This compunction also makes me one of the most annoying people to go on holiday with. There is a very good reason that I only really go away with my parents, who are made of similar stuff, or my boyfriend, who has no choice but to put up with it.
I've tried not to try and plan this holiday too much. Although we've had a lot of adventures (and there are plenty more to come as I sit in my San Francisco hotel room, anxious to explore the city) I've tried to allow myself some downtime. I've come to realise that it's those lazy days - mornings spent sitting cross legged on the sofa in my pyjamas watching the football, a late afternoon stroll to the beach, finishing my book in the evening sun - that are the days I will remember when I look back on this trip.
I'm the first to admit that I had a very privileged childhood and I'm so grateful to my parents for all the amazing experiences I had. When I think back though, what I remember are the family Saturdays that we used to spend 'doing jobs' in town. A trip to the supermarket to stock up, a visit to the library to renew our books, maybe even some new school shoes if it was that time of year. Afterwards, we would normally head to our favourite Italian restaurant for a spot of lunch. I loved those days more than I can really put into words.
I was (and still am to some extent) a lasagne person and will always order it if it's on the menu; I can't quite remember how I came to order pasta with a tomato and ricotta sauce at that restaurant but it remains my absolute favourite pasta dish ever. I can remember so vividly how it tasted. This version is more of a homage to it than a recreation (the dish itself is best left in my memory) but it takes all the flavours and pulls them all together into a light and summery dish. Well, it's light until you accidentally eat both plates...
Tomato and ricotta pasta
Yield: Serves 2
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 200g (8 oz) cherry tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- 150g (6 oz) pasta
- 150g (1 cup) ricotta
- A handful of basil leaves
- Parmesan (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Pour the olive oil in a small oven proof dish, add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Bake for 20 minutes until the tomatoes are just about to burst.
- With about 10 minutes to go, cook the pasta in a large pan of salted water.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving a couple of tablespoons of the cooking liquid and return it to the pan. Add the tomatoes and ricotta and stir until all the pasta is coated.
- To serve, scatter with torn basil leaves and parmesan.