yellow cast

The car accident was almost six weeks ago–tri-malleolar fracture (ankle). I had surgery the same day. I now officially have as much hardware in me as Ace has in a store. I try telling myself it makes me more valuable.

That doesn’t really help at all. Neither did the zen approach of appreciating the remarkably long, foreseeable future with nothing but time on my hands and me off my restless feet. The yellow cast was a nod to an iffy  springtime in the foothills of the Adirondacks. As is always with life in the North Country, one never knows, do one?

Here’s what did help: Good friends who made soups, Irish stews, chili; who came to visit and talk, sent gorgeous flowers, who threw the St. Patrick’s Day party here, so I could attend,  and cleaned up afterwards. A husband who brought me meals in bed for the first week or two, cleaned the cat litter, shopped for groceries, learned how to poach an egg, and spotted me while I scooted upstairs on my rear end to get to my office. My daughter who did our laundry, also cooked and cheered me up. But for most of the first three to four weeks I was stuck in bed or in the living room with this brilliant yellow cast elevated on one or two blue bolster pillows. Not really painful, but no damn fun.

My friend, Bev, brought me Ruth Reichl‘s book My Kitchen Year–part memoir, part recipe collection. Reichl mentions breaking her foot very badly on a book tour and being laid up for an unconscionable amount of time (more than me), and discovering a knee scooter could get her back on her one good foot and into the kitchen again. The next week I rented such a gizmo and found my mobility and the ability to use two hands improved my life.


(Photo by Elaine Handley)

So instead of a poem this time, here’s a recipe that I was able, gratis a Ruth Reichl and the knee scooter or knee walker, to prepare for Easter Day. It’s my recipe, not Ruth’s. Since my son-in-law prefers protein over straight vegetarian meals, it’s a combination of primavera recipes I’ve made in the past and the addition of carbonara ingredients. Ruth Reichl DOES have, by the way, a wonderful spaghetti carbonara recipe in her book Garlic and Sapphires, which is one of my favorites of hers (both the book and the recipe).

Fettucine Primavera Shartelli

1-2 pkgs. fettucine (1 pkg for 4 people with leftovers, 2 pkgs for more than 6 with leftovers)

2 pkgs. chopped pancetta

2 T extra virgin olive oil and 1 T butter

1 carrot peeled and chopped

1 – 2 leeks (smallish) cleaned and chopped

1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed or snapped off or peeled, remainder chopped (can be blanched as well, but not necessary)

A handful of sun-dried tomatoes sliced into thin strips

1/2 c. frozen peas (fresh peas are good, too)

4 whole eggs at room temp., blended with 1 cup heavy cream or half and half. (This is good with two packages of fettucine but will make a really creamy 1 pkg.)

Lots (at least a 1/2 c. or more) of good parmigiano-reggiano with some for additional topping as well

Fresh ground black pepper

A double handful of fresh basil chopped.

Start the salted water boiling for the pasta. In a large Dutch oven or iron skillet, fry up the pancetta until crispy. Remove the bits to a paper towel to drain, and keep warm. In the same pot/skillet, add oil and butter and the carrots and saute for 3 minutes. Then add the leeks and the asparagus. Saute veggies together but leave them a bit crispy to the bite.  The pasta water should come to a full boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain but reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water to add to the sauteed veggies. Add the peas and sun-dried tomatoes. Bring to a boil and shut off the heat. Quickly add the beaten eggs and cream and stir into the veggies. Add the hot drained fettucine and the parmigiano-reggiano and a grind or two of black pepper.  Mix all together. Top with the crispy pancetta and basil and serve with a good bottle of wine – white or red. On Easter we had 19 Crimes and also Cristallino Brut, and it was lovely. My daughter made a spinach salad with sliced fresh strawberries and goat cheese with a slightly sweet sesame seed and oil dressing.

HAPPY SPRING! (and it will be when this damn cast comes off.)