pasta

Entrée, Fall

PASTA WITH FENNEL, ARUGULA + LEMON

pasta with fennel, arugula & lemon . sprouted kitchen
pasta with fennel, arugula & lemon . sprouted kitchen

I suppose now is as a good a time as any to let you know I am working on a second cookbook (!!!!). A number of the details are still to be worked out as far as official dates, tentative title, how it will all be laid out, etc. but it's in motion. I am excited to be working with Ten Speed Press again as well as Hugh, my trusted, however easy to argue with, photographer. It should be due out sometime in 2015. I think it's such a privledged that I am able to call this my job. This is so huge! We are proud of our first book, but also feel there was a learning curve that was only possible by being in it. With both feet in, we learned, and we know a few things on the other side that we will do differently this time around. One of those things, for myself, is to try to create food that is personal to me, to us, and not struggle in trying to please every readers taste preferences and dietary or health principles. My hope is that people will tinker around as they prefer. Sometimes there will be pasta with a bit of cream and other times there will be dairy free, gluten free items. Sometimes dietetic recipes and other dishes food for company. This is how my real life works - all real foods, a majority of the time very healthful and especially produce focused, with room for ice cream and a little indulgence in between. The book will be a collection of bowlfoods - dishes that are served in a single vessle, which speaks comfort, ease and community in the way I see cooking and food. There will be green salads, whole grain salads, rice and noodle bowls, a chapter with a few of my favorite sauces for said bowls and treats (ice cream!) of course. I have an inclination that if you relate to the way I cook and eat here, foods in a bowl make complete sense to you. I wanted a narrower focus, something authentic, and when I think about how food applies to my favorite parts of the everyday - it is family-style eating with friends and family, picnics, having sturdy salads that last a few days for Hugh and I to snack on in the fridge or take for work, salads of any and all sorts, really - I kept coming back to the humbleness of the bowl. The best creative work is the kind that is most meaningful to the artist. Cooking is no exception. Sure, it limits me in some ways, and the critic could argue one could eat a salad or berry trifle just as easily on a plate as they could in a bowl, but they'd be missing the intention. The bowl is a point of inspiration, not a rule and I am excited to work on this project. I am back in the throws of some ideas working out as planned and others still far from the mark after 3 or 4 tries. It is not a process for the weak of heart, but I've found myself here again, willing, excited and anxious, and I am grateful to have your support. Life, how I ended up here, it's still kind of crazy to me.

This recipe is from UK based chef Hugh Fearnley. He has a series of books and this is my favorite yet. Unlike American cookbooks, the recipes are more loosely written, leaving some responsibility to the cook and I love that. They don't give amounts for salt and pepper or an estimated time for each step. It's refreshing. We're not huge pasta people over here, but when I do make it, I only have success in small batches. The recipe is printed for two and it worked out great as such. I suppose it could be easily doubled if you're feeding more. Or maybe a side dish with a good piece of salmon. Lastly, against my sprouted nature, I have to say completely whole grain noodles are intense, almost two distracting here in their sturdiness. I like a good brown rice spaghetti or maybe a thinner one than the sort I have in the photos if you're going to use the grainy stuff. Anyway, I'd bet you know what you like as far as noodles go.

So, a book! Here we go, party people. Thanks for being great.

pasta with fennel, arugula & lemon . sprouted kitchen
pasta with fennel, arugula & lemon . sprouted kitchen

PASTA WITH FENNEL, ARUGULA + LEMON // Serves 2

Adapted from River Cottage VEG

It's simple and lovely as written, I only changed a couple things as mine was looking a tad dry (likely because of my uber sturdy noodles). Nothing is particularly fussy here, just be prepared to move quick, everything comes together in a snap.

  • 1 large fennel bulb, fronds reserved
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 ounces pasta (papparadelle, linguine, spaghetti etc.)
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche, to taste
  • zest of one large lemon, juice reserved
  • 3-4 good handfuls of arugula
  • 1/4 cup reserved pasta water
  • sea salt and pepper
  • parmesan or hard goats cheese, to finish
pasta with fennel, arugula & lemon . sprouted kitchen
pasta with fennel, arugula & lemon . sprouted kitchen
pasta with fennel, arugula & lemon . sprouted kitchen
pasta with fennel, arugula & lemon . sprouted kitchen

Bring a large pot of liberally salted water to a boil. 

Cut the fennel in half lengthwise. Remove the tough core and slice it into 1/4'' wedges. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add the fennel, give it a stir and let it cook, undistrubed (that's how you get the nice brown bits) for 5 minutes. Give it a stir, turn the heat down to medium, add the garlic, a pinch of salt and another splash of oil if the pan looks dry. Start cooking the pasta.

To the fennel, add the creme fraiche, lemon zest and stir to coat. Add the arugula and give it another toss.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4-1/2 cup of the pasta water. Add the noodles to the creamy fennel pan and toss to coat, adding a pinch or two of salt, pepper, squeeze of lemon juice and pasta water as needed.

