A fresh, bright tomato sauce combines with thick bucatini pasta in this vegan recipe for Bucatini Pomodoro.
One morning in college, I stood in my dorm room in the dark morning hours, buttoning my favorite interview suit, when my phone rang. I was heading to an interview for a government-funded agency that helped small businesses. The call was from a magazine — well known then and now — wanting to interview me for a summer internship.
The problem? I didn’t want a summer internship. I’d made up my mind about what I was doing that summer, and it didn’t involve an internship. What I was looking for — and applied for — was a fall internship.
Lacking the foresight or maturity to know that sometimes, you just leap and see what happens, I declined.
I hate cliches, but there is no more appropriate phrase for this than, “Hindsight is 20/20.” Saying no to the opportunity before even giving it a chance was one of those big, neon, flashing teaching moments. For me, it was the start of an important life lesson: opportunities like that don’t happen often. So when an opportunity arises, you change your plans. You refocus your efforts. You redirect yourself with your end goal in mind. I knew I wanted to be a journalist, so it was nothing short of foolish to not accept the interview and give it all I had.
I wish I could say that was the only time I made the wrong decision, but it wasn’t. In life, we get knocked down, get up and keep going. There are missteps, faulty starts and dead ends. All of that teaches something, and eventually, hopefully, you learn to say yes to opportunity, to make decisions with the bigger picture in mind and to appreciate all the opportunities that present themselves. I am so glad I learned to say yes.
Moving to Maine to take a dream job was one of those opportunities. It was scary and different and thrust me out of my comfort zone, out of the realm of plans I had. And I could have let all of that stand in the way, refusing to change course and shift plans. But I didn’t, because it was the right decision and every day, I am so happy I leaped. Moreover, I am so happy that the kids have settled into a happy life filled with friends and opportunity here too.
One thing I miss though is the mass of cooking I did before we moved. Back then, being a recipe developer was my primary job, so I spent hours upon hours cooking, testing recipes, setting up photos, creating scenes and taking photos. It was a creative endeavor that pushed at my limits, and I loved it. I especially loved how much creativity went into my kitchen endeavors.
Moving, and taking on a full time job, has made it harder to cook that much. Couple that with lighting challenges — winters in Maine feature particularly short days, and I prefer to shoot in natural light whenever possible — and I ultimately have developed fewer recipes, spent less time photographing and just don’t have as much time to get creative. It’s been a bit of an internal battle for me — I want to keep creating, exercising those photography muscles and presenting good food ideas here. But it has to fit within the context of my life.
I could keep stressing about this, or I could just leap ahead, accepting that a simpler, back to basics approach to cooking is really where I am right now. And that’s okay. I might not be creating recipes like Baked Loaded Nachos Wontons but what I am making is good and nourishing and easy and just right for busy families like ours.
This pasta recipe is a good example. It’s simple — a raw sauce of fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil, parsley, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper is combined with thick bucatini pasta (you could use any long pasta shape though — this would be delightful with linguine too). And then you dig in. It’s simple, easy and oh-so-tasty.
And in case you’re looking for a vegan recipe, this one is totally vegan.
Thanks for sticking with Sarah’s Cucina Bella, and me, for all these years. It means a lot.
- 1 lb bucatini pasta
- 3 medium ripe tomatoes, diced (about 2.5-3 inches in diameter)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Prepare the bucatini according to package directions.
- In a small bowl, stir together the tomatoes, garlic, basil, parsley and balsamic vinegar. Toss together with the cooked pasta. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.