You’ve got to love a musical that has an exclamation mark in its title.
When I was growing up, my parents bought my sister and I a couple of Reader’s Digest compilation records. (Sadly, I will have lost many of my younger readers already. I suggest you google “record”, and continue by googling “Reader’s Digest”, and you’ll have some idea of what I’m talking about.)
Our favourite four-album collection was called “The Wonderful World of Music for Children”, and the record we played the most was “Songs from Great Shows”. All of the songs were great, but none was more magical than “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top” from Oklahoma! How can you not love a song with lyrics like these:
“Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry
When I take you out in the surrey
When I take you out in the surrey with the fringe on top!
Watch that fringe and see how it flutters
When I drive them high-steppin’ strutters
Nosy folks’ll peek through their shutters and their eyes will pop!”
Yes, more exclamation marks.
The story revolves around a box social dance. Each of the girls in the neighbourhood prepares a box lunch, which is auctioned off to raise money for the schoolhouse. The successful bidder gets to eat the lunch with the girl who prepared it. The tension surrounds Laurey (played by Shirley Jones, in her first movie role), whose lunch is bid on by both cowboy Curley and the cruel farm hand Jud.
Curley would have loved finding Pasta, Pesto and Peas in his box lunch. The recipe is taken from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Parties! (Yet another exclamation mark!) If you take it on a picnic, just keep the salad chilled in a cooler until you’re ready to serve it. I think you’ll enjoy it so much, you’ll find it earns an exclamation mark of its own.
Pasta, Pesto, and Peas
(from Barefoot Contessa Parties!)
3/4 pound (about 340 grams) fusilli pasta
3/4 pound (about 340 grams) bow-tie pasta
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 cups pesto
10-ounce package (300 grams) frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups good mayonnaise
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes, until each pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil. Cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and continue to puree.
Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta, then add the Parmesan cheese, peas, pine nuts and salt. Mix well and season to taste.