Tuesday dinner with Chez Loulou - Ann Mah | Ann Mah

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Tuesday dinner with Chez Loulou

By Ann | September 25, 2012

Yesterday, I announced the launch of Tuesday Dinner, a new interview series on my blog devoted to fast, healthy, weekday meals. Today, I’m excited to welcome Jennifer of Chez Loulou who shares a glimpse of her life as an American expat in Normandy — where she works in a real, live château! — and a killer quick recipe for pasta.

Jennifer juggles work in the gorgeous Château Canisy (pictured above) with life at home with her lovely husband and adorable animals. She also has a beautiful blog and is an intrepid Normandy explorer and cheese connoisseur — there’s none too stinky or too obscure to escape her interest. With all these activities, it’s no surprise that her weeknight schedule is a bit sporadic:

“There is no regular Tuesday night chez moi,” she writes. “Sometimes I work until 10PM, sometimes I’m home and sometimes I only work until 5PM.

“I try to always keep cans of whole Italian tomatoes, thickly cut bacon, onions, Parmesan cheese and pasta in the house — then I know I can whip up some Amatriciana sauce and have dinner ready in about 30 minutes.

“When I really don’t feel like cooking, an omelet or frittata is my perfect solution. If there aren’t enough eggs in the house, I make savory tartines [open-faced toasted sandwiches] with bits of ham, cheese and/or vegetables.

“Cans of chickpeas or white beans can easily be made into salads or simple soups and don’t take much time at all. Also, frozen peas, some stock and arborio rice can be made into risi e bisi in no time.

Chick peas with tomato and spinach is one of my favorite curries. Not my recipe, but it is fantastic!

Another great recipe — pasta this time — is this one…”

Penne with tomatoes and feta
Adapted from Bon Appétit magazine and Jennifer Greco

Note: I made this tangy, salty, punchy pasta last week and it was perfect for the waning days of tomato and arugula season. The original recipe calls for one pint each of cherry and grape tomatoes, but I just diced up some gorgeous heirloom monsters from the marché.

8 ounces / 250 grams penne (I used whole wheat)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 green onions, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 lbs / 1 kg tomatoes, diced
5 cups (loosely packed) arugula
1 1/2 cups (about 7 oz / 225 grams) feta cheese, crumbled

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente, or firm to the bite, about 11 minutes, or according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green onions, garlic and tomatoes and sauté until the vegetables are heated through and on the point of collapse, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the tomatoes. Add the remaining olive oil and arugula and stir to combine until the leaves begin to wilt. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve immediately, sprinkled with lots of feta cheese.

Even Domino, Jennifer’s kitty, approves of this dish!

(Photos courtesy of Jennifer Greco, except the pictures of food, which were snapped by moi.)

Topics: Tuesday dinner | 29 Comments »

29 Responses to “Tuesday dinner with Chez Loulou”

  1. Katia Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    This is SO delightful, I love the sneak peek into Jennifer’s Tuesday night routine! And you can NEVER go wrong with pasta :)

  2. Edna Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Oh I love this new series! When I was in college pasta was always my go-to dinner as well (though none of them looked as nice as Jennifer’s dish!). Look forward to reading more Tuesday dinners!

  3. Lindsey Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Excellent, easy and fresh! I love pasta for its versatility and heartiness and this recipe is definitely up my alley! Thanks for featuring Jennifer.

  4. Anne Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I could make this tonight…shockingly have everything on hand and that arugula is going to go bad if it sits one more day. Thanks Jennifer and Ann.

  5. Karene Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    A version of this pasta is one of my go-to dinners, made with whatever I happen to have on hand (have used goat cheese and/or sun-dried tomatoes too). My whole family loves it. Jennifer has inspired me to make it tonight! And I so appreciate Jennifer’s suggestions of what she keeps in her pantry. I need to keep mine better-stocked. Love the pictures of her home/work setting–beautiful!

  6. Bobbi Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Great ideas! Merci bien!

  7. Shut Up & Cook Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 3:42 pm


    Love this recipe, but most of all love the other tips of things to keep stocked in the cabinet. There is so much you can do with some good cans of tomatoes, bacon, parmesan, and a few eggs.


  8. Lynde Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    I was so excited until I saw the photo and knew that cheese was involved. I do not eat dairy. Darn. Somehow the recipe seems flat without the cheese so I will wait until next Tuesday and hope there will be a cheese-less recipe.

  9. Amy Kim (@kimchi_mom) Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    So fresh and easy. LOVE it. Looking forward to more Tuesday Dinners!

  10. parisbreakfast Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I’m running round the corner for some Feta – the rest I have onhand.
    Perfect for lunch with or without cheese IMHO.
    What a dreamy chateau to stay in…

  11. Betty Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    For more protein, fewer carbs and for those on a gluten free diet, using quinoa or brown rice pasta helps. Think I’m going to love this series. Thanks Ann and Jennifer.

  12. Andi Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    I am going to love this series! Such a great idea. I can see that Jennifer has some of the same food choices for a busy night as chez moi, but I love the little tips for adaptations! Looking forward to trying out and see what is on the menu for next Tuesday!

  13. Voie de Vie Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    That chateau photo is fantastique! I, too, appreciate the peek into what she keeps on hand all the time in her cupboard. We in the U.S. have such a love/hate relationship with bacon that many of us (me included) don’t actually keep any on hand. It *is* a great staple, though.

