Yesterday, I announced the launch of Tuesday Dinner, a new interview series on my blog devoted to fast, healthy, weekday meals. Today, I’m excited to welcome Jennifer of Chez Loulou who shares a glimpse of her life as an American expat in Normandy — where she works in a real, live château! — and a killer quick recipe for pasta.
Jennifer juggles work in the gorgeous Château Canisy (pictured above) with life at home with her lovely husband and adorable animals. She also has a beautiful blog and is an intrepid Normandy explorer and cheese connoisseur — there’s none too stinky or too obscure to escape her interest. With all these activities, it’s no surprise that her weeknight schedule is a bit sporadic:
“There is no regular Tuesday night chez moi,” she writes. “Sometimes I work until 10PM, sometimes I’m home and sometimes I only work until 5PM.
“I try to always keep cans of whole Italian tomatoes, thickly cut bacon, onions, Parmesan cheese and pasta in the house — then I know I can whip up some Amatriciana sauce and have dinner ready in about 30 minutes.
“When I really don’t feel like cooking, an omelet or frittata is my perfect solution. If there aren’t enough eggs in the house, I make savory tartines [open-faced toasted sandwiches] with bits of ham, cheese and/or vegetables.
“Cans of chickpeas or white beans can easily be made into salads or simple soups and don’t take much time at all. Also, frozen peas, some stock and arborio rice can be made into risi e bisi in no time.
“Chick peas with tomato and spinach is one of my favorite curries. Not my recipe, but it is fantastic!
Another great recipe — pasta this time — is this one…”
Penne with tomatoes and feta
Adapted from Bon Appétit magazine and Jennifer Greco
Note: I made this tangy, salty, punchy pasta last week and it was perfect for the waning days of tomato and arugula season. The original recipe calls for one pint each of cherry and grape tomatoes, but I just diced up some gorgeous heirloom monsters from the marché.
8 ounces / 250 grams penne (I used whole wheat)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 green onions, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 lbs / 1 kg tomatoes, diced
5 cups (loosely packed) arugula
1 1/2 cups (about 7 oz / 225 grams) feta cheese, crumbled
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente, or firm to the bite, about 11 minutes, or according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green onions, garlic and tomatoes and sauté until the vegetables are heated through and on the point of collapse, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the tomatoes. Add the remaining olive oil and arugula and stir to combine until the leaves begin to wilt. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve immediately, sprinkled with lots of feta cheese.
Even Domino, Jennifer’s kitty, approves of this dish!
(Photos courtesy of Jennifer Greco, except the pictures of food, which were snapped by moi.)