This is the story of how I returned to Boston only to leave it again. Tomorrow evening I will be heading back to NY, this time for the Cornell Re-visit weekend. The purpose of this event will be (a) for me to meet with professors and possibly decide which lab I want to work in for my first rotation this summer, (b) to meet with other accepted candidates and hopefully make friends, and (c) for them to feed me lots of food and take me to a broadway play all in an attempt to win me over to the dark side (i.e. so that I will choose to go to their program, although I have already made my final decision regarding this). I'm both looking forward to it and dreading it. I'm having flashbacks from college orientation in which I was a scared freshman, alone and lonely, afraid that I would never find my niche in the MIT community. Needless to say, I made friends and am happy but it really is exhausting to have to try to make connections with people. That sounds really pessimistic but I don't like being put in situations where you have to smile and be witty and think of interesting things to say; its just stressful to think that this will be all of my future classmates' first impressions of me, and so it had better be a good one, you know? I'm sure they will all be really nice, however, and I can't help but hoping that I will instantly click with some of them. I am also keen to see what the kitchen/bathroom/gym situations will be in the dorms there. I read in their housing guide that you're not allowed to have a microwave. Well, I have news for them, I haven't been "allowed" to have a microwave for the past four years but that hasn't stopped me much.
Aside from that, the warm(er) weather here in Boston has had me in a good mood. Anything above 40 is running weather to me, and so I've been enjoying the 50+ temperatures. MIT recently did a survey on students' eating habits and determined that very few are getting the recommended 5-a-day. In order to try to ameliorate this, they had a fresh produce stand in one of our courtyards from 12-6 yesterday! I was so pleased and got a honey dew, three summer squash, and 1 lb-ish of broccoli for only 6 dollars. This makes me yearn for the days of farmer's markets to return. And also to look forward to living in Manhattan where the Union Square Greenmarket is open year round.
In regards to my post title, I should include the disclaimer that no animals were harmed in the making of this pasta. Although the dog did get fed some olives in the process, but my father claimed that she likes them. What I'm referring to is the fact this is my entry for both Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted by Ruth this week, and also to Tyler Florence Fridays since it was taken from his show Food 911. The pasta was a very simple weeknight pasta and came together pretty quickly. The original recipe called for baby artichokes but I used frozen artichoke hearts. Also, after eating it, I think it could have used some white wine in place of some of the broth, along with some capers. But all in all, a good, simple pasta dish. It is inherently vegetarian and could be made vegan if veggie broth and margarine were used.
Penne with Artichokes, Black Olives, and Peas
Serves 6, adapted from Food 911 (Tyler Florence)
1 1/2 lb whole wheat/regular penne
20 oz or 2 boxes frozen artichoke hearts
3 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 cup black olives, sliced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 cups broth
3 tbsp butter
1 cup frozen peas
2 bay leaves
3 tomatoes (I omitted because we had none, but the acidity from these would have been nice)
Coat a saucepan with 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the artichokes to the pan. Add the garlic, shallots, bay leaves, and red pepper flakes. Pour in the broth, cover and let simmer until artichokes are heated through. Remove the lid and add the olives, tomatoes, and butter. Stir to incorporate. Add the peas and 1 tbsp pasta. Season with salt and pepper.
While all this is going on, cook and drain the pasta. Mix with the artichoke sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if desired.