Monday, May 19, 2014

spring pasta.

Our weeknight dinners are not always the most exciting things which is not something I care to admit since I do write a food blog. I want to be able to say that we eat dinner nightly at 8PM over candlelight in a spotless kitchen. In actuality, dinner is usually a mess, served closer to 8:30, and is usually a compilation of assorted odds and ends that I found in the fridge. Sometimes these hodge-podge meals are rather lack-luster and other times they are so brilliant that I find myself working to replicate them (like this pasta).  

This pasta stemmed from a search in the fridge for items languishing and what I discovered was half and half, ramps, and asparagus.  There were a lot of directions I could have gone with these ingredients, omelet! soup! but based on the fact that it was a cold, rainy evening, pasta seemed the most satisfying and logical. The ramps were sauteed in butter and then sorrel was thrown in along with the aforementioned half and half. The mixture was thickened and then seasoned with salt and pepper. Asparagus and gnocchi were added to the pan and tossed with the sauce and then showered with parmesan.  The dish was consumed close to 9 and served Indian style on the floor (we are still without stools, sue me) but it was so good I don't think anyone was complaining  

Spring Pasta

This is one of those dishes where the vegetables can easily be swapped depending on what's in season.  Kale would be lovely, spinach would be too, the key is to add as much green as possible.

Serves 4

4 ramps or green garlic, white and light green part minced, greens chopped and set aside 
2 cups sorrel, pea shoots, or arugula, chopped
3/4 pound asparagus, tough ends removed, and chopped into 1 inch pieces
16 ounces gnocchi
3/4 cup half and half (or if you are feeling indulgent, heavy cream)
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan on pecorino to taste (about 1/4 cup)

Cook asparagus in a large pot of boiling salted water until bright green and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Using tongs or a mesh strainer, transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool; drain. Keep the water on as you will cook the gnocchi in the same water.  

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.  When the butter is melted add the white and light green parts of the ramps or green garlic.  Cook for 1 minute or until it softens and begins to brown. Add the sorrel/pea shoots/arugula to the pan along with the green part of the ramps or green garlic and cook 30 seconds or until the begin to wilt.  Add the cream to the pan and stir to combine.  Allow the cream to cook for about 3 minutes or until it begins to thicken.

While the cream cooks, add the gnocchi to the pot and cook as directed on the package (should be about 3 minutes).  If the cream thickens before the pasta is done, simply turn off the heat.  When the gnocchi are done, use a mesh strainer to transfer them to the pan with the cream.  Add the asparagus to the pan and stir so everything is coated with the cream and greens.  Season with salt, pepper, and cheese.  Serve immediately with extra cheese on the side.  

No comments:

Post a Comment