Food evokes joy of friendship

IMG_1097Hi there, Small Plates readers:

Last weekend, I had a fabulous visit with one of my best friends from high school and her husband. I flew to San José, Calif., to stay at their house. (It was on a Boeing 737, but not the MAX.)

We went to the Little Italy section of San José and dined at Paesano Saturday evening. I ordered Pappardelle Alexandra, a broad ribbon pasta with pancetta and crab in a tomato vodka cream sauce. It was heavenly.

cropped-small-plates-blog.pngBack home, I kept raving to the Intrepid One about what a wonderful weekend I had had with my friends.. He had stayed home with our aging Labrador, Abby, who suffers from laryngeal paralysis, a horrible condition common to older Labs that affects their breathing. In late January, she also had a tumor removed from her paw pad. It was determined to be an aggressive malignant melanoma. At this point, we are trying to keep her as comfortable as possible.

Anyway I tried to replicate the Paesano  recipe, though I admit that I used Cento’s creamy vodka sauce, available at Sheridan’s in Southeast Portland. I used Neuske’s bacon, medium sliced, from Portland’s City Market instead of the pancetta. (And next time I’ll make the sauce from scratch.) Anyway, No. 2 son stopped by, and we all agreed the recipe was a keeper and company worthy,

Sorry, St. Patrick, we’re having Italian again tomorrow night because we have plenty of leftovers.

Thanks, Susan, for 56 years of friendship. And thanks, David, for taking care of our beloved pooch, Abby.

Crab and bacon pappardelle

4 strips of high quality bacon, cut into 1-inch strips

1 jar of Cento creamy vodka sauce

Extra whipping cream

1/4 cup basil, finely chopped

salt, pepper

meat from one small crab

Pappardelle pasta (I bought it at Pastaworks in City Market in Northwest Portland)


Fry the bacon chunks. Dab the excess grease with a paper towel. Pour in the creamy vodka sauce and add salt, pepper and extra cream to taste.

Add the basil and meat from the crab. Gently toss.

Cook the pasta according to directions. With the silky strands of pappardelle, it took about seven minutes. Pass the Parmigiano-Reggiano.



Janet Cleaveland

Janet Cleaveland

What happens when a retired journalist spends a lot more time in the kitchen than in past years? She tries new dishes and jumps at the chance to write a blog about food, family and good times. My kids are grown now, but I'll be looking back at how they learned to cook, what recipes my husband (the Intrepid One) and I are experimenting with, and how food and conversation make for happy times in the kitchen. I worked for The Columbian for 15 years as a copy editor and another 10 elsewhere, though I didn't start out as a journalist. I thought I wanted to teach English literature. My husband grew up in Clark County, and I've lived here since 1983. My kids have grown and left home. Like my husband of 52 years, our adopted chocolate Lab would never pass up a chance for a tasty meal.

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