The warm feeling that permeates all over; when your heart is overflowing and you know that though your life isn’t perfect you can’t possibly want or need anything else that very moment. Pure joy. That’s what I’ve felt all day. Much more than happy. Happiness is feeling pleasure about something or someone but joy is so much more. With joy, along with pleasure comes deep satisfaction, peace and gratitude. So what made me so joyful today?
- I took a couple of days off from blogging-related activities. I enjoy what I do here so much that I’ve had a tendency lately to put cooking and photography on top of everything else. It was nice to be outdoors and smell the roses (and get some much-needed exercise).
- I spent quality time with my husband this weekend. We shared a lot of laughs.
- My 11-year old niece sent me a text message saying that she made the cut and will be dancing with a group in front of the Sacramento Kings audience this month. ”Not everyone got in”, she said. I’m so proud of her.
- I overheard my husband chatting jovially with our 17-year old nephew about Christmas and future plans, laughing and teasing with each other. It was music to my ears.
- I spent some time at the craft store picking up packaging material for a cookie swap with some blogger friends. I’m so thankful to have met so many kindred spirits doing what I love so much.
- The pastor’s message really resonated with me today.
- A kind woman at the department store gave me a gift card on her way out. She had nothing to buy and her gift card would be expiring today so she passed it on to me. Much more than the extra $50 that I saved today, her thoughtfulness and generosity warmed my heart so much that a smile has been plastered on my face all afternoon.
‘Tis the season for giving, for all things merry and bright but I admit that I lose sight of this when I allow myself to get caught up in the busyness of the season. Today was different and I’m very thankful.
This dish was inspired by a featured recipe in my latest issue of La Cucina Italiana. The magazine’s version used pancetta, potatoes and frisee but I improvised with other ingredients that inspired me at the market. I sautéed chanterelles, cremini mushrooms and broccolini together along with the frisee. Garlic, a dab of butter, a little half-and-half and stock made up the sauce and I sprinkled crispy pancetta on top as a finishing touch but it also added a nice contrast against the creaminess of the sauce and the mellow quality of the vegetables. These pictures I took in a rush do not do this dish justice. They don’t show how full of flavor and thoroughly satisfying all the ingredients were together but I enjoyed it so much I prepared it again two days later.
Heart warm, belly full, I couldn’t ask for more.
- ½ – ¾ pound pasta
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced (use any combination of mushrooms you like)
- ½ onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1¼ cup stock
- ¼ – ⅓ cup half and half or cream
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 bunch brocollini, blanched and cut into one-inch pieces
- a handful frisee
- olive oil 2-3 T
- parmesan cheese
- ½ cup cooked, crispy pancetta
- salt and pepper
- lemon juice
- To prepare the orecchiette, bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt generously blance the brocollini, about 1-2 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pot (but don’t drain the water!) and run with cold water to stop the cooking. Bring the water back to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Tip: add the pasta to the pot when you start cooking your sauce. They should finish at about the same time.
- To prepare the sauce: Cook the onion in olive oil over medium-high heat then add the mushrooms. Cook for 4 minutes until caramelized. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute then add the stock. Bring to a boil. Add the half and half and lemon juice, to taste. Simmer for a couple of minutes then add brocollini and frisee. The pasta should be cooked by now.
- Add pasta to the pan, toss, and add parmesan, pancetta and lemon juice to taste and serve.