Sunday, July 4, 2010

Crisper Box Pasta

This is an easy dish I make to use up leftovers. Scour your fridge for vegetables. It doesn't matter what condition they're in. If they're edible they can make it into this dish.

The version I made today had

Leftover blanched asparagus, cut into two inch pieces
Leftover blanched broccolini, cut into two inch pieces
Half a nasty old carrot, chopped into dime size pieces
Half a limp stick of celery, chopped into thick fingernail wedges
Corn, cut straight off the cob
Fresh peas
A pickled artichoke, cut into small pieces, stem and all

You get the idea — anything works. 

The basic technique

Boil pasta in heavily salted water (see my pasta cooking tips here) till it's almost done — you'll finish it later in the skillet. What shape of pasta? As a general rule, if you have chunky pasta sauce like this, short shaped pasta is best, but don't worry. Here I've cooked it with Rustichella Spaghetti that I broke in three parts.

Meanwhile, sweat some finely chopped onion and garlic in extra virgin olive oil in a big skillet.

Add all the chopped vegetables to the skillet and warm them. Season with salt, black pepper, and some red pepper like Marash Turkish red pepper flakes.

When the pasta is done save a glass of pasta water then strain the noodles.

Dump the strained pasta into the pan with vegetables.

Add the pasta water, about a cup or so for two people, stir. Don't worry if you add to much, it will evaporate. 

Add some grated cheese like Comté or Parmigiano-Reggiano or a few dollops of fresh cheese like Zingerman's cream cheese.

Serve topped with some fresh parsley or cilantro leaves if you have them, a grinding of black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon for sure.

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