Until now... Friday night Italian (with a little help from the French - I couldn't find an Italian to pose with the linguine but I found a handy Frenchman to fill in instead).
A little salad of nectarines, mozzarella, rocket, Parma ham and pine nuts to start.
This is construction cooking at its best. There is no real cooking to speak of at all in fact. If you really insist you can toast the pine nuts in a frying pan. Beware ! They "turn" very quickly and before you know it your teeny bag of fearfully expensive pignoli may be a lot darker than you intended. As for the rest, a small amount of slicing, a bit of scattering, some slooshing (of your best olive oil and balsamic vinegar) and you're all done and ready to move onto the next course : crab linguine.
The ingredients' list is gloriously short: linguine (De Cecco or similar), a pinch of dried chilli, one clove of garlic, a tin of crabmeat, a handful of rocket or flat leaf parsley and one lemon.
Boil masses of salted water in your biggest pan. (I lived in Italy for a while and was always amazed to see pans that I would have only used for a stew for ten being hauled out on a nightly basis for spaghetti for two.) Whilst the linguine is cooking, slice the garlic finely and add it with a pinch of dried chill to a hot frying pan with some olive oil. When it's golden, add the crabmeat, some finely chopped lemon rind, the juice of the lemon and warm gently. When the spaghetti is cooked drain it, keeping about a tea-cup full of the cooking water. In your huge pan mix together the linguine, the rocket, a good sloosh of olive oil and of the cooking water, plenty of salt and pepper and your warmed crab mixture.
Eat whilst drinking the crispest, coldest white you can find and listening to Italian pop music. Or at least that's what I do...
Kate, Paris, 14th June