Monday, July 02, 2007

sunday supper: a little big of spring in the summer

We've finally gotten some truly beautiful weather this weekend, weather that didn't really show up when it was supposed to. So even though it's now technically summer (and it felt like it a few days ago), I'm doing a little spring celebration. On the menu last night, Pasta Primavera.

I don't know if there is one truly classic version of Pasta Primavera, but I always figured that the key is just to use whatever vegetables are in season and are the freshest at the time. I ended up with a mixture of broccoli, fresh peas, carrots, and yellow squash. It was beautifully colorful, so don't ask me why my photo above is so green. I guess I shot the wrong side of the plate...

Here is a better look at the collection of vegetables:

I didn't really use any one particular recipe, but I did consult The Joy of Cooking for some technique advice. Their recipe said to blanch some of the veggies - like asparagus and broccoli - but not others - like carrots or peas. Hmmm. I thought that was weird; carrots and fresh peas need more coooking time than asparagus or broccoli, so why wouldn't you blanch them, too? So I just blanched them all, and then I learned why. Recipe and stupid discoveries about vegetables after the jump:


1 lb fettucine or pasta of your choice
2 cups broccoli florets
3 small yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
1/2 pound fresh peas, shelled
3 small carrots, cut into 1/3-inch rounds
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 cup heavy cream
10-12 basil leaves, chopped
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
freshly grated parmiggiano-reggiano, to taste

Boil 4 quarts of water in a large pot. In a large saute pan, ,melt butter with olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions to the butter and oil, saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. When the water comes to a boil, drop in all of the vegetables, blanch for 1 minute. The vegetables do not need to blanch longer, as they will cook further in the sauce. Remove the vegetables from the boiling water with a strainer and transfer them to the saute pan. [Here's where I was reminded that carrots don't float the way that other vegetables do, and thus they and the peas are a royal bitch to fish out of a pot of water with a strainer. I think sauteing the carrots with the onions might solve part of that problem, but I still don't think you can get away with not blanching the peas, they are just too firm. In the interest of not making too many dishes, I used the vegetable blanching water to also cook the pasta, you could certainly use a separate pot and drain the vegetables into a colander, thus removing the annoyance of fishing them all out with a strainer.]

Bring the vegetable water back up to a boil and add the pasta. Meanwhile, saute the vegetables and season with salt, pepper, and oregano. About 5 minutes before the pasta will be done, add the heavy cream and simmer lightly over a low heat to reduce a little. When the pasta is done, drain and add to the vegetables, add the basil, parsley and cheese, and toss to coat well. Serve with more grated cheese.

No comments: