Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pasta Primavera and Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette

Wednesday Menu: Pasta Primavera and Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Farm Share Produce: Basil (our garden), Garlic Scapes, Radishes, Salad Mix, Snow Peas, Turnips, Zucchini

I planned this as dinner last night because I thought it would be a good way to use this week’s veggies. As I was eating I decided it’s a great basic CSA meal that will be new every time you make it. The sauce was basic and quiet in the background. Each bite highlighted the vegetables it contained.
Instead of a regular recipe, I’m going to write the recipe in basics and make suggestions for possible vegetables for this dish.

Basic Pasta Primavera
Based on

½ pound angel hair pasta, spaghetti or fettuccini
Vegetables for blanching, approx. a handful of each, 2-3 varieties
Vegetables for sauté, approx. a handful of each, 1-2 varieties
3 minced garlic cloves
3 Roma tomatoes, or ½ pint of cherry or grape tomatoes
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
¼ cup chicken broth
½ cup half and half
½ tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
½ parmesan cheese
8 basil leaves, cut into strips

In a large pot boil water and salt heavily. Have an ice bath on hand. Add vegetables for blanching in the order of toughness (broccoli and asparagus would go first, peas would go last). Boil each vegetable for approx. one minute and then add the next. Remove all the vegetables at the end and plunge into ice bath. Cool, drain, and set aside.
Save the water to boil the pasta. Starting with fresh water for pasta can also be done.

Melt butter and heat oil in a large sauté pan. Add garlic and vegetable for sauté, cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes and continue sauté for another 2 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add cream and blanched vegetables, stir to combine. Add crushed red pepper if using. Turn the heat down so mixture is simmering. Add parmesan cheese and combine. The sauce should be thick, but add more broth, cream or water to achieve desired thickness.

Boil the pasta according to package directions. When the pasta is done transfer it to the sauté pan and add basil, salt and pepper for taste.

For last night’s dinner I blanched snow peas. Other vegetables for blanching: Asparagus, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Green Beans.

Last night I sautéd the radishes and turnips I had roasted earlier in the day and the zucchini. Other vegetables for sauté: Beets (if roasted first), Carrots, Onions, Sweet Peppers, Summer Squash.

Roasted Radishes and Turnips -

Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette
From Around – I read it at my friends on some scrap of paper and I’m not sure I remember the quantities right

3 T balsamic vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Combine ingredients.
You can play around with this forever. I often add the main spices that are in the rest of the meal and so on.

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