What’s in the Box:
Green, Yellow, and Roma Italian beans
Austrian Crescent potatoes
Mike here! In the office by dim light hustling to finish the notes I promised to write this morning then promptly forgot about. Ooops.
Fall is officially here and we will soon be saying good bye to the summer squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes. We have bumper crops of all the fall favorites, and frankly this is my favorite time of year to eat out of the field. You can still have a ripe tomato, or scrounge a little basil, and the cabbage and other cole crops are huge and lush. The greens are not stressed by hot days, and the potatoes have been in storage just long enough to sweeten up a bit.
On the subject of Fall, please remember that because of our late start this season, if you purchased the summer share, you will be receiving the two holiday deliveries; one in late November, the other in late December. These are usually offered separately. We will be marketing these ‘holiday’ shares to others outside our Summer membership. So, if you receive an offer to purchase them, kindly disregard it. You are in like Flynn. These two deliveries are among my favorites. They are a bit larger than our usual weekly deliveries, and the fall and winter vegetables are soooooo sweet after a frost.
When I looked over the contents of this week’s box I got hungry for pasta. I have included a recipe for Pasta Primavera, I cannot stress strongly enough what a great catch-all dish this is. You can use nearly any vegetables that are in the fridge. I love a plate of Pasta Primavera especially with a good sharp cheese; and it’s easy, and it’s fast, and if you do it right you only have two pots to wash! I enjoy cooking, especially for friends and family, and few recipes garner so much praise for so little effort.
A few things you should know:
Water and Salt: Always add a big pinch of salt to the pasta water and do not skimp on the amount of water used to cook pasta. I use about a gallon/pound and probably a big tablespoon of salt. Heat the water to a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook UNCOVERED. Use tongs to stir it occasionally and after about 7 minutes start checking it by pulling a strand out and cutting it. In cross section you will see a white core indicating that it is not quite done, as this core vanishes your pasta is ready. Al dente pasta will have just a hint of white in the center. For this dish, because you are going to cook the pasta a bit more, you will want a noticeable but barely so white core.
Sautee: Vegetables while the pasta cooks. Have them all prepped and ready to go before you drop the pasta in the water. If you are sharp and focused you can do this while the water heats. I have used just about every vegetable imaginable, but this week’s box has some of my favorites.
Slice one of the onions paper thin. Snap the stems from the beans and cut into bite size pieces. I especially like the Roma beans for this dish. Cut summer squash into bite size chunks. Thinly slice a good handful of chard leaves. Strip about 3 tablespoons of thyme from its stems. You can use anything that sounds good… anything. I have used beets, rutabaga, turnip, you name it. The traditional Italian vegetables are always a hit.
Sautee: the vegetables in olive oil in a large cast pan while the pasta is cooking; when they are tender turn off the heat.
Scoop: And here is the secret… scoop a mug full of the starchy pasta water off before draining the pasta. Pour this into the pan of vegetables and simmer to create a light sauce. At this point add the thyme and thinly sliced chard and sauté until the chard is just wilted.
Toss: Add the pasta to the pan of vegetables and toss as you would a salad using the tongs over medium heat for a few minutes. Add more pasta water if necessary. You can also toss this all in a large bowl if your pan isn’t large enough.
Stir: In some butter or olive oil and a generous handful of grated sharp cheese; quality counts on the cheese.
Toss again and you are ready for the plate. When you serve this dish serve it hot. Grab a healthy tong-full, hold it over the plate and lower it slowly as you turn the plate and the tongs in opposite directions. This will leave a pyramid of pasta Primavera.
Throw: A few grape or cherry tomatoes, washed and halved, on top of each plate.
Serve with grated cheese and coarse salt.