July 15, 2011
Yesterday was Bastille Day and I read a comment on Twitter that said 'The French invented kissing and toast.' The toast reference struck me as a bit odd (I thought toast was a truly American invention) and the kissing of course reminded me of the Frenchman, which was no good. I was also having quite a busy and productive day so to make it all better I decided to treat myself with the epiphany of comfort food: The Poor Man's Meal. As you will without a doubt already know, it is pasta. It manages to be even more comforting than all the other kind of pasta dishes as it originated from my Mum, with a bit of help from Jamie Oliver I think, and then made its way to New York, where it became a staple amongst Gladys, Marie, and I. It not only tastes great, but has a double amount of good memories attached.
My Mum started the craze years back and has slightly altered the recipe over time to suit her tastes, but whenever I go home, I know it is the first meal I will get and I get it in the original version.
Once I introduced it to the girls in New York, they loved it so much, that we started making it all the time. It quickly became known as ‘The Poor Man’s Meal’ as we would especially make it towards the end of the month when money was tight. WhenI tell you now what is in it, you will think us the most decadent college students ever. You cannot get any further from Ramen Noodles (Two minute noodles for the South Africans) than that.
Zucchinis are drenched and fried in lots of virgin olive oil with crushed chillies. Pasta is tossed into that and than topped with mountains of Parmesan. My mother would add a bit of saffron to it as well, which I remember because I have managed to mess up quite a few of her good fabric napkins over time. Last night I used Turmeric instead, but even without the saffron it is by no means close to Ramen or any other student budget appropriate meal. Why? Well, as you can tell by my end-result picture – I am and always was incapable of not covering my entire plate with real Parmesan.
P.S. In case you wonder, the picture above represents amounts of cheese appropriate for picture taking and was tripled right afterwards for eating.