Hi! Sam’s off in the desert, and this is Tejal, filling in.
My friend L. was in town the other day — hand-painting lettering on huge sheets of glass for a restaurant — and he stopped by my place kind of unexpectedly just as I was wrapping up work.
Perfect, I thought, rummaging through the fridge to figure out what we could cook, scheming the 20 excruciating minutes that lay between us and dinner. L. could shuck peas while I grilled garlic scapes. And then we could blanch those peas in boiling water before the pasta went in.
We threw everything together: hot pasta, fresh peas, chopped scapes, ripped herbs, lemon zest, olive oil, grated pecorino. We put a dollop of ricotta in each person’s bowl at the table and piled that pasta on top. More pecorino went around. We opened a cold bottle of Tiago Sampaio’s pale pink petillant naturel from the Douro Valley.
I wished we had strawberries for dessert (they’re so good right now!), but I’d greedily eaten them all the day before. So we made do with sucking on a bunch of spicy tamarind candies that I’d lugged back from a recent trip to Thailand, where I was reporting on the chef Pim Techamuanvivit.
It reminded me of when L. lived right across the hall, before he wrote a book and moved upstate, and we had dinners like that all the dang time. No recipes, just gathering our resources and our attention for a few minutes and making something spontaneously out of whatever we had on hand. It’s one of my favorite things to do.
And honestly, when in doubt: pasta. Pasta with zucchini and basil. Pasta with green beans and potatoes (above). Pasta with clams and garlic and chile. If you’re going on a picnic, I highly recommend Samin Nosrat’s beautiful pasta tahdig.
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Today is World Refugee Day, and The Times previously published a guide to helping refugees in the United States; it includes ideas for how to volunteer and links to organizations who are working with them.
Do read our book critic Parul Sehgal on the new work of Terrance Hayes, in which “he set himself the challenge of writing political poems in the guise of love poems.”
And did you see James Estrin’s photography, taking you behind the scenes at Craft, Tom Colicchio’s Manhattan flagship? It introduces you to all the people you might not see who make the restaurant run, like Santos Ramirez, the head porter who opens the restaurant every morning, and Edward Farley, a captain who counts the tips.
Tomorrow is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Ready for it? O.K. I’ll see you back here on Friday.