The Rut

Sunday, July 8, 2012
I hate to call it a ‘rut’.  That sounds so negative.  Maybe ‘habit’ would be a better word.

I like my routines.  When I discover a new CD, I put it in the car and listen to it for six months straight, until I discover a newer CD.  Great for the driver, maybe not so much for the passengers who are forced to listen to their mother's choice of music in six-month intervals.

The same thing happens to me at lunchtime.  I become infatuated with a certain recipe and make it over and over again.  If it’s only me at lunch, I can eat – for example – black bean and smoked cheese quesadillas every day for a month and it doesn’t matter.

Except my family has been seeing a bowl of black bean mixture in my fridge every day for the last month.  Getting ever smaller and smaller, then disappearing, only to appear freshly made again the next day.  And they have started to comment on my lack of originality.

I consider myself a pretty creative person, and being branded as unoriginal hurts.  So when I made this pasta for lunch, I was hoping to expand my horizons.

How good was it?  It was good enough to enter the rotation for lunch options.  It was good enough to temporarily knock my black beans to the back of the cupboard.

It was good enough to supplant the quesadillas.  At least for a while.

Do you think my family will notice if I’m still making this for lunch a month from now?


Penne Rigate with Mixed Greens and Pine Nuts
(adapted from epicurious.com)

2 1/2 cups uncooked penne rigate
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cloves chopped garlic
5 cups loosely-packed arugula
5 cups loosely-packed spinach
2 sun-dried tomatoes (in oil), drained and chopped
1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped (feel free to substitute another kind)
salt, to taste
1/3 cup grated Pecorino-Romano

Cook penne in boiling salted water in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot until al dente or according to package directions, then drain in a colander.
Combine butter, oil, and pine nuts in cleaned and dried pot and cook over medium heat, stirring, until nuts are pale golden, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add garlic and cook, stirring, until garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Stir in greens and cook, stirring, until they wilt, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, and stir over heat for 1 minute.  Add penne and salt, if required, and toss to coat. Stir in cheese and serve immediately with additional cheese on the side.

47 comments:

Carol said...

If we like something here we can eat it over and over again, too! Your pasta looks delicious, could definitely have that for a few days.

Valerie said...

I love the fact that you listen to the same music for half a year (I do too). There's nothing wrong with liking what you like, over and over. :D

This pasta sounds wonderful. Pine nuts, mushrooms, and Pecorino-Romano...yum! (So worthy of a standing ovation.)

Jemi Fraser said...

I go through long streches of eating the same thing too. During the school year, it's yogurt, apple & bagel every day. In the summer I try to stretch a bit, but doesn't always happen. It's so easy to fall back on habit! This looks yummy enough to give it a shot though :)

Kathy said...

Beth, I also like my routines! Your pasta dish looks delicious and so healthy…something I know I would enjoy! Have a great weekend!

LDH said...

I like left-overs but not sure I could do something quite as long as you do :) This recipe has lots of yummy ingredients and I know I would enjoy it!

Belinda said...

I say...if it ain't broke...and this ain't broke!

Claire Davis said...

I love routines! They are comforting. At night I like to play Nat King Cole and Sinatra while I cook because that's what my mom did every Friday when we made pizza growing up.

I think pine nuts are so good in pasta, I will have to try this!

Kitchen Riffs said...

You're not in a rut - you're just fully savoring your black beans (or CD, or whatever). Learning every little nuance. Becoming one with it. ;-) Anyway I love adding mixed greens to all sorts of things. I'll bet they'll go pretty well with the black beans, for example (just stir them in at the end; if you want to get all fancy, you can saute them with garlic, then steam for 5 minutes before adding to the black beans). Anyway, I great pasta dish - thanks.

Catherine said...

Dear Beth, It is good to have your favorite go-to meals. If it weren't for my kids, I would be the same way! They keep me creative...always looking for a new dish.
This sounds light and delicious. And if you are making it again a month from now, I wouldn't see the problem! Blessings to you my dear, your friend, Catherine xo

Jess said...

I should never read your blog hungry. This looks FANTASTIC. And mmmm, I'm the same way with CDs and good meals. I don't burn out on them as quickly as others :)

yummychunklet said...

What a tasty looking pasta dish!

Guru Uru said...

I think I know where you are coming from myfriend - when I like something, it does become my habit :D
You make this delicious dish as much as you want (I know I want ;)

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

Ellen B Cookery said...

Hi Beth, this looks like a nice and health meal. Never change your ways, it's what makes you unique!

Bonnie said...

Oh Beth, I so understand. I've been having gazpacho for a week now. It is perfect on a day when the temps are soaring about 105. Your pasta looks delish! Bonnie

Food Gal said...

Good things are worth repeating. And this fits the bill. I'd eat this for days straight quite happily if it were in my fridge. ;)

profiterolesandponytails said...

This must be good if it has helped you break out of a new favourite food rut! I'm currently in a rut with my new favourite salad (chick pea) which I made for the first time about three weeks ago and I've made it about 8 times since! All that arugula and spinach would help to ease my guilt over eating carbs. I must remember to try this out.

