I always have odds and ends of vegetables and greens that I can’t throw out, just ask my husband about my hoarding problems, not even Marie Kondo can help. So, instead I make this green pasta. You can use any greens or vegetables you have in your refrigerator. This pasta is simple to make and you can eat it warm or cold, you can easily double, triple, quadruple, and whatever comes after that… this recipe. It makes a great lunch or dinner, but if you are packing it for work, make sure you have some mints, because it’s loaded with garlic.
I start by making the base sauce, more like a flavored oil. Just one anchovy packed in oil, 2 garlic cloves and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes and lots of extra virgin olive oil (all pantry items), put it all into a small pot or sauce pan and cook until the garlic turns golden, take care not to burn it, the anchovy will just melt. A note about anchovies, they do not smell or taste fishy and it just adds a nice savory flavor (umami). Set the oil aside to cool. You could just slice up some good bread and use this as a dipping sauce and call it a day… but I promised pasta… read on!
Next, trim and blanch the vegetables. I happened to have broccoli rabe, asparagus and peas. In a medium pot, bring enough water to cook pasta to a boil and blanch each vegetable separately (for timing purposes, you don’t want to blanch peas the same amount of time as the broccoli rabe and a sure sign that a vegetable is done blanching is the bright green color) for a minute or less and plunge vegetable into an ice bath until cool, drain and blot dry. Using the same water, add salt and cook your pasta as instructed on the package, drain and toss with olive oil so that the pasta doesn’t stick together in one clump. I like a colorful fusilli for this, but you can use whatever you have, this is a post about using up odds and ends so if you have a little of this or a little of that, it would do as well… just be sure to check the different cooking times.
Make the pesto, this is probably the most involved of the steps, and by involved, I mean you have to drag out your food processor, but by all means use your mortar and pestle, if you want to go rogue. I had left over kale, so I made kale-walnut pesto. A handful of kale and another handful of walnuts, a bit of parmesan, juice of a lemon and a clove of garlic, all in the food processor, whirl whirl whirl… add olive oil, whirl some more and salt to taste.
Now put it all together… in a medium to large skillet, on medium heat, coat the bottom with olive oil, add the chopped blanched vegetables and saute until warmed through, add cooked pasta and drizzle with flavored oil, toss to incorporate. Off heat, add pesto, add as little or as much as you like, after all – you are the one eating it, add salt and pepper to taste and a drizzle of your favorite vinegar, right now I’m obsessed with red-wine vinegar (thanks to chef Joshua McFadden, I’ve been finishing everything with vinegar… I can’t stop! And on a side note, if you haven’t picked up his cookbook, “Six Season, a new way with vegetables,” you are a dummy, just saying. Toss and enjoy!
- Flavored oil
- 1 anchovy (packed in oil)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Vegetables and pasta
- 1 cup of leafy greens, broccolini, kale, chard
- 1 cup of vegetables, asparagus, green beans, zucchini, bell peppers, peas, carrots, tomatoes
- ½ lb of pasta
- 1 cup of chopped kale
- ½ cup of raw walnuts (unsalted)
- ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 clove of garlic
- ¼-1/2 cup of olive oil
- Flavored oil
- Heat small sauce pan or pot on medium heat, add anchovy filet, minced garlic, pinch of red pepper flake and olive oil, and cook until garlic turns golden, set aside to cool
- Vegetables and pasta
- Heat medium to large pot of water to boil, blanch each vegetables separately and cool in an ice bath. Once the vegetables are blanched, add salt to the same water and cook the pasta as instructed on the package. Drain.
- Add kale, walnuts, parmesan, garlic into the food processor and process until somewhat smooth, with the machine on, add olive oil through the feeder, add the lemon juice. With the motor off, taste and season with salt.
- Putting it all together
- Heat, medium to large pan on medium, add the chopped vegetables and saute until heated through, add cooked pasta, and toss with flavored oil. Off heat, add the pesto and a drizzle of vinegar and toss, add salt to taste.