Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Early Summer Greens

This is my own pasta primavera. I would call them spring greens, but spring is surely over. Here in the Northland, our salad greens are just really getting going now. Hmmm. Just in time for them to wilt in the heat. Alas. Enjoy these tender greens while they last!
I love white sauce and parmesean with spring greens. It would be magnifico with garden peas, but will be a while before they are ready. If you make this, let me know what you think of the sauce; I found the savory pairing of the acid vinegar-tomatoes and the creaminess really satisfying.

Pasta (I like semolina or fine whole wheat)
Sun-dried tomatoes, plain dehydrated (in the bulk section of your co-op)
good balsamic vinegar; a glug or two or three
Olive Oil
a few cloves of Garlic, peeled and minced
a spoonful of butter
a small handful of white flour
a big slosh of milk
mixed garden greens for sauteeing: I used chards, spinach, and daylily buds from the garden
mixed fresh greens, chopped: I used pea shoots (the tender tops of young pea vines), sour grass, and lamb's quarters (two common wild weeds, both mild, edible, and tasty) and a few snipped chives
real parmesean cheese, grated

Chop the dried tomatoes. Heat balsamic vinegar in a frying pan with chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
Put water for the pasta on to boil with a dash of salt.
When the liquid with the tomatoes begins to disappear, add a splash of water. Keep an eye on it and refresh this periodically. This will rehydrate the tomatoes and begin to carmelize the sugars in the vinegar. Chop up garlic and greens as necessary, occasionally stirring the tomatoes. After a while, add the chopped garlic to the pan with some good olive oil, at a point in cooking when there is little liquid. Cook it down a few more times with splashes of water and remove to a bowl.

While working sauces, rinse, sort and de-stem greens. Chop as you see fit. I think the all the greens I used would be lovely whole, but I chopped the fresh ones to mix in the sour of the sourgrass and to not weird anyone out with the corkscrews on the pea shoots. They would look charming whole, however.

When the water boils, toss in the pasta.
Make a white sauce; melt a blob of butter in the pan. It's fine if there are remains of tomatoes and vinegar in the pan. Turn the heat down and mix a handful of flour into the butter. Work it with whatever you've been using to stir until any lumps are worked out. Stir or whisk in milk gradually and stir until thickened.

Mix this with the tomato redux. I served these separately, not knowing how they would pair, but they were beautiful together.

Gently saute greens until just wilted. Portion drained al dente pasta onto plates. Spread sauteed greens on pasta, pour on sauce, pile fresh greens on top. Garnish with chive flowers (in bloom here!) or pansies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds yummy! I love the descriptive measurements you use.

I can just picture you, Paul, Gibbie and Ezra eating this delicious dish.

Luv ya. BJM