    I also love this recipe. This will be the second pasta dish I try from your blog. I see a trend forming. :)

  14. heather Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    So the freaky thing about this post is that I am reading it while I eat a leftovers lunch of: thickly cut (Nueske’s!) bacon, San Marzano tomatoes made into Giada’s amatriciana sauce (i think it’s called spicy tomato on epicurious) with broccoli and ww pasta ;) too funny.

  15. Emma Says:
    September 26th, 2012 at 2:27 am

    I love the pic of the gorgeous kitty in the window :) :)

    Great series – I’m really looking forward to this! That lovely pasta is just the kind of simple, tasty meal that I enjoy.

  16. Hadley Says:
    September 26th, 2012 at 9:09 am

    This is a great series! I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  17. CK Says:
    September 26th, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Pasta on Tuesday is all well and good — and what’s presented above seems excellent. But for those of us who grew up in Boston in the 1970s, Wednesday is Prince spaghetti day! Anyway, I’m looking forward to learning more Tuesday tricks!

  18. Chez Loulou Says:
    September 26th, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Thanks again, Ann! I love the idea of this new series and know it will provide inspiration for the future.
    Glad you enjoyed the pasta dish and I’m sorry, but you cannot kidnap Domino! We would miss him too much. :)

  19. Ann Says:
    September 26th, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Katia — Isn’t it fascinating to see what other people cook? And I agree, pasta is for all seasons and moods.

    Edna — Thanks! I think Jennifer’s penne is a grown-up version of something I used to make in college. Arugula was yuck then, but yum now.

    Lindsey — I especially love all the vegetables — it’s a simple recipe but it packs a vitamin punch!

    Anne — It’s great with local tomatoes — they’ve been magnificent this season.

    Karene — I loved Jennifer’s pantry suggestions, too! Especially the bacon. Why don’t I have any bacon?!

    Bobbi — It’s a good pasta for moving — very few ingredients :)

  20. Ann Says:
    September 26th, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Shut Up & Cook — I was also intrigued by the risi e bisi — sort of one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” moments.

    Lynde — Tant pis! Though I did find that green onions and heirloom tomatoes made this rather special.

    Amy — Thanks for getting the series off to a good start!

    Parisbreakfast — I ate the leftovers for lunch, sans cheese and they were delicious. Even cold! Isn’t that château gorgeous?

    Betty — Thanks for the tips! I need to explore quinoa pasta.

    Andi — It’s like being a kid and going over to a friend’s house for dinner, isn’t it? I love learning new kitchen secrets.

    Voie de Vie — If I ate pasta every night, I wouldn’t complain. But the Tuesday dinner recipes will be varied, promise!

  21. Ann Says:
    September 26th, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    Heather — Yummm…. and what is this Nueske’s of which you speak???

    Emma — I know, isn’t the cat adorbs? I love his giant eyes. Thanks for your kind message. I can’t wait to share more recipes!

    Hadley — Merci! I hope you like it the pasta — it’s high in flavor and low in effort — my kind of recipe!

    Chez Loulou — Thank you so much for your great tips and recipe. If I can’t catnap Domino, I hope I can at least VISIT him one day very soon!

  22. Lil Says:
    September 27th, 2012 at 9:02 am

    delicious – i need to forward this recipe to the boy! sad to say i’m completely swamped lately and he’s the one saddled with cooking most evenings. but i’m not complaining to being fed, and look forward to more tuesday dinners!

  23. thyme (sarah) Says:
    September 27th, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    That last photo is just so perfect. The black and white cate sitting so elegantly against the rustic teal and read window outline. I just love that photo! Imagine, living in Normandy. I actually enjoyed Normandy more than I enjoyed Provence..shhhhhhh

  24. Abigail Says:
    September 27th, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Perfect! Love this series and this recipe is endlessly versatile. And I bet you could easily swap out the feta for other cheeses if you didn’t have any on hand – like goat cheese or manchego. Yum!

  25. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write) Says:
    September 27th, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of this series Ann – and I can’t wait to read more about other people’s Tuesday night routines ;) Love the pics in this (Jennifer truly has a dream life, one she’s worked hard to achieve of course) and the pasta looks GREAT!!

  26. Jenny Beaumont Says:
    September 27th, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Brilliant and well done! Definitely a lot of pasta on our weekday menu too, so easy and fast with endless possibilities. We also do A LOT of pesto – so always have frozen basil stocked in the freezer and pine nuts on hand when I can find them at a decent price. Look forward to next Tuesday, and gonna take this recipe for whirl!

  27. Sweet Freak Says:
    September 28th, 2012 at 1:45 am

    Love Chez Loulou, love the recipe and love this new series, Ann!

  28. Ann Says:
    September 28th, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Lil — It’s always nice to be fed — and this recipe is easy enough for beginner cooks, too. Lucky you! Hope you get to enjoy it soon.

    Thyme — That’s it, you’ve convinced me to get up to Normandy tout de suite! Isn’t that photo of the kitty perfect? You can tell that’s HIS spot!

    Abigail — Oooh, goat cheese would be a brilliant variation. And how about a handful of pitted black olives? Yum.

    Mardi — Thank you for reading! Your enthusiasm is so contagious — I’m even HAPPIER I started this series!

    Jenny B — Frozen pesto is a great idea, except whenever I make it, I just want to gobble it all up at once ;)

    Sweet Freak — Thanks for reading, m’dear!

  29. Daisy de Plume Says:
    September 29th, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    What a fun and useful series – thanks for both this and for opening with Jennifer, who I’m a huge fan of! The photo of Domino interests me for the wonderfully colorful frame. Will ask her if she painted them.

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