A Friday night in used to be one of my favourite things. I’d pretend to be excited about a post-work night out or a party. But really, I liked being at home. Whether I was hosting a dinner party or just having a night on the sofa with a pal and a punnet of ice cream, there was a kind of magic to it. It was the full stop at the end of the week; the exhale. You could open a bottle, feel your shoulders drop and sink into the weekend.
Somewhere along the way in 2020, Friday nights lost their sparkle. The transition between day and night, working hours and fallow time has grown blurrier, and when you’ve spent every night of the week in your house, it’s hard to get excited about the prospect of another evening in.
Last Friday, my flatmate and I ate leftover mac and cheese, drank a glass of red and by 10pm had fallen asleep in front of Netflix chess drama Queen’s Gambit (add it to your lockdown viewing list).
So this week I’m determined to find a way to save Friday night. I feel we may be approaching the “let’s make increasingly elaborate cocktails” stage of Lockdown 2. It happened last time, too, when every weekend we’d find new combinations to blitz in the NutriBullet. I know they’re meant to be for wheatgrass smoothies, but I’ve only ever used mine for margaritas.
Dinner needs to feel joyously Fridayish, too, but it needn’t be any more complicated than this three ingredient pasta. A local café has again pivoted to become a deli and grocer and is selling a fantastic array of cheeses including slabs of the gorgonzola/mascarpone layered creation that inspired this dish.
You could use radicchio or another bitter leaf in lieu of red cabbage. Walnuts would be lovely instead of pine nuts. And if you can, use a thick, syrupy balsamic.
Get dinner on and pour yourself a cocktail (we’re having Manhattans – there’s something about the hint of orange that I think will go well with this dish) and begin your exhale into another weekend in lockdown.