Wednesday, May 25, 2011

CSA Recipe: Gold, Pink and Green Summer Pasta

This recipe was a bit of a shock to me - While I am creating recipes I usually have three "decent" and one solid success with each batch of goodies. I was confident the killer dish that it was going to be another recipe (thai roasted chicken with roasted guavas). But the combination of radishes and golden carrots sauteed into a butter sauce with pasta, tossed with some vinegar and fresh arugula and a touch of parmesan was glorious with a glass of wine on one of these early summer evenings in the shadow of the skyscrapers in downtown.

Serves 2 (with leftovers to take for lunch at work)

1 cup dried rotini
1 bunch French Breakfast or Easter radishes, chopped in to half-inch pieces
1 bunch golden or other heirloom carrots, chopped in to half-inch pieces
3 stalks of green garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp dried tarragon, or 1 tbs fresh
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar (or sherry, or even raspberry wine vinegar!)
1 tbs honey
pepper and salt to taste
2 handfuls of arugula, washed and roughly chopped
some sort of finishing salt, i.e. chardonnay smoked sea salt
2 tbs + 2 tbs butter (divided - which if you are curious, means you use it in two places)
freshly grated parmesan to taste

Intro & Notes: This recipe requires a bit of timing because you really really don't want to overcook the radish mixture. So you basically you get the pasta going as you're heating the butter in the large skillet; add the radish etc to the pan after 2-3 minutes of pasta cooking, and as you drain the rotini you should be at the step where you need it. Consider it a test of your kitchen timing ;) Also, this dish should have less pasta in it than you think you need - the pasta is playing a distinctly secondary note to the very lightly butter-poached spicy and sweet veggies. Also, you'll want some garlic bread or even just plain crusty bread with this!

1) Get some well-salted pasta water boiling (remember - the salt in this step is because under-salted boiled pasta will make the sauce taste bland, no matter how good it is!)

2) Add the rotini to the water. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbs of the butter over medium heat.

3) After the pasta boils for a couple of minutes, add the radishes, carrots, green garlic, dried tarragon (fresh would be added in step 6), vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper.

4) Saute until the radishes turn a nice light pink color, about 4 minutes. (Neat how they change color to let you know they are done, isn't it?)

5) Add the honey, the additional 2 tbs of butter and about 2/3 cup of the pasta water to the skillet. Stir it up until the butter is melted in. Reduce it slightly. Maybe one minute.

6) The pasta should now be almost to perfect al dente. Drain it and add it to the skillet.

7) Add the chopped arugula. Toss everything together in the skillet. Cook for about 1 minute, or until the arugula leaves just start to wilt.

8) Kill the heat, taste for salt and pepper. Slightly under-salt if you are going to add finishing salt on the served portions.

9) Dish in to shallow bowls, adding an even portion of the sauce to each (it is amazing buttery-herby-goodness to dip your bread in!)  Sprinkle with a bit of finishing salt to taste and a moderate amount of grated parmesan (so that the fresh flavors are complimented, not covered, by the taste of the cheese).

Voila - A glorious early summer dinner that almost shimmers with vibrant gold and pink and green!

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