Recipe 22: Linguine with Spring Vegetables

April 11, 2011

Source: Martha Stewart

Listening To: The randomness of Rick Jennings’ iPod on Shuffle. Which entails way too much Christmas music for the month of March.

I have redeemed myself. I have been redeemed.

If you read my last post, you know that I was on the verge of a cooking break down. Nothing is more discouraging then not being able to cook a basic cookie. I took failure to a whole new level that day.

But last night I spent the evening in Maureen Jennings’ kitchen, and learned enough and tasted enough to compensate for my utter failure and many failures to come.

Mrs. J and I planned this dinner a couple weeks ago. We were going to make meatloaf. Meatloaf turned into Turkey Lasagna. Turkey Lasagna turned into Martha Stewart because Martha Stewart knows best.

“Do you drink wine while you cook?”

Oh. I do. I brought the Sangiovese direct from Sonoma and she brought the fresh ingredients. The long awaited spring breeze was blowing through the kitchen when I showed up. Rick was pricing model trains online. Before we did any cooking, we popped the cork. It was perfect from the start.

We started with salad soaking. We filled the sink with water and let the crisp multicolored leaves soak for cleansing. It was a simple task, but it made me feel a bit professional. Which I realize is pathetic.

In the meantime, I cut vegetables… Mrs. J style. I learned that with asparagus, you don’t have to cut the ends. If you snap them, they break where they need to break. Awesome. Then she showed me how to cut asparagus diagonally. It was really beautiful. I cut up the onion. She precut the ends off, so all it really took was 1/8 inch cuts down the length.

This dinner really made me want a lot of things. For example, after cutting the asparagus, we used a garlic press. I’m pretty sure they don’t exist in places other than magical lands like the Jennings’ or Hogwarts, but I want one just the same. The garlic comes out like noodle strands in a perfect texture. Amazing.

Then we cut maters for the salad. She made me do everything, which really built my confidence. I diced them quite well. To cut the basil, we rolled it up first and then cut across to make basil strips. Wow. Basil strips. Blowing your mind a little? I know that. I’m a mind blower.

Before mixing the salad, we had to use another thing that I really want… a salad spinner. You put the salad in a strainer inside a bowl, and push a button to make it spin to dry the lettuce. This is real, people. I’m not making this up.

The noodles were fresh so they didn’t take long to boil. We strained them and added the butter and garlic and basil to the pot for the sauce. We also added some water, which was the water that soaked with the noodles. Brilliant.

We added more butter. It was Mrs. J’s idea, but I did not argue. I wouldn’t dare. Note that I will be adding a pic of the adjustments Mrs. J made to recipe to make it her own masterpiece.

And it was. After mixing the vegetables, sauce and noodles together in the pot, dinner was served. The salad was mixed. I had to have seconds. I wasn’t hungry, but I had to. It tasted like spring in my mouth. Like the spring fairy came and said: hey, eat me. And I did. I ate the spring fairy.

Lessons learned:

1. Using the “noodle water” in the sauce instead of regular water will give it a better taste

2. Adding salt in the boiling water is the only way to really season a pasta

Thanks Mr. and Mrs. J for a great night in the kitchen. The food for sure, but even more so the company. (And a for putting up with your daughter’s friends. And buying us yogurt.)













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