after Jason left, our friend Greg stopped by. The pressing part of the conversation being through, I ended it gracefully.

Greg was here to pick up some stuff I had for his wife, and also thought to discuss some questions he had about our basement design for the new house. Jason had asked him for a quote on pouring it for us, but unfortunately, Jason wasn't here. I showed him the blueprints and tried to answer his questions the best I knew how, thinking that my dear husband should be returning at any moment. I watched the clock--my soup remained unstarted, and our guest was waiting. The cell phone was not with Jason, but on the counter in my purse.

Just as Greg was deciding that he should really get going, Jason returned. As soon as politely possible, I returned to the kitchen to resume dinner preparations. I glanced at the clock, which was striking a doleful 5:48, then cast a skeptical eye over the two cans on the countertop, thinking that I was not sure our family would survive the nuclear meltdown that would ensue if I made them wait a full hour before eating. Quick! I had to improvise!

The way I saw it, I could either: a) Run out for burgers and fries. Not so appealing, due to the junk food factor, and the fact that we seemed to be falling back on it a lot lately, or b) make sandwiches. I opted for c) neither of the above.

In the same amount of time it would have taken me to run out and grab supper from A&W, I made this. When Jude tried it, his verdict was "This is really really great!" Noah and Jabin had three helpings each. Needless to say, a hit. Bon appétit!

Penne* Pasta in Juniper Rosa Sauce

Prep and cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves 4-6 (Sauce makes double amount required for this much pasta, so you'll have some for another meal.)

1 454 g package Penne Brown Rice Pasta
filtered water
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 28-oz. can whole or diced tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. dried juniper berries
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
2 tsp. maple syrup (opt.)
1/4 c. snipped fresh basil
1/2 c. whipping cream
freshly-grated parmesan or asiago cheese to serve
Dash of ground nutmeg (opt.)
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Start pasta boiling in filtered water with oil and salt, according to package directions.

Place tomatoes and garlic cloves in a blender or food processor--blend on high speed for a few seconds to roughly chop. Place in medium saucepan on medium-low heat. Add salt, juniper berries and cheddar and stir until cheese is melted. Add maple syrup, basil and whipping cream and heat through. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Drain pasta, rinse with cold water and drain again. Put in large bowl and pour half of sauce overtop; save remainder in a glass jar in the fridge for another dish. Toss pasta and sauce and serve with fresh veggies or salad on the side.

Leftover sauce would go well in a casserole with stir-fried ground beef and onions; top with cheese, cover and heat through in medium oven.

*When I recreated this recipe to photograph it, I was fresh out of penne pasta, so the photos show elbow macaroni instead.

Juniper Rosé Sauce from www.talenawinters.com.