Monday, July 15, 2013

Gluten Free ( or not) Pasta with Nasturtium or Arugula Sauce

Oh, Those peppery greens, I have an affliction for those peppery greens. Maybe it is all of the folic acid, minerals and nutrients they bring, or maybe it is just that they are kick ass southern Italian veggies! All said, I love my arugula, nasturtium, mustards and cress.  I grow them all, they are so low maintenance. But even if you buy that wimpy hybrid arugula sold everywhere now, you can still use it in this recipe.
So this recipes comes from Puglia where most things simple, vital and earthy come from. It is a method of mellowing the greens and while making their minerals easier to absorb. Always trust a peasant technique to learn how to maximize the nutritional value of a dish. After all, this is Piatte povere--or poor people's food.  The peasants who cooked it right, grew big and strong. If you don't get a decent cook on your greens, you pass 'em right through your digestive tract with absorbing very much of the minerals.Trust me here, Three minutes in boiling water does you right! Read on!

So maybe you plant nasturtium as a decorative accent in your garden pots and maybe, just maybe you indulge in eating a few flowers in salad. With all of the rain and heat we have experienced here in the Hudson Valley, my nasturtium is weekd ahead of schedule and popping beautifully!

So, yea, it's in my salads and stuff, but today is a perfect Sunday for pasta...and Nasturtium/arugula sauce it is!
This is a simple dish, easy and clean!

First, start out with a little simple, smooth Apulian style red sauce.
1 small onion diced
2 cloved garlic, sliced
1 small hot pepper like a serrano, or half a jalapeno
olive oil
1 can plum tomatoes in juice
In a small pot heat the oil to medium,  and add the garlic, hot pepper and onion together. Sprinkle with a little salt and cook over medium heat until the onion and garlic are getting a little golden color, about 4 minutes.
Add the canned tomatoes all at once and bring to a brisk boil. Reduce to a strong simmer and cook 10 minutes. Remove to a blender and buzz it for a quick puree and return it back to the pot.
Cook another 15 minutes gently. This is not Sunday sauce, just a simple, light ground tomato sauce. No herbs, please! It will look like this:

Ok so while that sauce is cooking, you'll need to do two things. Bring a pot of sea salted water to a rolling boil and get your greens ready.
I picked a little arugula that was about to bolt from the garden and a bunch of nasturtium leaves and flowers and washed em up in a lettuce spinner.

When my well salted water was at a rolling boil I added my pasta.
Brown rice pasta needs plenty of water so don't skimp. Trader Joes sells great Brown rice pasta for 2 bucks a bag by the way! And don't even ask if you can use semolina or another pasta. Make what you want!  We make mostly rice pasta at home.
So--raw pasta, boiling water, pasta in, stir in well.

So here is where the little timing comes in.
When the pasta is about 3 minutes form being done-- still too al dente to enjoy but already flexible, add the greens to the water. Yes, you are boiling the greens with the pasta.

Stir the greens in and and and give it a lil boil!
When the pasta is al dente but cooked, strain it all together.

Whoa, that's a steamy pic!
Then move it all to a bowl. Toss with a generous amount the best olive oil you have.
I used the last of my Casa Caponetti  organic small farm goodness here.

Then douse it with good quality Pecorino. Go with the sheep here. Parma will do if you don't have any of that tangy sheep's milk Romano, but sheep is more traditional here. Add plenty!

Now toss well.

Add just enough condiment (uh, that is the sauce!)  to flavor the pasta and serve it up, more cheese on the side!
Simple peasant goodness!

And a lil more cheese and it should look like this...

Dig it!

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