May 23, 2011
I'd planned to cook up an Indian feast for Sunday's dinner, but it ended up being a long day and when the time rolled around to make dinner, I did not have the energy to cook as planned. We briefly considered getting take-out pizza (not a very attractive option, as the best local pizza can be described as even mediocre only if one is being unusually charitable), but I decided to toss together something quick instead.
This was one of the times when having a well-stocked fridge, deep freeze and pantry came in really, really handy. I pulled a package of beef ravioli from Graziano Bros. Grocery out of the deep freeze, and from there I needed only boil some water, warm up a jar of Dei Fratelli pasta sauce (also puchased at Graziano Bros.) and grate a bit of fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano to have the main course ready. This was all stuff we had ready on hand.
I also served up a quick, flavorful asparagus saute. I'd bought some asparagus for use in another meal, but it went well with the ravioli, and I had everything else I needed - seasonings, olive oil, a fresh lemon and some more Parmigiano-Reggiano - on hand, since those other ingredients are staples that I try to always keep in stock.
Dinner took less than a half-hour to prepare, start to finish. The pasta sauce wasn't the world's best, but it was good enough for a hurry, and everything else was excellent. This was definitely one of those times when having planned for a change in plans paid off.
Asparagus with Lemon and Parmesan
yield = 3 servings
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
14 ounces asparagus spears, trimmed
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice + zest
from 1 lemon
kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons thin-shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
Heat the olive oil to shimmering in a large skillet over medium heat, or an electric skillet at 370 degrees. Add the asparagus spears in a single layer and sprinkle with lemon juice. Cook the asparagus about 4 minutes, turning it halfway through that time, then transfer to serving platter. Sprinkle with kosher salt, black pepper, lemon zest and Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve.