Santa Barbara from home: One pot pasta


The week before we left Santa Barbara I planned to spend one more day downtown visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara. Then the Sweetie said, “Are you going to the Santa Barbara County Courthouse? I hear it’s spectacular.” I hadn’t thought of it, but added the courthouse to my list.

Mr. G. found the MCASB in the middle of downtown on the second floor of the city’s urban shopping mall, Paseo Nuevo. Curious. I expected a stand-alone building like the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, just down State Street. City parking is sooo Santa Barbara-civilized, with fourteen downtown lots, 3,000 spaces and 75 free minutes. However, in keeping with the city’s insistence on maintaining the illusion of a Spanish village, signage is so discrete that it took me three trips around the block to spot “Parking.”


Charming girl, snake, and snake man outside the MCASB in the Paseo Nuevo Mall

The MCASB (consisting of three large rooms) is a non-profit, non-collecting museum that changes exhibitions three times a year. In the current exhibit, the New York-based art collective assume vivid astro focus (avaf) uses “custom wallpaper, video projection, and dozens of brightly colored area rugs to transform the space into a dizzying, challenging, frequently satisfying postmodern rec room.”

The exhibit challenges expectations of a “normal” art experience as you must either remove your shoes or don white booties before entering the gallery. The reason for this precaution quickly becomes obvious: in order to see the work, you must walk on it, as it is presented on cozy, soft area rugs.

Avaf.jpg Avas.jpg

Avas.jpg Avas.jpg

Amelia Vasio Attack Fatima, Brazil 2016

Strange title but astonishing picture created by a group of artists working in collaboration, painted in a glossy finish on three panels, hung in the gallery’s entry.

why do boob vases lactate inside a tesseract roaring aimlessly in space? 2015

Described by some as the most beautiful government building in America, the Santa Barbara County Courthouse is a prime example of the city’s obsession with maintaining a specific architectural style. Only five-minutes from downtown, the Spanish Colonial Revival-style building was designed by William Mosier III and completed in 1929.

Although the Jail Wing no longer holds prisoners, the building is a fully functional courthouse where lawyers and judges handle Santa Barbara County’s judicial business. The Courthouse is also a popular venue for private events, weddings, and civic fundraisers.


Main entrance



Tiled staircase


If you look closely in the lower right corner, you can see a bride and groom enjoying a post-wedding kiss.


View of downtown Santa Barbara from the bell tower.

Mural.jpg  Mural.jpg  Mural.jpg

Mural room

Now that we’re home, Santa Barbara seems a world away—no more 72° days, palm trees, or outdoor pools. But give me a good snuggle with the Sweetie in a cold room under a downy comforter, stark winter branches against a white grey sky, my favorite indoor YMCA pool and I’m a happy girl.

There are about as many versions of this recipe as there are cooks, so here is mine.

One pot pasta

8 ounces dry linguine
2-3 Roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 glugs olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream (this is optional)
1 bunch of coarsely chopped spinach (I’m not a kale enthusiast, but I’m sure it would fit right in)

Put the pasta, chopped tomatoes, oil, salt and peppers in shallow, straight-sided pan.

Add about 4 cups of water or stock, put a lid on the pan, and bring to a boil. Remove lid, simmer on medium-high heat for 10 minutes, using a pair of tongs to turn the pasta every 30 seconds or so as it cooks.

Once the pasta has cooked for 8 minutes, add lemon zest, heavy cream, spinach and 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Continue to cook for a further 2-4 minutes., stirring and turning constantly. Once almost all the water has evaporated, take the pan off the heat and divide the pasta into bowls.

Top with more Parmesan.

This recipe is perfect for adaptation. I’ve used raw shrimp, canned artichoke hearts (added at the last), broccoli, zucchini, capers, Greek olives, basil, canned tomatoes, asparagus, peas—not all at the same time.

I can’t seem to make pasta without onions and mushrooms, so I’ve also sautéed both in the pan before adding pasta, tomatoes, etc.
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2 Responses to Santa Barbara from home: One pot pasta

  1. Kathy says:

    I had no idea that Santa Barbara looked like that. Such beautiful architecture. I’m glad you are home though. It is nice to snuggle listening to the rain and wind. The pasta dish sounds wonderful!

  2. Maria says:

    I love this recipe, good for a cold winter dinner. thank you for my senorita dancer.

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