Saturday, June 1, 2013
Pasta with Tomatoes, Arugula and Basil with Strawberry Blue Cheese Salad
This time of year we start enjoying the bounty from our garden. And, this year's garden is one of our best - if not our best. The asparagus has come and gone. As have the radishes. But, we've got oodles of arugula, some fabulous strawberries, a few peas and a few garlic scapes. And, LOTS of herbs. So, my challenge was to fix a meal using everything we have. Well, I didn't mention the rhubarb. We've already tucked into that for our favorite rhubarb and goat cheese salad. And, we're dieting so desserts are out of the question. My next move with the rhubarb is to make a syrup that Connie can use for cocktails.
Not too long ago, I bought a cookbook called From Pantry to Table. Now, her idea of an average pantry is probably most folks idea of an over the top pantry. And, her extended pantry? A lot of the items aren't even on my radar. And, I've got an 8x9 room that's been turned into a pantry... Nonetheless, I've found a bunch of recipes I'd love to try.
Last week we got some Indiana tomatoes. They assured us they were raised in Indiana and were great. I bought some and they were almost like home grown. Connie said he'd love to have more cottage cheese and tomatoes. I would too. So, on the way home from the office I suggested that we go to Johnny's and get more tomatoes. He turned left instead of going straight. Where are you going? To get tomatoes. They're not this direction. They're north. Oh, they're not at the end of Carvel? No, they're at 62nd and College. So, we were on our way to Locally Grown Gardens. Where I'd found morels earlier this year. No surprise here, I suggested we continue on the path and see if they had more morels. They did. And, they had some tomatoes from Tennessee. We were in business. At the farmers market this morning we'd bought a huge bunch of basil. I'd used some for Giada's Asian Chicken Salad for lunch. We had the rest available for dinner - and a cocktail. Connie mixed up a Basil Vodka Gimlet and I started on dinner.
The strawberries and peas were to go on a bed of baby greens with a drizzle of mustard vinaigrette and a sprinkle of blue cheese. The tomatoes, arugula and garlic scapes were to go in a pasta dish. The morels? Just butter and salt. Heavenly.
What did we think? The morels were as incredible as ever.
The salad was fabulous.
And, the pasta was very good. It kind of took third place only because the other two dishes were so wonderful. For my part, I figured the pasta would make better leftovers than the salad. My intent is to turn it into a frittata. That'll make a six ounce portion of pasta stretch into six servings... The recipe did call for not cooking the sauce at all. But, I love garlic bloomed in a bit of butter. And, I wanted to sauté the garlic scapes for a minute or two. AND, I wanted to wilt the arugula just a bit. So, the instructions are the way I made the dish and not what the recipe called for. The ingredients are noted where they're different from the recipe as printed.
And, the super double bonus was the view of the rose arbor. The pink roses are in full bloom and the white ones are soon to follow:
Angel Hair Pasta with Tomatoes, Arugula and Basil
1 lb capellini or thin spaghetti
2 T extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
10 -15 garlic scapes, finely chopped (the photos are whole, chopped and detritus)
salt and pepper
1 t balsamic vinegar, or as desired
4-6 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 bunch baby arugula
5-10 basil leaves, torn or cut coarsely
1 T capers (I added this)
1/2 c shredded grana padano or romano
Melt the butter in a small skillet. Add the olive oil, garlic and allow the garlic to bloom over low heat for about 10 minutes.
Start the pasta water at the same time. Cook and drain the pasta and return it to the cooking pot. Just before the pasta is done add the garlic scapes to the garlic and sauté them for a couple of minutes. Toss the pasta with the garlic mixture, tomatoes, arugula, basil and capers. Serve with the cheese on the side.