When I turned 18, something changed in how I felt about my birthday. Before, I was excited about each March 4th, waiting in anticipation for it, even, from the moment the new year hit. Each new year, I was a new year older, a new year closer to adulthood. But 18 was different. 18 was adulthood. I immediately missed 17. Sometimes, I still do. I wouldn’t want to go back, but I do think it’s the best age. At 17, you’re no longer 16. You’re no longer just an annoying teenager. But you’re not 18, either. You’re not an adult. You’re not all set to head out on your own, not faced with life changing hard decisions and responsibility, not expected to be level-headed and perfectly mature, not yet. It’s this comfortably place between being a child and being an adult. For the first time, when I turned 18, I didn’t want to acknowledge my birthday.
Since then, I’ve allowed my birthday to come and go largely unnoticed. My 19th birthday was celebrated with a single drink at midnight with a new boy. I don’t remember my 20th, but my 21st sticks in my mind as being one of the loneliest days of my life. 22 and 23? No idea what happened to them. I am determined that this year will be different. I am determined to not be shy about the fact that my birthday is on Friday, determined to acknowledge it and allow the rest of the world to acknowledge it as they wish. I am going to bake myself a cake and go out dancing with my best friend and my husband and not come back until 3 in the morning.
And, I’m going to be pleased that my mother-in-law remembered my birthday and bought me a gift and baked me a (cheese!)cake a week before, thereby forcing me to think about all this stuff as I cooked a pasta dish from one of the new cookbooks she gave me.
This dish was at first a little disappointing, kind of like birthdays, a big let down promise. The sauce was too runny, so the noodles were mostly tasteless. But, as I scooped the leftovers into my wonderful Corningware casseroles, I realized that, after a couple hours of cooling on the stove, the whole thing had thickened to perfection. Even cold, it looked incredibly more appetizing than the dish we had already eaten, a dish I had already decided to not share with you at all. But this? This has promise.
Sun-Dried Tomato and Herb Pasta
Adapted from Dinner Time from the Love Food cookbook series
3oz sun-dried tomatoes
3 cups boiling water
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp rosemary
3 cups dried pasta
Parmesan to serve
If you have sun-dried tomatoes in oil, remove them from the oil and rinse them off. In a pot or bowl, combine the boiling water and the tomatoes. Allow to stand for approximately 5 minutes. Remove 1/3 of the tomatoes from the water and chop into bite sized pieces. Set aside. Using a blender (an immersion blender works great for this) blend the remaining tomatoes in the water. Set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook until just beginning to colour. Add the pureed tomato and water mixture. Bring to a boil. Add the herbs and the sun-dried tomato pieces and reduce the heat. Simmer the mixture for approximately 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook your pasta. You can use whatever kind of pasta you like for this. The recipe called for fusilli, but I used egg noodles.
Mix the pasta and the sauce together. For a thick pasta, allow to stand for at least 10 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to serve.