Thursday, June 10, 2010

pasta with handfuls of herbs

When I have access to lots of herbs, this dish is a standby of mine. It's based on a recipe in Deborah Madison's the Savory Way, though much of the fun of it is playing around. This is what Madison has to say about this recipe:
A pasta for summer, when herbs are most prolific. Handfuls of herbs, at least a couple from fairly small hands, are what it takes.... If you grow herbs, you can make this pasta easily and frequently, varying it each time according to fancy or what is coming into leaf or flower. If you don't, you can make a simpler version drawing on the herbs that supermarkets carry, basing the mixture perhaps on parsley and adding basil, marjoram, thyme, and a shallot or scallion. A few narrow slivers of lemon zest will provide the tang that the sorrel does. You'll need about a cup of chopped leaves in all.


what I used:
12 regular or lemon thyme branches or a mixture
a couple dozen large parsley branches
4 sorrel leaves
6 basil leaves
celery greens from 1 bunch supermarket celery
1/2 of one onion and 1 clove garlic, finely diced
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil 
1 tablespoon more oil for sauteing 
2 to 3 tablespoons earch balance
1/2 cup wheat germ 
dried marjoram
8 to 10 ounces pasta

note: Madison called for 6 fresh marjoram branches, 3 lovage leaves, bread crumbs instead of wheat germ, half as much parsley, 2 small shallots instead of my onion-garlic combo, and no basil or celery leaves. I used the celery leaves since I didn't have lovage. she didn't call for cooking the shallots, but I don't like the taste of raw onion so I cooked it a bit with the wheat germ. 

chop the herbs fairly fine, but leave some texture. put the herbs into a bowl with the 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and 2-3 tablespoons of earth balance and set aside.

bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta. while it's heating, heat the sauteing oil in a frying pan, add the onion, garlic, and wheat germ. cook until the wheat germ is warm and crispy, the onion is getting transparent, and the garlic is getting golden. mix into the herb mixture.

when the water boils, salt to taste and add the pasta. cook until al dente. drain or scoop it out of the pot and add it to the bowl with the herbs, oil, butter, and wheat germ. season generously with pepper and toss well.

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