The Real Housewife of Santa Monica

Archive of ‘Parks’ category

Pasta Ponza


Did I mention how many tomatoes I have right now? What’s a person to do with all this bounty? Go to the farmer’s market and buy MORE cherry tomatoes b/c they’re such a good deal! And that’s just what I did.

Now, besides popping them in my mouth and eating one after another, what to do with them? Somebody send me this recipe for Giada De Laruentils’ Pasta Ponza. For some reason I keep calling it Pasta Ponzi but that’s not right. Anyway, I like this recipe because it’s easy, it involves the staple of my kids’ diet: noonels (otherwise known as noodle/pasta) and a ton of cherry tomatoes. Plus, I had all the ingredients handy.

and this!

These tomatoes are AMAZING!!! Not the tasteless things I get at Trader Joe’s which are imported etc. These are from a local farm and sooooo sweet & yummy!

Maddie ate some while I prepared them. Bea emptied the drawer of plastic containers & lids all over the floor. Then she leaned against the drawer closing it on her hand. Then she shrieked. When she was done shrieking, she went over & did it again.

- 4 c cherry tomatoes (or grape or whatEV you can get your hands on!)
- olive oil
- 1 lb pasta – the original recipe recommends tubular pasta but I didn’t have it so I used something curly
- 1/2 c breadcrumbs (seasoned Italian)
- 1/4 c capers (rinsed & drained)
- salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 1/4 c Pecorino Romano cheese (grated)
- 1/4 c chopped Italian parsley (I totally forgot this as you can see)

1. Set oven to 375 and grease a baking dish. I used a glass lasagna dish & sprayed with olive oil spray.

2. Cut all tomatoes in half. Try not to eat half of each one while doing that.
These tomatoes are good looking!

3. Toss in a large bowl (you can re-use this bowl at the end – save bowls!!) with the capers, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper. I’m not a stickler for measuring the oil, salt or pepper and you needn’t be either!

I just realized this looks kind of gross with the salted capers. Like hairy little eyeballs. Or something. Note to self: spoon salt to the side in a tidy pile next time.

Stir to coat tomatoes evenly. Much better!

4. Spoon into greased baking pan.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of tomatoes. Drizzle or spray olive oil on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

5. About 15 or 20 minutes into the baking, boil your water for the pasta.
NOTE: I forgot this both times but save 1 or 2 cups of the pasta water before you dump the pasta! You can use this later if your pasta needs it.

Some people can’t wait the 15-20 minutes remaining and have to be fed instant macaroni & cheese PRONTO.
And they’re STILL not happy.

6. Take out your baked tomato mixture.
I probably could’ve used more olive oil drizzled on top of the breadcrumbs.

7. After saving 1-2 c of your hot pasta water, dump your pasta out. Combine in the big bowl you used earlier with the baked tomatoes mixture. Add cheese & stir gently. Add some of that water you saved if your pasta needs it (if you think it’s too dry.) Add parsley if you remember to!

This is SO tasty! Both the kids liked it though not that night. Here’s what they did while we were waiting for the pasta.
and They did enjoy it for lunch the next day. It’s really easy and a lot tastier than jar sauce (though it does make more dishes to clean than jar sauce…) As always, I’d love to hear feedback below if you try this dish!

Pasta Ponza
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4

Beautiful, comfort-food, cherry tomatoes pasta dish. YUM!
  • Butter (pat)
  • 4 c cherry tomatoes (whatever you can get your hands on!)
  • ¼ c capers (rinsed & drained)
  • olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt (plus more to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ c Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 lb pasta (tube shaped is recommended)
  • 1¼ c grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • ¼ c chopped fresh parsley

  1. Set oven to 375 and grease a baking pan. I used a glass lasagna dish & sprayed it with olive oil spray.
  2. Halve all tomatoes.
  3. Toss in large bowl with 1 tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper and capers. Coat tomatoes evenly in oil.
  4. Spread into baking pan.
  5. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil on top.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  7. About 20-25 minutes into the baking, boil your pasta water. **IMPORTANT: save 1 or 2 cups of the pasta water before you dump your pasta! You can use this later if your mixture is dry.**
  8. Combine tomatoes & pasta in a large bowl. Add cheese and parsley & combine gently. If your pasta seems too dry, add some of the pasta water that you saved!
  9. This heats up very nicely as leftovers too. YUM!


Worm-less Composting for Dopes!

Would anyone come after me for trademark infringement if I had titled it “Composting for Dummies?” I’ll never know!

In September I’ll be starting my 3rd non-consecutive year home with the kids. Since being home I’ve tried to pursue some NEW THINGS. Are they hobbies? Interests? Past times? Who knows. One of them is composting. A friend of mine who lives a couple of blocks from me does it so I thought I’d try. The most attractive aspect about her method is the lack of worms. The thought of a large bin full of worms that you have to turn every day grossed me out. (Though lately I am considering it…)

Why compost? In a nutshell:
1. Our landfills are bursting at the seams. Composting greatly cuts down the amount of garbage you leave at the curb.
2. Your soil will be richer/more fertile so you can use it for your gardening instead of buying soil.
3. You start seeing rotten food as useful which is a less wasteful way to live.
4. Shovels are fun!

I’m going to show you how to compost if you have a yard (no matter the size) or raised flower bed.

Get yourself a composting container. I used to use a ceramic bowl with a plastic plate as its lid until Rebecca gave me her stainless steel compost bin. They also have some adorable ceramic ones etc. You can get them on Amazon or from most gardening centers.

I have no idea why I framed that bottle of dish soap with it – I thought it looked nice at the time. Ignore it. So I just keep this next to the sink with a little note above reminding anyone who’s in my kitchen (George) and me what goes in the composting bin.

Hopefully you could read that!

When it gets full – every day or two – I carry it out to the backyard with a shovel and a little bit of organic flower fertilizer.

Then I dig a hole. All summer I was using the same spot again & again because I couldn’t seem to dig through the rocks but since we’ve had all the trees shorn, I found a new spot. Dig a hole. Dump bin into hole.

Maize. What you call corn.

Sprinkle a little fertilizer on it.

This helps it break down. The climate is so dry here it can take forever to break it down.

Then cover your hole! (That’s what he s-, oh forget it!)

I also spray water on mine to keep it moist but I have no idea if that’s a good or bad idea.

I’d love to get comments on this from anyone in the know! Not really knowing what I’m doing it would be great to get more ideas. Also, does anyone who uses the worms want to share? Thanks and keep the comments on the blog instead of Facebook as I hear Zuckerberg is a moody fella!

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