Good Friend SPK, the woman who originally asked me to email her a week of menus, therefore one of the catalysts behind the original start to the blog, sent me a text today, with the message that she had filled out a form and had written to Oprah. She was trying to get me one step closer to my dream. I have always said that before the Oprah show goes off the air, I'd like a chance to meet her, even better cook for her, and even better than that - cook for her something that knocks her socks off. (I'm thinking Korean tacos for now, but since Kogi has their taco truck, it'll have to be something more unique than that...Asian sandwiches perhaps?) Getting on the show is not easy of course - it's her final season, and they are already way deep into planning their final best season yet. So my chances, they are slim. I know this. But I like to think positive, and the first thought that came to my head when I saw the text was that I would look 15 lbs heavier on camera....so that I need to lose 15 lbs so that I can look like myself on TV. Positive thinking, that's what that is.
Even more positive was the response of friend SPK's daughter, who upon seeing the text exchange and overhearing her mom's conversation with me, got on the phone and said, "Ajo, (her name for me), when you're on Oprah, can you take me with you?"
"Why should I take you too?" I asked.
"You started the blog for mom, and we're like -you know, the critics who eat the food that she cooks from your blog. We're very important that way."
Seeing that I was already pretty sure that I was on the show, I didn't think it a problem to bring along a teenage girl who likes to eat my food. "Sure sure. I'll get you to come too."
And so it begins. I need to lose weight, because I don't want to be 15 lbs heavier on camera. I just want to look like me so I need to lose 15 lbs to look the way I do. Therefore, this pasta dish is probably not the best thing for me to be eating, but my kids love it. I'll eat half the portion that they do, and hopefully along with solid exercise, I'll slowly inch may way onto the Oprah show.
It is so easy to make - simply roasting the vegetables in the oven and then tossing some pasta it, sprinkling it with toasted pinenuts and Parmesan make for a fantastic meal. It's the perfect weeknight meal, as it comes together so quickly. It's not so perfect in terms of my quest to lose 15 lbs, but hey, it can't be everything for everyone.
Roasted Broccoli Bacon Pasta
1 lb of penne pasta or your choice of shape
1 lb broccoli crowns, cut into smaller florets
1/2 lb bacon, cut into 1/2 inc pieces
8-10 cloves of garlic, cut into thin slices
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup of pasta cooking water, reserved (water from the pasta as it is cooking - set aside before you drain the pasta
1/4 cup basil, finely sliced (chiffonade)
1/4 Parmesan cheese (for sprinkling)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional - for sprinkling but it was a really lovely touch)
Preheat oven to 425.
Cook pasta according to package directions in well salted water. RESERVE one cup of pasta cooking water right before draining. Drain pasta and set aside.
(photo is of reserved pasta water...I just dip a coffee mug into the boiling water and pull some out.)
In a large roasting pan, toss together broccoli, bacon and garlic with olive oil. Place in preheated oven, and roast for 25 minutes, stirring once or twice in between cooking, to ensure even cooking and coating of the vegetables.)
Check to see that broccoli is tender and then remove from oven. If is still not tender, cook for a few minutes longer.
Add cooked pasta, 1/2 cup reserved pasta water and additional olive oil if needed. Add basil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss all together.
Serve sprinkled with toasted pine nuts (I toast mine by putting them in the toaster oven for a minute or two) and parmesan cheese.