Sunday, April 07, 2013

Phil's Pasta

Confession: I have done next to nothing for our garden. One thing and another derailed a lot of plans and routines (Heart & Soul, and Art of Simple Food, are much neglected, for examples.) I still pull weeds, occasionally. I still pick fruit, now and then. I grab a handful of flowers, or herbs, when the need arises. Composting is always ongoing. But I have not tilled, or toiled, or labored, or planted. Sigh. Oh, the sad longing for sweet peas, for carrots, for beets. Pity the passing of cool weather plantings, the lettuce varieties, the broccoli, the kales.

It is silly to regret. I spent two casual afternoons weeding the strawberry bed, and those fruitful bushes are as content as can be. I pulled up the overgrown parsley, and made the goats happy. A cilantro is about to bloom, and I am happy to see it go to seed... I can use the coriander. Tomatoes are volunteering, everywhere. I suppose the heartier ones can stay put. The chives are fine, and will soon bloom, too. We have dill weed here, and there. And the neatest gift from the neglected garden? A bed of spinach! It's growing vigorously and generously, more so, than if I had sowed the seeds, and purposely tended each sprout. William took some for his omelet. I added some to a pizza. And the other night, Maria and I filled a basketful for our dinner.

Maria picked, washed, and chopped our spinach, while I sliced garlic, toasted pine nuts, and boiled water for pasta. We played arias, while we cooked.

This is a recipe I learned from watching my father-in-law, Phil. It's a specialty of his. His sister, Laura, made it for us, too. It's a tasty, crowd pleasing dish for sure! I was thinking of them as I toasted the pine nuts in a dry pan. I was thinking of summer nights in Wisconsin, the fireflies, and Grandma's house full of aunts, uncles, cousins.

I grated some Parmesan cheese to top the pasta.

Then I slowly sautéed all those lovely slices of garlic. There's no sauce for the pasta, so the garlic cooks in a generous amount of olive oil, and just as they turn the littlest bit golden, I turn off the heat, and dash in some crushed red pepper. All of this... the olive oil, garlic and pepper is poured over the cooked and drained pasta. Then I add the toasted pine nuts.

Just like the real cooks... parsley garnish!

But wait! One more thing... while the pan was still hot, with just the last of the garlic infused olive oil, I threw in the spinach from our garden. I gave the spinach just a few quick turns in the hot pan, then tossed it in with the pasta, and sprinkled all with the Parmesan cheese.

On the side: Trader Joe's makes a chicken and turkey pesto sausage that I love. Maria sliced the sausage, and we tossed those in the pan, just until they looked good enough to eat.

About the only thing that could make this any better: a house full of cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents to share it with.


nikkipolani said...

YUM! I love easy pasta dishes. Isn't olive oil wonderful? And crunch of pine nuts. Homegrown spinach, too.

judy in ky said...

It looks wonderful, Natalie, and your joy and enthusiasm for cooking comes through with flying colors! This post is inspiring.

Sylvia said...

Oh, I'm so hungry right now...!

ArtyZen said...

We eat our pasta in exactly the same way! And I have to buy my spinach - but not anymore. Now I have my garden! And don't worry, in about a year's time I will be writing pretty much the same sort of post as this one too!)


warren said...

That looks can never go wrong with bacon or sausage and that sausage looks awesome!

Jenny said...

Lucky duck! I can't believe all the stuff you have in your garden that going strong already. We still can't plant a thing.

This looks super tasty. I've recently gone vegan so I'm always looking for new recipes. I'll just leave the sausage and parmesan off my plate (though hubs and kids will still have it) and enjoy some delicious pasta.