I have a truly negative habit of overanalyzing almost every social interaction, after the fact. Always after. Perhaps we had a fantastic conversation, but when you walked away, you gave me an odd look (when probably the sun was in your eyes)? Chances are I’ll be dissecting that look for days to come. The funny this is, I’m actually an extrovert. When I teach the MBTI to my college students, I explain that their preconceived notions about introversion and extroversion are awry. What matters is from where you draw your energy, or recharge your batteries. If you need to take a break from people and seek “alone time”, you are an introvert. If you need to get out and socialize after too much time on your own (me), you’re extroverted. But extroversion doesn’t stop me from being paranoid about having said the wrong thing in a social situation. We can never, ever turn back the clock and unsay (most often unintended) things that sting, offend, or cut to the quick.
Sometimes I think that is why I love to cook. Food is forgiving. Baking is entirely unforgiving, so I try to do that only when feeling invincible. Especially macarons. Never attempt macarons when feeling even the slightest bit vulnerable.
This may seem preposterous to people who don’t cook or have experienced true kitchen disasters, but food truly is forgiving. I’m not saying it’s impossible to burn something (pizza, cupcakes, steak) beyond being palatable, but you have quite a long grace period before the absolute end of the road. Add salt if it’s underseasoned. You can even put a raw potato in a soup to draw out the salt if you had a particularly heavy hand. Turn down the burners if the boiling is too vigorous. You can even save the “trickiest” of dishes like mayonnaise, lemon curd, seized chocolate. Very few things are truly ruined in the kitchen, unlike people. People and their relationships are fragile, easily bruised and unlikely to be forgiven and forgotten. A peach doesn’t hold a grudge if you’ve handled it too roughly. What follows is my most forgiving dish, the one I can count on time and time again, to just be perfect, and yet never the same twice.
My 4 year old son calls farfalle pasta “butterfly pasta” despite it being labeled “bowtie.” A few months ago, I realized farfalle actually was the Italian word for butterfly. So my son isn’t imaginative, just Italian, despite being born to American parents. You can use any type of pasta shape. Rigatoni would work quite well.
The incredible flexibility of this recipe is due to the fact that with bacon and goat cheese, you can put anything else in it and it’ll still be sublime. Sure, you can jazz it up and use pancetta, but I urge you to source local ingredients for simple dishes like these. The great thing about the South is that I have over four different bacons I can choose from that are made right here. The squash and zucchini came from our weekly delivery from Blue Moon Farms, our fantastic CSA. My favorite dishes are those that are a gorgeous riot of colors and flavors, salty and earthy, creamy and tangy. This one does not disappoint.
Wine pairing: MOHUA Sauvignon blanc 2014, New Zealand