“Have you ever had a difference with a dear friend? How his letters, written in the period of love and confidence, sicken and rebuke you! What a dreary mourning it is to dwell upon those vehement protests of dead affection! What lying epitaphs they make over the corpse of love! What dark, cruel comments upon Life and Vanities! Most of us have got or written drawers full of them. They are closet-skeletons which we keep and shun.”
– Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
I had a disagreement with a friend last week. Not to worry; we’re patched up now, but our clash brought this passage to mind – mainly the “difference with a dear friend” line. I first read Thackeray’s words 25 years ago and they nestled in my brain, obviously. My recent quarrel sent me ruminating on the fluidity of emotions, especially towards another person. The more we reveal of ourselves, the easier we can be profoundly injured – and the more cruelly we are apt to react when hurt. I’m reminded that love and hate are not the inverse of each other, but rather nest alongside one another, like Yin and Yang. The polar opposite of love is not hate, but indifference.
Re-reading Thackeray’s quote renders me melancholy, too. Where have those prose-stuffed envelopes gone? First email, and now text, has obliterated the art of the letter. There are no longer closet-skeletons to keep and shun (and, if we’re honest, revisit once the sting has faded).
Today’s recipe is a mash-up between last week’s onion tart and my favorite quickie single-girl dinner – fideo pasta with butter & pepper.
Fideo Pasta Tart
- 1 9” tart dough recipe (pâte brisée or premade refrigerated shell)
- 1 cup fideo pasta
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1/2 onion cut lengthwise and thinly sliced
- pinch salt
- 2 cups chopped spinach
- 1 egg
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup grated gruyere cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 pinch grated nutmeg
- freshly ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line tart pan with dough and dock using a fork. Cover tart shell with parchment and fill with rice or beans. Blind bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove parchment and rice and bake another 5 minutes until sides are barely starting to color. Remove from oven.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Sauté onions in skillet with butter and salt until golden and tender (10-15 minutes). Turn off heat, add spinach and wilt. Add pasta to onion mixture.
- 4. In a bowl, whisk together egg, cream, cheese, thyme, nutmeg, and pepper. Add egg mixture to cooled pasta and onion mixture, scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan. Pour pasta and onion mixture into tart shell and spread evenly.
- Bake 25 – 30 minutes until filling and golden brown and set. If the edges brown too quickly, cover edges with foil.
- Cook 10 minutes and serve hot.