Making mint pasta and understanding how be a good parent!
By Laxmi Parmeswar MA MS LPC
A Licensed Psychotherapist who LOVES cooking!
Boil water in a large vessel, add a little oil so that the pasta (small shells or spiral rotini) does not stick together. Do not overcook the pasta. It should be ‘al dente’, not hard; but not too soft.
Like children, pasta needs ‘timely’ attention and supervision. Buying things for children is no substitute for time - YOUR time as a parent - and not the quantity of time, but the quality of time. Each pasta shell should co-exist with the other but not ‘stick’ to each other and be ‘mushy’. In families, we need to make sure that each child has his/her own identity and not stick to a parent or sibling- ‘whole’ by themselves, lightly greased so that they have their own sense of self, but co-exist with the rest, without being clingy or mushy! Just like this savory dish, each child in the family/joint family must soak in all the flavors and spices and be part of a larger cohesive world. So how do we make that happen?
Let’s start with the dish… After you boil the pasta, drain it and run it under cold water so that it doesn’t continue to cook and become too soft. Sometimes, children, like this pasta, need warmth and nurturing along with a dose of discipline so that they don’t get spoilt! The old saying, “too much of a good thing is not good” makes sense in recipes and relationships!
Put two tablespoons of oil in a pan, wait for it to become hot; crush ½ tsp. dried oregano in your fingers and add to your oil; then do the same with dried basil, crushed pepper; after you get the aroma, add ½ cup of chopped scallions and roast fry for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of vegetables of your choice (like olives, green pepper or capsicum, grated carrots) and roast along with the onions. Add salt. After the vegetables are cooked al dente, add your cooked pasta and mix it all together. Add a little more oil as needed. Lower the flame and add ½ cup of grated cheese, and mix. Turn the flame off and add ¼ cup of chopped mint leaves, crushed pepper, fresh grated parmesan cheese and 3 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil. Mix carefully without mashing!
Cooking like communication is effective ONLY when it is done correctly- one needs to pay attention to how much, what, when and for how long. The end product is ideal when one pays attention to the individual properties of the ingredients, combines them in a certain sequence, allowing its special properties to unfold and merge, creating euphoria when it touches the palate! Not as easy as it looks but definitely achievable when you want to do it AND know how to do it!!!