We’ve all had those days. You get stuck at the office to get a project out the door. You leave work, get on the train, and when you go to make a transfer, you find that the second train you take to get home isn’t running. You walk upstairs to catch the bus, but turn right back around when you see at least a hundred other people waiting. You call your husband to let him know you’re going to be even later than you had planned, head back into the station and take a longer, alternate route home. Whatever the particulars, we all get tied up or delayed sometimes, and we all know what it’s like when you need to come up with a plan B for dinner, and fast.
This was another night I was happy to have a fully stocked fridge and cupboards. Mike had picked up some local asparagus and greenhouse-grown red bell peppers, zucchini and yellow squash over the weekend, so I chopped up about a cup of each of those while I got a big pot of water boiling for pasta. I softened about six dried tomato halves in some hot water, diced up a shallot, and added both of those to a hot sauté pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt. When the tomatoes and shallot were soft, I added about 1/4 cup of white vermouth, some dried basil and oregano, and a couple of tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves. I added the soaking water from the tomatoes to the pan, let that cook for a moment, then added the chopped peppers and squash with another sprinkle of salt and stirred everything well.
I added a good amount of salt to the boiling pasta water, dumped in a box of farfalle, and let it cook for about 7 or 8 minutes. I added the asparagus to the sauté pan and stirred it through, then transferred the farfalle from the pot to the sauté pan using a spider, allowing a bit of the water to cling to the pasta. I stirred everything through and let the pasta finish cooking with the veggies, adding a bit more of the pasta water to make a sauce, then added some chopped flat-leaf parsley and about 1/2 cup of grated Pecorino Romano off the heat.
This was certainly nothing fancy, but it was a fresh, light meal that came together incredibly fast with items we had on hand. Besides, who wants to wait for delivery after such a crazy day?