Daydreams + Pasta

springtime pastaDo you ever have those spells where you just feel really alive? Where you’re ravishing good music and everything tastes better and you’re curious and engaged and people who cut you off in traffic just don’t seem to matter all that much? When you battle wanderlust as you sit paying mundane bills or replying to even more mundane emails? Glimpses of hiking around Big Sur, wandering aimlessly around Nashville, or paddling through Vietnam pop up when you least expect them to? Travel and travel companions and the grand itch of spring when change and possibility seem to linger in the air: that’s where we find ourselves today.


So I thought it’d be appropriate to talk about a simple pasta dish– something I envision eating in a piazza in Rome on the brink of a long spring day. Like today. It’s a meal that’s light yet substantial, made with just a bit of butter and cream, toasted pine nuts, prosciutto, arugula and peas. A dash of salt. A dash of pepper. Bright, inviting, nourishing.

springtime pasta ingredients

Because with daylight savings time upon us, we all have a little more time to linger and daydream and listen to good music and prepare meals that matter. Meals that bring you to Rome in the late afternoon with a companion to lean on, good conversation and a ravenous appetite. All  at once. And while that’s surely not going to happen tomorrow or even next week, this simple meal can perhaps take you there (or somewhere equally dreamy) momentarily. Thank god for that.

The  recipe for Springtime Pasta was published on The Kitchn this morning. Find it there.


  1. kamran siddiqi

    I spend my Friday's daydreaming and listening to good music while I eat my heart out. I'm definitely bookmarking your recipe because- this definitely has to be Friday's lunch! Great post! :)

  2. Nicole

    I'm with you,this time of year totally gives me the travel bug. Although I work for a University, so the only time I can really take off is in the summer. I look forward to school getting out as much as the students do!
    I am dreaming of Charleston and Savannah at the end of May.

  3. Andrea

    Mouth. Watering. You've inspired me.

  4. Anna

    I definitely feel that longing for travel and new places. This time last year I was visiting San Francisco, so I've been thinking about that a lot lately. I'm always simultaneously scheming how to travel more and how to find a place to settle into and call home.

  5. El

    Beautifully written post. I love travel (minus the airlines). The dish looks amazing too.

  6. Molly

    What a day for a daydream. Custom made for a daydream boy. Wonderful post conjuring up stories from distant lands. And a delicious sounding dish, to boot!

  7. Stefania

    Una buona ricetta per la pasta e deliziose foto, ciao ☺

  8. Chez Us

    This is one of my favorite ways to make a quick pasta dish. The only thing I would do differently is use your pasta machine that is sitting on my kitchen floor. :)

  9. Mary

    I second Stefania.

  10. Dana

    Days like these are the ones to savour.

  11. Jamie

    Ah, isn't food so much more than The taste, smell, texture are all wrapped up in dreams and memories, emotions and sentiments and you've stated it exactly. And great dish! Simple really is the best!

  12. Jill

    a great birthday post yay!

  13. Danielle

    Pasta in Rome, pho in Vietnam, roasted pig in Bali....ahhhhh, you've infected me with your wanderlust!! ;)

  14. tinytearoom

    this is an excellent dish for those lazy days and I wouldn't feel like I ate junk food. Lovely photos btw :)

  15. Zazuza

    a lovely idea! I can tell you, I can perform better day-dreaming when i'm accompanied by good food ;)

  16. A Canadian Foodie

    What a great mood created by your story that I could definitely relate to - and the photos and the dish seemed to align with it perfectly!

    1. megang

      Thanks, Valerie...I think we can all relate at this point in the season, huh?

  17. Suzanne

    I love cooking a great pasta dish and then watching travel shows on Italy at the same time!

Join the Discussion

Glimpses of Spring

Minestrone Verde with White Beans and Pesto

Minestrone Verde with White Beans and Pesto

We returned home from San Francisco on New Years Eve just in time for dinner, and craving greens -- or anything other than baked goods and pizza (ohhhh San Francisco, how I love your bakeries. And citrus. And winter sunshine).  Instead of driving straight home, we stopped at our co-op where I ran in for some arugula, an avocado, a bottle of Prosecco, and for the checkout guys to not-so-subtly mock the outlook of our New Years Eve: rousing party, eh? They looked to be in their mid-twenties and I figured I probably looked ancient to them, sad even. But really, there wasn't much sad (or rousing, to be fair) about our evening: putting Oliver to bed, opening up holiday cards and hanging them in the kitchen, and toasting the New Year with arugula, half a quesadilla and sparkling wine. It wasn't lavish. But it's what we both needed. (Or at least what we had to work with.) Since then, I've been more inspired to cook lots of "real" food versus all of the treats and appetizers and snacks the holidays always bring on. I made Julia Turshen's curried red lentils for the millionth time, a wintry whole grain salad with tuna and fennel, roasted potatoes, and this simple green minestrone that I've taken for lunch this week. Determined to fit as many seasonal vegetables into a bowl as humanly possible, I spooned a colorful pesto on top, as much for the reminder of warmer days to come as for the accent in the soup (and for the enjoyment later of slathering the leftover pesto on crusty bread).

