19 February, 2007

frosty Connecticut days

Goodness, we had fun in the snow. I hate to say this, given the annoyance the storm caused my poor family, trying to get to Indiana and Florida, and not having marked success. However, selfishly, it was a lot of good snow to play in, and play we did. Thursday dawned crispy and fair, and without a cloud in the sky, so I marched over to Anne and David's house across the road to shovel a path from their driveway to their door, just as they did for us so kindly. Lordy it was heavy! That sort of snowfall that is icy on the bottom, sticking to the grass, then fluffy in between, and icy on the top. Finally John came over and hacked through the top layer with a giant spade, until he finally broke the handle!

We all went down to the pond, which had frozen thoroughly over, and the stream too, so we walked along it as far as we could get before the Jewish olive branches and thorny rose branches made it too difficult to get through. John went to take a nap, and Avery and I were, for some reason, visited by an intense desire to turn the snowy frozen pond into... a skating rink. So I shovelled like crazy, feeling muscles I didn't know I had, as Avery skated in the ever-widening circumference, and in an hour or so, we had a skating rink! Then we got slightly freaked out by a hole at the mouth of the culvert that connects Anne's pond to ours, although the ice seemed very thick around the hole. Still, the sound of water sloshing about under the rink made us hesitate, and I told Avery the story of when my friend Joy and my annoying brother told me to test the ice on the lake where we had our weekend house, and if it was strong enough, they'd come out too. Guess if it was? I had to spend the rest of the day under an electric blanket, while my clothes went around and around in the dryer. Of course it would be that afternoon when the boy I had a crush on decided to drop in, and there I was, naked under an electric blanket. I'm pretty sure Joy got the boy!

Still, we were proud of our rink. And it was just the right night for a warming dish of pasta.

Rigatoni alla Vodka
(serves four)

3/4 lb rigatoni pasta
1 large can peeled plum tomatoes
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
3 tbsps butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
1/2 cup vodka
1/2 cup light cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
salt to taste
fresh pepper to taste
extra grated parmesan for garnish

Bring water to boil in large pot and pour in pasta. You now have 11 minutes to make your sauce. Pour tomatoes into food processor with Italian seasoning and whizz until nearly smooth, but leaving some nice tomato bites. Melt butter in heavy stockpot and saute garlic and onions until soft. Add vodka and cook over a high heat until the smell of alcohol disappears, about 4 minutes, then add tomatoes, cream and 1/2 cup cheese, and stir thoroughly. When pasta is done, toss it in the sauce before serving, and season with salt and pepper. Top with grated cheese.

And get an Advil for those aching muscles!

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