I’ve realized lately that the kind of food I enjoy most is food that is uncomplicated. Sure, it’s awesome to tackle a difficult recipe, but there’s something to be said for the simple satisfaction of grabbing fresh ingredients from the fridge and transforming them into a great tasting meal without consulting a recipe every five seconds.
One night, while wandering up and down grocery store aisles, searching for something that might satiate me, I became increasingly agitated. It was mega-mart overload. I set my basket on the ground and considered abandoning the whole thing and ordering a nice hot pizza. After a short silent debate (during which time I’m sure I got a couple woah-crazy-lady looks), I took one final lap of the produce aisle and grabbed the things that looked best: cherry tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, a hunk of fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano (which the uptown grocery store conveniently keeps in the middle of the veggies), and a bottle of red wine. I had no recipe, just a bunch of things I eat often and love.
These days, we are inundated with recipes. They are everywhere. And if you’re like me, you’re constantly clipping and pinning and bookmarking things to try. The recipe pool is big and bottomless, and while these are great qualities for a mimosa, I often find myself completely flummoxed when I try to decide which one to make for dinner. I call this recipe paralysis. We’ve all become so reliant on recipes, we’ve forgotten how simple cooking can be.
When I got home from the grocery store, I poured a glass of wine and cranked the oven and some tunes (and by tunes, I mean NPR, of course). I put the halved Brussels sprouts and cherry tomatoes on a sheet pan along with a few cloves of thinly sliced garlic, drizzled on some extra virgin olive oil, and seasoned with salt. I roasted the veggies in a 425 degree oven for twenty minutes, during which time I cooked some whole wheat spaghetti (or was it linguine?) on the stove top. Saving a mugful of the starchy cooking liquid, I combined the drained noodles with the hot roasted veggies, a drizzle of evoo, red pepper flakes, some salt, a little of the cooking liquid, and a generous grating of the fresh parmesan. Dinner was served without the guidance of a recipe (what?!) and it was delicious.