Serve each portion with a generous grate of the parmesan and a few fennel fronds.

pasta with fennel, arugula & lemon . sprouted kitchen
pasta with fennel, arugula & lemon . sprouted kitchen
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Entrée, Fall, Gluten Free, Winter

ROASTED BUTTERNUT PENNE WITH PISTACHIO PESTO

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Any other subject matter at this time, seems commonplace next to what is happening on the East Coast. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and business' who are hurting right now. I am inspired by the sense of community that comes from disasters like Hurricane Sandy and how we are capable of rallying around each other to make the best of things that are beyond our control. We need people.

-- 

Earlier this year, I contributed to six different publications about vegetarian Thanksgiving dishes. Six! That's a lot! I realize that turkey is a big deal, but is it often people's favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal? Don't answer that. It's too late. My favorite part has always been the fresh vegetable side dishes, as they always seem the canvas for creative flavors and trying new things. I made this salad last year and my sister in law is bringing these green beans to the big dinner this year. Thanksgiving is typically a spread of heavy foods, lots of cream, gravy, butter and while I get that this is tradition, I self impose the responsibility to bring a contast to that. I'm testing out a few recipes in search of a new dish to bring to my family's table this year, and this one is certainly in the running. Maybe not the lightest of the options per se, but I try to contribute something that can act as a main dish for the vegetarians and a tasty side for everyone else. I wrote the vegetarian menu for a great spread in this months Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine, and while flipping through it to find my recipes, I earmarked this great looking pasta dish. I don't often make pasta, I can probably count the times on one hand, but this recipe had the potential to be more vegetable than starch focused. I like my pasta heavy on the vegetables, light on the pasta, so that is where you'd notice the biggest change in the original recipe. I added more squash, lots of greens and scaled back the amount of pasta. They also call for pepitas. I used toasted pistachios because I love them and already had some in my pantry. If you're bulking it up for an omnivorous family, some sausage could nudge itself in here, though I'd argue the dish lacks nothing on its own. 

This has been a pretty crazy season for us. Lots of travel, work, special occasions, book promoting and what not. All great things, but not exactly in moderation as of late. I'm really excited for life to slow up a bit in the next few months so I can process it all and soak this past year in. I need some stillness, quiet, time of staring into the vast ocean, long dinners with good friends, and an overall refresh. All of that is totally reasonable as we're heading into the holidays, right?! Until then, there will be some tasty squash penne.

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ROASTED BUTTERNUT PENNE WITH PISTACHIO PESTO // Serves 4

Adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine, November 2010

I used a brown rice penne from Jovial pasta (a new favorite, the texture is wonderful for a GF pasta). I am not particularly fond of penne, for no good reason, and think small shells or some tagliatelle would work great too. The pesto can be made a few days in advance and kept in a covered container in the fridge. Any extra can be mixed with a splash of water and more lemon juice for a fabulous salad dressing. I would double it for that specific reason but I'll leave that up to you.

  • 2 lbs. (one large) butternut squash, peeled seeded and cut into 1'' pieces

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil

  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika

  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt

  • bit of fresh grated nutmeg

  • 10 oz. brown rice, quinoa or whole grain penne pasta, or any short noodle of choice

  • 2 huge handfuls (about 2 cups) baby spinach or well chopped swiss chard

  • // pistachio pesto //

  • 1 large/ 2 small cloves garlic

  • zest and juice of one small lemon or lime

  • 1/3 cup toasted, unsalted pistachio nuts

  • 1 jalepeno or serrano, seeded (I leave a few seeds for spice)

  • 1 cup packed herbs, a mix of any: cilantro, parsley, chives, basil

  • 1/4-1/3 cup grated parmesan or pecorino, plus more for garnish

  • 1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • splash of water

  • sea salt and pepper

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BUTTERNUT_PENNE_0004.jpg

Preheat the oven to 400' and set a large pot of salted water to boil. 

On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the butternut cubes with the olive oil (enough to coat), smoked paprika, salt, a grate of nutmeg and toss to coat. Bake for about 30 minutes or until edges are charred. 

For the pesto, add the garlic, lemon zest and juice to the processor and pulse a few times to break down. Add the jalepeno, pistachios, herbs and run the processor to mix, about 30 seconds. Drizzle in the olive oil and a few pinches of salt and pepper until combined. Blitz in the parm and a splash of water. Season to taste. 

Cook the pasta according to instructions. Drain and reserve a cup of the cooking water. 

Put the pasta back into the pot along with the greens and a generous splash of pasta water. The warm pasta and water will wilt the greens perfectly. Add more water if needed. Stir in the squash and pesto.

Garnish with a fresh sprinkle of cheese, pepper and any leftover herbs. 

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