Saturday, August 7, 2010

Pasta Oklahomana--an introduction.

Many years ago, a young Swede of Polish extraction decided to pursue a PhD in mathematics. Last fall, when it became increasingly likely our young, well, by now old, hero would indeed graduate with a degree from KTH, he decided to apply for postdoctoral positions in the United States.

And so it came to pass that our hero found himself moving to Stillwater, Oklahoma, in August 2010, there to take up a visiting position in the Mathematics Department at Oklahoma State University (OSU). When told about the impending move, most friends of our recent graduate reacted with considerable surprise over the chosen destination, perhaps expecting to hear of a relocation to a more mainstream town like New Haven, CT, Cambridge, MA, or indeed, New York City. After their initial surprise had passed, most friends next suggested that a blog, a travel diary, or some other suitable presence on the international computer network known as the Internet should be established by the aging mathematician so that his doings in the States might be followed from a distance. Either that, or they hummed a few lines from the famous Rogers & Hammerstein musical, viz! The Swede was skeptical, feeling that he did neither wished to discuss trivialities like the weather (yes, it is very very hot here) online nor that more specific issues like mathematical progress (or lack thereof) or Feelings merited a spot in the glare of the Internet.

A smart friend then proposed our hero should focus instead on a specific aspect of his day-to-day life, one that might be of interest to all manners of acquaintances; namely, how a somewhat snobbish Swede with a propensity towards Mediterranean dishes attempts to feed himself on the plains of the Sooner State. Writing about food was something our hero felt he could do with a minimum of embarrassment, initial target group reaction was favorable, and thus, the Swedish-Oklahoman food blog was born!

Now, while Stillwater is a small town (around 50.000 inhabitants) it is, by Swedish standards, rather spread out, making grocery shopping and hence advanced cooking difficult without access to a car. Fear not, dear reader, with the aid of Southern kindness to strangers, our Swede has managed to purchase a bare minimum of goods and tools needed to feed himself these first few weeks.

Our inaugural post presents a suitably simple dish. Quick and easy to make, yet very tasty and satisfying,  a variant of what is sometimes known as Pasta Napolitana, we give you--Pasta Oklahomana!

Ingredients: 1 onion
                   1 yellow bell pepper
                   1 large & ripe tomato
                   olive oil
                   salt & pepper
                   pasta penne
                   2-3 slices of mozzarella cheese

Dice the onion and the bell pepper. Chop up the tomato and pour the tomato chop into a bowl, without spilling any of the precious tomato juice. In a frying pan, saute the diced onion and pepper in a generous amount of olive oil.

Wait until the onion is soft and the pepper starts getting brown edges, then add salt and pepper. Wait for a few seconds, then add the tomato chop. Turn down the heat and let stew. "No passed tomatos on top of that?" Nope- the tomato contains enough liquid to make a great sauce if you let it stew for a while.

In the meantime, cook the penne. Follow instructions on package if unsure of how to do this. It is not difficult, but make sure the pasta is al dente. Cut off 2-3 slices of mozzarella. Mix the penne and the sauce in a bowl, put the mozzarella slices on top (it will melt deliciously) and add pepper. Done!


Serving suggestions: "Harmacy" by Sebadoh on the side, a can of Budweiser.


  1. Haha, we can't wait to follow the adventures of our young Swede!