The Dabble

-food with a side of life-

Greg’s Birthday and Spicy Basil and Lemon Pasta

Happy birthday, honey! My husband is 26 this day and younger than me but that doesn’t dawn on me until his birthday rolls around each year because my special day is a little over 2 weeks away and too close for comfort, climbing towards 30. It’s more about where I thought I would be in life by now than the number. Greg and I are equally immature and yet, too mature at times. He is in a good place with career, love, friendships and all of those other areas. I’m proud of him. Love you! Now for some photos of him.

Greg with his brothers and sister (the youngest)...I promise no one is flipping anyone off. I had to look closer.
Greg and his borrowed paintball gun.

For me, age is just a number but there are plenty of people out there who like to remind you what that number is and their opinion of where you should be in life at that time. Please don’t. I’m the kind of person that just lives and goes with it until someone brings it to my attention and then, I wonder if I should be thinking about that topic. Inevitably, my mind wonders into territory I haven’t spent much time in: the place where I question if my lifestyle and choices seem __________ (insert adjective) to the average Joe and Nancy. Still, I don’t care.

This is the look you will get if he thinks you're acting like an idiot or said something idiotic. Not amused.
Strong man Greg

For my guy’s birthday, I’m making skirt steak fajitas with peppers, onion, cotija and pico de gallo. Dessert will be tiramisu affogato (basically vanilla and coffee ice cream with crushed cookies, whipped cream and hot espresso poured over it, topped with bits of shaved chocolate). We will most likely watch the show Weeds, catching up on the seasons and loving it together. (Some of you readers might be saying but you don’t have cable- we watch it through netflix.) That’s our celebration tonight. We’re going to a rib fest this weekend for something a little more remarkable.

Do you know Donna Hay? She’s been called the Martha Stewart of Australia. I’ve been a fan of her simple, easygoing recipes for a few years. While going through her website a few weeks ago, I came across a pasta dish. Not just any pasta dish, one in which I had all of the ingredients. Spicy tuna and lemon pasta almost seemed too easy once I began to make it and I worried that the meal wouldn’t have much flavor. This fear lead me to add the juice of half a lemon (plus a few more changes in quantity) and also lead to a light dish bursting with a fresh essence perfect for warm weather days. I used pasta called radiatori because birthday boy/man liked the shape. Use your choice of pasta, although I think the tube styles work best here.

*Still no progress on the comment front.

Spicy Basil and Lemon Pasta adapted from a Donna Hay recipe
Serves 4 (with bread and/or a salad on the side)

1 ½ cups rigatoni or other tube pasta (I used radiatori)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp lemon zest
2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
½ tsp to 1 tsp red pepper flakes (your choice for heat)
juice of half a large lemon
10 oz. canned tuna in water or olive oil, drained
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
coarse salt and fresh pepper
Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

Cook the pasta as directed to al dente (firm but not hard), drain and set aside. In a skillet, heat the oil, zest, garlic and pepper flakes over medium heat until garlic is golden and zest is crispy. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and tuna. Taste and add salt and pepper. Toss in the pasta and basil until coated evenly. Add the grated cheese over the top and serve.