Until recently, nothing struck fear in me as quickly as two simple words: POT LUCK. Just the thought of a pot luck made me cringe and cower.
For a non-cook like me, a pot luck was just an opportunity to apologize.
"Sorry, I didn't have time to cook, so I picked up these bagels."
"I tried to make cookies, but they burned."
It go so bad that I would either refuse the invitation or take credit for someone else's dish.
"Oh, you like the chicken salad? Thanks, I made it myself."
But now that I have sort of learned how to cook, I've had enough with lame excuses.
So when my friend Amanda invited me to her synagogue's pot luck in honor of Sukkoth on Sunday, I jumped at the chance to show off my new skills.
The only problem was that after a morning spent at the Atlantic Antic and then Ruby's swimming class, I had less than an hour to whip up something marvelous.
Here's what I came up with:
Orecchiette with Roasted Broccoli and Walnuts
(from Real Simple)
12 ounces orechiette (3 cups)
1 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets
1/2 cup walnuts, roughtly chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot.
Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss the broccoli, walnuts, oil, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast, tossing once, until the broccoli is tender, 18 to 20 minutes.
Toss the pasta with the broccoli mixture, butter, and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water (Add more water if the pasta seems dry). Sprinkle with the Parmesan before serving.
I finished just in time to hurry over to the Pot Luck only to find I was the first one to arrive.
When I presented my dish to the pot luck's organizers, I was overcome with pride at how far I have come in my quest to become domesticated. I am beginning to see myself in a new light. Apparently, I am the sort of person who cooks orecchiette with roasted broccoli and walnuts for a pot luck.
I tried my best not to judge my fellow pot luckers who contributed store-bought hummus and Pepperidge Farm cookies.
The only bummer was that my dish went so fast, Avo never got a chance to try it.
But he'll have a chance on Monday when I re-create this dish for my parents. I still need a main dish to impress them. Any ideas? Take my poll above or post your own suggestions in the comment section below.