Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Moderate decadence

Robert Frost had it right when he said, "Nature's first green is gold... ."  The forsythia in the yard are positively glowing as their buds wait to burst into bloom. Daffodils are opening their funny little faces.  And in our Spring Treat share, we got golden-hued savoy cabbage that had been over-wintered at the farm, and we got fresh spinach and arugula.

Uh, Christine, have you had your eyes checked lately?

Yes, the spinach and arugula are green...don't worry, I can still see!  But they're as precious as gold when you've been trying to eat locally and are kind of tired of root vegetables being the only "fresh" things.  Obviously, from previous posts you can see we're not subsisting on them...but even their appearance at the grocery store is kind of tiresome these days.

(I know.  I know.  Stop whining and be glad you have enough to eatI am.  But remember that everything is relative!)

Today is a kind of raw spring day, with the sun peeking through occasionally,  but mostly rain.  I'm not particularly imaginative about these things sometimes, so soup it was!  Our share had the above-mentioned cabbage, and some carrots and potatoes, so I stole (and adapted) a page from Rachael Ray and made cabbage and potato soup.  We're having it for lunch tomorrow, because...

 I wasn't done there!  I've been craving some kind of moderately decadent creamy pasta dish, so I decided to make a creamy spinach fettucine for dinner, with an arugula salad.  I didn't particularly feel like busting out any recipes, so I went on the fly.  I would loosen the sauce a little more next time, but otherwise...yum. 

Tomorrow is supposed to be nice, I think, so I might not be as appreciative of a warming bowl of soup
but I'm always appreciative of a warming bowl of soup.  It reheats better than creamy pasta.  Tonight's dinner: pasta.  Tomorrow's lunch:  soup. 

And to all a good night.

Cabbage and Potato Soup
adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray
serves 3-5, depending on accompaniment

1 tbsp olive or other oil
1 to 1 1/2 cups of chopped onion
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped small
salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1 tsp of salt total)
1 small head of cabbage, cored and thinly shredded; rinse and leave some water clinging
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 large red potatoes, peeled and diced (about 3 cups)
1/2 to 1 tsp dried dill
4 cups of liquid (I used 1/2 water, 1/2 vegetable broth)
2 slices Candadian bacon, chopped (optional)

1.  Heat a dutch oven over medium.  Add oil, onion, and carrots.  Very lightly salt, to help them soften more quickly.  Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add cabbage and a little more salt.  Stir occasionally, until beginning to wilt.
2.  Add red wine vinegar.  Cook, stirring, about two minutes.  Add potatoes and dill, and a little more salt.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.  Add liquid, bring soup to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are softened, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Stir in Canadian bacon, if using, and cook for about another 5 minutes.

Creamy Spinach Fettucine
by Me
serves 3 (or should, anyway...)

6 oz. fettucini  (reserve 1 c pasta water)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp butter, divided
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional, unless you live here)
3/4 to 1 cup of thinly sliced onion
small shot of dry white wine, about 2 tbsp.
2 scant tbsp flour
1 cup of half-and-half (I'd probably use 3/4 c with 1/4 c skim milk next time)
2 heaping cups of chopped, fresh spinach
1/2 c parmigiano cheese, divided
fresh grated nutmeg to taste
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Bring water for pasta to a boil.  Cook fettucine until al dente--try to time this so you're pulling the pasta out of the water just as it finishes, and dumping it into the sauce. If you start the pasta water a few minutes before you start the sauce, you should be good.
2.  In a large skillet, heat olive oil and 1/2 tbsp butter over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and a small sprinkling of salt.  Cook, stirring often, until the onions are softened but not colored.  Add white wine, and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated.
3.  Push the onions over to one side of the pan.  Add rest of butter and flour on empty side; stir so that they combine and form a smooth paste/slurry.  Cook, stirring, about one minute.  Slowly whisk in half-and-half, pulling onion mixture into the cream sauce as you whisk.  Lower the heat to medium-low. 
4.  Stir in most of the cheese, leaving some to sprinkle on top of servings.  (Add a little pasta water if the sauce is too thick.)  Add spinach, stirring to combine.  Add a little (more) pasta water, nutmeg, salt and pepper. 
5.  Add pasta to sauce, stirring to combine.  Add pasta water until the sauce coats the pasta the way you like it.  Sprinkle individual servings with the reserved cheese, and serve immediately.


Jaclyn said...

I made the Creamy Spinach Fettuccine the other night for a friend and myself. I was a bit distracted by conversation while cooking, and mixed up the spinach ingredient line with the cheese. Result: I put in 2 heaping cups of parmigiano cheese instead of the written 1/2 cup. Don't get me wrong, we still ate it and loved it, it was just a little more cheesy than expected. Hahaha

Christine said...

Ha! Oh no! Or, maybe I mean, oh yes! :)