Montreal is looking more like April than its usual blustery brand of March. The only remaining snow are the banks crusted into nooks where sunlight cannot reach. People are walking the streets in sweatshirts and sunglasses.
Yet despite this wonderful yet curious turn for the best I woke up yesterday in a bit of a funk. I had neglected to turn the "on" button for my alarm when setting it the night before and therefore woke up a mere fifteen minutes prior to my anticipated departure time. And this was not just on any old day, but on my first day on a new job - as a waitress in a graduate student restaurant-bar on McGill's campus.
No, this isn't exactly what I wanted to be doing, but with my nebulous plans this job seemed like it would be a-okay. Until I walked in, with a puff of optimism, and I realized it would be just that, just okay, just passable. I think the deflate I felt was actually detectable. I'm back. Here. Again. It was actually my first time there exactly, but I had spent my summer working in a similar environment, an experience I now fondly think of as amusing. Walking into the basement restaurant, grim and shabby, the dull routine of it all, the rush, the fabricated importance, and the aching feet I came to dread over the summer seemed all too imminent and unbearable.
I turned on my perky-eager face, looking for the good in my scary boss, irritated and unhelpful, and made it out of there thirty bucks richer and otherwise not so much worse off. A really wonderful thing happened next, though. I was offered a job, eh, an internship, but still, a paying position, one that doesn't make me recoil, and one, I think, that will be very good for me.
This is, of course, good. The job excites me, the prospect of something new inspires me. But it is also bittersweet. So very not long after I left, I will be returning to New Jersey. And so very not long after I became settled again in Montreal, I will be saying a final adieu to the city and the people I love here.
The night I broke the news was filled with relief, quiet excitement, and a very successful dinner. As the apprehensions of actually leaving begin to sneak into my consciousness I'm wishing that every night would be so lovely and easy.
Penne with White Beans and Sage
I owe the pureness of this meal to my grocery shopping boycott. Trying to save money, I hadn't gone in about a week, and refused to once I learned that I would be leaving town shortly. The result, you see, was serendipitous. Concerned the dish would be plain, I overcompensated with olive oil. Adding glug after glug of olive oil until the beans seemed right, I didn't actually measure the amounts. Because the ingredients are few it's important to use quality; you will taste every one. I had sage leftover from the butternut squash risotto, and I found it to be particularly appropriate, but a number of fresh herbs could also do the trick.
2 cans white beans
about 1/4 c - 1/2 c olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 branches of sage leaves, chopped, about 4 tbsp
1 lb penne rigatoni pasta
salt and pepper
freshly grated Parmesan
Bring salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Meanwhile, chop the sage leaves, twisting a bunch together and slicing thinly, and mince the garlic. Drain and rinse the beans.
Heat a large frying pan over low heat. When hot add a few drizzles of olive oil, enough to generously coat the pan, and then the beans, stirring to coat all well in oil. In a minute or so add the garlic and sage, mixing well. Keep the mixture heating over low heat, adding olive oil in drizzles occasionally until the beans are hot and flavorful, and the mixture has become slightly thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Drain the pasta when it has cooked. Return it to its cooking pan and drizzle with olive oil or melt 1tbs butter to coat lightly.
Serve in a shallow bowl, adding pasta, then a generous spoonful or two of the bean mixture. Drizzle a little olive oil and serve sprinkled with Parmesan to taste.
Serves 3 -4.