Monday, October 17, 2011

Pasta Primavera Recipe... More or less.

This is really John's signature dish-- but I've been put in charge of dinner tonight, so I'm just bumbling along, trying to make the best of things... My primavera has actually turned into the sauce of a mad-woman, so rather than having you follow my recipe (what recipe?) I am going to give you instructions for John's much more orderly version of Pasta Primavera instead.

Here we go! 

1.) Start by chopping up the heirloom tomatoes into nice big chunks, and then putting them and a couple of handfuls of cherry tomatoes into a large pot. I love finding colorful tomatoes of all sizes to add variety, but just regular red ones will totally do the trick. Once the tomatoes are in the pot, pour a generous amount of good quality olive oil over the tomatoes, so they're almost submerged in oil (maybe 1/2"-1" of oil, roughly.) Peel 3-6 cloves of garlic (to taste), chop roughly in half, and ad to the tomatoes and olive oil. Bring this to a slow, gentle simmer on medium low heat and cook forever.... Okay, not forever. You can allow this mix to cook on a very low flame for up to two hours, but you can also cook it for 20 minutes, just until the tomatoes are nice and soft. Once the tomatoes break down and the garlic goes all squishy, you've essentially made a TOMATO CONFIT. You can use this mixture as the base for any sauce and it will have a heavenly garlic-y sweet flavor that is magnifique!

2.) While your heavenly garlic-tomato substance is simmering away, slice up the rest of your veggies. I like to add carrots, yellow squash and zucchini, so first I peeled my carrots, sliced them up, and threw them into my tomato confit. This will allow the carrots to slowly cook along with the tomatoes, and soak up lots of that garlic and olive oil flavor. Mmmmmm....


3.) Next I sliced up and then chopped up my zucchini and squash. A long time ago, a chef friend of mine told me to sprinkle a little salt on my zucchini and squash before I cook it. What you do is spread it all out in a bowl or platter, sprinkle it with salt, let it sit for 5 minutes, and then pat dry with a clean paper towel. Apparently this draws a lot of the excess moisture out of your veggies, so they don't get soggy during cooking. I don't know if it's necessary, but I always do it, and it reminds me of my chef friend, so no harm, no foul, right?!

4.) Once my zukes and squarsh were de-watered, I threw them into a frying pan with a little more olive oil, and sauteed them until nicely cooked through (about 15 minutes on medium low heat.) Then I fold these veggies in with the tomatoes, garlic, carrots, and delicious, and let that keep on cooking away.

5.) It is at this moment that I got a little off track-- lured by this gorgeous rainbow swiss chard that I bought from a local farmer this past weekend. However, if you stay the course, you can now put your water on to boil, and start setting the table!

6.) Right before my pasta is cooked, I like to put a big handful of frozen peas into a strainer in the sink, and then pour the boiling water and pasta over the strainer, basically cooking the peas while straining the noodles. Two-for-one!

7.) Then I gently mix the pasta into the tomato sauce, and allow it to cook for just a few more minutes all together-- fusing the flavor of the sauce to the body of the noodles. Once it has had a few minutes to absorb the flavor of the sauce, divy up into bowls, give a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and then grate fresh parmesan over the top. Hearty, delicious, and reasonably healthy. This recipe will probably feed 4-6 people, depending on how hungry you are!

Mmmmmmm! Dinnertime! 

No comments:

Post a Comment