Welcome to Pasta and Books!!!
What is Pasta and Books? It all started on an average day, a bunch of us on the blog chatting it up in our Facebook group, involved in a conversation that started to spiral out of control (this seems to be a normal thing with us) when one of us, (me) started talking about the amazing pasta I had for lunch. As our happiness, giddiness, and laughter started getting more and more fun, an idea was born. Why not pair one of our favorite books from the first half of the year, with one of our favorite pasta dishes? And so here we are.
Read at your own risk… images may make you hungry. 😋
Book: True Colors, by Anyta Sunday
Pasta: Tri-Color Rotini
My favorite book from the first half of 2017 was True Colors by Anyta Sunday, and I’ve paired it with my Spinach and Basil Pesto Chicken with Tri-Color Rotini. Perfect for this time of year, it’s a light and bright summer dish that’s really easy to prepare and can be served warm or chilled. Simply toss some chicken and diced onions in pesto sauce (which contains garlic, pine nuts, basil and spinach) and add some tomatoes and some freshly grated parmesan before serving.
Despite some of the more memorable parts of the book taking place in the cold Berlin winter, I picked this vibrant dish because I wanted to highlight the unique and devastating use of colors throughout the book. Marco the main character had a quirky way of assigning colors to different moods or personalities that the author wove into his narrative to unexpected and heartbreaking effect. It’s an intensely beautiful “Friends to Enemies to Lovers” tale, as I like to call it, and a highly recommended read for all seasons.
Book: Draakenwood, by Jordan L. Hawk
The book I chose for my pairing is Draakenwood by Jordan L. Hawk. I’ve paired it with Radiatore with pesto, roasted asparagus, sun dried tomatoes, and red pepper flakes. I chose this pasta for the book because there are trees in the book and asparagus look like trees. This is also a very colorful pasta with a bit of kick in it just like the characters from the book! Also I do what I want. Recipe: cut, season (I use garlic powder, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper), and put olive oil on asparagus before putting them in a pan and roasting them for about 10-ish minutes at 450 degrees (check them to make sure they don’t burn. They should be bright green and tender). Make whatever pasta you like (I chose Trader Joe’s Vegetable Radiatore) and drain before putting back in the pan. Drizzle some olive oil on the noodles to make sure they don’t stick and mix in chopped sundried tomatoes, sauce, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes. When artichokes are done add them to the pasta and add more cheese if you’d like (I know I do!).
Book: Shades of Magic, by VE Schwab
The best books that I read in the first half of this year are the ones from VE Schwab’s Shades of Magic series. First of all, the characters are incredible and I think I’ve found my favourite female character in Lila Bard. There are also two queer characters in this series with a charming secondary romance arc. My Pasta dish is inspired by the wonderful world building that is set up by four different realms, four different kinds of London that only the Antari can travel in between. Spaghettis connect Red, Black, White and Greeny London in this delicious pasta salad with homemade pesto that my family couldn’t get enough of.
Book: The Wrong Woman, by Cass Lennox
Pasta: Mac & Cheese
When you need a dose of nostalgia, a dash of convenience, and a dollop of dubious cheese, nothing else will do like some mac & cheese. As I read The Wrong Woman, which is set in Canada, I felt some serious nostalgia for the country that took me in for two years and taught me that it’s pronounced “Kraft Dinner” and not “Kraft Mac & Cheese.” Good book, good times.
Book: Summer Stock, by Vanessa North
Books with seaside locations remind me of my own trips to the beach. Warm sun, salt air carried on cool ocean breezes, and of course, seafood! Even if I can’t make time to visit the shore, I can always escape with a good book and my favorite pasta dish, Linguine with Clams. I recently did just that with Vanessa North’s Summer Stock which, as always with her writing, was a lovely story with characters who are so easy to fall in love with. Based in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, I could almost hear the crashing waves and feel the sand between my toes. Adding the flavors of the sea, garlic, white wine and fresh herbs combined with a happily ever after proved to be an excellent pairing and the perfect summer sojourn.
Book: Moment of Fate, by Karen Stivali
Choosing my top read, or one of them, for the first half of 2017 was pretty easy… I have a couple, but the book that stands out the most for me is Karen Stivali’s Moment of Fate. Both Bryan and Oliver have amazing qualities, and their story had me wishing for more. This is a story about love, life, companionship, trust, and honesty. There are so many layers, sort of like my pasta.
In honor of Bryan and Oliver, and their story, I made an orzo pasta salad with all kinds of flavor layers. The orzo is first toasted, then I layered in tomato, kalamata olives, cucumber, feta, almonds, red pepper, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds,and basil. I tossed it with the juice of a lemon and some EVOO. It’s simple, can be eaten warm and cold, and is amazing the next day and the next. It’s one of those pasta salads you can make and it just gets better during the week, sort of like my favorite book. Moment of Fate is a story that gets better as you read it, and reading it again and again, I fall in love with it more every time.
Book: Drinker of Blood, by Jordan L. Hawk
Pasta: Squid Ink Spaghetti
My pasta is a black squid ink pasta with olives and tomatoes! I think this fits really well with one of my favorite series, SPECTR by Jordan L. Hawk. The most recent novella in the series came out earlier this year (Drinker of Blood, #2.3), and I re-read all of the previous books to refresh myself before going in. It’s dark and twisty in some ways (like my pasta!), but also absolutely delicious (also like my pasta… are you seeing the theme here?). The SPECTR series takes place in a world where psychics and demons are known and fairly common, and a young man is possessed by an incredibly rare and unusual demon. It’s sexy as hell (think: menage with only two bodies!) and you just can’t put it down once you start, just like– wait for it– my pasta!