Read More
Quick Pickled Strawberries

Quick Pickled Strawberries

It turns out shopping for wedding dresses is nothing like they make it appear in the movies. Or at least it hasn't been for me. Angels don't sing. Stars don't explode. Relatives don't cry. There isn't a sudden heart-stopping moment that this is, in fact, "the one." To be honest, I always knew that I wasn't the kind of gal for whom angels would sing or stars would explode but I did think I'd have some kind of moment where I could tell I'd found the best dress. Instead, my mom flew into town and we spent three (yes, three!!) days shopping for dresses, and since then I've been back to the stores we visited -- and I'm more undecided than ever. Tomorrow morning I'll return with my friend Keena to try and tie this business up once and for all. Cross your fingers. 

Read More
Feeding Ourselves Well

Feeding Ourselves Well

When I was single and living alone in the Bay Area, I made virtually the same thing for dinner each night. I ate meals quickly while in front of the computer. Or even worse: the television. This most often included what I call "Mexican Pizzas" which were basically glorified quesadillas baked in the oven until crispy. Sometimes, if I was really feeling like cooking, I'd whip up a quick stir-fry with frozen vegetables from Trader Joe's or a mushroom frittata using pre-sliced mushrooms. Mostly, though, it was Mexican Pizzas -- a good four or five nights a week. Today, thankfully, dinner looks a lot different. Meals in general look a lot different. How would I explain that difference? I think that ultimately how we feel about our life colors how we choose to feed ourselves and the importance that we place on preparing our own meals.

Read More
Farro Salad with Arugula, Lemon, Feta and Pistachio

Farro Salad with Arugula, Lemon, Feta and Pistachio

Today was 75 degrees in Seattle and it seemed the whole city was out and about drinking iced coffee in tank tops and perhaps not working all that hard. When we have a hit of sunshine like this in April (or, really, any time of the year), we're all really good at making excuses to leave the office early -- or, simply, to "work from home." I just got back from LA last night, unpacked in a whirlwind this morning, and took Oliver to meet up with three friends from our parents group at the zoo. The only other time I'd been to the Seattle zoo was once with Sam a few years ago when we arrived thirty minutes before closing and ended up doing a whirlwind tour -- sprinting from the giraffes to the massive brown bear to the meerkat. The visit today was much different: we strolled slowly trying to avoid the spring break crowds and beating sun. I managed to only get one of Oliver's cheeks sunburned, and he even got in a decent nap. A success of an afternoon, I'd say. Coming home I realized we didn't have much in the fridge for lunch -- but thankfully there was a respectable stash of Le Croix (Le Croix season is back!) and a small bowl of this whole grain salad I made right before I left town. It's the kind of salad that's meant for this time of year: it pulls off colorful and fresh despite the fact that much of the true spring and summer produce isn't yet available. And for that reason, I make a few versions of it in early spring, often doubling the recipe so there's always the possibility of having a small bowl at 1 p.m. while the baby naps in the car seat, one cheek sunburned, windows and back door open -- a warm breeze creeping into the kitchen. 

Read More
Whole Grain Any-Fruit Crisp

Whole Grain Any-Fruit Crisp

On Monday our little family of three is headed to the airport at 6 am to board our first with-baby cross-country trip. We'll be visiting Sam's family in New Jersey for a few days, then renting a car and driving over to meet up with my family at my mom's lake house in the Adirondacks. Sam's younger sister and her kids have yet to meet Oliver; my grandpa has yet to meet him, and Oliver has yet to take a dunk in a lake, see a firefly, or spend quality time with energetic dogs -- of which there will be three. A lot of firsts. This week my family has been madly texting, volunteering to make certain meals or sweets on assigned days while we're at the cabin and it got me thinking about really simple, effortless summer desserts -- in particular, ones that you can make while staying in a house with an unfamiliar kitchen and unfamiliar equipment and still do a pretty bang-up job. I think fruit crisp is just that thing. 

Read More