WRITTEN ON November 9th, 2010 BY Meredith AND STORED IN Cheese, Dinner, Pasta, Vegetables, Vegetarian

When I was in 8th grade I cheated in Latin class. We had to hand in our homework and I convinced a friend to let me copy hers because I, shockingly, wasn’t exactly prepared. Strangely enough, we had the exact same wrong answers. Busted.

I also, on occasion, would try to sneak a peek at my neighbors test during exam time.  You know, the old “I’m so tired I think I’ll let out a big yawn and, ooops, sorry Hedy, smartest girl in the class, I just happened to see that you answered that The Battle of Gettysburg was fought in July of 1863.  In Gettysburg.  Thank you.”

What can I say?  I’ve always been more of an EQ person than an IQ person.  I could wax poetic on the feelings of teenage dumpees.  Fix a bad social vibe with one good joke. But I really could have cared less about most of the hard and fast facts that I needed to earn myself an A, and the title of smartie pants. This isn’t to say I made a habit out of cheating, ever.  Sometimes I wish I had.   I might have gotten better grades.

It was all in the preparation, or lack thereof, in my case.  I’m a procrastinator of the first degree. Why on God’s green Earth would I willingly choose to spend three hours studying when there was so much else to do?  I could, and still can, distract myself for hours with a single strand of hair. Is that a split end I see?  Yikes, I better check my entire head.  I’d perform dramatic readings (to myself) out of whatever novel I could find lying around.  Failing that, I’d turn on the radio very softly (so my mother couldn’t hear) and sing entire concerts into the top of a brush.

College only made it worse.  Not only were there no parents to force me  to study at the kitchen table, but there were a million other distractions, namely beer, boys, and the bookstore.  Econ 103 didn’t stand a chance.

So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I’ve already cheated on my new resolution. That’s right folks.  The other night I needed something relatively quick for dinner and I just didn’t feel like making my own pasta.  So I used dried capellini.  Hey, it was still organic.

I stopped beating myself up about it after I took my first bite. How could something this good really be bad? I reminded myself of all the other not so natural things that I enjoy.  Highlights. Bounce fabric softener. The Real Housewives of Atlanta. I took a second bite, and then a third, and before I knew it I was so distracted I’d completely forgotten about my teeny little cheat.

Cheater eater

Baby Artichoke Capellini (serves 2)
10 baby artichokes, trimmed of tough outer leaves and quartered
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
1/2 lb capellini pasta, cooked to just al dente, 2 tbsp pasta water reserved
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large saute pan, heat olive oil.  Add shallot, saute over medium high heat 1 minute.  Add garlic, saute 1 minute more.  Add artichokes, salt and pepper, saute about 15 minutes until softened.  Add wine, reduce by half. Add lemon juice and parsley. Toss in pasta, pasta water and cheese.  Cook about 1 minute more.  Serve hot.

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