Our temperature was in the low 60s the other morning, with a cool breeze from the northwest and low-hanging grey clouds dotting the otherwise bright blue sky. It was the perfect morning to finally take that two-mile walk to our coffee shop. The sun peeked in and out from behind those wispy clouds, warming our heat-tempered faces, ears and his silly bare arms.
It’s hard to believe sometimes how chilled we feel when the temperature dips below 80. This time last year I was in Minneapolis, already wearing my wool coat and scarf, both enjoying and scowling at the occasional mitten morning. After months on end of 90-95+ days we’ve become Texas-blooded. Glek! A soy pumpkin spice latte and a couple chapters in my book were just the things to warm me up before heading out for the return trip — which turned out to be sunny and warm, borderline toasty. Go figure.
This time of year, like my mom, I always get the itch to reread The Hobbit and the complete Lord of the Rings Trilogy Completely normal, right? The Fellowship opens in Autumn and there’s much description of the seasons as the stories unfold. And you can’t read the Trilogy before brushing up on Hobbit history… I’ll just stop while I’m ahead.
Temperatures have climbed back into the upper 80s and low 90s, so hopes of more Autumnal weather have been dashed for now. To capture those fleeting moments of that most favorite season, I set my mind to supper.
With Fall comes apples, robust cheeses and nuts, featured prominently in hearty meals. This pasta knocked it out of the park.
Apple Walnut Pasta with Blue Cheese Sauce [serves 2]
1/4 to 1/2 lb cavatelli or other tubular pasta, about two large handfuls
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 small Gala or Fuji apple, cut into matchsticks
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a pinch of Bouquet Garni
2 oz blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 c walnuts, toasted
aged Emmentaler or other grating cheese (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to the boil, salt generously and add pasta. Cook according to package instructions, or al dente.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the apples and shallot and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss in the pinch of Bouquet Garni. Keep warm over low heat.
When pasta is al dente, add the crumbled blue cheese to the apple and shallot mixture. Using a spider or large slotted spoon, add the pasta directly from the water on top of the blue cheese, allowing some of the cooking water to come along. This will help create a silky, creamy sauce with the blue cheese.
Spoon the pasta into serving dishes and top with the toasted walnuts. Grate over a bit of Emmentaler or other cheese if you like.
A squirrel bread original.