After hearing from a few friends that I should start a summer food blog, I thought, why not? This is the dish, posted on Facebook, that caused the uproar....
I recently joined my local CSA -- short for Community Supported Agriculture. I thought I knew vegetables, but alas, I didn't, not before I was introduced to such wonders as garlic scapes, beet greens and haruki turnips. Getting a full share of vegetables each week forces you to be a creative cook; either that or you allow these beauties to rot in the fridge, which would be a shame. Last night's meal was a simple pasta sauteed with summer vegetables. Here's how to do it (but be forewarned -- I don't always measure!)
In a large pan saute about half of a small shallot and 2 cloves of garlic in 2 tablespoons of good olive oil (start the shallot first, giving it about a minute to get going). Add whatever vegetables you love, keeping in mind that they need to be added with care. Some vegetables take longer than others to cook. For the dish above, I added the vegetables in this order, adding a little salt and pepper at each step:
1 garlic scape, cut in small pieces and sauteed for about 3 minutes
1 summer squash, cut in quarters and sauteed until somewhat golden brown
1 portobello mushroom, very thinly sliced, sauteed for about 1 minute, until soft
1 bunch of fresh spinach, stems removed, sauteed until soft, about 2 minutes
~Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Once it has boiled, salt the water and cook your pasta until it's al dente. Linguini or fettucine is best in this dish. Use about 1/2 of a pound of pasta.
~Reserve 2 cups of the pasta water and add it a little bit at a time to the vegetable mixture -- how much you add is up to you; if you like your pasta drier, add less.
~When the pasta is done, drain and add to the vegetable mixture and toss. You may need to add more pasta water at this point.
~Toss with fresh tomatoes on top and serve with fresh Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of good olive oil.
An important word about pasta water: this is the best way to create a simple sauce for your dish. You should only use the water that you've cooked the pasta in, as you want the starch from the pasta in there. Don't add water from the tap!
My history geek moment: Pasta was first used in China as far back as 4,000 years ago!