Green Pasta for MZ+BSA

27 Jun

While visiting M a few months ago, I was able to cook in her wonderful kitchen (using knives that a friend of BSA had hand made!) and enjoy all the bounty and amazing-ness that was Whole Foods! I could so live in that place!

One of my favourite concoctions was this green pasta. BSA seemed to like it enough that he went for thirds (or was that fourths?). Either way, it is made with the freshest and greenest veg you can find. Feel free to adjust, though these go well together. The mushroom adds a warm muskiness that holds everything else together.  This dish bursts with energy and vibrancy, and its so delicious. Simple, and not creamy either, which is satisfying without being overwhelming.

You could serve this with all sorts: couscous, rice, even a toasted brioche, but angel hair pasta, to me, has the delicacy that this dish needs.

Feeds 4 hungry people

  • Approximately 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5-7 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 250 g mushrooms
  • 2 cups baby spinach, thinly sliced into ribbons
  • 2 cups artichoke hearts
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup white wine (or alternatively, veg stock and lemon juice, if you dont want alcohol)
  • 1 cup broccolini (or other type broccoli) roughly chopped
  • Few leaves fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup or so parmesan and more to serve
  • Angel hair pasta

Start with about half the olive oil, or enough to thickly coat the bottom of a large non stick pan. You should have a green gold puddle. Add more olive oil as needed while cooking. Turn heat on low.

As oil heats, throw in all the thinly sliced garlic. It will infuse the oil, and add depth to the flavour of the finished pasta. Watch as garlic gets soft but dont allow it to brown.

Meanwhile peel and slice the mushrooms, and add to pan, putting heat up to medium low. Stir well and encourage the juices of the mushrooms to let go.

Prepare spinach by taking leaves, rolling them into little cigar shapes, and cutting into ribbons. Add to pan and saute to wilt.

Roughly chop artichoke hearts, and add to the pan. Stir all ingredients together, to introduce them to one another and immediately add wine (or veg stock/lemon juice). Allow to braise for a few minutes, and check for flavour. Add salt and pepper to taste. Note: I usually add white pepper to this dish so as not to whack all the delicate flavours over the head with ground black pepper.

Roughly chop broccolini, and add it to the steaming pan. Turn off heat after a few minutes. Use a light hand with this recipe and work quickly. You want your ingredients to cook, but you dont want them to boil and leach all their flavour and freshness. Remember that the heat will continue cooking the vegetables for quite a while after you take the pan off the fire.

Tear a few leaves of fresh basil in half, or crush them between your fingers to release their amazing scent and oils. Add to the pan and mix all together.

Cook angel hair pasta, reserving 1/2 mug of cooking liquid. Drain pasta. Mix vegetables and pasta together by adding pasta to the vegetables rather than vice versa. Use tongs and mix well. Add a little of the pasta cooking liquid if you think its too dry. You might want to add some lemon juice or another splash of wine. Grate parmesan lightly over and mix well.

You could use many different vegetables for this beautifully delicate dish. Asparagus comes to mind, as do peas, rocket, french beans.

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