You know things are bad when you find me eating mozzarella sticks at 2AM.
In a diner. Across the street from a Doubletree Hotel. In Tarrytown, New York.
Like. Really bad.
You see…I don’t eat mozzarella sticks. I love them. But I don’t eat them.
I also don’t eat in diners. General rule.
It’s just…I can make my own pancakes, you know?
And then there was Tarrytown. The land that good food forgot.
The land where five slices of grilled zucchini served on top of half a cup of rice was considered a “vegetarian entree”.
And well, I know I exaggerate a lot around here. But that’s the plain and simple completely realistic unadulterated truth. It was a sad state of affairs.
Tarrytown, for those of you not from the tri-state area, is a town in Westchester, about 40 minutes north of NYC. Far enough to feel like the country but close enough that you expect them to know that people who don’t eat meat actually do exist in this world. We went for our MD/PhD Retreat, which is basically two days of talking about science, one night of uncontrollable drunkenness, and, apparently, four meals worth of awful food.
Unfortunately for the people at Doubletree, I’ve become one of those people who gets livid about being served awful food. I ask to talk to managers and head chefs. I throw around the phrase “food writer”. And I write blog posts about my terrible experience and then email them to whoever has the guts to take responsibility for the situation
So that is how I ended up eating mozzarella sticks. (The beer and two glasses of wine I had on a near-empty stomach also helped.)
I could not have been happier to get home to my kitchen full of real food.
And my refrigerator full of this pasta. You might be looking at the phrase “tomato-peach sauce” thinking that two days of near-starvation has put my taste buds out of whack. But hear me out. Something magical happens when you combine these two summer fruits in a baking pan and roast them until they are caramelized and richly flavored. Especially when you mix in some cinnamon and chipotle chili powder.
Sweet, spicy, savory bowls of carb heaven. Vegetarian food done right.
Doubletree – take note.
Pasta with Tomato-Peach Sauce
Serves 3, adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooking For Health
- 4 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes
- 2 large peaches, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
- 3 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- 8 oz pasta
- In a lightly oiled 9×13-inch baking dish, stir together the tomatoes, peaches, onions, olive oil, salt, cinnamon, black pepper and chipotle chili powder. In a 450 degree oven, roast uncovered, stirring at least twice during cooking, until the ingredients have softened and thickened, about 40 minutes. Stir in chickpeas, tarragon and balsamic vinegar.
- When the sauce has been roasting for about 25 minutes, bring salted water to a boil in a large pot. Stir in pasta and cook until al dente. Drain well.
- Mix the pasta with the sauce. Divide among four warm bowls and top with feta cheese.