Lizzy said...

LOL, I could have written this post...I'm in a rut, too! I love your pasta...I'd love to share a bowl with you :)

Barbara said...

I do the same thing, Beth. Too funny. Same breakfast, same lunch. Although I do change out every few months.
Your rut sounds like a good one, actually.

Vicki Bensinger said...

You're funny. I think regardless of how creative we are, we all get stuck in a cooking rut. I love this bowl of pasta. It's fresh and healthy and will sustain you for the day. I could eat this for the next month. I'm also a creature of habit.

Cathleen said...

Haha, I'm the exact same way. I wanted to try all the teas in this nearby tea store (I love tea, you have no idea) But I found one that was PERFECT, I loved it so much, why would I want to try anything else?
The pasta looks delicious though ;)

Stephen Tremp said...

Its good to try new things. Its summer so we're experimenting with different protein and fruit smoothies while adding various veggies to the mix.

Julie said...

Blogging has helped me to not be in a food rut (or habit). I try a lot more new recipes, in fact my husband always says when we have one he likes, will we ever have it again!!

Pasta looks delicious.

Angie's Recipes said...

I eat same kind of breakfast every day..ok, almost every day...
The pasta looks healthy and delicious. What more could you ask for a lunch?

Angie's Recipes said...

p.s I don't think your family would notice if you replace penne with bow ties ;-)) spinach with other greens.

Lynda Olsen said...

I do the same thing Beth, especially for breakfast, but sometimes lunch too. Although I make alot of different dishes, there are some I just have to have over and over again.
Your pasta and greeens look delicious and I can see why they have become your favorite, for now that is!

Cucina49 said...

I can eat the same breakfast and lunch every day, too--it amazes my husband. What a fantastic-looking, healthy pasta.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Yum! I'm going to make it. I bet I'm in a bigger rut than you when it comes to meals. And now that the weather is hot, I have to find a new rut to fall into.

Joanne said...

We're all creatures of habit so dont' be too hard on yourself :P If I didn't eat dinner leftovers for lunch all the time, I'm sure it would be PB+J. Every day. Forever.

This pasta looks like a great way to change it up, though!

Katerina said...

Yep, we all have habits that dominate our lives, this is how we are! This pasta dish is definitely worth your attention for at least a month!

backroadjournal said...

I think we are all creatures of habit but I don't know if that is definitely a bad thing. From the sound of the recipe, I think you will have this in the refrigerator for awhile. Maybe hide it way down low and your family won't notice.

Jenn Kendall said...

i'd love to have this around for lunch! healthy and delicious, just perfect!

Sue said...

Ha ha, this made me laugh:) Sounds like my husband with the music, and me with the food:) This dish sure looks tasty, Beth!

grace said...

i'm such a creature of habit, there's no breaking my routines. glad you found an alternative to your black bean blend, though like you, i'd be happy to munch on the latter every day!

Elaine said...

This looks delicious. I also am in a rut when it comes to lunch. It seems like I take the ever easy ham and cheese sandwich to work just because I don't have to think about it. This would be a lovely change.

love2dine said...

These look delicious!

sweetandcrumby.com said...

I would eat this for lunch any time and maybe even everyday! :)

comfortablydomestic.com said...

I get in ruts like that all. the. dang. time. So much so that it doesn't occur to me to change out my CDs in the car. Like ever. My family ends up doing it for me. But you lunch is one that I could definitely break out of my routine to try!

artofnaturalliving.com said...

I do something similar with just pasta, spinach, olive oil, parmesan, salt and sometimes garlic. It's amazing how good something simple can be! And we're in food ruts all the time too!

Annmarie Pipa said...

my daughter eats a turkey with lettuce and provolone on wheat every single day for lunch....
thanks for the yummy recipe...I could definitely eat that more than once!!!

Sylvia said...

What a wonderful surprise, your blog is great.Your pasta dish looks delicious. Love it!!

Cindy said...

Yes. I could eat this for several days in a row for lunch!
I do understand your 'rut'. My current favorite CD is Martha Stewart's Lullaby's. It is just such feel good music.
Lunch should be a no brainer kind of meal. It should be quick (who wants to spend hours on lunch?)but delicious. This pasta fits the bill--for several days!

Miriam said...

Awesome pasta! I am a pasta junkie, I would probably eat this every day for a month too *wink*
Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

Kristy said...

Love the sound of this one! So healthy yet so flavorful.

lisa is cooking said...

I do the same thing with music and never seem to find the time to pick anything new. And, if this pasta were my lunch habit, I'd be fine with that! I love greens with pasta.

nancy at good food matters said...

there are ruts, and then there are repetitions that nourish and bring comfort. sometimes that is just what is needed. I love all the greens packed into your pasta.

Medeia Sharif said...

I'm a creature of habit and I get stuck in ruts. Sometimes I eat the same thing for weeks. Also, I usually listen to the same CD in my car for quite awhile.

I love pasta.

Mary said...

I'm a total creature of habit too, especially with our lunches. This pasta looks delicious!

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