smokin’ shells

It had to happen eventually. Sometimes life gets in the way of pretty pictures, and these, well, these look like I have these last few weeks of fall semester. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. On the inside, they’re almost perfect. 

And so with this introduction of the worst photos ever to grace this website, I bring you the best kind of indulgence: the kind that surprises you. This one sneaks in the back door and kisses you right on the mouth. With a mouthful of soft cheese and slippery, al dente pasta shells, this dinner proves that the stomach’s is more reliably discerning than the eye.

You know what the problem is with being a food blogger/photographer? There are no smiles, no shining eyes, no expressions to capture. Often food that blew your mind winds up looking like a pile of brown mush, or in this case, a Michelina’s frozen pasta entree. But food also symbolizes moments, and that is what I think these photos of my lunch-time leftovers do best–haphazardly taken after an eight mile run just before rushing to class.


This dish looks a lot better when it first comes out of the oven–the cheese all flecked with brown and the roasted tomatos bubbling up from beneath like a secret. Let’s face it, the microwave just leaves something to be desired when it comes to putting the best food forward.

I think part of the joy in this dish is that I didn’t make it. It was past of the third installment of a (once-every-some-weeks’) cooking group I have with two of my favorite friends: something we affectionately refer to as “estro-cook.” While I was laboring away on the butternuts, my partners in crime were busy working away at this little number. Two weeks later, it emerged from my freezer, masquerading as an Italian getaway. 

Not the kind of food I usually make, this dish left me delighting in the simple things: cheese I don’t care about the fat content of, garlic (ohhh, garlic), the taste of roasted things, and that everyday miracle of stuffing ingredients into a little boat of pasta. What could be better?

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