meatless mondays

put on the pasta, the veggies have arrived!

"you don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients." --julia child
there was a little concern about these 'meatless mondays'.  a certain farmer doubted that he could be satisfied by a meal with no meat.  he worked hard, he reasoned, and a hard working man needed massive amounts of protein to sustain him.  a large slab of bacon, a half-pound hamburger, a t-bone steak, these were the items that would best support the work required of a farmer, a handyman, or a college facilities' custodial supervisor.  and definitely for a man that was all three. a 'meatless monday' was going to meet his need for fuel?  this was going to be a hard sell. 

but i knew i  had an ace up my sleeve.  i knew that pasta was going to be my friend in this challenge. creamy, saucy, toothsome pasta.  a certain farmer loves pasta, and he loves eating the very foods we've grown with our own four hands.  and if i could find a way to fill that pasta plate with a bounty of delicious, fresh, nutritious vegetables, chock-full of vitamins and minerals and fiber, he might not even miss the meat!.....well i thought i might be onto something.
and so it was, that pasta became one of the essential tools in my 'meatless mondays' arsenal.  fresh and dried, imported and domestic, whole grain, gluten-free, quinoa pasta, spelt pasta, jerusalem artichoke pasta, bowtie, cappelini, linguine, angel hair, papparadelle, orzo, not to mention the endless variety of other whole grains available.......scads of choices, and we use them all.  and you should, too!  there's a pasta for everyone--there are even tofu noodles, and shirataki noodles , as well as a few vegetables, like shredded zucchini, paper-thin shreds of cabbage, and the fabulous spaghetti squash, than can substitute for pasta. 

and, as luck would have it, a certain farmer, handyman, and supervisor was thereby sold on 'meatless mondays'.  let me share with you one of his favorites:

linguine with spring vegetables in rosemary goat cheese sauce

serves 4, as entree
-one pound of whole grain linguine, or your favorite pasta or pasta substitute
-two cups cleaned, trimmed and chopped mustard greens (or any greens of your choosing, such as spinach, kale, collard or turnip greens, arugula, chicory, endive......)
-one half cup green peas, either blanched fresh (see note *, below), or frozen (but not canned--they'll get all mushy and that's not what we're going for, here)
-one cup artichoke hearts, blanched if fresh (consult this link for assistance in preparing fresh artichoke hearts), or frozen, or even canned, drained.  as a last resort, you can use the marinated artichoke hearts, but be aware that you will be adding additional oil, and a different flavor, with this option)
-one half pound asparagus spears, steamed or roasted (see note ** below) (but not canned, here, either.  canned asparagus--bleh.)
-4 oz from maggie's farm rosemary lemon chevre (okay, you can use whatever goat cheese you can get your hands on, but if you happen to have a from maggie's farm connection, maybe they can hook you up)
-one quarter cup buttermilk (you can substitute milk, sour cream, 2T olive oil, 2T cream cheese, or even a little of your pasta cooking water to save calories and fat)
-kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste
-optional: asiago cheese, shaved or grated

prepare pasta, al dente, according to package directions.  three minutes prior to draining, add artichoke hearts.  in a separate bowl large enough to contain pasta and vegetables, combine asparagus, peas, chopped greens, goat cheese, and buttermilk.  strain pasta and vegetables and add to bowl.  fold into cheese as it softens, to combine.  correct seasoning, plate, and top with asiago cheese, if using.

*blanching vegetables
 blanching is an easy technique used to keep vegetables crisp and tender. by boiling vegetables briefly   in lightly salted water, and then chilling them in an ice water bath, preserving texture, color, flavor, and nutrients.  bring a large pot of salted water to boil. prepare vegetables by shelling and/or trimming as needed.  submerge vegetable in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, removing when they become tender.  plunge them into a bowl of ice water, let sit for a minute or two, then remove to drain.  use as directed.

** roasting asparagus
preheat oven to 400 degrees.  rinse and trim asparagus, removing tough ends.  pat with paper toweling to dry.  lay spears in a single layer in baking dish or foil-lined roasting pan.  drizzle lightly with olive oil, and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  roast in oven for 8-10 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. for this recipe, remove from oven to cool until easily handled, then slice into 1" bite-sized pieces. use as directed.--cooking hint-i find that the thicker spears are best for roasting, as they are more tender than the more slender spears.

**steaming asparagus
you can steam asparagus in a vegetable steamer, or, for a quick and easy way, as i often do, in the microwave!  rinse and trim asparagus, removing tough ends.  place on microwave-safe plate. season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. sprinkle with approximately 1 t water. cover with plastic wrap.  microwave 3-5 minutes on high power (all microwaves are a little different--check at 3 minutes, then every 30 seconds, until fork tender). for this recipe, remove, uncover, allow to cool until easily handled, then slice into 1" bite-sized pieces.  use as directed.
and he licked the plate clean!
 from maggie's farm rosemary lemon chevre
a mild, creamy chevre seasoned with rosemary and
meyer lemon zest.

1 comment:

  1. I have to be honest. As a devout carnivor, I associated "meatless Monday" with the self deprivation of "fasting" during Lent. However, Farmer Maggie found the only secret weapon that can compete with a half-pound hamburger and that's pasta.

    Dinner was deliscious. Thank you Sweetheart!


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